Brian Williams is demoted … to MSNBC

Brian Williams is demoted … to MSNBC

Suspended NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams — who has spent the past 4 1/2 months off the air, off NBC’s payroll, and off the media grid since being punished by his bosses for embellishing his adventures in journalism — will be returning to the company in a much-diminished role, according to multiple news reports Wednesday night.

Interim anchor Lester Holt, 56, will be named to the Nightly News chair permanently as broadcast television’s first African-American solo anchor, while Williams, also 56, is said to have agreed to resume working as an anchor at MSNBC, NBC News’s ratings-challenged corporate sibling, whose audience is a tiny fraction of the Nightly News program’s. In his heyday, Williams drew as many as 10 million viewers.

The latest in a series of embarrassing corporate cockups at NBC News over the past several years — notably the messy departures of Today show co-anchor Ann Curry, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, and high-profile Today show executive Jamie Horowitz (after mere weeks on the job last November)—this new development raises yet another awkward question: Why have NBC News Chairman Andy Lack and his boss, NBC Universal chief executive Steve Burke, apparently determined that Williams might be too damaged for the broadcast network but entirely suitable for the cable outlet?

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