So as you may have heard, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is a liar. Not only that, he’s a liar who is no longer collecting a paycheck from NBC as he is suspended, without pay, for the next 6 months because he is a liar, as mentioned above. So why was a supposed journalist only suspended when caught making up aspects of news stories in order to insert himself into a more dangerous role within those stories?
One word. Ratings.
Brian Williams has kept NBC’s flagship news show in the ratings lead pretty much since taking over for Tom Brokaw turned the job over to him. Numerous supposed threats to the ratings crown were brushed aside (see: Katie Couric) during the reign of Williams. So you can understand NBC’s reticence to wield a heavier hand towards their resident liar, especially when you consider how forgiving/forgetful the American public is (see: Michael Vick). If you’re NBC, and you don’t want to lose those Brian Williams ratings, you hope that 6 months is enough to put it behind him before coming back on air to get back to where NBC was before his forced leave of absence.
Except for one thing. NBC remains in the ratings lead with Lester Holt at the helm.
So if you can maintain your ratings lead without someone who has been proven to be dishonest (not something that I, or many I know, look for in a news anchor) then why would you keep him around? Add to that the lower cost of Holt’s contract and you have NBC in a very interesting situation.
Do they finally fully jettison Williams and install Holt as the permanent lead anchor? Are they willing to take the chance that, if they don’t make a decision soon, Holt’s success may lead to an opportunity for him to move to ABC or CBS in the top anchor spot?
Interesting stuff indeed. I don’t know what will happen, but I will enjoy watching it unfold.