Brian Williams given new role; Lester Holt named permanent ‘Nightly News’ anchor
NEW YORK — Brian Williams “has the chance to earn back everyone’s trust,” his boss at NBC News said Thursday, as the network confirmed that Williams will return to television later this summer, but in a reduced role.
NBC also confirmed that Lester Holt, Williams’ fill-in since February, will become the permanent anchor of the “NBC Nightly News.”
The network said that Williams will join the struggling cable news channel MSNBC as “anchor of breaking news and special reports.”
He will also “serve as a breaking news anchor for NBC News live special reports when Holt is not available.”
More to come…
Suspended NBC news anchor Brian Williams has broken his silence in an interview with his colleague Matt Lauer.
The sit-down with Lauer, the co-host of the “Today” show, was taped earlier this week, according to two people at NBC. It was slated to air on Friday, but may now be delayed due to saturation news coverage of the church shooting in South Carolina.
Whenever it airs, the interview will be the start of a comeback attempt by Williams, who was suspended from his “NBC Nightly News” chair in February amid a controversy over exaggerated stories.
During the suspension, he has said nothing publicly about the controversy.
When reached on Thursday morning, an NBC News spokeswoman declined to comment on the Lauer interview.
CNNMoney reported on Wednesday that Williams will remain at NBC, but will not be returning to the “NBC Nightly News” anchor chair. His fill-in Lester Holt will become the program’s permanent anchor.
Williams’ new role at NBC will include a position on MSNBC, the network’s struggling cable news channel. “He will be the face of MSNBC,” handling big breaking news stories, one of the people said on condition of anonymity.
Williams may have other responsibilities as well. Details remain scarce and subject to change.
Williams, 56, was suspended after he admitted “misremembering” an incident in which he claimed his helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. Williams was never in the chopper that was attacked.
NBC launched an internal investigation to fact-check the anchorman and identified other times when Williams exaggerated. However, it remains unclear how serious the other instances were.
NBC has declined to comment about the investigation.