Meet Lester Holt, Who’s Stepping In At “NBC Nightly News” During Brian Williams Scandal
Lester Holt has grabbed the reigns at NBC Nightly News while disgraced anchor Brian Williams learned his fate for “misremembering” that he wasn’t in a helicopter that came under rocket attack while he was covering Iraq combat in 2003.
“I made a mistake in recalling the events 12 years ago,” Williams said last Wednesday on air, according to The Guardian. “I want to apologize. I said I was travelling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.”
The network decided to suspend Williams for six months without pay, IBT reports.
“This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate,” Steve Burke, NBC Universal’s CEO, said in a statement last Tuesday.
While Williams falls from his perch, Holt takes the throne. But everyone wants to know — who is he?
Holt rose through the ranks after launching his career as a local news reporter in Los Angeles and Chicago, Mediaite reports. In 2007, he landed a position as a weekend anchor for NBC Nightly News. Holt also nabbed a weekend co-hosting gig for Today and a seat at NBC Dateline.
“Holt has been NBC’s all-purpose understudy for over ten years, having filled in for Matt Lauer or Tom Brokaw before he became Williams’ go-to backup,” Mediaite added.
Holt earned the nickname “Iron Pants” due to his ability to remain on air for long bouts of time, IBT said. “…He can sit down and anchor for hours,” MSNBC’s Mark Effron told People (via The Heavy).
During his double-decade career, Holt received 11 Emmy nominations, IBT added. “He won as part of the ‘Today’ show team that won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning Program in 2010.”
And here’s an interesting tidbit: Holt is an actor, too. He’s appeared on a few episodes of 30 Rock, where he played himself. And he guest starred in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Holt, a musician at heart, can also play bass (both electric and upright). Catch him playing with The Roots on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.
Having earned his stripes at NBC, some wonder why it has taken this long for Holt to be offered a seat at the throne.
“He deserves his shot as a permanent anchor, not just as a temporary stand-in for the untrustworthy Williams,” Michael Cottman at BlackNewsWeb wrote.