Brian Williams Stays at NBC in New Role, Lester Holt to Anchor ‘News’: Report

Brian williams nbc nightly news

Lester Holt will take over the anchor chair at NBC’s “Nightly News” permanently, while Brian Williams takes another position in the organization in the wake of his disclosure earlier this year that he falsified details of a reporting trip to Iraq, according to press reports released Wednesday night.

NBC News declined to comment on the reports, made by CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Robert Barnett, an attorney for Brian Williams who has represented him in negotiations with NBC, also declined to comment after being emailed Wednesday evening.

Williams’ fate remains uncertain, though The New York Times reported Thursday he could move to MSNBC, the cable-news network also owned by parent NBCUniversal.

The moves, which the reports suggested could be announced as early as Thursday, would help stem a period of tumult for NBC News. The NBCUniversal unit has seen its flagship evening newscast lose in the ratings to ABC News’ “World News Tonight,” anchored by David Muir. Season to date, the ABC newscast has edged out “Nightly News” in the audience most coveted by advertisers, viewers aged 25 to 54.

NBC News has yet to disclose to the public the results of an investigation into Williams’ behavior, the scope of which included not only his false descriptions of a ride aboard a Chinook helicopter, but also certain descriptions of events he purported to take part in during travels for NBC News. The company is clearly banking on the idea that the wide appeal Williams had with viewers will endure if it removes him from a position where trust and credibility are paramount. ABC News faced a similar issue recently its chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, disclosed he had made charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation without telling viewers, even when those contributions could create the perception of a bias.

If Williams is received well by viewers, he could lend a boost to MSNBC, which has struggled with ratings as of late against rivals Fox News Channel and CNN. The network has reworked its daytime schedule to focus more heavily on breaking news while reserving is primetime schedule for personalities who view events through a progressive or liberal lens.

Holt, meantime, has held his own with Muir, sometimes winning more overall viewers to the NBC newscast week by week. NBC has not lent his newscast any promotion since he took the reins of the program from Williams in February.

Meantime, the anchor has scored some noticeable scoops, including an exclusive interview with the bystander who captured video of a South Carolina police officer shooting Walter Scott, and even led the newscast one evening from a seat in a helicopter. If Holt can keep his facts straight about the chopper, he will likely enjoy his tenure in the anchor seat.


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  1. Martha Calnan says:

    I could never believe anything Brian Williams ever says again, no matter what new role they give him.

  2. Rose says:

    It looks like Brian Williams is not the only one telling lies!! NBC told the public that Brian would be back in six months and now not living up to what they said on public television five months ago!
    What’s the real story behind this-
    Who did Brian stand up to and now they want revenge??
    Why does NBC take a good look of their past lies and make public apology also..
    You have double standards for NBC…

  3. Peter says:

    I’ve worked with Lester and have the highest respect for him. I am also sure he is saddened by the circumstances that have afforded him this well-deserved (at last) opportunity. Lester is not one to need to stand on another’s misfortune to achieve his own success.
    And I am sorry for Brian as well. A good and valuable journalist.

  4. Bernie says:

    Personally I like Brian. Yeah sadly a news reporter should tell the truth and get is his facts straight. Still unforgivable as it was Brian Williams is not a mean person, unkind person, malicious person. We all have done stupid things in our lives. Who knows what was going through his mind at that time. Yes, I think Brian should do some kind of penance for lack of word. Still he is a good man in heart. We should not judge but, accept that NBC did the right thing and I believe Brian’s fans have already forgiven him. Now as for Lester Holt I think they couldn’t have found a better man to replace Brian Williams. He will do that seat proud. All the best Lester.


  6. Carol nance says:

    Lester Holt is very professional. He is also personable. He does not twist the report.

  7. mary says:

    I’ve been watching Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News since he took over. It hasn’t been the same without him. While there is no excuse for embellishing a story, others have been forgiven for worse! I like Lester Holt, but he does not exude the warmth or personality that was so present with Williams. I have missed ans will miss him! David Muir seems to have that same quality that makes one feel like they are listening to a friend. I’ll watch ABC for the most part, although I have been watching one while recording the other.

  8. Scott says:

    For timeline regarding African-American network news anchors: don’t forget Carole Williams–when I was young, she was often seen solo at the anchor desk for network weekend edition (ABC?)…I was so impressed that the announcer read her name aloud and that we could see her name on the screen, as well, and there she was—solo at the network anchor desk.

  9. Ione says:

    So happy for Lester Holt!

