TV newsperson Lester Holt started out in radio as a teenager. He landed a job as a television reporter in New York City in 1981. In the mid-1980s, Holt began his nearly 14-year run on Chicago's WBBM as a reporter and news anchor. He joined NBC in 2000 as a reporter. Before long, he landed work on such shows as Today, MSNBC's Lester Holt Live and Dateline. He also began anchoring the NBC Nightly News on the weekends in 2007. In 2015, Holt replaced Brian Williams as the weekday anchor of NBC Nightly News, making him the first African-American to be the lead anchor on a broadcast network's weekday nightly newscast.
Early Life and Career
Born on March 8, 1959, in San Francisco, California, Lester Holt is one of the country's leading television nightly news anchors. His father was in the U.S. Air Force, and his family moved around a lot when he was growing up. His mother worked as a regional planner. At a young age, Holt discovered an interest in broadcasting. He did announcements over his high school's public address system and worked in radio while in college. Holt attended California State University in Sacramento.
In 1981, Holt moved to TV news. He landed a job as a reporter with WCBS in New York City. He then spent some time in Los Angeles and back in New York before landing at Chicago's WBBM, a CBS affiliate.During his roughly 14 years with the station, he worked as an anchor and a reporter. Holt also contributed to national news programs on CBS, earning the 1990 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his work on 48 Hours: No Place Like Home.
Top TV Newsman
Holt joined NBC in 2000. One of his first projects was covering that year's presidential election. From 2002 to 2003, Holt hosted a nightly news program on the Iraq conflict, first known as Countdown: Iraq and the Operation Iraqi Freedom. He added to his reporting duties in 2003 when he became an anchor with Today's weekend edition. Around this time, Holt also anchored Lester Holt Live on MSNBC. He added another anchor job to his extensive resumé in 2007 with his new weekend role on NBC Nightly News. On prime time, Holt has hosted the news program Dateline since 2006.
Over the years, Holt earned the nickname "Iron Pants" for his ability to stay on air for hours. "When there's breaking news, I don't want to leave the chair," he explained to People magazine. He has traveled extensively to report many important national and international stories, from covering Hurricane Katrina from Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 to being on the scene in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there.
In February 2015, Holt became the interim anchor for NBC Nightly News. He took over the post after the suspension of Brian Williams for reportedly lying about some of his experiences as a journalist. That June, Holt was named the show's new anchor, making him the first African-American to be the lead anchor on a broadcast network's weekday nightly newscast. He called this new job "an enormous honor" in a statement released by the network. "The respect and admiration I have for the Nightly News team has only grown deeper over the last several months that we've been together." That June, with positive ratings, Holt was given the anchor job permanently.
Holt and his wife Carol have two grown sons, Stefan and Cameron. Stefan has followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a TV journalist. Deeply committed to his faith, Holt is a member of the Church of Christ. He loves playing bass guitar and even performed with Captain & Tennille on the Today show. Holt has also moonlighted as an actor, appearing as a TV journalist in such films as The Fugitive and Primal Fear.
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