Brian Williams Done?
FTVLive posted a highly speculative piece that Deborah Turness is thinking heavily about dumping Brian Williams…maybe next week.
Sources tell FTVLive that NBC News President Deborah Turness is strongly considering having Brian Williams step down, maybe as early as next week.
As FTVLive earlier told you, Turness has launched an internal investigation in the Williams’ statement regarding the events in Iraq in 2003 and other stories including what the Anchor said in his Katrina coverage.
Sources say that Turness has not yet decided what to do with Williams but is “leaning in the direction” of having him step down.
Sources tell FTVLive that Turness has short list of replacements for Williams and the names could raise a few eyebrows.
They are – Lester Holt, Jose Diaz Balart, and Peter Alexander.
I suppose Turness could be leaning towards dropping Williams but the timing is a little weird. Next week? NBC would barely have time to do the kind of investigation it launched unless it’s a 24/7 operation. So why mull tossing Williams if the facts aren’t in yet? That doesn’t make sense. But neither did Turness’ approach to dealing with the David Gregory situation.
If there’s any truth to this, it means I seriously underestimated NBC’s position in dealing with this crisis. I wouldn’t have called the investigation a white wash no matter how it turned out but it did have the feel of an investigation for the sake of having an investigation…not an investigation to determine Williams’ fate. That appraisal may have been an error on my part. We shall see.
Now to that short list…
Okay, NBC has an incredibly short bench to pick from and this (partial) list reflects that. I would be flabbergasted if it was either Diaz-Balart or Alexander. Neither has a big enough pedigree at NBC News as far as anchoring is concerned. Diaz-Balart has a well established one on Spanish language TV but he’s only been anchoring MSNBC for a little more than half a year. I don’t think it’s enough for NBC to pick him. Alexander? Even less anchoring experience.
Savannah Guthrie would be, on its face, an odd choice. NBC has finally gotten Today to settle down and the tumult from the Curry fiasco is definitely in the rear view mirror. If NBC did pick Guthrie, that could throw both Today and Nightly into turmoil with viewers. On the other hand NBC could feel that Tamron Hall or Natalie Morales would be able to fill the void.
Still I think the clear choice would be Holt. He’s been doing Weekend Nightly and a lot of subbing for Williams for years and, at 55, he still has some years left in the tank. Having him in the chair would give NBC time to properly develop a long term David Muir-ish type talent solution.
But this is all still premature. The investigation may not find anything more than what’s already out there and Williams stays, or, a little more is found but Turness decides to stay the course and see what happens.