ANCHOR MANAGEMENT Williams Brian Williams has a well-earned reputation as the nicest guy in the news business, so when he flies off the handle, you know something's up. Last week, according to a TV news insider, Williams got into a newsroom shouting match with his executive producer, John Reiss, over the length of a segment Williams wanted to run.
"Brian wanted the piece, and Reiss said there wasn't time," the source says. "And Brian exploded." Granted, given Williams's notoriously affable demeanor, an "explosion" could mean that he used a stern tone of voice, and one NBC source downplayed the argument, calling it a simple "disagreement over a script." But the dustup took place in full view of several NBC Nightly News staffers, and was enough to spark speculation about his relationship with Reiss, who was named executive producer of the top-rated evening news broadcast in 2005. "It's the first time Brian has publicly gotten into it with Reiss," the source says.
Barbara Levin, an NBC News spokeswoman, dismissed the notion of an out-of-the-ordinary contretemps: "Newsrooms are supposed to be boisterous and a place where journalists have a healthy exchange of ideas. We'd worry if ours did not."