Lester Holt is an award-winning journalist and anchor of "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt," the network's flagship broadcast and America's most-watched evening newscast. Holt also leads NBC News’ special reports, breaking news and primetime political coverage.
Holt was named to the role of “NBC Nightly News” anchor in June 2015 after eight years as anchor of "NBC Nightly News" weekend editions and 12 years as co-anchor of "Weekend TODAY." In addition, Holt has served as principal anchor of "Dateline NBC" since September 2011.
Holt joined NBC News in 2000 and is known for his outstanding work in the field, reporting and anchoring from breaking news events across the world. In April 2017, he interviewed a senior North Korean defector and had rare access to U.S. military operations in South Korea. He has reported from Brussels and Paris on the terrorist attacks that took place across Europe in 2016 and 2015. Previously, Holt anchored from South Africa during the Nelson Mandela memorial service; reported from the streets of Cairo on the latest political and civil unrest in Egypt during the Arab Spring; covered the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan; and reported on the immediate aftermath and response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
His field reporting often focuses on people most directly affected by the biggest stories of the day. In the week leading up to the presidential inauguration in January 2017, he traveled across the U.S. talking with Americans about the nation’s most pressing issues and their hopes for the next four years. Holt also hosted a roundtable of South Carolina voters before the 2016 primary, spoke with Baltimore residents following city-wide protests in April 2015, and had an exclusive talk with the witness who recorded the Walter Scott shooting.
As a preeminent broadcast journalist, Holt was selected to moderate the first presidential debate of 2016, which was the most-watched debate in American history. In January 2017, he traveled with President Obama on the Commander in Chief’s final trip aboard Air Force One, for an in-depth interview in Chicago. Earlier in the 2016 presidential race, Holt received praise for his work moderating the first Democratic debate of the year. He has also sat down for revealing, news-making interviews with candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. NBC News was the most watched news organization of Election 2016, with Holt anchoring all of the network’s primetime coverage through the Republican and Democratic conventions, debates and Election Night.
Before becoming co-anchor of "Weekend TODAY” in 2003, Holt anchored "Lester Holt Live," a daily news show on MSNBC. Holt served as a primary anchor for MSNBC's coverage of major news events, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan, and he was the lead daytime anchor for MSNBC's coverage of Decision 2000. Holt also served as anchor of "Countdown: Iraq," a nightly news telecast concentrating on the latest developments surrounding the war with Iraq, from October 2002 through March 2003.
For “Dateline NBC,” Holt has anchored numerous specials and investigative reports, such as “Breathless,” a story of injustice that examined the connection between childhood asthma and poverty in America. Holt also reported on wrongful convictions involving Richard Rosario and Johnny Hincapie, two cases that made national headlines. Additionally, he reported three hours on the aftermath of the Great Recession as part of the “American Now” documentary series.
Holt came to MSNBC from after 14 years at WBBM-TV in Chicago. Previously, Holt worked as a reporter at WCBS-TV in New York City and sister station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles as a reporter and weekend anchor. His work has been recognized with numerous honors, including multiple Emmy Awards and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award. In April 2016 Holt received several notable designations: he was featured on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list, The Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful People in New York list and was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists. He was named to Variety’s New York Power List in September 2016.
Holt studied government at California State University in Sacramento. He resides in New York City with his wife.
Holt is on Twitter at @LesterHoltNBC.