Lester Holt spent 19 years with CBS beginning in 1981, when he was hired as a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York City. In 1982, he became a reporter and weekend anchor on KNXT in Los Angeles, and the next year he returned to WCBS-TV as a reporter and weekend anchor. In 1986, Holt moved to WBBM-TV in Chicago where he spent 14 years anchoring the evening news. Holt not only worked at the anchor desk, but also reported extensively from troubled spots around the world including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Somalia, El Salvador and Haiti.
Holt joined MSNBC in 2000. In August 2005, he assumed full-time duties at NBC News, where he became a substitute anchor for NBC Nightly News and Today. Holt became a full-time co-anchor of Weekend Today following the untimely death of previous co-anchor David Bloom. Until late 2005, he also anchored a 2-hour daily newscast on MSNBC. On May 9, 2007, Holt was named anchor of the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News, succeeding John Seigenthaler. He also is a current host for NBC's Dateline.
Holt is of Jamaican descent. His maternal grandfather is half white, half Indian. The remainder of his ancestors were black. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, Carol. They have two sons, Stefan and Cameron.