Holt in July 2015
|Born||Lester Don Holt Jr.
March 8, 1959
Marin County, California, U.S.
|Residence||Manhattan, New York, U.S.|
|Education||Cordova High School|
California State University, Sacramento (no degree)Pepperdine University
|Employer||National Amusements (1981–2000)
General Electric (2000–2013)
|Notable credit(s)||NBC Nightly News weeknight anchor (2015–present)
"Weekend Today co-anchor (2003–2015)
NBC Nightly News weekend anchor (2007–2015)
Dateline NBC anchor (2011–present)
|Salary||$4.5 million (2015)|
|Television||CBS News (1981–2000)
NBC News (2000–present)
|Term||Anchor of NBC Nightly News|
|Spouse(s)||Carol Hagen (m. 1982)|
Lester Don Holt Jr. (born March 8, 1959) is an American journalist and news anchor for the weekday edition of NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC. On February 9, 2015, he became the interim weeknight NBC Nightly News anchor, filling in for suspended anchor and managing editor Brian Williams. On June 18, 2015, he was made the permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, making him the first African-American to solo anchor a weekday network nightly newscast. He moderated the 2016 Presidential debates, and interviewed President Donald Trump in 2017.
Early life and education
Holt was born in Marin County, California, the son of June (DeRozario) and Lester Don Holt, Sr. His maternal grandparents were Jamaican. His maternal grandfather was of half English and half Indian descent.
He graduated from Cordova High School in Rancho Cordova, California, in 1977 and attended California State University, Sacramento, and majored in government, though he never graduated. 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.
Holt spent 19 years with CBS, as a reporter, anchor, and international correspondent. He moderated the presidential debates in 2016, and interviewed President Donald Trump in 2017, where his fellow journalists said that he asked tough but appropriate questions.
In 1981, 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.
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. 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, anchoring the show for 8 years before being named permanent anchor of the weekday edition. Additionally, Holt is the 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, and is the host of Dateline on ID, an edition of Dateline NBC shown on the Investigation Discovery network. In 2008, he narrated a documentary regarding the actual crystal skulls on the Sci-Fi Channel.
From August 6, 2013, to September 2, 2013, Brian Williams was on medical leave in order to undergo right knee replacement surgery. Weekend anchor Lester Holt was interim anchor in his absence.
As a result of controversy after Williams admitted that he had exaggerated a story about the Iraq War, Williams announced on February 7, 2015, that he would take a temporary leave of absence from anchoring the Nightly News and that Holt would cover in his absence. Three days later, Williams was suspended without pay for six months, with Holt filling in as weekday anchor during that period. On June 17, 2015, NBC decided to keep Holt as its permanent NBC Nightly News anchor, while reassigning Williams to MSNBC at the end of his suspension.
Holt moderated the Democratic presidential candidates' debate in January 2016 alongside a panel of NBC political reporters, as well as the first presidential debate on September 26, 2016. Presidential candidate Donald Trump said that this was "a very unfair system" because "Lester is a Democrat". Holt is a registered Republican. After the debate, Trump said that Holt did a good job. Journalists also said that Holt did a good job, for example, in challenging Trump when he said that he originally opposed the war in Iraq.
In May, 2017, Holt interviewed then-president Trump. They discussed Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey. Trump originally said that he fired Comey because of Comey's disclosure of the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails. Critics said that Trump fired Comey because of Comey's investigation of the Trump staff's dealings with Russia.
However, Trump told Holt, "When I decided [to fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.'"
Holt's interview with Trump had extensive media coverage. TV news anchor Lawrence O'Donnell said, "The Lester Holt interview remains possibly the most important televised interview ever done," with the possible exception of David Frost's interview with Richard Nixon. O'Donnell said this was evidence of an illegal coverup of Russian dealings. "There he was saying, 'I was thinking about the Russian investigation, which is to say I'm thinking about Michael Flynn, when I'm firing Mike Comey.'"
