NBC Nightly News held its lead over rival networks’ evening newscasts in the first week since Brian Williams left his anchor chair. Even though it was a narrower ratings win than NBC has come to expect, it’s fair to say that we are in the initial stages of Holt-mania. Longtime NBC News utility player Lester Holt has helmed the nightly broadcast since Brian Williams was excused from his desk for conflating helicopters, and Variety reports that America is swooning for Holt’s calm demeanor, measured disposition, and even keel. NBC notched a win in total viewer—9.430 million, with second-place ABC 400,000 viewers behind—and Holt’s first week also won the “news demographic” of 25- to 54-year-olds, which is important to advertisers that sell erection pills (and therefore dictate the course of our news media, as in all utopian societies).
Sure, the NBC Nightly News total viewership numbers were down about 700,000 from the last week of shows anchored by “Dissemblin’ Brian” Williams. But that’s almost certainly because novice Holt viewers—unaccustomed to the raw sex appeal of Lester Holt, Newsman—were forced to change the channel lest they be overwhelmed with excitement. It’s hard to pin down one single factor that makes Holt the “it” boy of TV news right now. It could be his reserved persona, his quiet professionalism, or the fact that he does not invent screenplay versions of his reporting career and pass them off as the truth. Hallucinating Katrina corpses is out; reading the teleprompter with prudent dignity is in!
There’s still no decision from NBC on whether Williams will ever return to the Nightly News anchor chair, or if the network will stick with Holt if Williams doesn’t come back. But this much is for sure: Holt-apalooza 2015 is a freight train of pants-tightening delirium the likes of which network news has not seen since the 1960s, when Chet Huntley was inflaming libidos nationwide with his eminent serviceability.