NBC’s Attempt To Keep Brian Williams Around?
CNN’s Brian Stelter writes that NBC is looking for a way to keep Brian Williams around…maybe.
Weeks of complex negotiations between Williams and NBC are not yet complete, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
There are any number of possible outcomes. Several of the sources said Williams could end up leaving NBC altogether following a financial settlement.
But another possibility, and the one advanced in recent discussions, involves a new role for Williams.
Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, has been a proponent of this outcome.
“Andy’s contorting to figure out a way to keep Brian,” one of the sources said.
A fool’s errand. Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein explains why…
Whatever role he would accept at NBC News, he would likely want to be involved with the kind of substantive stories that he trafficked in at the anchor desk, and those stories will require he restore his reputation–so the network doesn’t really solve its problems by finding Williams another perch outside the anchor desk.
Lack could also opt to create a new “special correspondent” role for Williams to tackle big stories for various NBC News outlets beyond “Nightly News.” But Williams might want to give Ann Curry a call before accepting such an assignment. After her awkward ouster from “Today,” Curry was awarded a similar consolation prize and proceeded to spend the next few years floating like a ghost around the news division doing nothing of note. Having exited NBC in January, Curry clearly made the wrong career choice, letting the brand equity she built up at “Today” dissipate when she would have been better served jumping ship while still a known quantity.
Maybe Lack will figure out a more defined role for Williams so that he avoids Curry’s fate, but does it really matter where exactly he ends up? Whether Williams is an anchor or not, or on NBC or some other network, his credibility problem will be waiting for him.
Indeed. Anything short of Williams extraction from the news division is going to cause all kinds of optics problems both for NBC News and Williams. The one possibility would be in NBC Entertainment where Williams credibility (or lack thereof) should not be much of an issue.