NBC News Shakeup: Andrew Lack in Talks to Return in Top Role (EXCLUSIVE)

NBC News Shakeup: Andrew Lack Talks
Bobby Bank/WireImage

Former NBC News president Andrew Lack is in negotiations to return to a top post at NBCUniversal’s news division in a management shakeup following the debacle that led to the suspension of “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams and other recent missteps.

The discussions are in the early stages, but Lack is expected to return in a top role, if not the top job, overseeing NBCUniversal’s news operations: NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC. Pat Fili-Krushel, who has headed NBCUniversal News Group as chairman since 2012, may move to a different position within NBCUniversal.

A rep for NBCUniversal declined comment.

A source close to the situation emphasized that Deborah Turness, NBC News president, is also staying with the company, though her role may change. Turness has been under fire for the division’s response to the controversy that erupted over Williams’ misleading statements on “NBC Nightly News” about his experiences will covering the Iraq war in 2003. The incident led to the anchor being suspended for six months without pay last month.

Lack was previously president of NBC News from 1993 to 2001. Most recently he spent six years at Bloomberg Media, before leaving in September to become chief executive officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency that oversees international networks including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

The discussions with Lack were spurred during the past few weeks by NBCU management’s desire to bring in a seasoned journalist to help manage the crisis situation. Fili-Krushel is a highly regarded TV exec but her lack of journalism experience has been a source of criticism as NBC News’ operations have been scrutinized following the Williams’ scandal and other reporting issues that have surfaced.  In February, for example, NBC News chief global correspondent Bill Neely reported that suspects in France’s Charlie Hebdo killings were dead or in custody — information that was not accurate, but that was reiterated in a broadcast by Williams. The TV journalists had to retract the claims, and acknowledge the government-intelligence sources they had relied upon did not give sound facts.

Fili-Krushel has also had to contend with problems at MSNBC and CNBC. Both have been plagued by ratings declines in recent months. At MSNBC, executives have been reworking the network’s daytime schedule and focusing more on breaking news rather than the issues-based programming that has been at the core of its offering between noon and early evening. CNBC recently announced it would no longer do deals based on Nielsen ratings as of the fourth quarter of 2015, instead using data about viewers from a new provider in hopes of spurring more partnership with advertisers.

Turness has also been in the hot seat as the exec directly in charge of NBC News, which produces “Nightly News.” Turness joined NBC in 2013 from ITV News in the U.K. Some have said Turness’ handling of various touchy situations at NBC News as reflecting her lack of experience in U.S. newsroom cultures. But a source close to the situation stressed that despite the potential shakeup spurred by Lack’s return, Fili-Krushel and Turness will not be pushed out of the company.

Lack ran NBC News during a prosperous time for the division. In 2001 he was promoted to president and chief operating officer of NBC, but turf battles with then-NBC chairman Bob Wright made it a rocky run. He left in 2003 after he was recruited to become chairman-CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.

(Elizabeth Wagmeister and Brian Steinberg contributed to this report)

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  1. Simply just wanted to point out Now i am lucky I stumbled on the web site!.

  2. trublufan says:

    How is this a shake-up? There bringing back their old director. Just more of the same slanted liberal news coverage.

  3. zenpiper says:

    Long ago NBC news had integrity. But when General Electric bought it, there were outside pressures to report only “approved” stories. The same is true with CBS/Westinghouse and ABC/Disney. Andy Lack is a good manager but is something of a puppet for the corporate bosses; same with Bob Iger at ABC and Les Moonves at CBS. Also Roger Ailes at Fox. There is simply no more independent news reporting except for the internet and, maybe, Mother Jones.

  4. byeGeorge says:

    Turness’ biggest disappointment has been the continual fall of MTP…sticking with its LW host and panels…mimicking the msnbc disasters…

  5. FWGuy says:

    Reading the comments below it looks like most people consider NBC a propaganda site for Obama and the Democrats. I am not sure that will change much from the shakeup, and may even get worse, only time will tell.

  6. Rocky Harden says:

    Any reorganization the broadcast networks do only amounts to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. They need to start telling the truth. That would do wonders for their ratings. A good beginning would be to do an in-depth investigation of Obama. Go back to the beginning and expose all his lies and hidden documents and associations. It would have to be done as a miniseries that would take up a whole season. If he had been a Republican, that would have already been done.

