NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt is sorry to see Today co-anchor Tamron Hall go, but he doesn't really want to talk publicly about how the Temple graduate and trustee and Al Roker lost an hour of NBC's morning to former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Holt was in Philadelphia earlier this week to interview Kevin Upshur, founder of the Strawberry Mansion Learning Center, which will be featured on Monday in the Nightly News segment, "Inspiring America." Speaking to him about the segment and other topics by phone Thursday, I asked Holt if he'd been involved, or informed, of any of the decisions surrounding Hall's leaving.
"I was informed of [Hall's] decision" to leave, Holt said. "Stuff like that, I put it under the category of family business -- I don't talk about what I discuss around the dinner table with my family. I will say that I was certainly aware of what happened.
"I've known Tamron going back to Chicago -- we worked at different stations in Chicago. And she's a tremendously talented woman. My understanding is there were efforts to keep her, and to expand her role. That's between her and the network, and her agent, but I'm sad to see her go. I think Tamron is a tremendous talent and a really nice lady."
Asked if he was concerned about the message some might take away from two African American anchors losing their time slot to Megyn Kelly, who, among other things, made a point while on Fox News of insisting that Santa Claus was white, Holt politely demurred.
"I'm going to stay in my lane. And if it sounds like I'm avoiding the question, it's only because I'm avoiding the question," he said with a laugh.
"It's not fair of me to get into that kind of stuff. Obviously, I have a voice around here in the editorial process, and there's always and active discussion. But what goes on between management and different employees, I don't have, you know, the full story. And I don't want to get into judging co-workers, and future co-workers. I don't think that's helpful."