Former Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is leaving NBC News next month upon completion of his most recent contract, Williams announced in a letter to MSNBC employees. Williams, who's hosted MSNBC's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams for the last five years and has been with the network for 28, says his decision comes after "much reflection."
"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," he said in the memo, which was obtained by The Hill.
MSNBC President Rashida Jones addressed Williams' exit in a follow-up letter to the staff, saying that he "has informed us he would like to take the coming months to spend time with his family."
"Brian's time at NBC has been marked by breaking countless major stories, attracting leading journalists and guests to his programs, and most especially, great resiliency. He has built a fiercely loyal following for The 11th Hour and we and our viewers will miss his penetrating questions and thoughtful commentary," she added.
"This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another," Williams said in his note Tuesday, adding, "There are many things I want to do, and I'll pop up again somewhere. For the next few months, I'll be with my family, the people I love most and the people who enabled my career to happen. I will reflect on the kindness people have shown me, and I will pay it forward," he said.
Williams addressed his long history with the company, noting that he's reported from "38 countries, 8 Olympic games, 7 Presidential elections." He's also covered six U.S. presidents, a couple of wars, and he's done one episode of SNL. "Good friends were in great supply at NBC. I was fortunate that everyone I worked with made me better at my job. I've had the best colleagues imaginable. That includes great bosses," he wrote.
"I was on the air for the launch of MSNBC. My return years later was my choice, as was launching The 11th Hour that I'm as proud of as the decade I spent anchoring Nightly News. I wanted it to be called The 11th Hour (it was late in the 2016 campaign) and I wanted it to air at 11pm Eastern time. I ask all those who are a part of our loyal viewing audience to remain loyal. The 11th Hour will remain in good hands, produced by the best team in cable news," he added.