Brian Williams won’t leave NBC News ‘without a fight’, he’ll make it ‘really ugly’


BW1

Part of me hates the gleeful way a Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlet has been reporting the on-going Brian Williams debacle. I mean, Page Six would never, ever go after one of the Fox News anchors this way, would they? Of course not, because they have the same corporate ownership. Another part of me thinks it’s completely justified though, especially since NBC News is trying to leave Brian Williams twisting in the wind. Over the weekend, several major media outlets (including WaPo and the NYT) got strategic leaks about the in-house investigation into Williams’ many, many lies. The investigation has found the Williams lied about several major events just in the past few years. I said a few days ago that of course NBC is going to fire Williams or buy out his contract or whatever. He just won’t be coming back. But now Page Six’s sources say Williams is not going to go without a fight.

This time, Brian Williams may not be exaggerating. Talks between the exiled anchor and NBCUniversal have recently become tense — with the 55-year-old newsman saying he will not have his “NBC Nightly News” job taken away without a battle, The Post has learned.

“Brian is saying he’s not going down without a fight and [is] threatening to make it really ugly — worse than Ann Curry,” a source close to NBC told The Post. In 2013, Curry departed NBC’s “Today” in a downpour of negative publicity. She made a teary emotional on-air goodbye as co-host Matt Lauer looked on awkwardly. Curry and Williams are both represented by a pit bull lawyer — Bob Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

“They want Brian to resign,” said one source. “If they have to fire him, they can’t control him.”

The tense state of the Williams-NBCUniversal relationship has become clear of late. On April 24, the newest findings from NBC’s internal probe — which turned up 11 instances of Williams stretching the truth — were leaked. Three days later, a pro-Williams report surfaced saying NBC News boss Andy Lack was looking for ways to save his beleaguered anchor. On Tuesday, the anti-Williams faction seemed to fight back — telling the Hollywood Reporter that Lack is not convinced Williams can return. And so it goes.

Without a doubt, there is an increasing urgency within NBCUniversal management ranks to bring the prickly situation to an end. “ABC World News Tonight,” hosted by David Muir, said Tuesday that for the last four weeks it led “NBC Nightly News” in total viewers — the first time that has happened in years. ABC also won for the third straight week in the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic sought by advertisers — though NBC is ahead season-to-date.

As talks between Williams and Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit heat up, Williams is believed to be trying to ensure that he is entitled to a payout under the five-year $10-million-per-year deal he signed last year.

“They are not going to give him an opportunity to do an Ann Curry,” said a source familiar with news management.

“NBC seems intent on damaging him,” said a friend of Williams. “No one is speaking out in his defense.”

Meanwhile, NBC News has said no decisions have been made about Williams’ future and several staff tell The Post they are conflicted about their colleague, saying that he deserves punishment but also that he is a talented, popular professional. NBC star Lauer has had several dinners with Williams to discuss the situation and is supportive of his friend, a source told The Post.

[From Page Six]

I’ll admit it – I love these kinds of insidery media stories where you realize that broadcast journalists are just the same as any other grasping, brand-protecting celebrity. And all this report made me feel was another wave of sympathy for Ann Curry. Yes, Curry was a terrible co-anchor at Today, but she got shafted in such a major way by NBC News and her transgressions were nothing compared to Brian Williams. BW needs to go, but NBC is going to have to pay him a lot to make him go away. But here’s what bugs me: unlike the Ann Curry situation, NBC can FIRE Williams FOR CAUSE. What he did was awful and he shouldn’t get some payday from all his ass-covering bros.

BW3

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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65 Responses to “Brian Williams won’t leave NBC News ‘without a fight’, he’ll make it ‘really ugly’”

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  1. anniefannie says:

    The difference between Curry and Williams is boat loads of cash. This doesn’t excuse Williams behavior but it does add leverage. I think Brokaw never took to Brian and hated his rock star status and feels Williams is getting his cumuppance so his ginning up the situation.

  2. Judyk says:

    I liked Ann Curry as a person, but NOT as a news anchor. Her situation had nothing in common with Williams’ situation other than both working for the same network. She deserved some compensation, he doesn’t.

  3. bette says:

    The person in charge of the news divisiion there loves him and is trying to keep him, but I guess the rest of the people working for the news division don’t like him at all. They are still doing an investigation and have found many more whoppers he’s told. Theis was in an article yesteday.

