MSNBC host and former “NBC Nightly News” anchor and managing editor Brian Williams signed off for the last time at NBC on Thursday evening.
Williams concluded his nightly MSNBC Show “The 11th Hour” with a look back on his 28 years with the network, which have included eight Olympic games and seven presidential elections.
His departure comes exactly one month after news broke that he planned to leave the company.
In his on-air goodbye, Williams warned against extremism in the country.
“The truth is I’m not a liberal or a conservative. I’m an institutionalist,” he said. “I believe in this place and my love of country I yield to no one. But the darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It’s now at the local bar, and the bowling alley at the school board in the grocery store.”
He also lambasted elected officials he thinks have “joined the mob” and who have “decided to burn it all down with us inside.”
MSNBC President Rashida Jones said in a note to staff last month that Williams would leave at the end of the year to “spend time with his family.”
She added that Williams broke “countless” major stories and attracted top journalists to his programs.
In his November note to colleagues, Williams wrote that “good friends were in great supply at NBC. I was fortunate that everyone I worked with made me better at my job.”
In 2015, when he was the anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” Williams was suspended by the network for six months after he told an inaccurate story about his helicopter’s having been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
He admitted on the air that he had “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.”
After the suspension, Williams moved to MSNBC, where he later launched “The 11th Hour.”
Lester Holt then took over as the main anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”
Williams has not spoken publicly about his plans going forward but in his November note to NBC staff, he wrote that he has much he hopes to do and expects he will “pop up again somewhere.”
He echoed that sentiment in his farewell Thursday night.
“I will probably find it impossible to be silent and stay away from you (the viewer) and lights and cameras,” he said. “After I experiment with relaxation and find out what I’ve missed and what’s out there.”
He also thanked staff and crew who worked with him over the years and his longtime audience.
“Every weeknight for decades now, I’ve said some version of the same thing: ‘Thank you for being here with us,’” he concluded. “Us, meaning the people who produce this broadcast for you. And you...Well, without you, there is no us.
“I’ll show myself out until we meet again. That is our broadcast for this Thursday night. Thank you for being here with us. And for all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, goodnight.”