“Before we go: as of tonight this program has a new name and, I’m honored to say, a new anchor,” Lester Holt said at the end of his first broadcast as official anchor of NBC Nightly News. Late last week, NBC announced longtime anchor Brian Williams, suspended in February after making a bogus on-air claim about an experience covering the Iraq War, would be re-assigned to MSNBC and Holt, who’d been filling in since Williams left the anchor desk, would get the job on a permanent basis starting tonight.
“Your loyalty and viewership during a difficult time has been appreciated by all of us on this program,” Holt told viewers at the end of tonight’s broadcast. “And I want to express my sincere thanks to my friend and colleague Brian Williams for his kind words of support. We hope to see all of you each and every night.”
Lester Holt made history tonight in his debut, becoming the first black journalist to solo anchor a nightly news broadcast. The significance of the occasion was not lost on Holt, who this morning told the Today show on-air gang that, despite the fact he’s been anchoring Nightly News since early February, “last night I found myself laying clothes out like it was the first day of school,” including a “brand new tie.”