Brian Williams quitting MSNBC when contract is up in December

Brian Williams quitting MSNBC when contract is up in December

Brian Williams has announced he’s quitting MSNBC next month after nearly three decades with NBC News.

Williams, 62, turned “The 11th Hour” into a hit when he made a surprise on-air comeback following his six-month suspension in 2015.

The anchor was forced off work after he admitted to exaggerating an anecdote about a helicopter ride in Iraq.

In a note seen by Page Six: he wrote to staff Tuesday: “Following much reflection, and after 28 years with the company, I have decided to leave NBC upon the completion of my current contract in December.

“I have been truly blessed. I have been allowed to spend almost half of my life with one company. NBC is a part of me and always will be. 28 years, 38 countries, 8 Olympic games, 7 Presidential elections, half a dozen Presidents, a few wars, and one ‘SNL.’

“Good friends were in great supply at NBC. I was fortunate that everyone I worked with made me better at my job. I’ve had the best colleagues imaginable. That includes great bosses.”

Williams’s contract expires next month, and he added: “I was on the air for the launch of MSNBC. My return years later was my choice, as was launching ‘The 11th Hour’ that I’m as proud of as the decade I spent anchoring Nightly News. I wanted it to be called The 11th Hour (it was late in the 2016 campaign) and I wanted it to air at 11 p.m. Eastern time. I ask all those who are a part of our loyal viewing audience to remain loyal. ‘The 11th Hour’ will remain in good hands, produced by the best team in cable news.

“Special thanks are due to our guests on ‘the 11th Hour:’ the journalists who made our broadcast what it was. They are our stars. And in this era, stars have Pulitzers.”

Sources told us that Williams wants to semi-retire and has told friends that he is tired of late nights, and wants to work on independent projects. One source said: “Brian’s been in the business for 40 years — truly I think he wants to take some time and spend it with his family. He’s going on his own terms, it’s his choice.”

“This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another,” Williams’ statement continued. “There are many things I want to do, and I’ll pop up again somewhere. For the next few months, I’ll be with my family, the people I love most and the people who enabled my career to happen. I will reflect on the kindness people have shown me, and I will pay it forward,” Williams added.

Williams’ exit comes as Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s top-rated anchor, recently signed a new deal amid rumors that she would leave her show.

She had considered leaving the channel — where she has hosted the 9 p.m. hour since 2008 — to launch her own media venture but ultimately decided to stick with the company. She’ll develop new projects for NBC News as part of her new deal.

New MSNBC President Rashida Jones told staff: “Brian’s time at NBC has been marked by breaking countless major stories, attracting leading journalists and guests to his programs, and most especially, great resiliency. He has built a fiercely loyal following for ‘The 11th Hour’ and we and our viewers will miss his penetrating questions and thoughtful commentary.

“Please join me in expressing our deep gratitude for 28 years of devoted service to our viewers and wishing him the very best.”


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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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