“It’s sad,” said veteran network news executive Shelley Ross. “It’s really professional waterboarding at this point.” Ten weeks into the six-month unpaid suspension of Brian Williams, the erstwhile anchor—who was removed from the NBC Nightly News in February, after admitting to broadcasting a bogus story about a 2003 helicopter ride in Iraq—continues to be dangled by his ankles in the public square. Effectively muzzled by the reported terms of his punishment from defending himself in the media, Williams—who, ironically, had just signed a new five-year $50 million contract to extend his decade behind the anchor desk—was an easy target over the weekend for a new flurry of damaging leaks about fresh allegations of embellishments and fabrications.
On a snowy evening in December, Brian Williams and his wife, Jane, met with a small group of NBC executives for a celebratory dinner in a private room at Del Posto, Mario Batali’s restaurant in Chelsea. Williams had just notched his tenth anniversary anchoring the top-rated Nightly News, and NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke wanted to commemorate the past—and lock in the network’s future. For months, Williams had been in contract negotiations with Burke, a standoff NBC couldn’t afford to lose. Williams was the face of NBC News, with a nightly audience of more than 8 million people. More important, his program was an island of stability in a news division roiled by a series of self-inflicted crises.
In the past week, two women—including well-known model Janice Dickinson—have come forward to say that they were sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby, becoming the fifth and sixth women to do so publicly. Hanna Rosin argued in Slate on Tuesday that, while Cosby is unlikely to face prosecution for these alleged crimes, he should face consequences in other venues. Rosin urged Netflix and NBC to drop the Cosby projects they had in the works:
According to a report from Variety, NBC is currently facing “mounting pressure” to drop a sitcom in the works with alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby. The allegations that Cosby drugged and raped more than a dozen women are not new, but the network’s apparent unease about working with a reported sexual predator is very much a recent development. Why is that, exactly? For the same reason that the NFL continues to egregiously and unapologetically fumble its handling of domestic violence among its players, from Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson. Because the press got intolerably bad.
Chelsea Clinton has left her job as a special correspondent for NBC News, a position that she has held since November 2011, the network has confirmed. In a statement on the departure, NBC News senior vice president Alex Wallace said, “We are thankful for all of Chelsea’s contributions to NBC News over the past 3 years. Chelsea’s storytelling inspired people across the country and showcased the real power we have as individuals to make a difference in our communities. While she will be missed, we look forward to working with her in the future.” The news was reported by People Magazine. Clinton herself, 34, has addressed the move in a long Facebook post.
Hoping to spur conversation about its big Edward Snowden interview, NBC News asked its viewers to vote on their view of the leaker. Distilling the debate around Snowden's leaks into a black-and-white question (or maybe red-and-blue), NBC wanted to know: Was the NSA leaker a #patriot or a #traitor? Well, the results are in..
Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw is being treated for cancer, but doctors are very encouraged by the progress he is making, NBC said Tuesday.
Michelle Beadle is heading back to ESPN. SI.com has learned the NBC Sports host and Access Hollywood correspondent will return to the network where she enjoyed success as the co-host of SportsNation. Beadle left ESPN for NBC in May 2012 and did so on exceptionally good terms, a clear prelude to her returning now. ESPN president John Skipper is a huge fan of her work, and she's championed both in-house and externally by Jamie Horowitz (who co-created SportsNation and helms Keith Olbermann's ESPN2 show) and Kevin Wildes (the co-creator of SportsNation). Look for Beadle to ultimately host or co-host a New York-based show with another ESPN talent at some point. There is a chance she could appear on SportsNation initially as well, though no ESPN start date is set yet.
NBC promises to stream more than 1,000 hours of the Winter Olympics from Sochi. But not the part that sometimes draws the most viewers. The broadcaster revealed at a press event Tuesday that the opening ceremony on Friday, Feb. 7 will not be streamed online. Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, told Variety: “We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves.”
In an interview with NBC News, President Barack Obama apologized Thursday that people were seeing their health insurance policies canceled under Obamacare, despite the president's earlier pledge that they woud not. "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," Obama said, according to a portion of an interview released by NBC News. "We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."
NBC News correspondent Richard Engel and his four-person crew have been freed unharmed after being kidnapped inside Syria and subjected to five days of forced moves and death threats.