November 11, 2021

Brian Williams announced Tuesday night that he is leaving his MSNBC show and NBC News entirely by year’s end. This news, while not totally shocking given the rumors that Williams was tired of doing a late-night show, throws some more uncertainty into MSNBC.

Already, MSNBC needs to plan ahead to fill Rachel Maddow’s very popular 9 p.m. Eastern slot. Maddow recently signed a contract extension with NBC News, but she is expected to step away from her nightly show for other projects. In addition, NBC News recently watched Kasie Hunt walk out the door to join CNN+. (Williams, by the way, could head there next.)

There’s more. Insider media writer Claire Atkinson reports that “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have been “holding conversations about what’s next for them.” (Hmm, might they head to prime time?)

Whatever the case, fairly new president Rashida Jones has a lot to figure out in the coming weeks/months.

During a conversation Wednesday at the Paley International Council Summit with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, NBCUniversal News Group Chair Cesar Conde said, “Most probably saw the news that was put out (Tuesday) on Brian Williams and you know, we love Brian, and, we are so grateful for all of the incredible contributions that he’s made over the last few decades and we wish him the very, very best in this next chapter. But during those natural transitions, we have incredible opportunities that have opened up for the extraordinary deep bench of journalists that we have at the News Group.”

In case you missed it, here was Williams announcing his departure from NBC News on his MSNBC “11th Hour” show.

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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