At 63 years old, Lester Holt has this physical status:
Holt spent 19 years with CBS, as a reporter, anchor, and international correspondent.
In 1981, he was hired as a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York City. In 1982, he became a reporter and weekend anchor on KNXT in Los Angeles, and the next year he returned because to WCBS-TV as a reporter and weekend anchor. In 1986, Holt moved to WBBM-TV in Chicago, where he spent 14 years anchoring the evening news. Holt not only worked at the anchor desk but also reported extensively from troubled spots around the world, including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Somalia, El Salvador and Haiti.
Holt joined MSNBC in 2000. In 2003, he assumed full-time duties at NBC News, where he became a substitute anchor for NBC Nightly News and Today. Holt became a full-time co-anchor of Weekend Today following the death of previous co-anchor David Bloom. Until late 2005, he also anchored a two-hour daily newscast on MSNBC. On May 9, 2007, Holt was named anchor of the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News, anchoring the show for eight years before replacing Brian Williams as permanent anchor of the weekday edition. Additionally, Holt is the current host for NBC's Dateline. He moderated a presidential debate in 2016, and interviewed President Donald Trump in 2017, where fellow journalists said that he asked tough but appropriate questions.
In addition to his primary responsibilities at NBC News, he hosted a special for The History Channel about the 9/11 conspiracy theories, served as a sportsdesk reporter for NBC Sports coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and is the host of Dateline on ID, an edition of Dateline NBC shown on the Investigation Discovery network. In 2008, he narrated a documentary regarding actual crystal skulls on the Sci-Fi Channel.
When Brian Williams took medical leave in 2013 for knee replacement surgery, Holt filled in as weekday anchor. In 2015, Williams was suspended for reportedly exaggerating a story about the Iraq War, and Holt permanently replaced him as NBC Nightly News anchor.
Holt moderated the Democratic presidential candidates' debate in January 2016, alongside a panel of NBC political reporters, as well as the first presidential debate on September 26, 2016. Presidential candidate Donald Trump said that this was "a very unfair system" because "Lester is a Democrat". Holt was at the time a registered Republican. However in 2018, he changed his party affiliation to independent. After the debate, Donald Trump said that Holt did "a good job." Journalists also said that Holt performed admirably; for example he challenged Trump when Trump said that he originally opposed the war in Iraq, which was proven to be a false statement. The Washington Post said "Kudos to Holt" for making it clear that stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, when Trump said it wasn't.
In May 2017, when Holt interviewed President Trump, they discussed Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey. Holt's interview with Trump resulted in extensive media coverage.
Holt has made cameo appearances in the 1993 film The Fugitive; its 1998 sequel U.S. Marshals; and Primal Fear (1996); as well as on television shows, including playing himself in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; the episode "Red, White, or Blue" of the series Due South; "Fate" of Early Edition and "A New Hope" of Warehouse 13. He appeared on the episode "Cleveland" of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He also did a voice-over in the episode "Sandwich Day," announcing that Jack Donaghy would be a new cabinet member in the Bush administration. Holt announced the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the USA Network, and was featured in Making Music magazine. He also hosted the 2008 Sci-Fi Channel documentary Mystery of the Crystal Skulls. On May 31, 2020, Holt delivered a virtual commencement speech for the 254th graduating class of Rutgers University due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 1990: Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his work on CBS's 48 Hours: No Place Like Home .
- 2012: Honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine University
- 2015: Honorary Doctorate from California State University, Sacramento
- 2015: Inducted into the California Hall of Fame on October 28, 2015
- 2016: Alan B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year from Montclair State University
- 2016: NABJ Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists
- 2019: Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism
- 2020: Honorary Doctorate from Rutgers University