It’s good news for NBC considering Holt has been a prominent figure at the network for quite some time and managed to keep the show’s ratings consistent even after Williams’ departure.
But if NBC hopes to keep Holt in the Nightly News chair, they’re going to have to match the salary they were once dishing out to Williams before his lie about being inside a helicopter that got shot down in Iraq pushed him out of the public’s good graces back in February.
That’s a check that comes in at a hefty $10 million.
Holt, who has been actively sub-hosting Nightly News and The Today Show on weekends in addition to hosting Dateline NBC and taking on other additional reporting obligations, is currently getting paid $4 million a year.
It seems only right that the network would offer Holt the same salary, or at least something even remotely in the ballpark, but reports have surfaced that the network doesn’t feel like Holt has “ ‘been there’ yet.”
It comes across as the type of lackluster explanation that is given when there isn’t quite a legitimate reason not to offer a show’s new host the same salary as the old one, especially when that new host has been loyal to the network for years.
According to the Daily Mail, Holt has control of negotiations because NBC doesn’t have a reliable backup plan for what will happen if they can’t secure Holt as the show’s new permanent host.
“He’s got NBC by the balls — because there is no Plan B for them,” an insider said, as reported by the Daily Mail. “This is Lester’s chance to get paid. Lester’s team feels that if he gets half of what Williams was making, the message to him and the newsroom is he’s half the anchor Brian was.”
With Holt now emerging as a crowd favorite to take Williams’ seat, it seems like NBC may only have two options — give Holt the pay (and respect) he deserves or risk bringing on a new face that may not only put their ratings in jeopardy but could also tarnish the way the public perceives the network and the way it treats its employees.
Your move, NBC.