  7. nehf says:

    I really like all the points made here. All of you people are dead nuts on. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Lack can achieve such a lofty goal of bringing back NBC to respectability, as a few of you stated it will basically require a complete demolition of every viewable time slot and replacing it with something that is news worthy and unbiased. If he approaches this and becomes a champion of the overall people by calling out dishonesty in govt and business. They need true journalists and there are so few left in the world. If he does this it will be interesting to see if ad revenue increases accordingly.

  8. Abel Garcia says:

    What NBC News needs, for that matter the 3 big news networks, lean more conservative in news stories.

  9. Jean K Wagner says:

    I am very happy to have Lester Holt on Nightly News. I have always enjoyed his weekend news program. In my opinion the biggest problem with the Today Show is everyone tries to talk louder than the other in order to be heard. Also, Matt Lauer does not make me feel welcome. You should never send him to a Carpet Event! Look at his body language, his arms almost in his pockets. I am so disappointed in Brian Williams and was willing to forgive his first mistake but when I saw the other stories he embellished I am not interested in anything he has to say. In talking with family and friends, we are on the same page. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you because my first thoughts for News coverage has been NBC but not anymore! I will be watching to see how you correct your problems.

  10. Awesome bringing back an old LIAR!

  11. 1peevedbob says:

    …unfortunately, as usual, no one will even notice….

  12. David Powell says:

    You have to love when a person runs Voice of America, working to get the truth into Eastern Europe to oppose Putin’s state run channels, and speak for human rights and democracy, and some people still call them Un-American. That’s just priceless. I mean, wow man, really.

  13. Vincehugh says:

    I don’t understand why one of the mainstream news media networks wouldn’t follow a Fox News prototype of being more in contact with the views of middle America rather than those of the NY/DC bubble. If just one network, NBC, ABC or CBS, would do away with their inbred liberal slant to the news and consider conservative viewpoints in a fair way, their ratings would go sky high and revenues would be huge.
    It seems that these networks are so embedded with those of the left, that whoever they promote it has to be someone who is a liberal. Otherwise you were scorned by your counterparts. Using NBC as an example, the way they select their news is meant to cover up Obama or spin a narrative that is favorable to the liberal agenda. On Meet the Press, for example, when they bring on what they call a ‘conservative’, its someone like a David Brooks who is about as conservative as Nancy Pelosi. They also failed to ever mention that when democrats controlled the senate, legislation would be stopped dead in its track by Harry Reid, yet the media portrayed republicans as the obstructionists and the ones responsible for any gov’t shutdown…in other words, it was the republicans who had to negotiate, not democrats!
    The liberal media is so polluted with biasness and spin, that its no wonder they have such low credibility. They actually think people are too stupid to recognize their biasness and foolish reporting narratives. Another good example was the total refusal to even mention the Benghazi disaster, or the IRS auditing of only conservative groups. The only place one could get this information was Fox News…yet it was all important. Can you imagine if we had a republican president and our ambassador and others were killed at our embassy? Or if it was the republican administration that was auditing only liberal groups? It would have been the headline news for week, as they did with bridgegate, Christie, which his own democrat legislature finally found out he knew nothing about it…where is the media’s apology for that? Meanwhile now his chances of being president are zero.
    Wake up NBC, this is your chance to make a fundamental change, and become what true journalism was all about and that is reporting the facts!

    • VIETNAM VET says:

      The answer is most of the news people in main stream are spouses of people IN the Obama administration. check it out.

  14. When a major broadcast network does not televise what may be the biggest news story of the year, blatantly displaying the fact they are a propaganda outlet for the Obama Administration, they just cut off their nose to spite their face. They are delusional and just as*-kissers for Obama. Did they think that if they did not put the speech on the air, no one would see it. Anyone who wanted to see it saw it, you can take it to the bank. Obama’s recent rants and statements about Israel and Mr N are some of the the most ignorant, childish, blatantly partisan actions of any modern day President, in fact making Clinton’s lies about Ms Lewinski and his other fabrications seem tame by comparison. Obama is acting like a spoiled child and he demeans the Office of the President. He is not even the JV team, he is a kindergarten child facing the Varsity, and the Varsity looks dam+ good from my viewpoint. It is a sad time for the U>S> with a totally unqualified individual sitting in the President’s chair. It is dangerous to have a person like Obama as President, dangerous for the U.S. and for the World. Being Black skinned has carried him as far as it can, He is evidencing signs of personality problems, He acts as if he is on SNL, not the President of the U.S. Personally, I think he is a twisted mental case. I for one am glad there are people in the World such as Mr N that will deal with Iran. Hopefully, there are some other Countries in the region that will help Israel take care of the problem. and hopefully, only a limited number of good Iranian people will be affected.