Holt has made cameo appearances in the 1993 film The Fugitive, its 1998 sequel, U.S. Marshals; and Primal Fear (1996); as well as on television shows like the episode "Red, White, or Blue" of the series Due South, "Fate" of Early Edition and "A New Hope" of Warehouse 13. He also appeared on the episode "Cleveland" of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. 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. Holt announced the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the USA Network and was also featured in Making Music magazine.
- 1981–2000: CBS owned and operated stations
- 2000–present: NBC News
- 2000–2003: NBC News / MSNBC correspondent
- 2003–2015: Weekend Today co-anchor
- 2003–2014: Today fill-in anchor
- 2007–2015: NBC Nightly News Weekend anchor
- 2007–present: NBC News anchor
- 2011–present: Dateline NBC anchor
- August 6, 2013 – September 2, 2013 and February 9, 2015 – June 18, 2015: NBC Nightly News interim anchor
- June 22, 2015 – present: NBC Nightly News anchor
Awards and honors
- 1990: Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his work on CBS's 48 Hours: No Place Like Home.
- 2012: Honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine University
- 2015: Honorary Doctorate from California State University, Sacramento
- 2015: Inducted into the California Hall of Fame on October 28, 2015 
- 2016: Alan B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year from Montclair State University 
- 2016: NABJ Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists 
Holt resides in Manhattan with his wife, Carol Hagen. They have two sons, Stefan and Cameron. Stefan Holt graduated in 2009 from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and was the morning news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in Chicago. In 2016, Stefan moved to the same floor as his father's Nightly News when joining WNBC, and eventually succeeded veteran Chuck Scarborough as the station's 11pm anchor. In his spare time, Lester plays the bass guitar, which he talked about in the September/October 2009 issue of Making Music magazine. On September 6, 2017, The Today Show reported that Holt became a grandfather to a boy, through his son Stefan.
- "Lester Holt Reportedly Aims to Take Brian Williams' $10M Salary at NBC – Newsmax". Newsmax. June 11, 2015.
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- Emily Steele and Ravi Somaiya (February 10, 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 February 10, 2015.
- Stelter, Brian. "Lester Holt gets anchor chair in historic moment for black journalists". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
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- Today Show: "Lester and Jenna trace their Jamaican roots" Aired on September 9, 2012 Archived September 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "It's back to school for 'Today' host", May 2004.
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- "Discovery Times Channel Becomes Investigation Discovery on January 27, With Slate of New Fact-Based Programming" (Press release). Discovery Channel. 2008-01-23.
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- Byers, Dylan. "NBC News: Brian Williams suspended for 6 months without pay". POLITICO. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
- "Lester Holt To Moderate First Democrat Debate Of 2016". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
- "CPD Announces 2016 Debate Moderators". Commission on Presidential Debates.
- "5 things to know about presidential debate moderator Lester Holt". Washington Post.
- "Moderator Lester Holt Works to Keep Control of Debate". ABC News.
- Sizing up Lester Holt’s low-key debate performance, By David Uberti, CJR, September 27, 2016
- I Was Going to Fire Comey Anyway, Trump Tells Lester Holt in Interview. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. May 11, 2017.
- The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. NBC News. December 01, 2017
- [Transcript http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/the-last-word]
- "Lester Holt - California Museum". www.californiamuseum.org. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
- "NBC News Anchor Lester Holt Receives Broadcaster of the Year Award". Retrieved 2017-11-29.
- "NBC's Lester Holt Accepts 2016 NABJ Journalist of the Year Award - National Association of Black Journalists". www.nabj.org. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
- "NBC 5’s Stefan Holt: Rising son in the morning", Time Out Chicago, February 13, 2012.
- Kaplan, Don (June 30, 2017). "WNBC anchor Chuck Scarborough leaving late-night job after 42 years for earlier shift". nydailynews.com. New York Daily News. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- Holt, Lester (2007-10-26). "Today's Anchor Chat: Lester Holt". allDAY. NBC News. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- "Features – Lester Holt". Making Music. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
- Ross, Jr., Bobby (January 2010). "Anchor for his soul: Lester Holt reflects on faith and journalism". Christian Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lester Holt.|
|Weekend Today Co-Anchor
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