Brian Williams has introduced he’s quitting MSNBC subsequent month after almost three a long time with NBC News.
Williams, 62, had been working within the relative hinterlands of the NBC information household for years, scrabbling to show “The 11th Hour” into a success following his six-month suspension in 2015 for falsifying particulars of tales that he’d lined, together with one about taking enemy hearth whereas driving in a helicopter in Iraq.
In a notice seen by Page Six, he wrote to employees Tuesday: “Following much reflection, and after 28 years with the company, I have decided to leave NBC upon the completion of my current contract in December.”
Williams’ reflection possible concerned his checking account. “Brian,” an NBC supply explains, “was still on the Andy Lack deal, which was something crazy like $7 million a year. But his contract was up for renewal next month and there was no way they were going to pay him that money for an 11 p.m. show. Plus Greg Gutfeld over on Fox News has been literally killing him in the ratings.”
The supply continued, “Brian told [current NBC News president] Noah Oppenheim that he’s tired of being up so late, he wants to go and work on his own independent projects — he has no other deal with another network. But many insiders believe that he didn’t want to do that 11 p.m. show for a drastically smaller salary.”
(Lack stepped down in May 2020. Ronan Farrow’s ebook “Catch and Kill” accused NBC News executives — together with Lack’s majordomo Oppenheim — of killing his Harvey Weinstein reporting. Lack has additionally been accused of downplaying a rape allegation in opposition to former “Today” host Matt Lauer and of his personal shady conduct with feminine workers.)
“I was on the air for the launch of MSNBC,” Williams’ assertion reads. “My return years later was my choice, as was launching ‘The 11th Hour’ that I’m as proud of as the decade I spent anchoring Nightly News … ‘The 11th Hour’ will remain in good hands, produced by the best team in cable news.”
Despite the relative success of “The 11th Hour,” Williams’ star had fallen to date at NBC that he wasn’t even thought-about as a alternative for Chris Matthews final yr when the anchor retired from “Hardball.” Williams, a supply informed us on the time was, would have been “judged very differently” had he moved again to the early night hours: “The audience wants red meat at 7, not a news recap,” the supply continued.
Sources informed us Tuesday that Williams has kvetched to pals of his late hours as properly. “Brian’s been in the business for 40 years — truly I think he wants to take some time and spend it with his family. He’s going on his own terms, it’s his choice.”
“This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another,” Williams’ assertion continued. “There are many things I want to do, and I’ll pop up again somewhere. For the next few months, I’ll be with my family, the people I love most and the people who enabled my career to happen. I will reflect on the kindness people have shown me, and I will pay it forward,” he added.
But in true BriWi fashion, he couldn’t resist speaking himself up one final time, including, “I have been truly blessed … NBC is a part of me and always will be. 28 years, 38 countries, 8 Olympic games, 7 Presidential elections, half a dozen presidents, a few wars, and one ‘SNL.’”
Williams’ inventory plummeted in each business circles and the general public after the Iraq scandal, a narrative he’d recounted a number of instances within the years prior earlier than it was outed as fiction. (He chalked up the lie as “misremembering” in his on-air apology.) The New York Times reported in February 2015 that he’d fallen from the Twenty third-most-trusted particular person in America to the 835th, in response to analysis by The Marketing Arm agency.
And the helicopter incident opened the door to the questioning of different Williams tales. Brandon Webb, a author and former SEAL sniper who helped prepare “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, informed the Huffington Post in February 2015 that he discovered the anchor’s tales of flying into Baghdad with SEAL Team 6 — and receiving numerous army keepsakes like a knife and a bit of a Black Hawk helicopter — “preposterous.”
“There’s a healthy dislike towards embedded journalists within the SEAL community,” Webb mentioned. “I can’t even remember an embed with a SEAL unit. And especially at SEAL Team Six? Those guys don’t take journalists with them on missions.”
Williams’ — let’s charitably name them “exaggerations” — additionally hit nearer to residence. In February 2015, the supervisor of The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans when Williams was there reporting on Hurricane Katrina in 2005 laughed down his claims of seeing a physique floating alongside within the floodwaters — together with the rivalry that gangs had been roving the hallways of the five-star lodge.
“That did not happen in the French Quarter,” Myra deGersdorff mentioned of the story, which Williams recounted to ex-Disney CEO Michael Eisner in 2006.
Williams even stepped on toes in his personal yard: “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw “[wanted] Williams’ head on a platter,” an NBC supply informed us in February 2015. “He [was] making a lot of noise at NBC that a lesser journalist or producer would have been immediately fired or suspended for a false report.”
Brokaw possible had his personal previous with Williams on his thoughts. The youthful journalist ceaselessly muddied the waters between his personal protection of the autumn of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and that of Brokaw’s.
“I was at the Brandenburg Gate the night the wall came down,” Williams mentioned in 2008 on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, although he arrived the day after Brokaw, who was famously the one American journalist protecting the Wall’s Nov. 9 fall dwell.
Then, years later, Williams made certain to put himself alongside Brokaw when recollecting his protection at a Nov. 8, 2014 gala. “25 years ago tonight, Tom Brokaw and I were at the Berlin Wall,” he claimed.
Williams’ fabulism wasn’t even restricted to the secular world: He was a scholar at Washington, D.C.’s Catholic University when Pope John Paul II spoke on the campus in 1979, and his remembrances of the day, let’s say, “evolved,” from merely being there to shaking the pontiff’s hand to receiving an unspecified “blessing” from the person.
Williams’ exit comes as Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s top-rated anchor, lately signed a brand new deal amid rumors that she would depart her present.
She had thought-about leaving the channel — the place she has hosted the 9 p.m. hour since 2008 — to launch her personal media enterprise however in the end determined to stay with the corporate. She’ll develop new initiatives for NBC News as a part of her new deal.
New MSNBC President Rashida Jones informed employees: “Brian’s time at NBC has been marked by breaking countless major stories, attracting leading journalists and guests to his programs, and most especially, great resiliency … Please join me in expressing our deep gratitude for 28 years of devoted service to our viewers and wishing him the very best.”