A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Holmes, 35, is a native Arkansan who started his broadcast career in Joplin, Missouri. He eventually returned home to Arkansas as a weekend reporter and anchor until he moved on to San Francisco’s NBC affiliate. At NBC, he covered the 2004 Summer Olympics, the trial of Scott Peterson, who was eventually convicted of the double murder of his pregnant wife, Laci and their unborn child. Holmes also covered the recall of the California governor in 2003. He was the weekend anchor at CNN, covering tragedies like the Virginia Tech campus shootings and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
He was already a popular talent on CNN, but Holmes expects to show more of his own personality on “Don’t Sleep.”
“So much of what the show is going to be is based around my credibility and my personality,” Holmes said. “I got to be TJ about 20% of the time when I was at CNN. The rest of the time, because of the news we’re covering, you have to play the straight news guy. So now I get to flip that and get to be 80% T.J. and maybe you’ll see 20% of the hard news guy come out. The idea, always at the end of the day, is to inform people. If we do that in an entertaining way, so be it. The highlight of the show is black excellence, black love, the black entrepreneurial spirit; things you won’t see anywhere else. Because the shows that are depicting us, anywhere on TV, are not always depicting us in the ways that I know us and not always in the best light. Now we have a way to combat that.”