NBC Starts To Hype Lester Holt’s ‘Nightly News’

NBC is finally acknowledging what most viewers of its evening newscast already know: Lester Holt is the anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”

This weekend the NBCUniversal-owned outlet is launching its first effort to promote “Nightly” with Holt as its anchor. On Monday, the network will bill its evening newscast with Holt’s name attached to it — the first time it has done so, even though Holt has been sitting in the anchor chair since February.

The network is moving quickly to lend  identity to “Nightly” now that its parent company has resolved its issues with the newscast’s previous inhabitant, Brian Williams. He has been assigned to handle breaking news on MSNBC, starting in mid-August, after  an investigation found he offered false accounts of some of the events he had reported on in the past. Williams has been serving a six-month suspension.

“Nightly” is locked in a see-saw ratings battle with ABC’s “World News Tonight,” anchored by David Muir. That newscast has begun to edge out NBC’s in the viewership most desired by advertisers, audiences between the ages of 25 and 54. NBC, however, has not promoted its newscast since Holt agreed to anchor in Williams’ place.

The new promotional campaign shows Holt in the field covering recent major stories – Baltimore protests, Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and Philadelphia above the Amtrak derailment, among others, said a NBC News spokesperson. The first spot was cut after NBCU announced its decision Thursday to move Williams and make Holt the new anchor of “Nightly.”

NBC’s last promotional campaign for Williams celebrated his decade on the air as anchor of “Nightly” and used voiceover narration from actor Michael Douglas.

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