    I think that Lester Holt has had good ratings, and they, should just leave him in there. I heard Katie Couric was sniffing around for it, but her ratings have never been good.

  4. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    He went on national news 11 times (that we know of) and lied about world events to make himself look better. Fire him.

    • Izzy says:

      Or hey, you know what? Give the lying liar what he wants. Avoid the big ugly fight. Give him his job back. Then watch the ratings vanish like a magician’s act. THEN fire him, and appeal to his narcissism by telling him he’ll be better off landing a show of his own on a subscription cable channel, where more people will watch him.

    • FLORC says:

      GNAT
      That the news was altered not to make it more sensational, but to boost himself imo puts it in a whole new catagory of shame. Ugh… He needs to bow out.

  5. It is what it is says:

    F you Brian Williams. And take disgusting skeeze ball Matt Lauer with you

  6. PunkyMomma says:

    I agree, Kaiser – they have video to back up a violation of a morals clause in a contract. NBC not only wants Williams off the air, they want to silence him, period. Imagine all the dirt Williams has on other NBC personalities.

  7. NewWester says:

    But if NBC has all this proof that Brian Williams lied about news reports, if this was brought to court what would be his defence? Brian is saying it will get “ugly” but who knows what other information NBC might use against him?

  8. Greata says:

    WOW! This man truly has no shame..

  9. Luca76 says:

    I don’t think there is anyway people will take him seriously eniugh to be the anchor. Of course he’s a true narcissist so the thought that he’ll never be in front of the camera again must be true torture for him. He will find some venue to be back in the public eye I’m sure.
    The Ann Curry comparison is just tone deaf she did nothing unethical.

    • FLORC says:

      To add Ann didn’t cause a big issue. She stood her ground and everyone else made the fuss. It got ugly because Matt wanted Ann gone quickly with a fresh contract signed only weeks before.
      There’s every reason Brian will be the only one making a fuss and whoever stands up for him would be shooting yourself in the foot.
      Just not the same.

  10. Cannibell says:

    Time to break out the popcorn and watch the big guns shoot a peacock.

  11. LAK says:

    I’m really confused. How does Brian William’s have a leg to stand on when he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar?

  12. Smd says:

    I have to think there were so many people from the top to the bottom who knew about William ‘ s lying and covered for him for years. Are they then also to blame by turning a blind eye? My guess is he can argue every news piece was “approved”. Doesn’t justify his behavior, but what if someone above him encouraged this behavior? News programs are cutthroat and all about the ratings. This whole thing makes me even more cynical…sigh..sorry for the rant, but had to!

  13. PHD gossip says:

    One cannot have a competitive news show selling their credibility when they report news have their top guy reporting news who is a known liar.
    End of story.
    Pay him, or don’t pay him. Settle with him or not, He is GONE.
    Be classy, Brian and you may have a second act. Be a brat, and you will lose the limited defenders you do have.

  14. Kiki04 says:

    Personally I’ve always been a David Muir gal, so I’m happy to see he’s doing so well in the ratings and could care less about NBC. However, I do feel really bad for Lester Holt to be stuck in the middle of this – they just need to make it official for him and move on………

  15. Cindy says:

    I agree with all the posters so far….if NBC was complicit at all in BW”s lies, than he can essentially blackmail them into a payout. Wow, what a clusterf*ck. NBC does have some responsibility here if they looked the other way while BW lied for the sake of ratings.

  16. Tracy says:

    This one isn’t even hard. There are some deal breakers in certain careers. You can’t be drunk when you’re a surgeon operating, even though many of us have been intoxicated. You can’t be a thief when you manage people’s money, even though some us may have ‘borrowed’ a few bucks from our little brother from time to time. You can’t be racist when you’ve been elected to public office and must represent all citizens. You get the idea.

    And when you’re a journalist, reporting on news events to which you have a unique access the rest of us don’t, you just can’t lie about it, make it about you, or otherwise misrepresent facts. And you especially can’t do it over and over and over.

    Brian, you’re done. And NBC? We’re all watching to see what kind of brand you really are. Do the right thing, no hedging, no side stepping. You live by it, you die by it.

