Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lester Holt's Prime Time Audition

This is a damn shame....For a long time I didn't know that Lester Holt was Black....Nothing that he did wrong..It's just that when I was watching him on Television he seemed so light that he might go either way...
Now I know that he is black...

I also know that in wake of the Brian Williams debacle....Lester Holt by default has become the face of NBC Nightly News...

Lester is the man on the spot..He is sitting in the anchor chair of "NBC Nightly News" for the next six months after the suspension of anchor and managing editor Brian Williams.Lester Holt will initially be working seven days a week, an NBC official told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

Lester Holt, is the all-purpose substitute at NBC News, will continue this week to anchor "Dateline" on Friday, and anchor both "Weekend Today" and the weekend "NBC Nightly News,"(Get it Les!) the official, who (naturally) did not want to be further identified, said by telephone. Lester Holt's workload henceforth has yet to be determined, the official said.

Lester Holt told "Nightly News" viewers Wednesday what most already knew....

About halfway through the broadcast, Holt followed a piece about snow in Boston by saying, ''Now to the story many of you are talking about tonight and one that not only hits close to home but in our home,'' Holt said, Matt Wilstein reported for Mediaite. "He went on to announce Brian Williams' suspension and read statements from NBC News president Deborah Turness and NBC Universal Chairman Steve Burke, before offering some thoughts of his own.

" 'If I may, on a personal note say, it's an enormously difficult story to report,' 'Holt said. ''Brian is a member of our family, but so are you, our viewers. We will work every night to be worthy of your trust.' "
Wilstein continued, Williams' "supposedly temporary departure from the anchor desk has left Holt with an 'enormously difficult' task. He has not been named as Williams' permanent replacement, but is being tasked with restoring the trust the long-time anchor squandered for NBC News with his actions. . . ."

Lester Holt was initially ignored in the first wave of coverage during the Brian Williams scandal, in which Brian Williams admitted exaggerating his role in a helicopter incident in Iraq. Media writers and watchers began to assess him as it became apparent that he would be sitting in the anchor chair of the most highly rated evening news program for six months — and maybe longer.

"Consider the next six months an audition for Lester Holt, the weekend anchor who will now substitute for Williams in his absence,' " Politico's Dylan Byers wrote Tuesday night, after the announcement of Brian Williams' suspension. "Meanwhile, the execs at Comcast/NBC will be hard at work considering an alternative replacement if Holt can't sustain the ratings. Possible anchors include both Today show co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. . . ."
David Bauder, media writer for the Associated Press, agreed Wednesday that viewership will be key. "With 'Nightly News' atop the ratings for almost all of Williams' decade-long tenure as its lead anchor — and back into the 1990s with Tom Brokaw — Lester Holt will be watched closely to see if he can maintain that lead," Bauder wrote. "If he can, that may lessen NBC's desire to bring back a more costly anchor with doubts cast on his trustworthiness."

African Americans and other people of color have a special interest in rooting for Holt. He would be the first African American in the weekday chair on a permanent basis since the late Max Robinson sat as one of three co-anchors at ABC from 1978 to 1983.

"NBC made a wise decision making Lester Holt the anchor of the nightly news," Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, told Journal-isms by email on Wednesday. "I have known Lester for most of my professional career. He is a solid professional with tremendous skills. I am very pleased that Lester is getting this promotion. I know it may only be temporary but no one is more deserving."

If African Americans speak up for Lester Holt and win, it wouldn't be the first time. "Chicago viewers may recall Holt from his 14-year run as news anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2," Chicago television writer Robert Feder recalled for readers (accessible via search engine). "His hiring there in 1986 was part of a settlement with Operation PUSH that ended a 10-month black viewer boycott triggered by the demotion of Harry Porterfield, then the station' only black anchor. Holt left CBS 2 to join MSNBC in 2000. . . ."
Critics on the media beat have been muted in their discussions of Lester Holt's prospects.
David Hinckley wrote Monday in the Daily News of New York:

"Lester Holt has played many roles for NBC News this century, but nothing anywhere near as big as the one he tackles Monday night: trying to keep the 'NBC Nightly News' competitive and credible until the Brian Williams firestorm and jokes subside.

"Holt's primary task is to reassure viewers that NBC News, the organization, has separated itself from the inconceivably foolish 'conflation' blunder that led Williams to say Friday he's taking himself off the air for a while.

"Based on Holt's 15 years at NBC and 18 at CBS before that, no one now at NBC is better qualified to accomplish that mission.

"He's a solid journalist, a proven big leaguer.

 Let's be for real...Brian Williams isn't coming back...He's been suspended for six months without pay...In that period...NBC and their lawyers are going to buy him out and find a way to quietly seperate themselves from him.....This is a prime time to audition Lester Holt...and get America used to him....I'm rootin for Lester!

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