What We Know About Brian Williams' Replacement At MSNBC

On January 27, longtime NBC anchor Brian Williams finally confirmed what many had anticipated for months — his broadcast for that night as host of MSNBC's "The 11th Hour" would be his last. Speaking to millions of viewers at home, Williams took the opportunity to warn against extremism and polarized politics. "The truth is I'm not a liberal or a conservative. I'm an institutionalist," Williams said. "I believe in this place, and my love of country I yield to no one." Speaking of how the "darkness" of extremism has spread, he then warned against politicians who have "joined the mob" with the possible agenda of attacking democracy and "[burning] it all down with us inside."

The news of Williams' departure isn't entirely out of left field, per CNN. In November 2021, Williams announced his intentions to leave MSNBC after his contract expired in 2022, in order to "be with my family, the people I love most and the people who enabled my career to happen," he said (via CNN). He also promised he would "pop up again somewhere." (Despite this official statement, others have speculated Williams actually left over soured negotiation contracts with the network, per The Hollywood Reporter.)

Whether or not this is the case, the obvious issue connected to his farewell, for network executives, hinged on who would replace the veteran journalist as the new "11th Hour" host. Now, according to recent reports, it appears the name of Williams' successor has finally been made public.

Brian Williams will be replaced by anchor Stephanie Ruhle

Sources close to the innerworkings of MSNBC told Axios that Stephanie Ruhle, who currently hosts the network's 9 a.m. hour-long morning slot, will take Brian Williams' place for "The 11th Hour." The re-shuffle will also include a slight change in format. Ruhle's morning segment will purportedly join the "Morning Joe" program, which has previously aired before Ruhle's news hour, per Axios. Right now, it is unclear when these changes will officially take place, though it is expected to happen within the coming months.

Ruhle has been considered a strong contender to fill in Williams' shoes by the network's higher-ups, according to the Associated Press, In a memo obtained by AP, MSNBC President Rashida Jones lauded Ruhle's "business acumen, hard-hitting interview style and original reporting" as both an anchor and as a business reporter. 

Williams' departure from his MSNBC post will mark the end of his 28-year run with the network, though it's not the first time the anchor walked away from the news desk. As NBC News reported, Williams was suspended from his previous position as host of "NBC Nightly News" in 2015, when it was discovered he had reportedly fabricated a story about being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while in a helicopter in Iraq in 2003.