Lester Holt has been leading the broadcast at NBC Nightly News for four months, but Monday felt like a new beginning as he prepared for his first show as the permanent anchor.
"Last night I found myself laying clothes out like it was the first day of school,'' Holt joked on TODAY Monday. "It was a strong broadcast when I started filling in for it, and I think we'll continue to build off our success. It's a great group of people who have kept their heads down during tough times and continue to crank out a good broadcast, so I'm just happy to be the new steward of it."
On June 18, NBC named Holt as the permanent replacement for former Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Williams, who was suspended in February, will join MSNBC in August as an anchor of breaking news and special reports.
Holt has also been the anchor of Dateline and has anchored Weekend TODAY for the past 12 years, so his new position will mean the return of something that's long been missing from his routine: weekends.
"It's been very odd because my wife and I kind of really embrace Monday and Tuesdays,'' he said.
"It will be really nice to be able to sleep in on a Saturday and Sunday,'' said his wife, Carol, who surprised him Monday by joining him on TODAY.
Holt was also joined in studio by his son Cameron and via satellite by his other son Stefan, who is the morning news anchor at NBC's Chicago affiliate. The two previously shared a heartwarming moment in March when Stefan filled in on WMAQ's nightly broadcast and threw the show to his dad.
"It's funny looking at Stefan because if you asked me a few months ago which Holt would some day be a network news anchor of the nightly show, I would've thought Stefan,'' Lester said.
The Holts were on a family vacation last week when they got the news about Lester getting the Nightly News job permanently.
"As you know, what we do sometimes takes a lot of time away from family,'' he said. "We've got to answer that bell when it rings, and they've been by me, and my strength and my rock, and they've been very supportive in this period of uncertainty."
"I've been watching Nightly News ever since I was a little kid, and I never thought my dad would be anchor, so I'm so proud of him right now,'' Cameron said.