It’s the end of an era for Brian Williams and MSNBC. The 11 p.m. anchor will sign off from his show The 11th Hour for the final time on Thursday evening.
CNN’s Brian Stelter had the news first, and then Williams himself said on Wednesday’s 11th Hour that Thursday’s broadcast will be the “last time” he’ll meet up with MSNBC viewers.
MSNBC confirmed to TVNewser that Williams’ final 11th Hour will be tonight. Friday night, MSNBC will air the premiere of MSNBC Films’ Paper & Glue from 10 p.m. to midnight, and starting next week, The 11th Hour will be anchored by a rotating group of guest hosts.
Williams has been the anchor of The 11th Hour for the past five years, and first announced his departure from NBC News last month.
He has spent 28 years at NBC News, or as he put it in an internal note to staff, “28 years, 38 countries, 8 Olympic games, 7 Presidential elections, half a dozen Presidents, a few wars, and one SNL.”
On Wednesday’s The 11th Hour, guest Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, said this of Williams’ imminent departure: “You are an icon for journalists. you have been a role model for us and you are a class act all around and I can’t tell you how much I am going to miss being with you these late nights. I wouldn’t stay up late for anybody else the way I am more than happy to stay up with you, and it will not be the same. Thank you so much for all these years of great service.”
Baker added, “I don’t want to embarrass you. You’d rather just have the show about the issues—and that is what’s made you special.”
Williams himself told viewers at the end of the hour, “Tomorrow night, we get to meet this way, one last time.”
The anchor stepped into the role in 2015 following his removal from NBC Nightly News and a six-month suspension for telling and re-telling the made-up story of being in a helicopter that came under fire during his coverage of the Iraq War in 2003. Williams joined NBC News in 1993 after a number of years in local news, including a six-year run at CBS’ flagship station WCBS.
It remains to be seen where Williams will end up, or will take over the 11 p.m. timeslot. The cable network is also faced with the task of replacing Rachel Maddow, who is exiting her role as the 9 p.m. host. Maddow and Williams were two of the network’s most-watched hosts in recent years.