Brian Williams may be disgraced, but that doesn’t mean NBC is in a rush to kick him off the air.
In fact, the network may be trying to keep him.
CNN’s Brian Stelter reported Sunday that NBC News Chairman Andy Lack has been ordering employees to “think creatively” about how to keep Williams at the network while avoiding public disdain, according to insider sources.
“Andy’s contorting to figure out a way to keep Brian,” one source told Stelter.
Williams likely wouldn’t come back as anchor of the “NBC Nightly News,” but he could return in some other reporting role — and he’d probably be paid “a significant portion” of the five-year, $10 million-per-year contract he signed at the end of 2014, Stelter noted.
Williams was suspended without pay for six months in February after veterans came forward and debunked his account of being in a helicopter that was hit by an RPG in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Others soon found inconsistencies in his Hurricane Katrina reporting, and Williams was widely mocked as a fabulist online.
As Stelter noted, Lack was brought in as chairman a month after Williams’ suspension, and the pair have a “close relationship.”
Lack’s job may be to keep Williams on board to keep NBC from suffering even more public embarrassment, Stelter said.
“Keeping [Williams] in the fold would avoid a potentially messy public breakup,” he wrote. “[T]hen again, some people inside NBC feel that his presence on the air would tarnish the network.”
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