  10. Nick Turner says:

    Whatever his shortcomings, Brian is a likeable and charismatic guy And he’s genuinely funny. We loved his occasional tongue in cheek cameos on 30 Rock. (I saw him in person at a small film festival reception a few years back where he delivered a laugh out loud stand up routine. Again, immensely likeable and funny as hell.) But serious, non-editorial network news reporting is, or should be, a job strictly reserved for those long on credibility, trust-worthiness and gravitas, not necessarily likeability, charisma and humor. Time to move on Brian. Keep performing but break new ground. Maybe a post-seinfeld-era series, a blend of reality and traditional sitcom about a big time ex news anchor struggling as a newbie on the Comedy Store circuit?

  11. Patty Bray says:

    It’s hard to believe that NBC didn’t know about the lies. Too many people knew Brian lied all the time.It had to have been reported to NBC. NO WAY would a reporter like Brian Williams be allowed in a war zone on the ground.

  12. Beth A. says:

    Title of Report: Brian Williams Stays at NBC in New Role, Lester Holt to Anchor ‘News’: Report. Why is Lester Holt’s photo not used? I feel Holt should have been anchor all along. The man has worked ungodly hours & has remained professional throughout.

  13. Good Brian Williams will return to NBC in whatever position they give him. At some point in time we all have made mistakes, give the chance to show he has been punished punished enough, now is time to get back to work and report the news the way it should have been in the first place. Stop putting the networks business out in public. A mistake has been made. all should be forgiven and now move on to some real news. The country is about to choose a new leader. Let Brian Williams and all the other reporters/journalists get to work!!!

  14. Cira Fernandez says:

    I still love Brian and his view is his story. Not everyone will agree with my views either. Love Lester but please change his glasses and cut his hair down lower and please please I think men with gray hair look more interesting. But damn the gray does not go well at all with lester please dye it. He looks too tired and old. So please get rid of those glasses n the grays.

  15. Cydney Morrow says:

    I have liked Lester Holt for years & I’m happy he will be the permanent anchor. Maybe I’ll watch it again now. I watched only NBC & the Today Show daily from 9/11 until Matt’s tantrum causing Ann’s departure. The Today Show will not be on in my house as long Matt Lauer is there.

  16. Sandra says:

    Without Brian Williams I will NOT be watching NBC. Matt Lauer has driven me away from the Today Show. This will make ABC by go to channel from now on!

  17. Gnrlriles says:

    Good call. Anything Williams reports will instantly be turned into a meme. His credibility in the Internet Age is dead.

  18. Patricia says:

    Let him gooooo, let him goooo…………..

  19. srvwp2013 says:

    And so Brian Williams begins his trek down the road to obscurity just as Katie Couric, Dan Rather and a few others before them. They are well on the way to dusty death. These folks had their 15 minutes of fame. That was their achilles heal; they sought fame instead of just being reporters of the famous. As Captain America would say to Billy: “[they] blew it.”

  20. Candice says:

    Wait a minute…didn’t Al Gore and Brian Williams INVENT the internet…which caused Global Warming…I mean cooling…I mean…what’s it called now?

  21. Dick Enormous says:

    Bill, O’reilly lies about almost everything he says. And Fucked News keeps him on no matter what…

    • Penny says:

      You want to compare lies you enormous dick…how about these lies 1. The Cat ate my emails 2. I didn’t take 200 million from foreign countries that kill gays and women 3. My husband Bill would never have sex with 14-20 other women…especially named Monica 4. A video tape caused Protestors to kill Special Forces Commandos in Libya 5. Chelsea was jogging around the World Trade Center when the Terrorists flew planes into them 6. That Sniper Fire was hard to avoid while shaking a little Bosnian girls hand 7. I was named after Sir Edmund Hillary who climbed MT Everest, 5 years after my birth. 8. I didn’t know they were FLAN Terrorists when I pardoned them. 9. I was instrumental in the Irish Peace Process even though I was never there. 10. I was always a Yankees fan (LOL) 11. I never used my private email for Official business, only with Bill, who only used email once in his life…or so he says.

      I could go-on….there’s hundreds more.

    • Candice says:

      you know, you’re an enormous Dickhead. But you already know that, don’t you.

  22. MarinDem says:

    Sending the loser newsman with no credibility to the loser network MSNBC – how does that work for NBC Universal? Sounds like a lose/lose situation! Watch out ED they are coming for you show slot yet again. LOL

  23. cujokay says:

    Long overdue. This went on almost 5 month too long. Everyone saw it coming. Don’t understand why they didn’t put this to bed much sooner.

  24. Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

    Our long national nightmare is …
    entering it’s second phase!

  25. goodforHolt says:

    Holt = winner
    Williams = loser, total loser

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