Veteran media executive Andrew Lack is expected to return to NBC News in a top executive role.
An NBC executive not authorized to discuss the matter publicly confirmed a report in Variety that there are advanced discussions to have Lack oversee the troubled news division where he was president from 1993 to 2001. He would replace NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Pat Fili, who would take on a new role within the company.
The 66-year-old Lack had recently been advising NBC News on how to handle the controversy over its evening news anchor Brian Williams, who is suspended for making false statements about his reporting during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
It was during Lack ‘s tenure at of NBC News that Williams was hired away from WCBS-TV in New York and groomed to be the successor to Tom Brokaw as anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”
Lack is described by NBC News insiders as “a big supporter” of Williams, and one said it would be “a positive sign for Brian” if his old boss returned.
But the executive who confirmed the talks said a Lack hire should not be taken as any signal regarding Williams’ return to the anchor chair. That decision will be made by NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke.
Lack’s first time around at NBC News came after the last major crisis at the news division. He succeeded Michael Gartner as NBC News president in 1993. Gartner was forced to resign after NBC News suffered a major humiliation when it was learned that a “Dateline NBC” investigation on General Motors truck fires had been faked.
Lack oversaw a major turnaround of the news division, with “Today” and “NBC Nightly News” becoming top-rated programs during his tenure. He was less successful when he became president of NBC.
Lack had top executive stints at Bloomberg Media Group and Sony Music Entertainment since leaving NBC in 2003. He is CEO and director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America and Television and Radio Marti.