The PJ Tatler

Brian Williams Deploys Big Guns as NBC News, MSNBC Revenues Hit Skids

The embattled NBC News anchor, who survived both D-Day and the Inchon Landing, is digging in:

Talks between the exiled anchor and NBCUniversal have recently become tense — with the 55-year-old newsman saying he will not have his “NBC Nightly News” job taken away without a battle, The Post has learned. “Brian is saying he’s not going down without a fight and [is] threatening to make it really ugly — worse than Ann Curry,” a source close to NBC told The Post.

In 2013, Curry departed NBC’s “Today” in a downpour of negative publicity. She made a teary, emotional on-air goodbye as co-host Matt Lauer looked on awkwardly. Curry and Williams are both represented by a pit bull lawyer — Bob Barnett at Williams & Connolly. “They want Brian to resign,” said one source. “If they have to fire him, they can’t control him.”

Just another day on the beaches for the one-percent talking head/college dropout/ Flashman manque who gets paid millions to read a teleprompter and pretend to be a dashing war correspondent. Hey, he’s been in tougher spots than this!

On April 24, the newest findings from NBC’s internal probe — which turned up 11 instances of Williams stretching the truth — were leaked. Three days later, a pro-Williams report surfaced saying NBC News boss Andy Lack was looking for ways to save his beleaguered anchor. On Tuesday, the anti-Williams faction seemed to fight back — telling the Hollywood Reporter that Lack is not convinced Williams can return. And so it goes.

Meanwhile, back in the corporate trenches, the grunts at NBC and its bastard idiot child, MSNBC, are taking some heavy shelling:

NBC Universal’s flagship broadcast channel and cable news network both saw declining revenue in 2014 even as their competitors saw growth, according to the latest annual Pew Research report on the State of the Media.

The report, which arrives amid NBC’s ongoing Brian Williams controversy and MSNBC’s ongoing ratings struggles, is yet another blow to a media company that just a few years ago could rightly claim to have the most popular morning, evening and Sunday broadcasts, as well as an ascendant cable channel with significant political influence.

But 2014 was a year of instability at both networks: At NBC, the “Today” show continued to fall farther behind ABC’s “Good Morning America”; “Nightly News” saw its margin over ABC’s “World News Tonight” narrow; and “Meet the Press” underwent a publicly humiliating shakeup that saw the departure of former moderator David Gregory…

“Nightly…” suffered an estimated revenue decline of 4 percent, to $148 million, while revenue at ABC’s “World News Tonight” and CBS’ “Evening News” grew by 11 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, MSNBC suffered catastrophic ratings declines as its programming drew increasingly stale and irrelevant. Its total viewership was down 14 percent from 2013, to a daily median of just 334,000 viewers. Those losses resulted in a 5 percent decline in ad revenue, which brought total revenue down 1 percent from 2013.

Time to call for reinforcements — what’s Katie Couric doing these days?