  15. tymtrvlr says:

    NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, are all political stumps for the marxist/commies. They carry the water for anyone that wants to destroy America, all the while the world burns.
    Imagine a world without the U.S.A. of old, you won’t believe what will happen, oh, yeah, just look at the world now that obama has turned America into a third world ghetto slum, and made the rich even richer, while the middle class sinks into the marxist cesspool of the poor. obama has succeeded in making 2 classes in America, the greedy pigs on top and the rest of us.

  16. bill walsh says:

    meet the press 4 crazed libs and one rino every week… and all they do is avoid any tough questions about the Obama reign of lawless flip flopping… stunningly bad

  17. BSNBC should give America a break and shut down that sewer of Communist propaganda.

  18. Lady Con says:

    NBC News should be required to run a ticker that says: FACT OR FICTION – WE REPORT, YOU DECIDE

  19. Shrugged says:

    Hopefully, MSNBC won’t be far behind the downfall of NBC . . . .

  20. Htos1 says:

    Still hard to believe a lowly catv office in Texas in 1963(hmmm)is now THE monster media company in the world. I was proud to help usher in the post-modern era in ’93, when ComCast dem’od the prototype for all tv now(DBS-dish/catv) on an Onyx SGI supercomter down there in Florida(yep, rocket scientists types do actually live/work there).

  21. Icarus says:

    Who watches NBC for anything except Sunday Night Football? CBS has the BIG BANG…ABC has Modern Family. WTH does NBC have? SNL has sucked since Farley died.

  22. Miguel says:

    As an “Awakened” CA democrat, I’ve long ago quit wasting my time watching the racist White liberal cabal operation known as NBC “News?”, this b/c this fake “News” operation is little better than the old Soviet Union’s Pravda. NBC has degenerated into little more than a US propaganda wing of the murderous Frankfurt School of German Intellectuals, which, BTW, helped destroy Russian societal daily life, so to help along the Bolshevick Revolution, which, in turn, led to the State-Sponsored Mass-Murder of about 40 million human beings in service to the Soviet State.

  23. S. D. Thyng says:

    What did NBC expect when they let Brian become a celebtity ? He dropped out of college,,, never had a degree, let alone one in journalism. How stupid can you be ??!?

    Then what’s the value-added of these 2 token women successively over him ??
    No one can explain that,,, the first from another country unfamiliar with US news culture, then
    the next up only an HR hack unable to even decide her single last name.

    Then the zero value-added over at MSNBC with laughable EEO illiterate Sharpton,,, just needs to shut down.

    Andy Hack has his work cut out, but could be easy if he sticks with the basics.

  24. Holdthe Profanityfool says:

    “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

  25. Zork says:

    NBC has a news organization? Who knew?

  26. J.B. says:

    I was in the news business for years. It is not hard. 1. Leave your bias at home. 2.Get the Press Release and then do your job which is NOT to read the Press Release as fact on the air. Gather the facts from every perspective and produce an entire story. 3. Follow up, don`’t just go on to the next Press Release.
    You want to be seen as a news organization, act like a news organization. Hire some legitimate reporters.. not journalists… and work like that for a year and see what happens to your ratings.

    • Don B Redekulous says:

      Leave your bias at the door?!? Guffaw! I’ve never heard of such a thing in news reporting! I thought bias was the reason they got their job in the first place.

  27. Robert Peavey says:

    First, we are fed up with the bias reporting of this trashy network. Get your people out of the White House entanglements by marriage and friends and become a real news organization once more. Kissing the President’s ass is not reporting nor is it journalism. You were and are affraid to ask the question that need to be asked. Look at your total disinterest in the IRS scandal and Benghazi. Thank God there is one news source out there that we can somewhat rely on because it ain’t you!

  28. Ken Puck says:

    Won’t make the slightest bit of difference. NBC can’t divorce Obama.

    • David Francis says:

      Comcast got their deal thru because of their relationship with this White House. They cannot go back on their agreement now.

  29. Ralph D. Lynch says:

    It’s Howdy-Doody News! Leave all that troubling truth behind, pull up a chair, and enjoy some fun liberal brain-washing! No messy facts here, just lotsa fun PC nonsense for all you idiots out there! NBC – your ticket to La-La Land!

    The sooner that garbage network dies, the better for the country.

