Andrew Lack (executive)

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Andrew Lack
Andrew Lack.jpg
Born (1947-05-16) 16 May 1947 (age 73)[1]
Alma materBoston University[2]
OccupationFormer Chairman of NBC News and MSNBC
Spouse(s)Pamela Blafer Lack Goldman (divorced)
Betsy Kenny Lack

Andrew Lack (born May 16, 1947) is a businessman, film executive and television executive, He was the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC from 2015 to 2020.[3][4]

Prior to NBCUniversal, Lack held a series of media executive positions, including as the chairman and CEO of Bloomberg Media Group; chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment; and president and chief operating officer of NBCUniversal.[5]

He began his career as a journalist and then producer at CBS, winning 10 Emmy Awards[2] and two Peabody Awards[6] as a television producer. He is also known for attempting to cover up NBC News' role in the catch and killing of the Harvey Weinstein story by Ronan Farrow.[7]

In early May 2020, NBCUniversal announced Lack would be leaving his position as NBCUniversal Worldwide News Group President by the end of the month.[8]

Early life[edit]

Lack was born in New York City to a Jewish family. He attended the Browning School, a private school in New York, before graduating from Connecticut boarding school The Gunnery.[9] He studied at the Sorbonne, University of Paris and graduated from Boston University's College of Fine Arts in 1968.[2] After graduation, he appeared as an actor in numerous television commercials and an off-Broadway production.[2][1]


After graduating he worked as a producer of TV commercials, joined CBS News in 1976, following the next year with 60 Minutes and from 1978 until 1985, produced CBS Reports. He also served as correspondent on The American-Israeli Connection in 1982. Lack worked with Bill Moyers during the early 80s, as producer of both Our Times With Bill Moyers (1983) and Crossroads (1984).[1]


In 1976, Lack was hired by 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt at CBS News as a producer for the personality-driven television show Who's Who. That led to a job as a producer for 60 Minutes.[2] Lack produced such segments as "Inside Afghanistan"[10] and "Kissinger and The Oil Embargo."[11] He wrote and directed the segment "The Real Malcolm X: An Intimate Portrait of the Man."[12][13]

He later became the executive producer for CBS Reports, where he stayed for seven years, followed by a four-year stint starting in 1985 as the executive producer of West 57th hosted by Meredith Vieira, a long-format news program.[2][14] West 57th was known for mixing new storytelling techniques and topics with the same journalistic standards as 60 Minutes.[15] During the course of the show he conducted an extramarital affair with one of his correspondents, Jane Wallace, who described him as "almost unrelenting" in his pursuit of her.[16][17][18] After the affair ended, she says Lack threatened her career and the network paid her for a non-disclosure agreement; a source close to Lack denied the allegations.[17][18]

His work as a CBS producer includes "The Boat People" (about Vietnamese refugees),[19] "Teddy" (about Ted Kennedy)[20] and "The Defense of the United States" (about the Cold War) with Walter Cronkite.[21]


Lack was hired as president of NBC News in 1993, in part to restore credibility to the news division, after it was discovered the news program Dateline had faked an explosion during a truck safety segment.[3]

By Lack's third year, NBC Nightly News with anchor Tom Brokaw became the number-one rated evening news program, beating World News Tonight with Peter Jennings on ABC News.[3] Lack also greatly expanded Dateline, from once weekly to multiple nights each week.[22]

After Bryant Gumbel left the Today show, Lack replaced him with Matt Lauer. Lack also moved Today into a new, $15 million street-side studio, known as Studio 1A.[23] With Lauer as anchor, Today became the highest-rated morning news show for the next 16 years.[3] The cable news network MSNBC was also created under Lack.[3]

In 2001, Lack left the news division to become president[22] and chief operating officer of NBC, the television network.[3][22]


Lack joined Sony Music Entertainment in 2003 as Chairman and CEO.[24] Amid sharply declining sales in the music industry, Lack cut the staff by 25% to about 6,000 people.[22]

In 2004, Lack led a merger with BMG. Lack became CEO of the new Sony BMG, a 50–50 venture with Germany's Bertelsmann that resulted in the second-largest music company in the world.[22]

At Sony BMG, he pushed the company further into video, including television programming, and had to contend with the erosion of sales because of music file-sharing services such as Napster.[22] In 2005, he signed Bruce Springsteen to a $110 million contract.[25]

In 2006 he became the chairman of Sony BMG.[26] He later created SonyBMG Films,[27] a division that produced numerous titles including Cadillac Records starring Beyonce.[28] In 2008 he left the company.[2]


In 2008, Lack returned to broadcast journalism, joining Bloomberg as CEO of its Media Group,[3] running television, radio and digital properties, including 11 television channels internationally.[29] The New York Times reported that he cut losses in half and doubled revenue.[3] He became chairman of Bloomberg Media Group in 2013[30] and stayed with Bloomberg until 2014.[2]

NBCUniversal (2015–2020)[edit]

