Loyal viewers of MSNBC’s weeknight news block have some bad news to absorb: Brian Williams, host of “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” has announced he’s parting ways with NBC News.
“Following much reflection, and after 28 years with the company, I have decided to leave NBC upon the completion of my current contract in December,” Williams said in a statement Tuesday, as reported by the New York Times.
“I have been truly blessed. I have been allowed to spend almost half of my life with one company. NBC is a part of me and always will be,” added Williams who joined NBC News in 1993, initially as a weekend news anchor and White House correspondent.
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“This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another,” he added. “There are many things I want to do, and I’ll pop up again somewhere.”
According to a source who requested anonymity, Williams is considering his options “and hoped to return to television or another media platform soon.”
MSNBC president Rashida Jones issued a memo to the network’s staff on Tuesday that Mr. Williams “has informed us he would like to take the coming months to spend time with his family. We and our viewers will miss his penetrating questions and thoughtful commentary.”
In 1996, Williams replaced Tom Brokaw as anchor of “NBC Nightly News”, anchoring the weeknight newscast until 2015 when a scandal broke over anecdotes he told on talk shows that exaggerated the truth of the danger he was in while covering the Iraq War.
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He was suspended without pay for six months and eventually emerged in what was initially seen as a demotion, anchoring “11th Hour” on MSNBC.
However, Williams’ popularity resurged during the Trump administration, when MSNBC’s left-leaning viewers began watching the show in such numbers that Williams regularly beat cable news rivals CNN and Fox News in his time slot.
Sources tell the Times it’s unlikely Williams will make a return to anchoring a network news broadcast.