    • Giddy says:

      Correct! How NBC handles this situation will make it clear whether or not they are about true journalism and the news business, or about “infotainment” ratings. I wouldn’t trust BW to report on a school spelling bee, so how could I trust him with world news? I don’t want to watch a preening egotist and fabulist present serious issues. Lester Holt has been great under very trying circumstances.

  17. belle de jour says:

    I keep wondering if they will do something crazy, like throw him a bone with a ‘news variety show’ or some such thing? I believe that before all this happened, he’d probably rather have gone down more of an entertainment route.

    In all of this, I feel for his kids. If he was as ‘larger than life’ in his own home (as I suspect he must have been), it’s got to be a real blow to find out about your dad in such a public way. I do feel for the family as well, and even him for getting revealed as such a personal disappointment as well as a professional one.

  18. Tiffany says:

    Is it wrong to just enjoy watching this train wreck. I am LOVING IT!!!!

  19. Silvie says:

    It is not his fault–it was a brain tumor!

    ;)

  20. The Original G says:

    Having watched a few of these things play out in my own corporate environment, my guess is Williams has no juice at all here. He surely violated some morals clause, he’s not working and no one cares.

    They can leave out him in the wilderness indefinitely. It’ll just soften him up for a low value exit. Eventually he’ll realize that no one misses him.

    If he tries to make it ugly it will just confirm his hubris and he won’t work anywhere else.

  21. lower-case deb says:

    someone should just do a Truman show thing on him, act as though some ugly fight happened. repeat words of it whenever people come into contact with him. repeat enough times, maybe he’ll think it really happened.

  22. Debbie says:

    Ann curry didn’t lie she just wasn’t personable. That is why people felt bad. Brian Williams lied and destroyed credibility of NBC news. He should be fired

  23. paranormalgirl says:

    “NBC seems intent on damaging him,” said a friend of Williams. “No one is speaking out in his defense.”

    WHAT defense? He lied. Several times. He’s damaged himself.

  24. Tig says:

    Read the article about this in this month’s/last? Vanity Fair. Pretty on target.

  25. Phat girl says:

    “The Nightly News with Anne Curry!”

  26. Dr.Funkenstein says:

    Typical narcissist. Will not acknowledge any fault, no matter how obvious the evidence is against him. In his world, he is perfect and all of us are incapable of understanding his exceptional nature. Anyone who’s had the misfortune of experiencing a genuine narcissistic personality firsthand knows that they are entirely disconnected from reality when it comes to accountability — it’s always your, their, somebody’s fault, but never theirs. You can lose your mind trying to make sense of that kind of behavior.

  27. Johanna says:

    I used to work as a print journalist and I can assure you that Williams is out for good. No media outlet wants to taunt their credibility in such a manner and as a journalist your main stock value is your credibility, Yes occasional slips such as mixing up names and titles or a misinterpretation of some complex statistics can be overlooked, but conscious blatant lying such as Brian Williams will put you out in the cold for good. Maybe NBC will be pay him to leave the air, but regardless Brian will never ever get a prestigious news reporting job again, even if the new allegations turns out to be unfounded. Simply because he has lost all credibility.

  28. jferber says:

    If my math is correct (an always dubious proposition), Williams had a new contract for 5 years worth 10 million dollars a year. Could they owe him 50 million dollars now? That is so f-cking outrageous I just can’t wrap my brain around it. He’ll be paid 50 million dollars NOT to work, after he lied unconscionably for years. I must be doing something wrong, because life doesn’t work for me like that.

  29. allison says:

    Stop it, all of you!!! My dad is a really good man. He’s an honest man. He’s a truthful man. He has so much integrity. I swear!

  30. Brasileira says:

    Uglier than he’s already made it? Shame!

  31. Frosty says:

    Brian Williams is SUCH an ahole. He might be a journalistic nonentity, but my gut tells me he’s threatening NBC because they were right in there with him. So they are caught in a credibiliy trap and he’s threatening to expose them.

  32. feebee says:

    I don’t think he lied for all these years without someone at NBC knowing there was something fishy. Because it’s blown up in their faces they’ve left the golden boy hanging out to dry. So f’em. Don’t resign. Make them fire you. They are totally justified in doing so, so he won’t have any recourse but let him knock himself out talking about it. Watch NBC try to spin it or ignore it while ABC sits back laughing.