When NBC decided to suspend Brian Williams in early February, it knew Lester Holt was, hands down, the best person to fill his shoes. Holt has worn a variety of hats during his 15 years with the network, is well-liked and is a consummate professional. He has not only maintained the ratings of NBC Nightly News, but he seems to have made that anchor seat much his own. He will likely be named the permanent anchor. Holt, while on location in South Carolina, even managed to get the first interview with Feidin Santana, the man who videotaped Officer Michael Slager shooting unarmed Walter Scott as he ran away.
This is the first opportunity Holt has had to report from the field since filling in for Williams, and he managed to convince Santana to quit hiding in the shadows and to instead tell the whole story of what he saw transpire between Slager and Scott.
Santana admitted his fear at coming forward, telling NBC, "I knew right away I had something on my hands. I won't deny I knew the magnitude of this, and I even thought about erasing the video. I felt that my life with this information might be in some danger. I thought about erasing the video and getting out of the community, leaving North Charleston."
Apparently, Santana now feels that being in the spotlight a bit might actually provide him with more protection than if he hid his identity. Now if something were to happen to him, the whole country would know of it. As for Holt, his hard work is certainly not going unnoticed by NBC News chief Andy Lack. While it was originally believed that Lack had returned to the network primarily to help bring back Williams, Holt may end up doing far too good of a job to justify even trying to bring the shamed anchor back.
If it is working, you do not try to fix something, especially if that fixing would mean a ratings drop and bringing back Williams would certainly cause that, at least initially.
Has Holt won you over as well? Do you think he should be named the permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.