NBC’s Brian Williams suspended for six months after Iraq exaggeration
Brian Williams bounced from NBC Nightly News until he 'earns back trust,' says network spokesman

As word comes that disgraced former NBC news announcer Brian Williams will not be returning to his NBC Nightly News desk after a six-month penalty suspension, he is finally apologising for lying.

"I'm sorry," said Williams in a statement. "I said things that weren't true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I'm determined to earn back their trust."

Williams will present more of a mea culpa in an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show on Friday, reports the New York Times.

Williams, 56, won't be returning to helm NBC's nightly news show, where he used to be the nation's most popular newscaster with 10m viewers. Williams's replacement, Lester Holt, will remain in the post permanently, NBC said, making him the first solo African American anchor of a weekly nightly newscast in the US.

Williams will be shifted later this summer to MSNBC, the network's cable news outlet, where he will be "anchor of breaking news and special reports," according to the NBC statement. He'll also fill in on breaking news stories for Holt when Holt is unavailable.

He's taking a substantial pay cut, too, according to CNN Money. Before his suspension he had reportedly signed a contract granting him $10m (£6.3m) a year for five years.

Exaggerations due to 'fog of memory' - but time to earn back trust

Williams's apparently stellar career came crashing down when several of his reports from the field were found to be riddled with exaggerations and lies. Angry soldiers contradicted his on-air description that he was in a combat helicopter that was shot down in Iraq. In fact he was in a another aircraft.

He also claimed to be in one of the worst-hit areas of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans where he spotted a dead body and was staying in a hotel overrun with gangs. In fact he was in a relatively safe and secure area.

Williams has failed to directly address the issue until now, claiming in the past that his recollection of his Iraq experience was simply clouded by the "fog of memory." An NBC internal review concluded that he had made a "number of inaccurate statements about his own role and experiences covering events in the field."

"Brian now has the chance to earn back everyone's trust," said Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC. "His excellent work over twenty-two years at NBC News has earned him that opportunity."

Williams said the Nightly News "will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor," adding: "I will support him 100% as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news."