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New Canaan's Brian Williams Demoted To 'Breaking News' Role For MSNBC

Brian Williams will be returning to MSNBC in mid-August after the scandal and suspension.
Brian Williams will be returning to MSNBC in mid-August after the scandal and suspension. Photo Credit: File

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- New Canaan's Brian Williams has been demoted and Lester Holt will permanently take over his role as anchorman on the "NBC Nightly News," the network said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

"I'm sorry. I said things that weren't true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I'm determined to earn back their trust," Williams said in a statement. "I will greatly miss working with the team on 'Nightly News,' but I know the broadcast will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor. I will support him 100 percent as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news. My new role will allow me to focus on important issues and events in our country and around the world, and I look forward to it."

Williams, who was an anchor at MSNBC from 1996 to 2004, will join MSNBC as anchor of breaking news and special reports. He will work with Mark Lukasiewicz, Senior Vice President of Special Reports for NBCU News Group, who will help lead a team to strengthen MSNBC's daytime coverage by further leveraging NBC News' expertise in breaking news.

In addition, Williams will serve as a breaking news anchor for NBC News live special reports when Holt is not available. He will begin the new role in mid-August, said a statement from Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, and Steve Burke, CEO of NBCU.

The New York Times , labeling the demotion a "humbling blow" to Williams, said an NBC executive with knowledge of the agreement said Williams would earn “substantially’’ less money, but would not be more specific, in his new role.

On Friday, an interview with Williams will air on "Today" in the morning and on "NBC Nightly News" in the evening.

The embattled Williams has been suspended without pay since February after admitting on air that he had misrepresented his role in a mission in Iraq in 2003. He claimed he had been aboard a helicopter that was forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade, which was not true.

NBCUniversal conducted a review of Williams' significant reporting in the field and commentary related to that reporting on NBC News platforms and in public appearances over more than 10 years, the statement said. It found that Williams made a number of inaccurate statements about his own role and experiences covering events in the field. The statements did not for the most part occur on NBC News platforms or in the immediate aftermath of the news events, but rather on late-night programs and during public appearances, usually years after the news events, the statement said.

"Brian now has the chance to earn back everyone's trust. His excellent work over 22 years at NBC News has earned him that opportunity," Lack said.

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