It's Official: Brian Williams Leaving Nightly News for MSNBC, Vows to 'Earn Back' the Public's Trust

Brian Williams Not Returning to NBC Nightly News

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt has officially been ordered to series.

The Peacock network on Thursday formally announced that Brian Williams will not be returning to the Nightly News desk following his six-month suspension. Holt, who had been filling in for Williams, has been named the venerable program’s permanent anchor.

Williams, meanwhile, will transition to MSNBC as “anchor of breaking news and special reports.” He will also serve as a breaking news anchor for NBC News when Holt isn’t available.

Per NBC, the decision was made after an “extensive review” confirmed that Williams “made a number of inaccurate statements” about his experiences covering news in the field.

“I’m sorry,” Williams said in a statement. “I said things that weren’t true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I’m determined to earn back their trust.”

Williams’ “exclusive” sit-down with NBC News colleague Matt Lauer — taped earlier this week — will air Friday on Today and Nightly News.

Holt issued his own statement Thursday — via Twitter.

In mid-February, NBC hit Williams with an unpaid, six-month suspension from his duties as NBC Nightly News‘ chief anchor and managing editor. At the time, NBC News president Deborah Turness promised a continued investigation into the “wrong and completely inappropriate” misrepresentation of events that occurred while Williams was on assignment in Iraq in 2003.

The controversy surrounding Williams began during a Jan. 30 broadcast of Nightly News, when he falsely claimed his helicopter was hit by a grenade in March 2003 as he covered the Iraq War. In the weeks that followed, more of Williams’ reporting and anecdotes were called into question.

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  1. Well, good. Oversight of the news is good.

  2. Linda Williams says:

    I would gladly welcome Brian Wiliams back! So he made a few mistaken ideas, I would be willing to bet that EVERY NEWS ANCHOR HAS DONE THIS. At least he isn’t as crazy as Dan Rather – look how long he was accepted. Looking forward to bringing Brian back – he makes me feel safe somehow!

    • MrMank says:

      Mistaken ideas? Try lies. It has a lot fewer letters and is easier to say.

      • Lies is an oversimplification. The statements that got him in trouble started out reasonably covered, but became embellished over time into being lies. Mistaken ideas captures the shift since the initial ideas were true and just injected with BS over time.

        • Kiddoo says:

          Wow. My johnson is twelve inches does not equate to not ever having had a johnson. He MADE STUFF UP. Period.

          “I remember when I was on the top floor of the trade towers on 9/11 and I waved off a plane…”

  3. stormsurger says:

    Blindly trusting new anchors or hosts on Comedy Central is a recipe for being ill informed.

  4. Chuck says:

    How do you earn trust by going to MSNBC?? No one will see him

  5. aph1976 says:

    I’m glad that Brian Williams is moving to MSNBC because it could be a fresh start for him in a way.

  6. Larc says:

    It likely would have cost NBC too much to get rid of Brian outright. But I’m guessing they will try to make his MSNBC job unpleasant or meaningless enough that he will eventually bail. He now has an indelible self-inflicted stain that will be on him for the rest of his news career and beyond.

  7. Sarah T says:

    So he’s sentenced to the vast wasteland of MSNBC where the 13 viewers who occasionally tune in will see him. This is NBC’s way of giving him the really slow exit since it would likely cost too much to let him go completely. I’ll miss Brian but he’s brought this on himself. I like Lester Holt as the head news anchor as well. Now, if only we could do this to our politicians when they’re caught “embellishing” the truth.

  8. MrMank says:

    If you’re looking to earn back peoples’ trust, MSNBC is not the place to do it.

  9. BrightLight says:

    So Brian will “anchor of breaking news and special reports.” on MSNBC now? So basically he’s gonna be that channel’s Shepard Smith? Oooh I hope he’ll cover some car chases!

  10. DavidJ says:

    I don’t think NBC really had much choice here given all the damage to his credibility, but it still seems ridiculous to me to suggest that because Brian embellished a few personal anecdotes to make himself look good on late night TV, that he somehow can’t be trusted to deliver any news at ALL anymore.

    Unless of course you’re a far right conspiracy nut who thinks the “evil mainstream media” is out to destroy the country, there shouldn’t really be a connection between the two things at all.

  11. Lysh says:

    I miss Brian. I’m glad he still has a job, though I don’t have cable so I won’t really be seeing him. I hope he hasn’t lost his wit and sense of humor.

  12. dan says:

    Lester Holt is a class act. I wish him well. I prefer Scott Pelley on CBS so it doesn’t matter to me who is sitting in the anchor chair at NBC. Never liked Brian as an anchor. I gave him a try early on and I never warmed up to his style. He is better suited as a talk-show guest and he’ll probably do well at MSNBC which is a little more casual from what I understand (I don’t watch that network).

  13. HRG says:

    I can’t believe that Brian Williams is the only newscaster to embellish a little? I trust him and would welcome him back. I’m glad he will still be on TV and the news.

    • Lucifer says:

      Can you people stop acting like his outright lies (yes, plural) were little embellishments? He was caught lying about big things and deserved to get fired.

  14. misery chick says:

    Lester Holt, I’m beyond grateful that you finally got what you deserved. Class act.🙌

  15. doris says:

    Couldn’t he have just done his job! Read the new! And not play pretend! It’s not rocket science! Oh well, he did it to himself. See you later bye, Brian!

  16. Andrea says:

    Congrats to Lester! I’m glad he got the job. He should have, and I’m glad he did.

  17. lame says:

    Missed opportunity, he would have been the perfect replacement for Jon Stewart, spewing out all that anti establishment rhetoric with

  18. You mean there won’t be a show called The Mysteries of Brian? It would certainly be more interesting than The Mysteries of Laura, which was the worst renewal(although only for 13 episodes) from last season. Good old NBC(NOTHING BUT CLODS).

  19. Pam says:

    Love Brian Williams and I look forward to seeing him again soon in whatever capacity he is I

  20. Karen4527 says:

    I truly like and still respect Brian Williams.
    Sorry he won’t be on NBC every night.

    He will get up and move on!

  21. HAP says:

    I predict that in short order Williams will take over the slot now occupied by Chris Hayes, and will stay on through the upcoming primary and election cycle. Hayes will be retained as a commentator.

    MSNBC has always billed itself as the network for politics, and they really have a chance boost their ratings through this upcoming cycle. During such periods, there has always been a great deal of crossover between NBC and MSNBC.

  22. JB says:

    Seems an odd way to build credibility by sending him to what many fee is a politically partisan network.
    Or is NBC planning to add a “straight” new show in addition to the is more political shows?

  23. Caren says:

    Well, be honest! Who among us has not made a mistake and wanted a second chance ? To do it so publicly has to be difficult!

    I wish him well and will watch him on MSNBC.

  24. suzybel58 says:

    He’s not earning back my trust, I wouldn’t believe a word this dufus utters. It’s really bad when the guys reporting the crimes are lying through their teeth.

  25. Yvette says:

    I do not “necessarily” have a problem with Brian Williams coming back to host a show. However, I will have a huge problem with him taking over a night space on MSNBC. Unless, it is 10:00 cst “after” Lawrence O’Donnell.
    He will never be able to sit at the desk and speak on issues like the current host in an earlier time slot!

  26. Juan Carlos Baeza says:

    Cannot trust the news from NBC or anything they say anymore.