The talk is all about Brian Williams. He is suspended for six months. If Lester Holt holds the ratings or even increases them, Williams is probably suspended forever. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
I don’t care, one way or the other. I have never watched the evening news on a regular basis. Cronkite, Rather, Huntley, Brinkley, or even Swayze: I always preferred to read a newspaper. Today, I read the Web and clip stories on Evernote.
I don’t want to talk about Williams. He is old news. I want to talk about Holt.
Lester Holt is a better newscaster. He doesn’t trip over his tongue the way that Williams occasionally did and Brokaw did on a regular basis. (As a local L.A. newscaster, Brokaw didn’t, as I recall. I did watch his local news show in the mid-1970’s.) He looks and sounds like a professional who is there to inform the audience, not entertain it. This may be a liability these days. I prefer it.
He served his time in the trenches. He slowly broadened his field to include the weekend Today Show. I preferred him to Matt Lauer. He is not a flaming liberal. Lauer is. Holt kept politics
out of his patter.
Holt is steady Eddie. He does his job as well as anyone can, technically speaking. The phrase, “gets the job done,” applies to him. He is competent. He is not visibly an entertainer. That is appropriate for a news anchor.
He paid his dues. Then, without warning, he got his shot at the pinnacle: the top-rated evening news show.
He is not seen as a man scheming in the background to get the top dog’s job. He just did what he was told to do, and he did it well.
This is 42nd Street. We love the story: the understudy who does the job, does it well, gets no credit, and who becomes a star when the star breaks a leg.
“Break a leg,” they say in the world of theater. Williams broke his leg.
I hope Holt does well. I hope the ratings stay up. But even if they don’t, and even if Williams returns in six months, I’m rooting for Holt. I liked 42nd Street. It’s the story of hard work that finally pays off, big time.
It’s the American dream.