Lack rejoined NBC News and MSNBC in 2015[31] in the aftermath of a crisis generated when NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams was suspended without pay for six months for misrepresenting events which occurred while he was covering the 2003 Iraq War.[32] NBC News also faced a decline in ratings for Today and poor ratings for MSNBC.[31]

Lack named Lester Holt as the new anchor of NBC Nightly News to replace Williams.[33] The show became a ratings success, coming in first for the full 2014–2015 season (four months of which were anchored by Williams).[34]

After Williams' suspension was over, Lack decided to bring him back as the breaking news anchor for MSNBC as part of a shift toward hard news in that network's daytime programming.[35] Lack announced closer collaboration between NBC News and MSNBC,[36] cancelled three opinion-based daytime MSNBC shows,[37][38] and gave Meet the Press host Chuck Todd a daily afternoon program called MTP Daily.[39] MSNBC ratings subsequently improved in the first quarter of 2016, with daytime viewership up by more than 100%.[40] Lack also unified the digital operations of NBC News and MSNBC under a new division head.[41] Today became the first-place morning news show, surpassing Good Morning America in total viewers as of March 31, 2016, following a six-month lead among the 25–54-year-olds.[42][43]

In January 2017, Lack announced the hiring of Megyn Kelly away from Fox News saying in a memo, "She's demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we're lucky to have her."[44] Kelly was reportedly being paid between $15 million and $20 million a year at NBCUniversal for both a Sunday evening show and the mid-morning Megyn Kelly Today, along with election coverage.[45] In late October 2018 Business Insider reported that Kelly would depart the network following controversial remarks on the nature of blackface.[46]

In 2019, investigative journalist Ronan Farrow reported that Lack downplayed a human resources complaint of rape against Today anchor Matt Lauer in 2014. Lauer was not fired until late 2017. Farrow also reported that Lack had ordered Richard Greenberg to scuttle reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse cases because "it was an Andy decision." Farrow later published his work in The New Yorker.[47] Farrow also reported that NBC News hired a "Wikipedia whitewasher" who removed references to NBC News's role in the Harvey Weinstein case from several Wikipedia articles, including Lack's.[48]

On May 4, 2020, NBCUniversal fired Lack following the backlash over his role in killing Farrow's reporting on Weinstein.[49]

Personal life[edit]

Lack married twice. In 1970, he married Pamela Ann Blafer in a Jewish ceremony at the Temple Emanu‐El in Manhattan.[50] Lack is married to Betsy Kenny Lack,[51][52] head of global brand strategy for Snapchat,[53] with whom he has two sons.[54]

He was honored by the UJA-Federation of New York’s Broadcast, Cable & Film Division on April 9, 2013 for his generous support.[55]


