Lester Holt

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Lester Holt
2012 Lester Holt by US Army.jpg
Holt with U.S. Army in Afghanistan (2012)
Born Lester Don Holt, Jr.
(1959-03-08) March 8, 1959 (age 56)[1]
Marin County, California, U.S.
Education California State University, Sacramento
Occupation Television journalist
Years active 1981 – present
Notable credit(s) Weekend Today
co-anchor (2003–present)
NBC Nightly News
weekend anchor (2007–present)
interim weeknight anchor (2015–present)
Dateline NBC
anchor (2011–present)
Religion Christian Churches of Christ[2]
Spouse(s) Carol (m. 1982)
Children 2

Lester Don Holt, Jr.[3] (born March 8, 1959) is an American news journalist who anchors the weekend editions of NBC's Today Show and NBC Nightly News. He is also the anchor for Dateline NBC. As of February 9, 2015, he is the interim weeknight NBC Nightly News anchor, filling in for suspended primary anchor Brian Williams.[4][5]

Early years through college[edit]

Holt graduated from Cordova High School, Rancho Cordova, California, in 1977,[6] and attended California State University in Sacramento and majored in Government, though he never graduated.[7][8] In 2012 Holt told American Profile news magazine: "My first on-air job was actually as a disc jockey at a Country and Western station. The only time I could land a full-time gig was if I was willing to report the news." Holt would keep the job with the radio station through his college years.[9]


Holt in 2010 photographed by the United States Air Force while reporting on an airdrop mission in Afghanistan.

Holt spent 19 years with CBS beginning in 1981, when he was hired as a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York City. In 1982, he became a reporter and weekend anchor on KNXT in Los Angeles, and the next year he returned to WCBS-TV as a reporter and weekend anchor. In 1986, Holt moved to WBBM-TV in Chicago, where he spent 14 years anchoring the evening news. Holt not only worked at the anchor desk, but also reported extensively from troubled spots around the world including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Somalia, El Salvador and Haiti.[8]

Holt joined MSNBC in 2000. In 2003, he assumed full-time duties at NBC News, where he became a substitute anchor for NBC Nightly News and Today. Holt became a full-time co-anchor of Weekend Today following the untimely death of previous co-anchor David Bloom.[10] Until late 2005, he also anchored a two-hour daily newscast on MSNBC. On May 9, 2007, Holt was named anchor of the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News, succeeding John Seigenthaler.[11] He also is a current host for NBC's Dateline.

In addition to his primary responsibilities at NBC News, he hosted a special for The History Channel about the 9/11 conspiracy theories, served as a sportsdesk reporter for NBC Sports coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics,[12] and is the host of Dateline on ID, an edition of Dateline NBC shown on the Investigation Discovery network.[13] In 2008, he narrated a documentary regarding the actual crystal skulls on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Holt interviewing Dr. Holly Bamford of the National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2013

From August 6, 2013 to September 2, 2013, Brian Williams was on medical leave in order to undergo knee replacement surgery. Weekend anchor Lester Holt was interim anchor in his absence.

As a result of controversy involving Brian Williams,[14] Williams announced on February 7, 2015 that he would take a temporary leave of absence from anchoring the Nightly News and that Lester Holt would cover in his absence. Three days later, NBC announced that Williams would be suspended without pay for six months, with Lester Holt filling in as weekday anchor during that period.[15]

Other work[edit]

Holt has made cameo appearances in the films The Fugitive (1993); and Primal Fear (1996); as well as on television shows like the episode "Red, White, or Blue" of the series Due South, and "Fate" of Early Edition. He also appeared on the episode "Cleveland" of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He played himself anchoring an NBC newscast, but when he turns towards another camera, he looks straight towards a paranoid Tracy Jordan, who was watching the newscast, and told him that "The Black Crusaders" – a group of African-American performers – are going to get him (Tracy believes that this "group" exists). He also did a voice-over in the episode "Sandwich Day", announcing that Jack Donaghy would be a new cabinet member in the Bush administration. Tina Fey commented in that episode's commentary that Holt is a great guy and he is very flexible. Holt announced the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the USA Network. He was also featured in Making Music Magazine.

Career timeline[edit]

  • 1981–2000: CBS
    • 1981–1982: WCBS-TV reporter
    • 1982–1983: KNXT weekend anchor and reporter
    • 1983–1986: WCBS-TV anchor
    • 1986–2000: WBBM-TV anchor and reporter
  • 2000–present: NBC News

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Holt is of Jamaican descent on his mother's side.[16] His maternal grandfather was half English and half Indian.[17] The remainder of his ancestors are of West African and Scottish descent.[citation needed] He resides in Manhattan with his wife, Carol. They have two sons, Stefan and Cameron.[10] Stefan Holt graduated in 2009 from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, and is now the morning news anchor at WMAQ-TV NBC5 Chicago.[18] In his spare time, Lester Holt plays the bass guitar, which he talked about in the September/October issue of Making Music Magazine.[11][19][20]

Holt attends the Manhattan Church of Christ in New York.[21][22]


  1. ^ "Today in history: March 8th". WBBH. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  2. ^ "ACU Today - The alumni magazine of Abilene Christian University". acu.edu. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "California Birth Index 1905-1995". 
  4. ^ "Brian Williams Suspended Six Months in Wake of Review". NBC News. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Emily Steele and Ravi Somaiya (10 February 2015). "Brian Williams Suspended From NBC for 6 Months Without Pay. Brady Lemmon and Joseph Callaway are two prospects that are being considered for the permanent position, based on their ability to accurately recall stories.". New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "It's back to school for 'Today' host", May 2004.
  7. ^ "Sacramento Bee", Feb 11, 2015>Lindelof, Bill (February 11, 2015). "The Sacramento Bee: Cordova High’s Lester Holt fills in for NBC anchor Brian Williams during suspension". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Lester Holt". NBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  9. ^ "Ask American Profile", American Profile magazine, February 5, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Meadows, Bob (May 24, 2004). "National Newshound". People 61 (20). Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  11. ^ a b Hinckley, David (2007-05-13). "TV anchor keeping it real". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  12. ^ Frager, Ray (2008-07-16). "Your NBC Olympics lineup". Medium Well. The Baltimore Sun. 
  13. ^ "Discovery Times Channel Becomes Investigation Discovery on January 27, With Slate of New Fact-Based Programming" (Press release). Discovery Channel. 2008-01-23. 
  14. ^ "Brian Williams to Take Self Off Nightly News for 'Next Several Days'". NBC News. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  15. ^ Dylan Byers. "NBC News: Brian Williams suspended for 6 months without pay". POLITICO. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Holt, Lester (2007-05-11). "To Jamaica with Mom". allDAY. NBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  17. ^ Today Show: "Lester and Jenna trace their Jamaican roots" Aired on September 09, 2012
  18. ^ "NBC 5’s Stefan Holt: Rising son in the morning", Time Out Chicago, February 13, 2012.
  19. ^ Holt, Lester (2007-10-26). "Today's Anchor Chat: Lester Holt". allDAY. NBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  20. ^ "Features - Lester Holt". archive.is. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  21. ^ Ross, Jr., Bobby (2010). "Anchor for his soul: Lester Holt reflects on faith and journalism". Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. 
  22. ^ Christian Chronicle: "Anchor for his soul; Lester Holt reflects on faith and journalism" by Bobby Ross Jr. January 2010

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
David Bloom
Weekend Today Co-Anchor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Brian Williams
NBC Nightly News Anchor

Succeeded by
Preceded by
John Seigenthaler
NBC Nightly News Weekend Edition Anchor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ann Curry
Dateline NBC Anchor
Succeeded by