Lester Holt: Despite 'awkward' situation, he and Brian Williams are still friends

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Lester Holt to Become Permanent 'Nightly News' Anchor

(NYMag) -- On Monday night Lester Holt made his debut as permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, and he marked the occasion by talking with just about every news outlet, from the Wall Street Journal to Adweek to People. In his first comments on the scandal that made him the first African American solo anchor on a major network's evening news broadcast, Holt revealed that he "wasn't being told anything" while he was filling in for Brian Williams over the past four months. "For lack of a better term, there was a 'firewall' between me and all that. I accepted that my role was to fill in for six months, and there were never any discussions [with NBC executives] about where or what this all might lead to — so I tried to keep my head down," Holt told the Daily News. "There were times that I tried not to read anything that was written about this whole situation, so of course I read everything," he added. "At some point I didn't know what to believe, but ultimately it kept coming back to keeping my head focused on the broadcast."

The strategy paid off: the show's ratings have held steady, and before heading to Europe for vacation last week Holt was told that Williams was heading to MSNBC, and Nightly News was his.

30 PHOTOS
Lester Holt - NBC News
See Gallery
Lester Holt: Despite 'awkward' situation, he and Brian Williams are still friends
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2014 file photo, Lester Holt attends the New York premiere of "Nightcrawler" in New York. Holt's first report card as NBC's choice to fill in for suspended anchor Brian Williams as "Nightly News" anchor found him maintaining the network's ratings lead, although the competition has tightened. The understated understudy has worked without a break since Williams took himself off the newscast on Feb. 7 and was suspended for six months by NBC News on Feb. 10. The network continues to investigate Williams for misrepresenting his experiences as a journalist. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Lester Holt, left, and Al Roker dress as The Blues Brothers from Saturday Night Live during a Halloween episode of NBC's "Today" show on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Lester Holt attends the 20th anniversary of The Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- 'October Surprise' Episode 1506 -- Pictured: Lester Holt as himself -- (Photo by: Michael Parmelee/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
"Today" show co-hosts Lester Holt and Natalie Morales attend the 20th anniversary of The Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Peter Alexander, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Lester Holt, Al Roker, Julia Sweeney, Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Jenna Bush Hager, Meredith Vieira, Hoda Kotb, and Kathie Lee Gifford appear on the 'Today' show on Thursday, October 31, 2014 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Lester Holt and Al Roker appear on the 'Today' show on Thursday, October 31, 2014 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 0036 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lester Holt and Seth Meyers during the 'Forced Friends' skit on April 24, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 22: (BROADCAST-OUT) (L-R) Jordan Malone, Eddy Alvarez, J.R. Celski and Chris Creveling of the USA Speed Skating team pose with Lester Holt on the set of the NBC TODAY Show during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 22, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 22: (BROADCAST-OUT) Julie Chu of the USA Women's Hockey team speaks with Lester Holt on the set of the NBC TODAY Show wearing the Ralph Lauren outfits to be worn at the Closing Ceremonies during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 22, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: (Exclusive Coverage) Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett speak to Lester Holt onstage at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts on June 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Todd English, Savannah Guthrie and Lester Holt appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
From left, Jeff Zucker, Natalie Morales, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Meredith Vieira, Al Roker, Jim Bell, Ann Curry and Lester Holt attend the 20th anniversary of The Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank is interviewed on the NBC "Today" television program by Lester Holt, in New York Thursday Dec. 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)**EXCLUSIVE**
** ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, APRIL 28 ** News anchor Lester Holt works on the MSNBC set in Secaucus, N.J., April 15, 2003. Holt, who was MSNBC's chief Iraq war anchor, is a star on the rise at NBC News. (AP Photo/Brian Branch-Price)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: NBC journalist Lester Holt attends NBC's 'Grimm' press line during Comic-Con International 2013 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel on July 20, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Lester Holt and Richard Engel appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Savannah Guthrie and Lester Holt appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4408 -- Pictured: News anchor Lester Holt during an interview on February 13, 2013 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) NBC News' Lester Holt, Natalie Morales, E!'s Jason Kennedy, NBC News' Dylan Dreyer and Erica Hill appear on NBC News' 'Today' show on March 22, 2013 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie and Lester Holt appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Martha Stewart and Lester Holt appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Savannah Guthrie and Lester Holt appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Jane Pauley, Lester Holt and Ann Curry appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Matt Lauer, Jane Pauley, Lester Holt and Ann Curry appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Ann Curry and Lester Holt appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Amy Robach and Lester Holt appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Lester Holt appears on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 09: NBC Weekend Nightly News anchor Lester Holt speaks onstage at the 49th USO Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner to Honor Military Heroes and Volunteers at 583 Park Avenue on December 9, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for USO of Metropolitan New York)
TODAY -- Pictured: Lester Holt appears on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Holt said he exchanged a few emails with Williams during his suspension, and the two finally had a face-to-face meeting last Thursday, as Williams embarked on his "apology tour." "It was a conversation that we both had been craving but didn't know how to initiate," Holt said. "The bottom line is that we expressed our friendship to each other. We acknowledged that while some might see this as awkward, nothing that has transpired was between the two of us. We are friends and the best way to characterize it is that Brian and I are good." He told the New York Times he "had no issues" with Williams staying at the network, saying, "From the very beginning of this, I told myself that I am not his judge."

But he is planning to make some changes to the role of Nightly News anchor. While Holt has played bass with the Roots on the Tonight show and dressed up as a Blues Brother with Al Roker, according to The Times, he's "not expected to become a regular on the entertainment circuit," the site of many of Williams' exaggerations. Hopefully Matt Lauer knows how to slow jam the news.

More on AOL.com:
Italy makes the world's longest pizza
Ryan Gosling stands up for chickens in letter to Costco
Brady appeal begins at NFL headquarters
Read Full Story

People are Reading