Lester Holt is an award-winning journalist and anchor of "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt," the network's flagship broadcast currently celebrating its 70th anniversary. 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 globe. He traveled to PyeongChang in February where he led NBC News’ coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics, anchoring “Nightly News” from South Korea and reporting on the stories behind the world’s greatest athletes in what was his ninth Olympic Games. It was Holt’s second trip of 2018 to the Korean Peninsula, where just weeks before the Olympics he reported on the growing tensions between the United States and North Korea from inside the totalitarian state. Over the past several years, he has reported from Manchester, Brussels and Paris on the terrorist attacks that took place across Europe. 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.
Holt is deeply committed to providing viewers on-the-ground, first-person accounts when disaster strikes. He traveled to Houston and Southern Florida in the fall of 2017 to get live, first-hand perspectives of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. He also reported from Las Vegas this past October in the aftermath of the Mandalay Bay shooting, and from Sutherland Springs, Texas after the massacre in a church there took the lives of 26 people.
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. Holt’s one-on-one with President Trump in May 2017 stands as the most consequential interview of the Trump presidency, after Trump told Holt the firing of former FBI head James Comey was tied to the Russia investigation. 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 June 2017, Holt was honored with Quinnipiac University’s Fred Friendly First Amendment 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.