NBC has announced that Lester Holt will be the permanent and new anchor of NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams, the now former anchor, will serve as a breaking news anchor on MSNBC, NBC’s cable news channel. Williams was an anchor on MSNBC, including a program called The News, from 1996 to 2004. His time there served to groom him as Tom Brokaw’s successor.
Holt will be the first African-American solo anchor of a nightly newscast on the broadcast networks. PBS’s Gwen Ifill currently co-anchors PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff.
Holt was quoted as saying:
“This is an enormous honor. 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. Day-in and day-out under an uncomfortable spotlight they have produced world-class journalism. I’m very proud and grateful to be part of such an unflappable and dedicated team of professionals as we move forward together.”
Holt, who is on vacation this week, also responded to the news on Twitter,
Promised my family I wouldn’t think about work during vacation. Just got the ok to break that promise. Excited and grateful for new role.
— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) June 18, 2015
While Holt was announced as anchor of NBC Nightly News, it is currently unknown whether or not he will serve as Managing Editor of the broadcast. Williams served as Managing Editor of the program and under that position, he removed himself for several days when the controversy was beginning to take effect. TKNN has reached out to NBC to see whether or not Holt will serve as Managing Editor, but we have not heard back. We will update with a response, should we get one.
Williams said in the announcement:
“I’m sorry. I said things that weren’t true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I’m determined to earn back their trust. I will greatly miss working with the team on Nightly News, but I know the broadcast will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor. I will support him 100% as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news. My new role will allow me to focus on important issues and events in our country and around the world, and I look forward to it.”
The Brian Williams saga has been one of new NBC News Group chair Andy Lack’s top priorities. Lack was a former president of NBC News and is a friend of Brian Williams.
Williams’s new assignment begins in August, after his six month suspension ends.