In Profile: Lester Holt, Greg Gutfeld, Ari Melber

By Mark Mwachiro 

Three TV news personalities are getting the profile treatment this week.

TVNewser founder and former CNN media anchor Brian Stelter interviews NBC News’ Lester Holt for the latest issue of Esquire. Holt appears in the magazine’s What’ve I’ve Learned interview series, which offers the subject a chance to impart wisdom using their own words.

Here’s a sampling…


You can’t hammer people for half an hour with nothing but dark, difficult stories. You have to find a balance: Give them something hopeful, give them something to smile about while making sure we hit the big stories of the day.

The hardest job I’ve had is cable news anchor. I did twenty years of local television and radio, but when I got to MSNBC, I was drinking from a fire hose. Ad-libbing. Shifting topics really quickly. I thought, Man, if I can master this, I can do anything.

Yes, audiences are migrating. How people consume us, that’s going to continue to change. I have no idea how in seventy-five years. Maybe it’ll be little clouds in front of us. But Nightly News will exist.

Meanwhile, Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld is profiled by the Wall Street Journal. Gutfeld, the host of Fox News’ late-night show Gutfeld and co-host of the early-evening panel program The Five, uses comedy to tackle the biggest stories of the day and any hot-button issue.

Here’s a sampling…

Does Gutfeld want Carlson’s time slot?

“Obviously, it’s crossed my mind,” he said. “If I did 8 o’clock, I would definitely not do ‘The Five,’ and I would no longer do ‘Gutfeld!’ I would just do one show because I would prepare for that show like crazy.”

When asked if he cares about his jokes crossing the line, Gutfeld said: “I did until I realized you couldn’t really predict which ones were gonna be a problem.” He said his critics often ignore the context of his comments.

Over at MSNBC, which is seeing some of its best ratings in years, The Los Angeles Times profiled Ari Melber, anchor of The Beat with Ari Melber. The attorney-turned-news host has a rather unique fan base and is a true hip-hop connoisseur.

Here is a sampling…

Attracting viewers on digital platforms is an ongoing challenge for the traditional TV news business.

But Melber has embraced it, connecting with “MSNBC moms” — a term describing the network’s rabid core fans — around the world. He recently attended a Spanish guitarist’s performance at a club on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. After the performance, the artist approached him.

“I’m thinking, ‘Maybe he’s into the news,’” said Melber, 43, in a recent interview at his Rockefeller Plaza office. “He goes, ‘My mom in Spain watches you every day. Every morning I wake up, and there’s a new YouTube video of you from her.”’

Melber’s home was filled with books and vinyl records, which gave him a passion for music. As a teen in the 1990s, he became a rabid hip-hop fan during the genre’s golden age. An advertising poster for St. Ides Special Brew featuring Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, which Melber wrangled out of a Seattle bodega decades ago, is displayed in his Brooklyn apartment.