NBC made it official on Thursday: Lester Holt will replace Brian Williams as the permanent anchor of Nightly News.
Williams, who was the subject of an internal investigation at NBC News because of specious claims he made about his time covering the war in Iraq, will move to MSNBC where he will anchor special reports.
“Lester has done outstanding work for NBC News over the last 10 years, and he’s performed remarkably well over the last few months under very tough circumstances,” said NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack in a statement. “He’s an exceptional anchor who goes straight to the heart of every story and is always able to find its most direct connection to the everyday lives of our audience. In many ways, television news stands at a crossroads, and Lester is the perfect person to meet the moment.”
As for Williams’ new role at the network’s sister cable network, Lack added: “Brian now has the chance to earn back everyone’s trust. His excellent work over twenty-two years at NBC News has earned him that opportunity.”
After his suspension began earlier this year, NBC Universal conducted an investigation into Williams’ time as a reporter in the field over the last decade. The review, overseen by NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris and Richard Esposito, who leads the investigative unit at NBC News, found that Williams “made a number of inaccurate statements about his own role and experiences covering events in the field,” according to an NBC announcement. “The statements in question 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 in question.”
“I’m sorry,” Williams said in a statement on Thursday. “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. 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.”
Holt is looking forward to his new job as well. After the announcement was made, the anchor tweeted about his excitement.
Williams sat down with Matt Lauer for a two-part interview that will air Friday on TODAY and the Nightly News.