*It’s been two years since Lester Holt suddenly found himself taking over for Brian Williams as permanent anchor of the “NBC Nightly News,” and the veteran newsman is calling the experience “an extraordinary challenge.”
Holt was serving as the show’s weekend anchor when Williams was found to have lied about his role in covering certain news stories, and eventually banished to MSNBC.
Holt spoke to the AP’s David Bauder about how he has evolved over the two years in the permanent anchor’s chair.
“It was all of this ‘make it your own’ and ‘you’re the guy at the helm’ and ‘act like you own it,’” Holt recalled. “That’s easy for people to say. But under the circumstances, you’re inheriting a successful broadcast, you’re working with a staff that has taken an emotional hit and there’s this whole confidence thing. I’ve always been confident in my abilities, but this was an extraordinary challenge. All these things were coming together and, oh, by the way, you want to maintain the ratings. I’d never been under that kind of pressure before.”
Holt initially kept ratings for “NBC Nightly News” in tact, leading the show to an across-the-board victory in 2016. But the newscast has seen its dominance slip away, with ABC’s “World News Tonight” currently holding a slight lead in average overall audience this 2016/2017 season to-date, according to Adweek:
That being said, NBC remains No. 1 in the evenings among the demographic that matters most to advertisers: Adults 25-54. In fact, “NBC Nightly News” has won the demo all 24 months that Holt has been in the chair.