MSNBC’s Brian Williams, the veteran anchor once suspended for falsifying stories earlier in his career, announced on Tuesday that he would step down from his program and depart NBC at the end of the year after nearly three decades with the network.
“As an award-winning journalist and anchor at MSNBC and NBC News, Brian Williams has informed us he would like to take the coming months to spend time with his family,” Rashida Jones, president of MSNBC, said in a memo Tuesday night. “He will be signing off from The 11th Hour at the end of the year.”
Williams’ contract is set to expire next month. His farewell comes amid significant rating woes for the liberal network, after his show “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams,” and several others reported their lowest-rated weeks ever last month.
“Following much reflection, and after 28 years with the company, I have decided to leave NBC upon the completion of my current contract in December,” Williams wrote in a statement obtained by the New York Times on Tuesday. “I have been truly blessed. I have been allowed to spend almost half of my life with one company. NBC is a part of me and always will be.”
As for his next steps, Williams revealed no immediate plans for a new spot behind the camera.
“This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another,” he wrote. “There are many things I want to do, and I’ll pop up again somewhere.”
The 62-year-old former NBC anchor tarnished his credibility when he ran with a series of misleading stories, most notably, a 2015 broadcast, where he admitted to lying about coming under sniper fire while reporting in Iraq in 2003. Williams was suspended for six months and demoted before returning as a late-night news anchor in his current role for MSNBC.
Until fairly recently, the network has relied on Williams reporting for critical breaking news events and election coverage. Viewers were surprised to find Williams notably absent from MSNBC’s Virginia coverage earlier this month, with Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace hosting instead.
Williams has often aligned with the Lincoln Project in disparaging Republican officials on-air. In May, he referred to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as “Kremlin Cruz” and accused him of “peddling Russian propaganda.” In June, he insulted both Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, stating that “If Abbott wants to, say, run for President, he must be more further ensconced in a particular area of Trump’s anatomy than even Ron DeSantis of Florida.”