Brian Williams to MSNBC, can he save the flailing network?

Brian Williams to MSNBC, can he save the flailing network?

Williams’ new role at NBC will include a position on MSNBC, the network’s struggling cable news channel. “He will be the face of MSNBC,” handling big breaking news stories, one of the people said on condition of anonymity. [CNN Money]

JUST IMAGINE if “Morning Joe” became “Morning Mika,” with Brian Williams replacing Joe Scarborough. Scrambles the brain. But going from the NBC anchor chair and a glossy TV promo that talked about always being around, not to mention that $10 million/year salary, to MSNBC where programming and ratings go to die? It has become clearer today, which is why I expanded on my original this article.

The news today that Brian Williams will be “the face of MSNBC,” not just a breaking news addition, offers him a rare opportunity to save a flailing network that has lost its way, along with himself. Having nothing to lose and a lot to prove, Williams could resurrect both he and MSNBC, because there are still a lot of people out there who like Brian Williams, not to mention that the American audience loves a good comeback story.

Andrew Lack is no dummy and that may be exactly what he’s thinking could be the upside for everyone.

Lloyd Grove can’t digest any of this.

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?

Scandal is always good for ratings. One thing’s certain, Williams can’t hurt anyone over there and as I explained above, the upside has incredible potential, including people wanting to tune in to see what happens. It’s NBC’s new reality show: Brian Williams Rehabilitation Project, Live 24/7 on MSNBC.

Brian Williams staying somewhere at NBC still matters, because as was posited earlier by Vanity Fair several weeks ago, if Williams ended up at CNN with NBC veteran Jeff Zucker, the peacock could be looking at real ratings trouble at 9:00 p.m. or other nighttime slots. Brian Williams’ anchorman cred may be in the crapper, but as a raconteur he’d be interesting to watch.

What tells you a lot about NBC is this little tidbit from the New York Times.

In the coming months, MSNBC is expected to introduce more hard news and more reporting from NBC News talent during daytime hours, which would be something of a break from its more opinion-based programming during the evening, according to a person briefed on the plans. [New York Times]

It took them long enough to figure this out didn’t it? Why NBC wasn’t sharing talent and formatting with MSNBC a long time ago, instead of the ad nauseam opinion shows that not only aren’t entertaining, but have few broadcasters who can carry the shows, is network malpractice.

David Muir of ABC has been battling with Lester Holt for the top ratings spot since Williams was pulled.

Lester Holt will not only become the permanent nightly news anchor, but the first African American to hold the spot. Holt’s been a workhorse for NBC News and certainly has earned his new job.

NBC moves on without a blip, while removing Brian Williams, who now has a chance to rehabilitate himself and a cable station right as the 2016 campaign begins.

Bringing in Andrew Lack is looking like a stroke of genius.



This article has been edited; previous FNC section has been struck.