NBC Sending Message to Brian Williams: 'You're Dead'

Sources speculate network is trying to force him out
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2015 3:03 PM CDT
NBC Sending Message to Brian Williams: 'You're Dead'
In this Nov. 5, 2014 file photo, Brian Williams speaks at the 8th Annual Stand Up For Heroes, presented by New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York.   (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)

Details about NBC's Brian Williams investigation are leaking out—for example, news broke that he may have told Jon Stewart a tall tale, and yesterday sources told the Washington Post that the investigation found at least 11 examples of Williams' publicly embellishing a story. Those leaks are likely quite intentional, "longtime broadcast executives" tell Politico Playbook. The network is probably trying to force Williams to resign, sending him the message, "You're dead. Now negotiate," the sources say. That's because it would be more trouble—and possibly more money—to have to fire him, though some NBC insiders say Williams could still return to the network.

One NBC source tells CNNMoney that any decision from the network is still "weeks away," likely after upfronts on May 11. One person who doesn't think Williams will return to NBC: Dan Rather, who told Reliable Sources today, "Objectively it’s very hard to see how NBC brings him back," Mediaite reports. He continued, "I said some time ago I thought his chances were slim to none. You could make a case that slim just left town. ... Corporations want to put things behind them. If they make the decision to bring Brian back that doesn’t put it behind them." But, he added, the leaks from the investigation are "vicious." The Los Angeles Times reports that the "chatter among members of the TV news industry" is similar, speculating Williams will not return. (Click to read about 17 celebrities caught telling lies.)

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