Brian Williams flamed out at NBC Nightly News when it was revealed he exaggerated or invented parts of his life story. Williams was put on leave, and now will be on MSNBC:
In its investigation of embattled “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, NBC found that the majority of his tall tales about his reporting took place on late night talk shows and in public appearances rather than while he was on the network.
That distinction appears to have been a major factor in NBC’s decision to keep Mr. Williams, albeit in a diminished role at the network’s sister cable news channel MSNBC. Lester Holt, who has been filling in for Mr. Williams on “Nightly News” since February, was named the permanent anchor….
In his new role, Mr. Williams will anchor breaking news stories and special reports for MSNBC and primarily appear in the daytime. MSNBC’s evening schedule is mostly political talk shows.
“Brian now has the chance to earn back everyone’s trust,” said NBC News Chairman Andy Lack. “His excellent work over 22 years at NBC News has earned him that opportunity.”
The move is being seen as saving Williams’ career, but the real beneficiary might be MSNBC, which is in freefall:
Talk about a tale of two cable news networks. With its 53rd consecutive quarter total audience win, Fox News Channel saw a 10% primetime rise among adults 25-54 in first-quarter 2015 over last year. In fact, with 321,000 on average among the 25-54s in primetime, Fox News thrashed rivals CNN (187,000) and MSNBC (132,000) with more news demo viewers than the other two combined, according to Nielsen.
Contrast that to the fate of the NBCUniversal-owned MSNBC, which not only saw a 39% drop in the demo compared to Q1 2014 but its worst quarterly result in the category since Q2 2005. If that almost decade-old result wasn’t enough of a blow, and rising CNN’s fourth consecutive win over MSNBC in prime didn’t cut deep enough, take a look at the gutting the cabler newser’s nighttime offerings are suffering.
With just 145,000 viewers among the 25-54s on average over the December 29, 2014 – March 29, 2015 period, the once-proud flagship The Rachel Maddow Show hit an all-time quarter low with the worst result since its September 8, 2008 launch. Not only is Maddow down 46% in the demo, but her 9 PM show is also down 19% in total viewers. Fellow primetime show All In With Chris Hayes and Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell fell to their worst quarterly demo ratings since their respective 2013 and 2010 debuts. O’Donnell’s show also had its lowest total quarterly viewership results. And 7 PM’s Hardball With Chris Matthews had its lowest-rated quarter in the demo since 2Q 2005 with an average viewership of 126,000.
Is it any wonder, given the pathetic MSNBC line up:
In all the current coverage, few mention that Williams helped launch MSNBC in the 1990s:
Amid the reams of information whispered into MSNBC anchor Brian Williams’ ear the night of Princess Diana’s death were two small, but significant, directions. “Welcome the CNBC viewers” and “Welcome the NBC viewers,” producers told their lead anchor as MSNBC went live on its sister networks.
Williams and the fledgling 24-hour cable news network had come face to face with their largest audience to date and their first real test as a legitimate alternative to CNN during breaking world news.
“It just started to crash around me like a wave,” says Williams, who spent the night sifting through conflicting reports of the Paris car crash live on the air. The cable operation, accustomed to measuring viewers by the thousands, was reaching millions.
Williams is back to where he started, and MSNBC is too — few viewers and in deep trouble. Now, who needs whom more?DONATE
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