With MLK Documentary, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack Returns to His Roots

By Chris Ariens 

He’s the chairman of NBC News, overseeing the network’s broadcast news, digital content, and cable channel MSNBC, but Andy Lack‘s TV news career began, as many do, as a news producer. Now, he’s going back in time with the documentary Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement and the Media.

“By the brilliant design of Dr. King and the movement’s leaders, each chapter of the civil rights struggle played out dramatically on the evening news,” said Lack, who is ep of the project. “Powerful images beamed into living rooms, haunted Americans and eventually brought about historic change,” he said.

The 2-hour special marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, on April 4, 1968, when Lack was a student at Boston University.


The story is told by civil rights leaders, pioneering African-American reporters and journalists from across generations. The first-hand recollections are accompanied by archival footage, some of which will be broadcast on network TV for the first time.

For Lack, it’s a return to his producing roots. After starting out producing commercials, Lack joined CBS News in 1976. He produced for 60 Minutes from 1978 until 1985, while also producing CBS Reports. One of his specials was the 1992 Dan Rather-hosted The Real Malcolm X: An Intimate Portrait of the Man. Lack would join NBC News a year later, as news division president.

“Today’s movements have smartphones and live streams,” said Lack, “but they still depend on the sheer force of video and pictures to tell a story and move people to action.”

Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement and the Media airs Saturday, March 24 on NBC, and reairs the following night on MSNBC.