Saturday, December 4, 2021

Brian Williams To Retire From NBC News And MSNBC “11th Hour”

Brian Williams, host of MSNBC’s late-night 11th Hour, will not sign a new deal with NBC News and will leave the company after 28 years.

Williams confirmed his planned departure in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.

“After much deliberation and 28 years with the company, I decided to leave NBC at the conclusion of my current contract in December,” Williams said. “I have been truly blessed. I was allowed to spend almost half of my life with the same company. NBC is a part of me and always will be. “

The departure of Williams, 62, means two high-profile stars will be replaced on cable news channel MSNBC in 2022, as Rachel Maddow is expected to leave her daily program at some point during the year, although she will remain under contract with NBC News. … …

“Brian’s time on NBC has been marked by the unveiling of countless important stories, the attraction of leading journalists and guests to his programming and, in particular, his high resilience,” said MSNBC President Rashida Jones in a statement. “He has a very loyal fan base for the 11th Hour, and we and our viewers will miss his insightful questions and thoughtful comments.”

Williams’ current deal comes next month. He has had a serious offer to stay on MSNBC, but wants a break from the late night broadcast. He said he plans to spend the next few months with his family. He has no other media job.

The well-known news anchor informed his staff and network of his decision on Tuesday night.

Williams joined MSNBC as a news anchor in 2015 following a scandal over distortions he made about his experience of covering the Iraq war, which cost him the prestigious NBC Nightly News anchor position for 10 years.

MSNBC’s 11th Hour Williams program began as a weekly debriefing to cover a glut of political news during the 2016 presidential campaign. He has grown into a permanent feature of the MSNBC lineup as Williams used his sharp wit and agile TV presenter skills to spearhead an overnight salon of journalists, historians and pundits to chronicle Trump’s wildly unpredictable White House.

The 11th Hour was an atonement for Williams, whose stellar television news career was nearing completion after he falsely informed viewers that he was in a helicopter hit by enemy fire while covering the US invasion of Iraq for NBC News in 2003. year. Questions about the veracity of his other reporting led to him being removed from NBC Nightly News in 2015 after signing a new contract that paid him over $ 10 million annually.

Williams joined NBC News in 1993 after working on local television news. After serving as chief White House correspondent, the network
gave him an evening news release on MSNBC when NBC launched the channel in 1994, a move that positioned him as Tom Brokaw’s successor to NBC Nightly News.

In 2004, Williams took over NBC Nightly News and for the next 10 years held the top spot in the evening news ratings race against formidable competitors such as Diane Sawyer on ABC, Katie Couric and Scott Pelly on CBS.

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A light storyteller, Williams was a welcome guest on late-night talk shows and in 2007 became the second television reporter to host Saturday Night Live. He played himself on the sitcom 30 Rock.

After lying about his reporting on Iraq was exposed in February 2015, Williams was suspended from office for six months. After an internal investigation, executives at Comcast, NBC’s parent company, discovered that Williams regretted the incident and were willing to give him a second chance, albeit not as the host of his branded network news bulletin. Lester Holt replaced Williams on NBC Nightly News.

During the suspension, news service veteran Andy Lack returned to NBC News – he was president when Williams was first hired – and helped rebuild his friend’s career.

The absence made Williams a news anchor for MSNBC, tasked with expanding studio coverage of sensational stories and special events. Williams also directed the channel’s election coverage with Maddow.

Lack came up with the concept of the 11th Hour in the final months of the epic race for the White House in 2016 as a way to deal with the daily overflow of stories she created. Each night, Williams was given half an hour to summarize the campaign at 11:00 p.m. ET, a period of time when cable TV news tended to play prime-time programming and viewers were directed to local news broadcasts.

As cable TV ratings soared during the Trump years, 11th Hour expanded to an hour and became a must-see for political addicts and the Ring Road public, attracting over 2 million viewers per night in 2018. Its success has led to the emergence of competitors to CNN. and Fox News, offering fresh programming at 11 pm.

As a well-known name in television news, Williams is likely to have opportunities as the proliferation of streaming channels has created a demand for non-fiction programming. His name was circulated on news television as a possible successor to Norah O’Donnell of the CBS Evening News, but he told friends that he was not interested in returning to his day-to-day host role.

MSNBC, now under the leadership of Cesar Condé, chairman of the NBC News Group who took over from Luck last year, will have to contend with filling two anchor chairs as the cable news audience continues to shrink in the post-Trump era. Maddow is expected to leave her primetime program – by far the most watched on the network – in the first half of 2022, although management hopes she will stay there longer as she has no apparent successor.

In terms of filling Williams’ slot, NBC News may consider transferring Shepard Smith from its business news channel CNBC. Smith, who joined CNBC from Fox News in 2020, is hosting an evening news release that is highly praised in the industry but does not attract large audiences in the niche network.

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