Brian Williams may return to NBC in some role beside as anchor of NBC Nightly News, or he may leave the network altogether — with a hefty buyout of his contract. Those two options are among several on the table, Variety is reporting.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Brian Wiliams was suspended from NBC — for six months, without pay — in February following the revelation that he made statements about his coverage of the Iraq War that were exaggerations or outright falsehoods. Fellow NBC news anchor Lester Holt took over Williams’ role as the host of NBC Nightly News.
As the end of Williams’ suspension nears, the two sides are in negotiations to see what role, if any, Williams will have at the Peacock Network.
One option on the table, according to CNN, is to have Williams leave NBC altogether, with the network buying out the “a significant portion” of the remainder of his contract — four years at $10 million per year. CNN claims that unnamed sources close to the negotiations believe that outcome is likely.
Another possibility — one rumored to be favored by NBC News chairman Andy Lack — involves finding a new role for Williams at NBC. Sources say that Lack, who has always been a fan of Williams, is encouraging negotiators to “think creatively,” according to an anonymous source, about how Williams could still be employed within NBC News without getting his job back at the Nightly News desk.
“Andy’s contorting to figure out a way to keep Brian.”
NBC would have to tread lightly if the network decides to go that route. In 2012, the network tried to to reduce Ann Curry’s role on the Today show, a move that caused embarrassment both for Curry and for NBC News.
One option that appears to be completely off the table is giving Williams his old job back behind the desk at NBC Nightly News. Doing so would likely “offend” Lester Holt, who’s had Williams’ job since Williams was suspended. Although the evening news broadcast’s ratings dipped briefly when Holt took over, they’ve since rebounded, according to a March CNN report, and NBC execs have been pleased with Holt’s performance.
“This makes it impossible for them not to give [the NBC Nightly News anchor job] to Lester, if this continues.”
Since his suspension, Brian Williams has not spoken publicly about his troubles at NBC — his contract forbids it. As of this post, Williams has not commented about what role at NBC, if any, he would like to have once his suspension is up.
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images/Alex Wong]