Lester Holt reveals private conversation he had with Brian Williams

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As the new permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt made history on Monday by becoming the first African-American to solo anchor a nightly news broadcast, and he told ET that he has his predecessor in his corner.

NEWS: See Lester Holt's First Promo as Nightly News Anchor

"[Brian Williams and I] talked and we both acknowledged that we wished we could have talked earlier," Lester said. "We both said, 'Whatever's happened here, it's never been about us -- our friendship.' You could feel, it was this tension, like, 'Oh my goodness, I was feeling this way.' He's been so gracious during what's obviously been a difficult time -- expressing his support to me privately and publicly. I just let him know that I'm happy he remains with the organization. He says he's here to help me, whatever I need, and I deeply appreciate it."

Williams was forced to give up the coveted anchor chair when he was suspended for misrepresenting his time spent covering the war in Iraq. While the change was made under unfortunate circumstances, Holt is looking at the silver lining.

"I never define my career by my race, but I think it's important that this broadcast all the broadcasts we do on this network reflects our audience," Lester said. "People should be able to turn on the TV and see people that look like them or someone they know."

Holt, 56, has spent the past three decades in broadcast journalism, rising through the ranks while taking local jobs in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Chicago before coming to MSNBC and eventually NBC.

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Lester Holt reveals private conversation he had with Brian Williams
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 -- 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)
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)
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