NBC News has named Lester Holt anchor of "NBC Nightly News," replacing Brian Williams, who will join MSNBC as anchor of breaking news and special reports, the network announced Thursday.
"Lester has done outstanding work for NBC News over the last 10 years, and he's performed remarkably well over the last few months under very tough circumstances," said Andy Lack, NBC News chair, in a statement. "He's an exceptional anchor who goes straight to the heart of every story and is always able to find its most direct connection to the everyday lives of our audience. In many ways, television news stands at a crossroads, and Lester is the perfect person to meet the moment."
Holt said in a statement:
"This is an enormous honor. The respect and admiration I have for the Nightly News team has only grown deeper over the last several months that we've been together. Day in and day out under an uncomfortable spotlight they have produced world-class journalism. I'm very proud and grateful to be part of such an unflappable and dedicated team of professionals as we move forward together."
In addition, Brian Williams has offered an extensive apology for the reporting embellishment that led to his suspension four months ago:
"I'm sorry. I said things that weren't true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I'm determined to earn back their trust. I will greatly miss working with the team on Nightly News, but I know the broadcast will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor. I will support him 100% as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news. My new role will allow me to focus on important issues and events in our country and around the world, and I look forward to it."
NBC also addressed the internal report it launched on Williams' reporting, confirming that "a number" of instances had been found: "The extensive review found that Williams made a number of inaccurate statements about his own role and experiences covering events in the field. The statements in question did not for the most part occur on NBC News platforms or in the immediate aftermath of the news events, but rather on late-night programs and during public appearances, usually years after the news events in question in which he had made inaccuracies."