Shepard Smith set to fill in for Lester Holt on ‘NBC Nightly News’

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

CNBC anchor Shepard Smith is scheduled to fill in on “NBC Nightly News” Friday, March 18, 2022.

Smith, who currently anchors “The News with Shepard Smith” at 7 p.m. eastern, is scheduled to fill in for Lester Holt, who is slated to be out.

Smith will also anchor “The News” from the “Nightly” studio immediately following the 30 minute newscast that starts at 6:30 p.m.

It’s not immediately clear if Smith will become a regular fill-in for Holt, a roster of other NBC talent that includes “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, White House correspondents and weekend “Today” co-anchors Kristen Welker and Peter Alexander, weekend “Nightly” anchor Kate Snow and “Top Story”  anchor Tom Llamas.

In the past, many network anchors had a primary fill in anchor, who would typically be first in line to appear if they were on vacation or on assignment.

For example, Brian Williams typically would fill in for Tom Brokaw when the former was still anchor of “Nightly.”

During much of that time, Williams was primary anchor of “The News with Brian Williams” on MSNBC. “The News,” which happens to share a name with Smith’s broadcast but are separated by the span of years, was normally produced out of then MSNBC headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey, which was also home to many of NBC News’ core network newsgathering operations.

On nights when Williams filled in for Brokaw, however, “The News” was typically produced from New York’s Rockefeller Center, where the “Nightly” set is.

Primary network anchors also often have the right to approve or veto their fill-ins, though it’s not clear if Holt’s contact has such a provision.

Smith appears to be the second openly gay man to anchor a “big three” network newscast and likely the first to hold down the chair on a weekday edition.

Back in 2015, Thomas Roberts made history when he anchored a Saturday edition of “Nightly.”

“Nightly” weekend editions are now anchored by Snow on Sundays and Jose Diaz-Balart on Saturdays. The two often fill in for each other — as do other names from across NBC News.