NBC's Holt doubles up on weekends


NEW YORK -- It's going to be a long weekend every weekend for NBC's Lester Holt.

Holt on Wednesday was named to anchor the weekend editions of the "NBC Nightly News," a job he'll do along with co-anchoring, with Campbell Brown, the network's weekend "Today" shows. He replaces John Siegenthaler, whose contract wasn't renewed earlier this year.

Not that Holt is complaining about his even busier Saturdays and Sundays. He's "pleased as punch" that the network brass approached him to anchor the editions, which he has been anchoring temporarily in the weeks since Siegenthaler's last day.

"It sounds long on paper, and that's only because it really is," joked Holt, who said in an interview that there will be plenty of time for a break in-between the broadcasts.

"I gave it a bit of thought (after being approached), but not a lot because it seemed like a logical fit," Holt said. "My roots are in this business doing hard news as a local anchor and at NBC News, and I'm also doing the 'Today' show. This allows me to stretch my muscles in both directions."

Holt says the two jobs couldn't be more different, least of all because of the time involved.

"The first thing you have to get used to is, wow, that 30 minutes went really fast," Holt said of the "NBC Nightly News." "On the 'Today' show, I'm only warming up in 30 minutes." He said both opportunities are exciting, fun and, contrary to conventional wisdom in the news business that nothing ever happens on the weekends, it's been pretty busy in recent months with the execution of Saddam Hussein and, this past weekend, the killer tornadoes in Texas.

Holt also will contribute occasionally as a reporter and fill-in anchor on the weekday "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams," plus "Today" and MSNBC, where he used to anchor the daily "Lester Holt Live." He'll also continue to host "Headliners and Legends" on MSNBC. Holt joined NBC and MSNBC from WBBM-TV Chicago, where he was an anchor and reporter for 14 years. He worked at WCBS-TV New York and KCBS-TV Los Angeles as well.