×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lester Holt Looks Back – and Forward – as ‘NBC Nightly News’ Celebrates 70 Years

Even as NBC News takes a moment to celebrate the history of its flagship evening newscast, Lester Holt says he’s ready to keep covering the history of the modern world.

NBC Nightly News” staffers and NBC News executives paused for a few moments Wednesday night to nod to 70 years of the newscast (which also comprises “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” and “Camel News Caravan”). While all forms of media have changed to accommodate  new forms of digital consumption, Holt said in an interview, some things have to remain the same. “We still adhere to the basic values of a broadcast that tries to rise above the fray, tries to give a broad view and provides perspective. Those things haven’t changed for over 70 years.”

Newscast staffers attended the event at NBCUniversal’s 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters, along with producers and executives. Tom Brokaw, who served as the program’s anchor between 1982 and 2004, was in attendance, as was Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, was also present.

Holt said producers have in recent months tried to make “Nightly” stand out by relying more heavily on scoops and exclusive interviews from its own staff of reporters. “It’s very clear that most viewers, most regular viewers of the evening news by the time they sit down they know the headlines of the day,” he said. “They know that Gary Cohn is resigning, They know there’s a snowstorm. We have to do something that adds value.” That can come in the form of a new emphasis on reporting from NBC News’ investigative team, for example, or an exclusive sit-down with Vice President Mike Pence in South Korean during the Olympics. “We are very accustomed now to the news changing abruptly at 5 p.m.,” he said, before the evening broadcast.

During his tenure on “Nightly,” Holt has placed importance on getting out to big news events, as well as reporting on topics like technology. “We certainly travel more than the broadcast has traveled before. Part of that is my fascination with going places,” said the anchor. “I think there’s an expectation now, the audience understands when something big happens, they are going to see me fly out the door.”

While much has been made of the challenges faced by many of the evening newscasts – a populace that works later and faces a longer commute home; a longstanding decline in the number of people who watch the programs on a linear basis – Holt believes the show will be around for a long while, even if its is experienced as “pixels on wallpaper” at some point in the not-too-distant future . “I always say that I have no idea where the future of the platform will go,” Holt said. “I know we’ll adapt to them.”

 

More TV

  • Seth Meyers TV Take Podcast

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Seth Meyers's Standup Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for “Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby” and Epix released a trailer for “Belgravia.” CASTING AMC announced that “Succession” actor Sarah Snook, David Costabile (“Breaking Bad”) and Sonya Cassidy (“Lodge 49”) have been cast in its upcoming anthology series from Will Bridges and Brett Goldstein. The still-to-be-titled series is set 15 years into the [...]

  • Rachel Maddow

    Four Female Journalists Will Moderate Next Democratic Debate

    Four women will moderate the next Democratic debate, slated for broadcast on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow, the primetime host; Andrea Mitchell, the veteran foreign correspondent; Kristen Welker, the NBC News White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a Washington Post White House reporter, will moderate the event, MSNBC said Wednesday. The broadcast is slated for November 20. [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    Megan Clarken, Key Nielsen Executive, Will Depart Company (EXCLUSIVE)

    Megan Clarken, a Nielsen executive who has been instrumental in the company’s quest to keep tabs on consumers in the many new ways they have to watch TV, is leaving the measurement giant. “After 15 years at Nielsen, Megan Clarken will be leaving at the end of the month to take on a new position [...]

  • James Murdoch

    James Murdoch on 'Succession,' Pete Buttigieg and Climate Change

    James Murdoch doesn’t watch Fox News and he doesn’t watch “Succession.” “There are some shows that you just know you’re never going to watch,” the youngest son of media mogul and Fox Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch told Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones on Wednesday, alluding to to the HBO series centered on a family-run media [...]

  • Freddie Prinze Jr First Impressions

    Freddie Prinze Jr. Joins ‘Punky Brewster’ Sequel Pilot at NBCU’s Peacock Streamer

    Freddie Prinze Jr. is joining another pilot, this time at NBCUniversal’s forthcoming Peacock streaming service. He will play a recurring role in the “Punky Brewster” sequel pilot which was ordered when the Peacock unfurled its slate of feathers back in September. Prinze Jr. was a part of the pilot for the CW’s “Nancy Drew” earlier [...]

  • Traci Blackwell

    BET Names Traci Lynn Blackwell Head of Scripted

    Traci Lynn Blackwell has joined BET has head of scripted programming. Blackwell joins BET from the CW, where she was senior VP, current programming. As executive VP, scripted programming, Blackwell will lead all originals efforts for BET Networks’ linear channels and streaming service BET Plus. She will report to BET Networks president Scott Mills. “Traci [...]

  • Ted Sarandos Netflix

    Ted Sarandos: Netflix Is Why 'Friends,' 'The Office' Remain So Popular

    In an onstage conversation with Katie Couric at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos waved away concerns over the streaming service’s upcoming loss of “Friends” and “The Office,” instead focusing on the company’s push in original programming and its international content growth. “One of the reasons ‘Friends’ and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content