The debate, shown on NBC News networks, will unfold over two nights in Miami on June 26 and June 27. For each night, Holt will anchor the first hour, where he’ll be joined by Savannah Guthrie of Today show and Jose Diaz-Balart of Telemundo. The second hour will feature MSNBC opinion host Rachel Maddow and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd.
President Donald Trump set aside his complaints about tech companies and foreign leaders, at least for the moment, to return to his comfort zone of blasting the TV news business. In three morning tweets the president said the “hatred and extreme bias of me by @CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function.” He also ripped into NBC News, anchor Lester Holt and president Andy Lack.
Lester Holt, 58, exudes an aura of calm on the set, so much so that it’s surprising to hear him talk candidly about how tough it was to replace Brian Williams as NBC News’ chief anchor. Two years removed from that drama, he’s in a tight battle for supremacy with ABC’s David Muir for viewers and advertising dollars in the dinner hour.
The anchor of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt will be honored for a lifetime of achievement and service to the profession of electronic journalism at the Excellence in Journalism 2017 conference on Sept. 8.
ABC’s David Muir, CBS’s Scott Pelley and NBC’s Lester Holt sat down last week in New York with Variety for a candid conversation about the news business. Among their observations: Pelley: “Our job is unchanged. Find the facts, present the truth, let the audience know what our process is.” Muir: “I think one of the challenges we’re facing right now is that what the president says is often different from what his staff members will tell us.” Holt: “Sometimes I think about our short attention spans these days, it’s like the evening news shows were kind of ahead of their game. Now, 30 minutes is actually a pretty good time.”
Lester Holt asked questions about job creation and home-grown terrorism in Monday’s first debate, and also hit on specific issues regarding the birther controversy, Trump’s decision not to release his tax returns and Clinton’s email scandal. The sole journalist onstage, Holt was responsible for the questions asked and for steering the conversation.
News outlets and fact-checking sites can separate truth from fable after a debate, but it falls to the moderator to interject in the moment when a candidate lies.
Dylan Byers: “On Monday, the NBC Nightly News anchor will preside over what may be the most highly anticipated presidential debate in American history. If Holt does anything less than a perfect job, he will likely be pilloried like Matt Lauer and the CNBC anchors before him. But if he gives a command performance, he will, at least for a moment, be a national icon.”
NBC’s Lester Holt will moderate the first scheduled presidential debate on Sept. 26. ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper are doing the second and Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace the third.