NBCUniversal confirmed today that it has hired Andy Lack, the former president of NBC News, as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, The Washington Post reports.
NBCU CEO Steve Burke made the official announcement this morning.
As we reported earlier this week, Lack stepped down two days ago from his post with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency that runs Voice of America and other U.S. media operations. The move was widely thought to signal Lack’s return to NBC.
Lack was president of NBC News from 1993-2001.
In his announcement, Burke says of Lack: “While at NBC, he presided over the News division’s unprecedented rise to number one, led by ‘Today,’ ‘Nightly News,’ ‘Dateline’ and ‘Meet the Press.'”
The Post adds: “The move bumps current NBCUniversal chairwoman Patricia Fili-Krushel to a ‘new corporate role’ on Burke’s executive team. And NBC News President Deborah Turness will remain in her position, reporting up to Lack.”
The announcement should come as good news for Brian Williams, currently serving a six-month suspension from his anchor job on “NBC Nightly News.” As we reported previously, Lack is considered to be a Williams ally.
The Post report notes: “There’s lots to fix at the NBC News group, including the standing of the ‘Today’ show, once the preeminent morning news program and now an also-ran. MSNBC keeps tinkering with its lineup in hopes of lifting its own dismal ratings. And the Sunday morning franchise ‘Meet the Press’ has gone through years of underperformance and mismanagement, though it has made recent strides under host Chuck Todd.”
Those issues, however, are likely to take a back seat to the Brian Williams situation.
“Much has been made of the close connection between Lack and Williams — who worked closely together during Lack’s first run at NBC — fueling speculation that the new chairman will simply re-install the credibility-challenged anchor to his beloved chair,” The Post reports. “Yet that call will default to Burke, the CEO of NBCUniversal.”