I was watching the “Today” show last week and Ann Curry mentioned that Lester Holt had been chosen as the new host of “Dateline” on NBC.
Okay, let’s set aside, for the moment, that I didn’t know that NBC was still showing “Dateline.” It was only a few years ago that the network was airing the magazine show six or seven or possibly eight times a week. But I haven’t noticed it lately.
But I’m totally not surprised that Lester Holt is going to anchor the show.
Holt very possibly anchors more hours of network TV each week than any other living being.
Before the “Dateline” gig, Holt was already hosting the weekend editions of “Today.” Two hours (only one hour on the Indy affiliate) Saturday and Sunday mornings.
He’s also the anchor of “NBC Nightly News” on Saturdays and Sundays.
That means that Holt, a fixture on NBC and MSNBC since 2000, finishes with the “Today” show and then comes back 10 or so hours later to host “Nightly News.”
It’s no secret that the hours suck in journalism. Weekend hours are among the suckiest. But does anybody have suckier hours than Lester? I mean, does NBC give him a cot to nap on between morning and evening shifts at least?
That doesn’t even count all the times Holt guest-anchors on “Today” or “Nightly News” during the week while Matt Lauer and Brian Williams go kayaking or whatever the heck TV news anchors do.
And now “Dateline.”
I don’t think Lester would be quite so appealing, however, if he didn’t seem like such a nice guy. TV thrives on warm personalities. It’s possible for viewers to watch and enjoy an aloof jerk, but I think bad attitudes and star-tripping egos are ultimately obvious.
Lester never gives off that vibe.
And what’s more, he doesn’t even seem frazzled or tired, no matter how sucky his work hours.
I’m not sure even Lester can get me to watch “Dateline,” but I’m glad he’s there.