Brian Williams reportedly rebuffed CBS’s attempts to give him ‘Evening News’ anchor chair

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

Former NBC and MSNBC anchor Brian Williams reportedly said “no thanks” to becoming anchor of “CBS Evening News,” reports CNN’s Oliver Darcy.

Williams left his popular “The 11th Hour” show on MSNBC in late 2021 after nearly 30 years with the network, including a stint as Tom Brokaw’s replacement on “NBC Nightly News.”

His tenure there was cut short, however, after revelations that he exaggerated and misrepresented experiences he had while on assignment. The network suspended him and eventually assigned him to anchor breaking news on MSNBC.

His role would eventually grow to include his 11 p.m. evening show.

Given his dethroning from “Nightly,” it seems like an offer to helm “Evening” would be appealing, but Williams apparently shunned a proposal from CBS News execs for him to take over the anchor chair, according to Darcy’s sources. It’s not immediately clear how far discussions went or if a formal offer was made.

In the past, Williams has expressed interest in broadening his career, something he got to attempt, at least to some extent, on “Rock Center,” a newsmagazine show NBC developed for him that had both hard news and talk components.

The suggestion that CBS even considered the possibility of Williams taking over “Evening” likely isn’t a good sign for current anchor Norah O’Donnell, whose contract is up soon.

O’Donnell took over in 2019 with much fanfare, a change that also included moving the broadcast’s studio to Washington, D.C. However, she’s still languishing in last place in the ratings.

O’Donnell reportedly jockeyed for the position behind the scenes, but some reports say the network is looking to replace her and move the broadcast back to New York.

Publicly, CBS has stood behind O’Donnell, but it’s still worth noting that if the network is reportedly at least considering replacement options, that may be more than a front than anything.

On the other hand, the TV news business is often a giant chess game of talent moves — and networks are often interested in picking up new anchors and correspondents, especially popular ones.