NBC has removed a picture of Brian Williams and the “Nightly News with Brian Williams” branding from its podcast of the prime-time news program, further fueling speculation that the embattled journalist won’t return to the anchor’s chair. The change to a generic “NBC Nightly News” artwork that does not feature Williams was reported Saturday by Mashable, which said the revision took place between the April 30 and May 1 episodes.
Williams was suspended by NBC in February, after he was found to have embellished his account of having come under rocket-propelled grenade fire while covering the Iraq War for NBC in 2003. The internal investigation by NBC expanded to other possible embellishments, including his claims of finding a body floating through the French Quarter in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
Lester Holt has taken over for Williams following the latter's six-month suspension without pay. There were strong suggestions that Williams would not be making a return to “NBC Nightly News” and that the only remaining question is whether Williams will be able to resign or will be fired, according to Politico. "At this point, Brian Williams knows he’s dead: He’s simply negotiating the terms of his burial,” wrote the website’s senior media writer, Jack Shafer.
Williams is reportedly conducting his own investigation into his work so that he will be prepared to answer questions and challenge NBC’s own report on the matter, Newsday said.
Ratings for “NBC Nightly News” have fallen since Holt took over, ceding first place among prime-time newscasts to ABC’s “World News Tonight” in early April, the Washington Post reported. But NBC rebounded later in the month to overtake ABC in the ratings among the coveted 25- to 54-year-old demographic, Variety said.
The changes to the podcast affects subscribers on iTunes. General users searching for the program will still see Williams’ face on the artwork, according to Mashable.