After signing off Tuesday’s Nightly News, NBC’s Lester Holt dashed over to the west side of Manhattan to celebrate with his “other” NBC family: the team from Dateline, which was feted at a 25th anniversary party
If Holt is at all nervous about moderating the first general election presidential debate Monday, he wasn’t showing it last night. After welcoming the crowd, which included Dateline producers and correspondents Keith Morrison, Andrea Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, and Dennis Murphy, Holt and his band, the 30 Rockers, played a set for the crowd, with Holt on bass.
Dateline senior ep David Corvo joked that, because Dateline was the most-watched newsmagazine in the younger demos last season, his bosses, NBC News chairman Andy Lack and NBC News president Deborah Turness, who were also in attendance, splurged on the party, hosting it at the at the rooftop Press Lounge, overlooking the Hudson River, rather than at a basement bar near 30 Rock.
Others NBC Newsers we spotted included Kate Snow, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Hallie Jackson, Kasie Hunt, and Peter Alexander. Also D.C. bureau chief, and former Dateline associate producer Ken Strickland, NBC News SVP Janelle Rodriguez, Dateline ep Liz Cole, and former Dateline ep and NBC News president Neil Shapiro. Not in attendance, former Dateline anchors Stone Phillips, Jane Pauley or Ann Curry.
One of the busiest reporters in network TV news, Holt also sprang into action Saturday night when a bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. “We were walking home from dinner and we said, ‘uh oh'” Holt told us. The Nightly News and Dateline anchor rushed to the scene on 23rd St. and started reporting. “Because of the technology and my smartphone, I was able to shoot video, feed it back, go live. In the past, I would have had to wait for a crew,” Holt said. He remained on the scene for much of Saturday night covering news conferences and talking to eyewitnesses.
But back to the party, where Holt told us it’s important to find a diversion from so much of the gloom and doom. And for Holt, that’s the base. The 30 Rockers performed three songs including Always Alright by Alabama Shakes (with a bass solo from Holt), Jane by Jefferson Starship, and an encore of Lonely is the Night by Billy Squier.
A photo booth allowed attendees take pictures with Holt’s signature vest. A special cocktail, the “25 to Life” was served. It was a mixture of Prosecco and Campari. Gift bags included gourmet popcorn and a Dateline tote bag.
— Chris Ariens (@ChrisAriens) September 20, 2016
(Photos: Jemal Countess/NBC)