12:37pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
NBC News' Andy Lack to Staff: Brian Williams Decision Coming Shortly
Negotiations with exiled Nightly News anchor Brian Williams have taken longer than anticipated. But NBC News chairman Andy Lack did reveal during a meeting last week with NBC News correspondents that he expects a resolution soon. And sources say that announcement could come this week.
Lester Holt is expected to stay in his current position as Nightly News anchor, despite ratings inroads from ABC's World News Tonight with David Muir. It's unclear if Williams, who is represented by Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, will stay at NBC News. Negotiations between the two sides began in earnest after NBC News completed its internal investigation. Those discussion have been described by insiders as rancorous and at times even "nasty."
Lack, who has remained close to Williams after orchestrating the Nightly News hand-off from Tom Brokaw to Williams during his previous stint at NBC News, has reassured staffers that his responsibility is to the organization as a whole. Williams signed a five-year, $50 million deal late last year. But it is clear that he has few supporters inside the organization. Lack has had several tough face-to-face meetings with Williams, said another source close to Lack. But sources now characterize the talks as “cordial.”
NBCUniversal executives have proposed multiple scenarios to keep Williams in the family including a presence at MSNBC, where Williams at one time anchored an 8 p.m. newscast. It's unclear how Williams feels about the options presented. He still could choose to leave NBC News, and many sources at NBC News remain dubious that a new role for Williams could be carved out.