  30. Melvin Martin says:

    I guess I miss the point that Ms.Schneide is bring up. I also assume I missed what President Obama had
    to do with this article.

  31. tymwltl says:

    Yep let’s keep doing the same old $hit. It hasn’t worked so far so will bring back an old dinosaur with old ideas and really plunge our ratings.

  32. Tim says:

    I hope this guy instills objectivity and he is not a shill for Israel and left wing ideology. Probably wishful thinking.

  33. Zardoz Wiz says:

    we need to find someone who can sell hillary fast!

  34. stacie says:

    The Liberal media is dying. No one but the low-information-voters gives them the time of day.

  35. How about something different, How about hiring real reporters who investigate and tell us the truth?????

  36. NBC news needs to get rid of the liars and political hacks in their news room and start reporting the unvarnished news. Such means all liberals have to go. Until such is done NBC news will never be more than a Democrat propaganda information distortion machine not worthy of being called a “news” source.

  37. AZWarrior says:

    NBC’s refusal to air the Israeli Prime Minister’s address was an obvious political contribution to the Obama administration rather than responsible viewer-centered news. You fail because you are in the pocket of the far left Democrats. That’s not news, that is propaganda.

  38. Bill Wilson says:

    “Here, I’m just going to move this chair over next to you on deck. No, don’t get up, we’ve got it. You’re doing a Titanic job!”

    • sui whynn says:

      so very sad, that current media, cannot just state the facts without injecting their OWN opinion. No one wants their opinion.
      Same with congress, vote for USA, not “your opinion” your person wants” or your pocketbook””. So sick of both the bias in both. Now, most do not listen….
      Wish we could have someone standing up for America…

  39. WGB says:

    Does Obama have to approve of high level management changes at NBC?

    • Art VanDelay says:

      Not if a brother or spouse can be given an high level job in the Administration. But it amounts to the same thing.

  40. Caldoc says:

    Got to clean house and fire the entire clan over at MSNBC would be a start. He has got to quit being the propaganda outlet for the Obama Administration and the ton of cover-ups they tried to hide for Obama.

  41. Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

    Sadly, Reuven Frank passed in 2006. I had the privilege to work for him as I did for Mr. Lack.
    Mr. Frank was a journalist with integrity, principles, vision and passion. The reputation of NBC News was derived from his work, like Lack’s.

  42. When Andy Lack (NBC/GE) and Bill Gates (Microsoft) launched MSNBC on July 15, 1996,
    it sounded nothing like it does today.
    MSNBC had vision and leadership. Andy Lack saw to that from beginning to end.
    It was not blowing the enigmatic news trumpet it blows today!

  43. bill 1942 says:

    I wouldn’t watch NBC and its’ propaganda puppets if they hired the Pope.

  44. Andy Lack is one of the best, but if he doesn’t clean house at Today (bye Lauer and Roker) and MSNBC (bye Mika and Joe) he will have failed. He can manage around/improve/recalibrate MTP and Nightly News and he might be able to save MSNBC, but not with those four in the picture or on the screen.

  45. mr burns says:

    MSNBC is big money propaganda and so juvenile as to be pitiful. They will end up sold for a dollar like newsweek unless the FCC and net neutrality can make broadcast news viable.

  46. Ed says:

    Where was your coverage of the Prime Minister Of Israel speech to a joint cession of Congress? NBC is not in the News business, they are in the Propaganda business.

  47. Harvey Weinstein says:

    Al Sharpton is taking over for Brian Williams

  48. Ken Valley says:

    The only NBC will ever regain credibility is to completely fire everyone at MSDNC and start reporting both sides of every story. They’d spent all their time being one of the lapdogs to the DemoRATS and the corrupt Marxist White House. I guess they finally woken up and figured out how Fox has remained at #1 for 15 years straight.

    • Alex says:

      MSNBC can’t be fixed, the only things they can do with it is to give it to the entertainment division and maybe turn it into an ABC Family type of channel, or sell it. Right now it’s valuable real estate that NBC/U won’t let go to waste much longer.

  49. Francis Urquhart says:

    Here’s a novel idea that might bring NBC News, along with its affiliate MSNBC back up in the ratings: OBJECTIVITY. It’s a very simple concept: tell the truth, and cover all angles of a story, not just the ones that promote a single point of view. Maybe then, they could win back the trust of viewers, but it’s not going to happen as long as NBC continues to be a communications outlet for the Obama administration.

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