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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

With Brian Williams suspended, Lester Holt looks to steady ‘NBC Nightly News’

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With embattled anchor Brian Williams suspended for 6 months, millions will be tuning in to the “NBC Nightly News” and seeing Lester Holt in the anchor chair.

For Holt, the circumstances are new and treacherous, but the job itself is not. He’s been filling in for Williams for almost a decade and he’s a friendly face in the halls of NBC News.

He also hosts the newsmagazine “Dateline.”

The nonstop nature of Holt’s work once garnered him the nickname “Iron Pants.”

He joined NBC in 2000 after two decades in local TV. He was one of the main anchors on NBC’s cable news channel, MSNBC, during the start of the Iraq War in 2003.

“Lester is always pitch perfect in the anchor chair,” said Mark Effron, a former vice president of daytime at MSNBC. “You can’t throw him a curve he can’t take.”

Effron, who is now a media consultant and adjunct journalism professor at William Paterson University, said that Holt never begrudgingly took an assignment while at MSNBC.

With the crisis swirling around Williams, Holt has the difficult task of steadying the ship and maintaining Williams’ top-rated audience.

Back in 2013, when Williams was undergoing knee surgery, Holt filled in on weekdays and held NBC’s top spot, bringing in 7.6 million viewers the week before Williams’ return.

Some observers have cited those ratings to say that Holt will be well-received.

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