NBC’s Brian Williams crisis could be about to get uglier, according to a new report in the New York Post. The paper reports: “Talks between the exiled anchor and NBCUniversal have recently become tense — with the 55-year-old newsman saying he will not have his ‘NBC Nightly News’ job taken away without a battle, The Post has learned.”
The report quotes a source close to NBC saying: “Brian is saying he’s not going down without a fight and [is] threatening to make it really ugly — worse than Ann Curry.” Curry’s ouster from NBC’s “Today” show back in 2013 generated an avalanche of bad publicity for the network, the news division, the show and host Matt Lauer. And Curry and Williams have something in common, the Post reports: They’re both represented by someone the paper calls “a pit bull lawyer” — Bob Barnett of Williams & Connolly.
The situation at NBC News appears to be getting more tense by the day. After we reported earlier this week that NBC’s internal investigation into Williams’ alleged misstatements had expanded, a subsequent report indicated that Williams’ prospects for returning to his job appeared to be diminishing.
One source quoted in the Post report indicated that NBC would prefer not to fire Williams. “They want Brian to resign,” the source told the publication. “If they have to fire him, they can’t control him.”
Meanwhile, ABC’s “World News Tonight” has been posting ratings gains while Lester Holt fills in for Williams on “Nightly News.” The ABC program has reportedly topped NBC’s broadcast — the perennial evening news leader — in total viewers for the past four weeks and in the key news demo of viewers 25-54 for the past three weeks.
But the network may not be banking on Williams’ return, even if it might help ratings. A friend of Williams told the Post: “NBC seems intent on damaging him. No one is speaking out in his defense.”
Please click on the link at the top of this story for additional details in the New York Post report.