All eyes will be on NBC Nightly News tonight — NBC hopes — as Today co-host Savannah Guthrie fills in for Lester Holt, who in turn is the news division’s sub for suspended Brian Williams. Holt is dealing with a family medical emergency. Guthrie is pulling double duty to fill in tonight; she will be back on Today, tomorrow. It’s unclear when Holt will return.
Tonight’s gig passes for big news because, as NBC News began investigating Williams’ possible puff-up-ery of his experience on assignment for the network, one of the widely circulating reports had Guthrie replacing Williams, should he not return at the end of his suspension. That, in turn, would free Today producers to move Hoda Kotb to the franchise’s earlier hours with Matt Lauer, as they try to figure how to jump-start that show’s ratings, which continue to trail ABC’s Good Morning America. Earlier this year, Guthrie signed a new deal to stick with Today, for three more years according to some insiders.
But, these days, Holt is considered the frontrunner to take over for Williams at the anchor desk, should Williams not return. Holt has subbed for Williams at the anchor desk since even before NBC News officially suspended Williams last month – and, impressively, has hung on to Nightly News’ numbers.