NBCU News Group Turning Nightly News’ Inspiring America Series Into Division-Wide Franchise

By Mollie Cahillane 

Five years ago, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt debuted the series Inspiring America. Now, after an exceptionally trying year, the NBCUniversal News Group is turning it into an annual primetime event across multiple networks and platforms.

The new franchise kicks off with Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List, honoring influential people who have made an impact over the last year. It will debut on Saturday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and Telemundo, and encore presentations will air on May 2 on CNBC at 3 p.m. and MSNBC at 10 p.m. The telecast will also stream on NBC News Now, at 9 p.m. on May 2, and will be available to stream on Peacock.

Holt is teaming with Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb to co-host the event. Anchors and journalists from NBC News, Noticias Telemundo, MSNBC and CNBC—including José Díaz-Balart, Craig Melvin, Vicky Nguyen and Shepard Smith—will interview honorees during the hour.


The inaugural honoree list includes songwriter, actor and director Lin-Manuel Miranda, Nascar driver Bubba Wallace, Spurs assistant coach and the first woman to lead an NBA team as acting head coach Becky Hammon, World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés and Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot.

“As we all begin to heal after an enormously challenging year, it’s important that we find ways to connect with and inspire one another. That is the very foundation of Inspiring America and why it has resonated as a popular signature series on Nightly News,” said NBCUniversal news group chairman Cesar Conde in a statement.

In the week leading up to the event, NBCUniversal’s flagship shows and platforms will focus on Inspiring America stories, most of which will be featured on a new NBCNews.com digital destination.

The virtual event will eventually become an annual, live in-person event with brand extensions under the new division-wide franchise.