Lester Holt asked for ‘managing editor’ title amid Tom Llamas rivalry rumors

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Lester Holt has signed a new four year deal to stay at NBC News — and insisted on getting the title of managing editor to stave off a perceived threat from new network star Tom Llamas.

Despite being dominated in the ratings by ABC’s David Muir, NBC has signed Holt to a new long-term contract to stay as anchor of NBC Nightly News.

Meanwhile Llamas — the former host of ABC World News Tonight at the weekend – was named senior national correspondent for NBC News and will anchor a primetime newscast for NBC News Now, the network’s streaming service.

A news source told us: “It says a lot that Lester was given a new four-year deal at NBC.

“But over at ABC, Tommy [Llamas] always subbed for David [Muir] and nobody thinks he just came to NBC for a streaming show…so can you blame Lester for asking for the Managing Editor title?”

NBC News boss Noah Oppenheim announced Holt’s new title on April 16 in a note to staff, saying “There is simply no journalist held in greater esteem.”

A second source said, “Tom Llamas has a close relationship with NBC News President Cesar Conde, and he’s clearly being groomed for a big role. So Lester negotiated a bigger title to stave off the threat.” 

Brian Williams was the last managing editor at NBC News and after he was forced out staffers said the title had given him too much power and allowed him to exaggerate, as he had final editorial control of the broadcast.

Llamas also goes way back with Oppenheim, with whom he formerly worked with at MSNBC.

The first source added: “There are challenges in the ratings.  Typically, Nightly News is one of the top five shows in all of TV, but it’s still way behind ABC.

“David [Muir] overtook Lester in the last year or two in total viewers and in the key demographic.”

Llamas’ arrival at NBC comes amid a series of departures at rival ABC – including GMA senior exec producer Michael Corn earlier this month and two senior comms staffers.

A NBC source pointed out that Nightly News has had its highest viewership in four years, and showing digital growth, adding: “Big news organization, lots of room for great talent.”

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