NBC News has confirmed a number of moves that were reported Wednesday night in various media outlets, including this one, naming Lester Holt the permanent anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and moving Brian Williams to MSNBC.
“Mr. Williams will join MSNBC as anchor of breaking news and special reports,” The New York Times reports. “The move is a humbling blow for him both professionally and financially. Mr. Williams will earn less money in his new role than he was as anchor of the ‘Nightly News,’ according to an NBC executive with knowledge of the agreement, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The person characterized it as ‘substantially’ less money, but would not be more specific.”
Lester Holt, who has been filling in for Williams as “Nightly News” anchor, will now become chief anchor on a permanent basis. “He is the first African-American to serve as solo anchor of a weekday evening newscast,” The Times notes.
NBC News quotes a statement from Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, saying: “Lester has done outstanding work for NBC News over the last ten years, and he’s performed remarkably well over the last few months under very tough circumstances. He’s an exceptional anchor who goes straight to the heart of every story and is always able to find its most direct connection to the everyday lives of our audience. In many ways, television news stands at a crossroads, and Lester is the perfect person to meet the moment.”
A statement from the news division indicated that Williams’ widely publicized embellishments, which were detailed in an internal investigation, “did not for the most part occur on NBC News platforms or in the immediate aftermath of the news events, but rather on late-night programs and during public appearances, usually years after the news events in question.”
NBC News reports that Williams “will work with Mark Lukasiewicz, SVP of Special Reports for NBCU News Group, who will help lead a team to strengthen MSNBC’s daytime coverage by further leveraging NBC News’ expertise in breaking news. In addition, Williams will serve as a breaking news anchor for NBC News live special reports when Holt is not available. He will begin the new role in mid-August.”
The report from NBC News comments on the Williams investigation, saying it was overseen by Kim Harris, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NBCUniversal, and conducted by Richard Esposito, who leads the investigative unit at NBC News.
“The extensive review found that Williams made a number of inaccurate statements about his own role and experiences covering events in the field,” NBC News reports.
Please click here to read a commentary on the Brian Williams situation published today by TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross.