This afternoon, for the first time after a six-month suspension without pay, Brian Williams returned to the air. As live news anchor at MSNBC, Williams covered Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, which stopped at Andrews Air Force Base. But he did not mention why he had been absent, much less demoted to MSNBC.
Following reports yesterday that NBC News' chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel had disappeared along with his production crew shortly after entering Syria through Turkey, it was confirmed today that they had indeed been held hostage by unidentified captors until being freed following a firefight that took place yesterday.
NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has gone missing in Syria, according to Turkish news reports. The reports also say that Aziz Akyavaş, a Turkish journalist working with Engel, is unaccounted for. NBC News has been successfully keeping Engel's status subject to a news blackout—one to which Gawker agreed until now—for at least the past 24 hours.
Last year, NBC News hired Chelsea Clinton to "report" on things for them, because here in America, major news networks are purely in the entertainment business and the privileges of dynastic nepotism will get you everywhere. That is why she was hired. Because of who her parents are. It has nothing to do with her abilities, or the concept of "journalism." I'm sure she's nice and smart and all. But that is not why she was hired by NBC News. Okay? Now. How is that going?
Orange hipster Brian Williams is getting some flack today for his egregious decision at last night's GOP debate to prevent Newt Gingrich's fans from applauding. And for its deadly dullness. What's worse, though, is that Williams would not shut up. He uttered almost precisely the same number of words last night as Ron Paul, who was ostensibly there as a participant.
NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell took to the airwaves today to announce on MSNBC that she's been diagnosed with breast cancer. But doctors caught it early, she said, and she has "a terrific prognosis." She'd like you to get screened for breast cancer, which seems like a reasonable request, if you are a lady.
Tonight, in a segment more fitting for 30 Rock than The Daily Show, Jon Stewart considered the problem that NBC News has because of the fact that it's owned by GE, whose products often appear in controversial news reports.
• NBC's coverage of the Winter games began on somber note today. [LAT]
• Vogue's on a roll! Not only was Tina Fey's scar airbrushed off the cover of the March issue, the mag screwed up the letter sent out to promote it, too.
• Harold Ford has taken a leave of absence as a political analyst for NBC while he decides whether to try and carpetbag his way to a Senate seat. [NYO]
• Ellen DeGeneres is the new Oprah Winfrey, apparently. [NYT]
• Project Runway contestants showed their work at Fashion Week today. [AP]
• Madonna will make a rare TV appearance as a "marriage referee" on Jerry Seinfeld's forthcoming reality show. Here's hoping she won't be asked to dispense advice on how to keep a marriage together. [Reuters]
• On the off chance you're interested in taking part in a reality TV show, you may wish to note that there's now a job board for that very purpose. [Wrap]
• Is 82-year-old Condé Nast boss Si Newhouse a Lady Gaga fan? Indeed! [P6]
• NBC finally confirmed yesterday that it's canceling Jay Leno's 10pm show and moving him back to late-night. Whether Conan O'Brien stays at the network or jumps to Fox remains an open question for now. [NYT, TMZ, NYP]
• More bad news for NBC: The network expects to lose money broadcasting the Winter Olympics from Vancouver later this year, which would be a first. [NYT]
• Sarah Palin has signed on to join Fox News as a contributor. Exactly what she'll be doing there—and how much she'll get paid—is unclear. [NYT]
• In case you missed the front-page Times story about Fox News CEO Roger Ailes yesterday, he makes a ton of money for Rupert Murdoch, doesn't get along much with Murdoch's kids, and hates liberals. Oh, and he's armed. [NYT]
• TV news: NBC has ordered six new drama pilots for the fall now that the network is moving Jay Leno out of primetime; CBS reports it's close to signing David Letterman and Craig Ferguson to new contracts; and Fox is renewing Glee for a second season, which should come as a surprise to no one.
• Simon Cowell wasn't kidding when he said he was leaving American Idol? He'll depart the show after the current season to host The X Factor on Fox. [LAT]
• As many as 1,200 AOL employees could get pink-slipped this week. [NYT]
• Avatar continues to rake it in. The movie was No. 1 for a fourth straight weekend and has now grossed $1.34 billion around the world. [MTV]
• Erica Hill is saying goodbye to CNN and is joining CBS News. [NYDN]
• Tucker Carlson's politics site, The Daily Caller, launched today. [WaPo]
• Did NBC try to poach Barbara Walters last year? Seems so. [HP]