NBC Bringing Brian Williams to Primetime?

By Alex Weprin 

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NBC is considering a new primetime newsmagazine hosted by “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, according to the Wall Street Journal.

An array of other NBC news personalities, including outgoing “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira, are expected to contribute to the show, these people said. The program will feature long-form segments in what one person familiar with the matter described as a “showcase of NBC News.”

The program could air as soon as this Fall, the Journal adds.

The leak comes just a few days before NBC’s upfront presentation in New York, slated for Monday. At the upfronts, networks typically preview their upcoming Fall and midseason programming to advertisers, media buyers and the press.

The Journal report hints that the Williams-led magazine show would likely not be a central piece of NBC’s presentation, but rather would serve as relatively inexpensive programming that could be plugged in wherever it is needed. The hope would be that it attracts a larger audience than crime-centric “Dateline,” while also receiving a higher CPM.

Of course, as the Journal notes, TV newsmagazines as a whole have been declining over the last few years, with the exception of CBS’ “60 Minutes,:” which has remained stable.