- Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
- NBC News Chairman Andy Lack headed the network from 1993 to 2001 – and has again been doing so since 2015.
- Lack has had to do damage control for two major scandals at NBC and was reportedly a key player in the decision not to run reporter Ronan Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein scoop.
- Lack’s career at NBC has been characterized by high ratings for a variety of programs.
When NBC News announced in a memo on Wednesday that it had fired longtime anchor Matt Lauer after an employee had come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct, President Donald Trump mentioned NBC News and MSNBC Chairman Andy Lack in a tweet, thrusting a man who had largely functioned behind the scenes into the national spotlight.
Trump’s tweet called for NBC and Comcast executives to be fired and urged his followers to look into Lack’s past.
Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
In another tweet Trump called out MSNBC President Phil Griffin.
While it’s unclear what Trump was referring to in his tweet about Lack – who authored the memo outlining the circumstances around Lauer’s dismissal – we know Lack first joined NBC as president in 1993 after a scandal involving a faked truck explosion on its “Dateline” program. He returned in 2015 after a 12-year absence during which he worked at the Sony Entertainment Group and Bloomberg.
When Lack returned to NBC, in 2015, the network was again reeling from a scandal, this time perpetuated by anchor Brian Williams, who had embellished an Iraq War story on “Late Night With David Letterman.”
This year Lack was reportedly part of the decision-making that resulted in NBC refusing to run reporter Ronan Farrow’s story about producer Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of sexual abuse. Farrow, who is also Woody Allen’s son, eventually went to The New Yorker with his scoop instead.
Lack drove high ratings and restored credibility to NBC after 2 high-profile controversies
After working for years at CBS News as a producer for “60 Minutes,” Lack sought to undo the damage that the truck scandal had done to the NBC’s credibility, and “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw became the No. 1 evening-news program under his leadership. Other programs, such as “Today,” “Meet the Press,” and “Dateline,” enjoyed record ratings, The New York Times reported.
WNET’s chief executive and “Dateline” executive producer, Neal Shapiro, told The Times that the success of “Dateline” came largely as a result of Lack’s expansion of the program.
“It became a huge profit engine for NBC,” Shapiro said. “Andy deserves a lot of credit for expanding it from one night. It was his idea.”
In 1996 NBC introduced MSNBC, at which Lack fostered Williams’ early career. After his Iraq War scandal, Lack suspended Williams and replaced him with anchor Lester Holt.
NBC shows again enjoyed ratings boosts under Lack’s renewed leadership upon his return, in 2015. In January, he hired anchor Megyn Kelly, who had worked at Fox News for 12 years.