Les Crystal joined The NewsHour in 1983, and was instrumental in preparing the program for its debut as the nation's first hour-long newscast.
Formerly president of NBC News (1977-79), and executive producer of the NBC Nightly News (1973-76), Les spent 20 years with NBC serving as the chief producer of European news; participating in the press corps that covered President Nixon's historic 1972 visit to China; and serving as the news division's executive vice president. As vice president for affiliate news, Les oversaw the sizable expansion of news feeds from the network to affiliated stations. In 1976 and 1980, he was executive producer of NBC's election night and convention coverage, and he supervised all political and special news programming from 1980 to 1982.
Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Les earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and began his broadcasting career in Duluth as a news writer for KDAL radio and television. He was later news director at both WFBG-TV/Radio in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and WFIL-TV in Philadelphia.
In 1963, Les joined NBC in Chicago to produce WMAQ's nightly news and its Emmy-winning documentary series, "Dateline Chicago." In 1965, he joined The "Huntley-Brinkley Report" as Chicago regional manager, moving from there to New York in 1967 to serve first as the program's news editor, then associate producer. He was the Emmy-winning program's producer from 1968 to 1970.