Holt Reports From Africa

By Chris Ariens 

NBC’s Lester Holt is just back from Africa where he gathered a series of stories, the first of which will air tomorrow night on Nightly News. The Weekend Today co-anchor and Weekend Nightly News anchor (known as iron pants in the halls of 30 Rock) will report on the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe and its effect on neighboring South Africa. Additional reports from the trip will air on Weekend Today in the coming weeks. BTW the iron pants nickname dates to 2003 and the Iraq war when Holt anchored several hours a day, for days on end, on both MSNBC and NBC. (Click continued to read the Washington Whispers column on Holt from November, 2003.)

Cable TV’s Iron Pants: Lester Holt
Paul Bedard

If it seems like MSNBC anchor Lester Holt is always on the tube, he is. “I get this a lot,” Holt tells us. “I was boarding a plane in Dallas,” he says, and the gate agent said, “Hey, you’re supposed to be working. Every time I see you, you’re working.” In fact he’s called “Iron Pants” inside NBC. “Some think,” he offers with a laugh, “it’s because I’ve got these iron tanks and I can go without bathroom breaks.” He even comes in on his vacations, once filling in on today because his plane didn’t leave until the afternoon. And you’re going to see more of him, now that he’s cut a deal to cohost NBC’s Weekend Today while keeping his afternoon cable show, Lester Holt Live. MSNBC President Erik Sorenson jokes that “his future is a lot of hours in the chair.” Holt’s the perfect anchor: lots of experience and an interest in planes and war. “The kinds of stories that put you on the air,” Sorenson says, “are war and plane crashes.” Holt thinks he’s hit the mother lode, though he adds, “I could still hit the lottery.” Nah, says Today’s Katie Couric. “Even if he won he’d keep on working.”