MSNBC’s Gamble on Brian Williams Begins Today

By Mark Joyella Comment

MSNBC has done its part–waiting for just the right moment to put Brian Williams back on television–now, it’s up to him.

The moment will come around 3 p.m. ET, when Williams anchors live coverage of Pope Francis‘ visit to the U.S. The day will be marked by the appearance of top-tier anchors and correspondents at all hours, making the appearance of the former NBC Nightly News anchor on cable in mid-afternoon somewhat less jarring.

Once he’s settled in, his new role will be clear: bringing solid hard news coverage to the revamped network’s dayside hours. “The news is the star,” Andy Lack told the New York Times. “We are building a network that has as its core value delivering breaking news better than anyone else. It is not about the anchor who happens to be delivering the news.”

Williams’ work today will likely answer few questions about what his long-term role at MSNBC will look like; even his freshly-designed breaking news “hub” set will wait for another day, as Williams is expected to anchor from the main MSNBC set.