Brian Williams not returning to NBC's Nightly News -- to join MSNBC
'NBC Nightly News' host Brian Williams (Official Facebook page)

NBC said news anchor Brian Williams, suspended for fabricating a story about being on board a helicopter when it was attacked in Iraq, will not be returning as anchor of the top-rated "Nightly News" program.


Williams, 56, will join MSNBC as anchor of breaking news and special reports in mid-August, NBC Universal said in a statement on Thursday.

Lester Holt, who anchored the "Nightly News" show during Williams' suspension, is now the permanent anchor of the program, said NBC, which is owned by Comcast Corp.

Until his six-month suspension in February Williams was among the most respected journalists in the country and had helmed "Nightly News" since 2004.

"Brian now has the chance to earn back everyone's trust. His excellent work over 22 years at NBC News has earned him that opportunity," Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, said in a statement.

The announcement follows an internal inquiry by NBC and a lengthy period of negotiations with the Emmy-winning anchor, who was managing editor of "Nightly News" and one of NBC's biggest names.

Williams came under scrutiny in January after telling different versions of a story about being aboard a U.S. military helicopter hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during the first days of the Iraq war in 2003.

He was suspended without pay after admitting that the story was not true.

"I'm sorry. I said thing that weren't true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers and I'm determined to earn back their trust," Williams said is a statement. "I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news."