Lester Holt Reveals the Private Conversation He Had With Brian Williams

by Raphael Chestang 10:04 PM PDT, June 23, 2015
Playing Lester Holt Reveals the Private Conversation He Had With Brian Williams

As the new permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt made history on Monday by becoming the first African-American to solo anchor a nightly news broadcast, and he told ET that he has his predecessor in his corner.

NEWS: See Lester Holt's First Promo as Nightly News Anchor

"[Brian Williams and I] talked and we both acknowledged that we wished we could have talked earlier," Lester said. "We both said, 'Whatever's happened here, it's never been about us -- our friendship.' You could feel, it was this tension, like, 'Oh my goodness, I was feeling this way.' He's been so gracious during what's obviously been a difficult time -- expressing his support to me privately and publicly. I just let him know that I'm happy he remains with the organization. He says he's here to help me, whatever I need, and I deeply appreciate it."

Williams was forced to give up the coveted anchor chair when he was suspended for misrepresenting his time spent covering the war in Iraq. While the change was made under unfortunate circumstances, Holt is looking at the silver lining.

"I never define my career by my race, but I think it's important that this broadcast all the broadcasts we do on this network reflects our audience," Lester said. "People should be able to turn on the TV and see people that look like them or someone they know."

Holt, 56, has spent the past three decades in broadcast journalism, rising through the ranks while taking local jobs in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Chicago before coming to MSNBC and eventually NBC.