(NYMAG) — Forty seven minutes after the Nightly News — without Brian Williams — ended its broadcast tonight, NBC News president Deborah Turness issued the verdict on the embattled anchor's fate: Williams is being suspended for six months without pay. The announcement capped a chaotic week for Williams. Earlier this morning, Williams and his agent met with NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke and were presented with a dossier of Williams's apparent lies, according to sources. At 30 Rock, Comcast executives huddled in emergency meetings throughout the day. Williams himself was only slowly grasping the depths of the mess he'd created. “He's in denial,” a source said.
One can only imagine that Williams was wishing his anchor escape plan had worked out and that he was the host of The Tonight Show right now. According to two NBC insiders, when the network decided to move on from Jay Leno a few years ago, Williams lobbied NBC executives to give him the host’s chair. “Brian wants to be a late-night comedian,” one former colleague explained. “He traded on being Nightly News anchorman-war-reporter to ingratiate himself with Jimmy, Lorne Michaels, and Jon Stewart.”