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Brian Williams signs off MSNBC's 'The 11th Hour' for final time

Williams announced last month he would be leaving NBC News after 28 years at the network and six years after losing the job as the peacock's top anchor.
Credit: AP
In this Nov. 5, 2014, file photo, Brian Williams speaks at the 8th Annual Stand Up For Heroes, presented by New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)

Brian Williams signed off his MSNBC show "The 11th Hour" for the final time Thursday, a quarter-century after he helped launch the network. The former "NBC Nightly News" anchor who was later demoted announced last month that he is ending his 28-year run with NBC.

With a lower-third banner reading, "Until we meet again," Williams thanked viewers Thursday as he said he'd be handing off the show to his MSNBC colleagues.

"I will probably find it impossible to be silent and stay away from you and lights and cameras after I experiment with relaxation and find out what I've missed and what's out there," Williams said.

USA TODAY reports the show will be pre-empted Friday with an MSNBC Films documentary "Paper & Glue." It will resume with a rotation of guest hosts.

Willliams, 62, said in November he will take a few months off to spend time with his family after his departure.

When MSNBC launched in 1996, Brian Williams was one of the original hosts with the primetime show "The News with Brian Williams." Eight years later, he became NBC News' top anchor, replacing Tom Brokaw on "NBC Nightly News." 

In 2015, Williams was suspended for falsely claiming that he had been in a helicopter hit by enemy fire during the Iraq War. A subsequent investigation found that he had made other inaccurate statements about his experiences covering events, and he lost the job.

He was later given the 11 p.m. hour at MSNBC, which he turned into a fast-moving, entertaining newscast summing up the day's news.

At the height of his career on the main newscast of the main network, Williams made a crossing few journalists have: into pop culture. Williams hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 2007 and made several cameos on the NBC sitcom "30 Rock."

He also made regular appearances on Jimmy Fallon's late night shows as he would "Slow Jam The News." Fallon also cut up clips of Williams from "Nightly News" and would put them to music to make Williams appear to rap.

After rumors that she was going depart, MSNBC's top rated host, Rachel Maddow, signed a multi-year extension with NBCUniversal in August. But it came with reports that Maddow could be leaving her nightly 9 p.m. ET show within the next year.

Earlier this year, Kasie Hunt departed MSNBC for CNN. Hunt served as a Capitol Hill correspondent before hosting gigs on her Sunday night "Kasie D.C." show followed by the weekday morning "Way Too Early" program preceding "Morning Joe."

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