Make no mistake about it, if Brian Williams was in 2nd or 3rd place in the ratings, NBC would have already fired him by now.
But, Williams Nightly News is sitting in the No. 1 spot and that's why NBC is hoping that they can somehow figure out a way to keep him.
Last night, Lester Holt anchored the newscast after Williams "stepped down" over the Weekend. Holt did make a brief mention of Williams absence, saying that Williams is off the air because questions have been raised about how he recalled several stories. Holt did not specify what the stories or questions were.
"He'll be off while this issue is dealt with," Holt said.
Many feel there is no way Williams can come back and leave NBC News with any credibility. But, if they dump him and ratings drop, that is bad for the bottom line.
"This is one of the toughest calls that I've ever seen," said Paul Levinson, Communications Professor Fordham University to the AP. "On the one hand, the public is right to expect nothing but the truth from our reporters and our news anchors."
Former NBC CEO Bob Wright came out in support of Williams yesterday. But, since he was in charge when Williams was named as Tom Brokaw's replacement, his support is certainly tainted.
"The real difficulty for a news organization, or a reporter, is that once you've made one misstep, it's really hard to earn (trust) back," said David Westin, former ABC News president told the AP. "You can. But it takes a lot of time."
The incident should remind news organizations that it's more important to report the news than "brand" their personalities, he said.
But here's the problem, say NBC decides to keep Williams. Flash forward to the summer of 2015 and a hurricane is slamming into South Florida. Brian Williams is on the scene and while out reporting on the storm, Williams and his crew witness something spectacular.
Williams goes on the air to tell the story, how many people believe him?
That is the problem that NBC News and Brian Williams will face forever more if they end up keeping him.
NBC has a tough decision to make, but really, if they do the right thing, it's not that tough at all.