Lester Holt is the new permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, in a move by the network last week to retain Brian Williams but in a far different capacity. Lester Holt has manned the NBC Nightly News desk since the start of Williams’s suspension for misrepresenting some of his involvement reporting on the Iraq war.
In addition to being the new network anchor, Lester Holt made history on Monday–his first official evening at the helm–by becoming the first African-American to solely anchor a nightly news broadcast.
“I never define my career by my race, but I think it’s important that this broadcast all the broadcasts we do on this network reflects our audience,” Lester Holt said in one of dozens of interviews he’s given since being named the new anchor. “People should be able to turn on the TV and see people that look like them or someone they know.”
Monday night was clearly a thrill for Holt.
“As of tonight, this program has a new name, and I am honored to say a new anchor,” he said while on the air.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) June 22, 2015
Holt feels sure he has Brian Williams’s blessing on his new role.
“[Brian Williams and I] talked and we both acknowledged that we wished we could have talked earlier,” Holt said. “We both said, ‘Whatever’s happened here, it’s never been about us–our friendship.’ You could feel, it was this tension, like, ‘Oh my goodness, I was feeling this way.’ He’s been so gracious during what’s obviously been a difficult time–expressing his support to me privately and publicly. I just let him know that I’m happy he remains with the organization. He says he’s here to help me, whatever I need, and I deeply appreciate it.”
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 23, 2015
Lester Holt, who is 56, has spent 30 years in broadcast journalism. He worked in San Francisco, Sacramento, L.A., Chicago, and New York prior to landing at MSNBC. From there he made his way to NBC, and the rest–as they say–is history.
Are you happy to see Lester Holt named the permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News?
— E! News (@ENews) June 18, 2015