  1. ^ a b c "Andrew Lack". Archived from the original on September 13, 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Jahnke, Art (Summer 2011). "News Without End". Bostonia. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Koblin, John (June 9, 2015). "Andrew Lack Returns to NBC News Amid Turmoil". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  4. ^ Grove, Lloyd (December 21, 2015). "Can MSNBC Re-Center Itself? Andy Lack on Breaking News, 'Today,' and Brian Williams". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  5. ^ "Andrew Lack". Bloomberg. Bloomberg. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "CBS' Lack named head of NBC News". Baltimore Sun. April 8, 1993. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  7. ^ Farhi, Paul "Ronan Farrow overcame spies and intimidation to break some of the biggest stories of the #MeToo era", The Washington Post, October 10, 2019.
  8. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (May 4, 2020). "NBCUniversal Restructures: Mark Lazarus To Oversee TV And Streaming; NBC News Boss Andy Lack Exits, With Cesar Conde To Head Combined News Operation". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Brodie, John (April 8, 1993). "Lack: sophisticated, savvy and no stranger to turmoil". Variety. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Spragens, William (January 1, 1995). Electronic Magazines: Soft News Programs on Network Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 29. ISBN 0275941558. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Lack, Andrew (January 22, 1978). "The Oil Embargo". 60 Minutes. CBS News.
  12. ^ 1992 CBS NEWS SPECIAL REPORT: "Malcolm X: The Real Story", October 4, 2014, retrieved June 4, 2016
  13. ^ Weinstock, David (2008). Malcolm X, African American Revolutionary. McFarland. p. 211. ISBN 978-0786439348. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  14. ^ HALL, JANE (April 13, 1993). "NBC Not for Sale, GE Chair Tells News Staff Employees". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  15. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (March 6, 2015). "Andrew Lack takes command of NBC's troubled news operation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  16. ^ Cartwright, Lachlan; Tani, Maxwell (September 21, 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: Accused Sexual Harassers Thrived Under NBC News Chief Andy Lack". Retrieved October 12, 2019 – via
  17. ^ a b Haylock, Zoe (October 11, 2019). "NBC News Chief Andy Lack Allegedly Preyed on Female Employees". Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "'Unrelenting': News boss rocked by sex claims". NewsComAu. October 9, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  19. ^ Fisher, Bob (October 1979). ""The Boat People" as Filmed for CBS". American Cinematographor. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  20. ^ Shales, Tom (November 22, 1979). "Teddy's Torment: A TV Soap Opera". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  21. ^ O'Connor, John (June 14, 1981). "TV View; A FIVE- PART EXAMINATION OF U.S. DEFENSES". The New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Lieberman, David (June 13, 2005). "Lack is determined to be more than a music man". USA Today. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  23. ^ Shishter, Gail (June 20, 1994). "'Today's' New Home Nbc's Dawn Patrol Unveils Its "Window On The World" Studio Today. Now, Rockefeller Plaza And 49th Street - And The People On Them - Are Part Of The Show". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  24. ^ Ordonez, Jenniefr (January 1, 2013). "Sony Taps NBC's President To Head Sickly Music Unit". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  25. ^ "The Peripatetic News Career of Andrew Lack". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  26. ^ "Sony BMG's chairman, CEO Switch Jobs". NBC News. February 10, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  27. ^ "Andrew Lack, CEO Multimedia Group, Bloomberg LP". The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  28. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (November 11, 2008). "Beyonce Belts It Out On 'Cadillac' Soundtrack". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  29. ^ Mnookin, Seth. "Bloomberg Without Bloomberg". The Hive. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  30. ^ Lieberman, David (July 29, 2013). "Justin Smith Named CEO Of Bloomberg Media As Andy Lack Becomes Chairman". Deadline. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  31. ^ a b Wemple, Erok (March 6, 2015). "NBC hires Andy Lack as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC". Washington Post. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  32. ^ Steel, Emily (February 10, 2015). "Brian Williams Suspended From NBC for 6 Months Without Pay". New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  33. ^ Wemple, Erik (June 18, 2015). "It's Official: Brian Williams moves to MSNBC; Lester Holt to be permanent anchor of 'NBC Nightly News'". Washington Post. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  34. ^ Ariens, Chris (September 22, 2015). "Nightly News No. 1 for 19 Seasons". TV Newser. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  35. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (September 25, 2015). "NBC News Chief Andy Lack: "Solid Start" for Brian Williams on MSNBC". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  36. ^ de Moraes, Lisa. "Andrew Lack Points MSNBC Back To Its Hard-News Roots With Troop-Rallying Meeting At 30 Rock". Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  37. ^ Byers, Dylan (July 30, 2015). "MSNBC cancels 3 shows amid transition". Politico. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  38. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (July 30, 2015). "MSNBC cancels three daytime shows, adds Chuck Todd". L.A. Times. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  39. ^ Steinberg, Brian (September 17, 2015). "MSNBC's Re-Do Will Make it Look More Like NBC News Channel". Variety. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  40. ^ "MSNBC's year of standing up straight". POLITICO Media. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  41. ^ Calderone, Michael (November 3, 2015). "NBC, MSNBC Shake Up Digital Operations". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  42. ^ Steinberg, Brian (March 31, 2016). "Morning-Show Wars Take a Twist as 'Today' Trumps 'GMA' in Total Viewers". Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  43. ^ "After 4 Years in Second Place, NBC's Today Show Retakes the Morning Show Lead". Adweek. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  44. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (January 3, 2017). "Popular anchor Megyn Kelly will leave Fox News after 12 years to join NBC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  45. ^ "Megyn Kelly is now one of the highest-paid hosts on TV — here's where her salary ranks". Business Insider. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  46. ^ "Megyn Kelly is reportedly out at NBC News after backlash over blackface comments". Business Insider. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  47. ^ Aurthur, Kate and Ramin Setoodeh. "Ronan Farrow Book Alleges Matt Lauer Raped NBC News Colleague", Variety, October 8, 2019.
  48. ^ Farhi, Paul. "Ronan Farrow overcame spies and intimidation to break some of the biggest stories of the #MeToo era", The Washington Post, October 10, 2019.
  49. ^ Koblin, John; Grynbaum, Michael M. (May 4, 2020). "Andrew Lack Is Out as the Head of NBC News After a Stormy Tenure". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  50. ^ "Pamela Ann Blafer Is Wed Here". The New York Times. January 11, 1970.
  51. ^ Atkinson, Claire (March 3, 2015). "Andy Lack and Brian Williams are likely package deal for NBC News". New York Post. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  52. ^ Somaiya, Ravi (June 22, 2014). "Vanity Fair's Fall Conference Taps Power of the Rolodex". New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  53. ^ Wagner, Kurt (May 25, 2016). "Snapchat has hired former Vanity Fair editor Betsy Lack to run global brand strategy". Recode. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  54. ^ "BG Names Andy Lack CEO". Broadcasting Board of Governors. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  55. ^ UJA-Federation of New York: "Andrew Lack Honored at Broadcast Event" April 10, 2013

External links[edit]