Brian Williams could come back from TV-news exile, Page Six is told.
The anchor was booted from the “NBC Nightly News” in 2015 after it was revealed that he’d embellished some stories with fictional details — and sent to the relative Siberia of 11 p.m. on sister station MSNBC.
But despite his tarnished reputation and graveyard-adjacent time slot, Williams has made his “11th Hour With Brian Williams” show a legit hit, beating CNN and Fox News for three months straight.
Now 30 Rock insiders say Williams could move to a more prominent time slot, possibly replacing vet Chris Matthews at 7 p.m.
Multiple sources told us that execs think Matthews’ “Hardball” has gone soft, and they’re looking for relief from the bullpen.
Industry rumors suggest that bosses are unimpressed with Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” spinoff “MTP Daily.”
Around MSNBC watercoolers, there’s also a wild theory that Williams could one day replace the hugely successful “Morning Joe” broadcast, should host and former pol Joe Scarborough revive his political career, or exit for any reason.
But network sources all agree that a Williams return to one of the major evening news gigs is a nonstarter.
An NBC News source told us that while Williams’ ratings have been noted, “a lot of [NBC journalists] think Brian should’ve lost his job. He’s kind of forgotten at NBC News.”
An MSNBC source said that while Williams’ 2015 fibbing scandal now seems “almost quaint” compared to #MeToo men Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, there’s no current plan to move him to a different slot.
However, the source said that, along with star Rachel Maddow, Williams will be fronting the outlet’s 2020 election coverage.
“Brian’s done an amazing job of keeping his head down and working,” said a network source. “He hasn’t tried to take any victory laps at MSNBC.”