Brian Williams has extended his contract with NBC News to continue as anchor and manager of NBC Nightly News for multiple years.
The exact length of the contract was not announced, but it is said to be at least a five-year deal, which would keep Williams behind the Nightly News desk through the rest of the decade.
"Under Brian’s leadership, Nightly has solidified its position as America’s most watched news broadcast, and is off to its best start of the season in nine years," said NBC News president Deborah Turness, in a memo to staff. "His deep connection with viewers extends beyond the broadcast to his leading of our breaking news events, his primetime specials and the Nightly offerings on digital and social media."
Under Williams, Nightly News has led the nightly newscasts among total viewers for more than five years running (a Nielsen error briefly handed ABC a weekly win in October, which would have ended the streak), but has seen ABC's new World News anchor David Muir make headway with the adults 25-54 news demo.
Williams recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary with NBC. In contrast, NBC's competitors have rotated anchors on their nightly newscasts; when Williams first started, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings were still at CBS and ABC, respectively. CBS' current Evening News anchor Scott Pelley began in 2011, while David Muir is in just his fourth month helming World News Tonight for ABC.
Turness' memo to staff is below:
I’m thrilled to let you know that Brian Williams has renewed his commitment to NBC News, and will continue to lead NBC Nightly News and serve as our Managing Editor for years to come.
Brian is one of the most trusted journalists of our time. He has led this organization through every major news event for the last decade, from Hurricane Katrina in his first year in the anchor chair to his exclusive interview with Edward Snowden this year, through elections, wars, natural disasters, tragedies and triumphs. In all of those cases he’s taken Nightly News’s viewers to the heart of the stories that matter most in a way that’s uniquely his.
That’s why millions of Americans invite him into their homes every night. They know Brian, his values, his continuing recognition of everyday heroes, and they trust him to help them make sense of the world.
Under Brian’s leadership, Nightly has solidified its position as America’s most watched news broadcast, and is off to its best start of the season in nine years. His deep connection with viewers extends beyond the broadcast to his leading of our breaking news events, his primetime specials and the Nightly offerings on digital and social media. In this changing news and media environment, that special trust in Brian is more important than ever, and therefore wherever Brian is, the audience follows.
A few weeks ago we celebrated Brian’s 10 remarkable years in the anchor chair with the theme, “he’s been there, he’ll be there.” You will have seen the promos across our network, but in celebration of this milestone we cut a special, longer edit - I wanted to share it with you: http://bit.ly/12Q9AuS.
Today is another very proud day for all of us at NBC News. Please join me in congratulating Brian and in looking forward to a shared future together.