Greenblatt: NBC Will Add New Brian Williams Show to Schedule as 'Soon as It's Ready'

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Brian Williams

THR previously reported that the newsmagazine show hosted by the NBC Nightly News anchor was in active development.

NBC is drafting news anchor Brian Williams to front a different kind of newsmagazine.

“It’s about being relevant and engaging and also entertaining, which is what Brian uniquely does,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters during a conference on Sunday. “It’s his sensibility, personality and skill that can inform this.”

As anchor of the NBC Nightly News, Williams is the face of the news division. He’s also a wry talk-show regular who has proved adept at comedy through multiple cameo appearances on 30 Rock and one memorable stint as a host of Saturday Night Live.

As The Hollywood Reporter previously reported, the newsmagazine is in active development and while it’s certainly a candidate for midseason, it could be on the schedule even sooner.

“The news division is in the process of developing it and as soon as it’s ready we’ll get it on to the schedule because we think it could be a great show,” said Greenblatt.

It will be a multi-topic newsmagazine, a departure of sorts for the genre, which with the exception of CBS’ 60 Minutes has lately hewed more toward single topic crime stories. NBC News insiders describe the Williams hour as “hard news with attitude.”

“First and foremost [Williams] is a newsman,” said Greenblatt. “But at the same time he has a really fun personality that I think can enliven a newsmagazine show [in a way] he can’t do on the evening news.”

The heyday of the newsmagazine – when all three broadcast networks had multiple offerings every week – is long gone. These days, many including NBC's Dateline and ABC's 20/20 are shunted to weekend nights where entertainment divisions do not aggressively program scripted fare. But 60 Minutes has managed to hang on to its cultural relevancy and its viewers.

Asked why the network would want to take a chance in a “struggling” genre, Greenblatt said: “I’d love to struggle to the degree 60 Minutes is struggling.”