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Posts Tagged ‘Al Roker’

It’s ‘Al Roker Appreciation Day’ as ‘Today’ Weatherman Turns 60

RokerIt was a morning of well wishes for Al Roker on the weatherman’s 60th birthday.

“Today” celebrated throughout the morning. In one segment, Roker gave his six lessons learned in six decades: cherish family, focus on your health, develop hobbies, learn to laugh at yourself, don’t feel you need retire if you love what you do, and always keep learning new things (watch after the jump).

Topping off the morning, Roker was treated to some of his favorite barbeque dishes, a giant Marshmallow Man in The Plaza, on-air gifts from his children, a special happy birthday interview with Vice President Joe Biden, and a surprise declaration from a former rival. “He doesn’t look a day over 59,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told Roker. He then proclaimed today “Al Roker Appreciation Day.”

WATCH:

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‘Reclaiming the Morning Television Crown is Nothing Short of a Mania Inside NBCUniversal’

GMA TodayVariety’s Brian Steinberg takes an inside look at the behind-the-scenes battle between first-place “Good Morning America” and second-place “Today.” Although reclaiming the top spot has become “nothing short of a mania inside NBCUniversal,” Steinberg writes the two shows are not as different as the talent and executives may say:

Just as Coke and Pepsi sell a similar fizzy brown liquid, so too are “GMA” and “Today” pouring from the same pot of coffee into different mugs. “GMA” can be equally as serious as “Today” in its first hour when news warrants. For every trip that “Today’s” Guthrie makes to interview Secretary of State Kerry, there is a sojourn by “GMA’s” Robach to Nigeria to explore the plight of captive schoolgirls. For every “GMA” report on two sisters who survive being knocked off their paddleboards and drifting out to sea, there is a “Today” interview with a young man who shed 550 pounds. “GMA” recently featured a contest among local firefighting squads; after Lauer was doused in ice water on a charity dare from golfer Greg Norman, “Today” dispatched Guthrie and Lauer to Howard Stern’s XM Satellite Radio show to get the shock jock to take Lauer’s challenge.

“I know we’re doing something right,” says “Today’s” Roker, “because two or three months later, we’ll see it on ‘GMA.’ We have our ‘Orange Room,’ and oh my gosh, look at that, they’ve got a ‘Social Square!’ ” One could argue that “GMA” began showing the entire on-air team on camera well before “Today” took a similar approach. Read more

‘Sharknado 2:’ Watch for Sharks, ‘Today’ Show Cameos, and also Sharks

RokerLauerSharknadoWe know your DVRs are probably already set for Wednesday night, but here’s what you should really look out when Syfy debuts “Sharknado 2:” lots of “Today” show cameos. As the Orlando Sentinel‘s Hal Boedeker looks at the increasingly blurry line between news and entertainment :

NBC’s “Today” gets a half dozen scenes in “Sharknado 2.” Purists may carp, with reason, that participating in such a cheesy movie diminishes the “Today” news brand. Matt Lauer and Al Roker pop in frequently to update viewers on the “sharknado” crisis sweeping New York City. Roker warns of “weather you’ve never seen before,” and Lauer adds, “All you can do is just shake your head.”

That storm even materializes on the “Today” anchor desk, and Lauer has to take matters into his own hands. It’s more gruesome than Ann Curry‘s exit.

Who’s That Guy Roaming the ‘Today’ Show Plaza?

Alex oneTwelve years ago, Alex Ficquette was a teenager shouting at the back of a “Today” show concert featuring Mary J. Blige.

“I randomly saw Al Roker buying a pretzel from a street vendor, and said ‘Hi’ to him,” Ficquette told TVNewser. Fast forward to today, where he’s been anointed “Alex on the plaza.”

The Associate Producer for the “Today” show oversees the signature outdoor plaza, interacting with fans who come from far and wide to experience the concerts, contests, and ideally, enjoy their 15 minutes — or just a few seconds — of fame with “Today’s” hosts.

Friday morning, TVNewser spent some time on the plaza as OneRepublic performed. All the while, Ficquette, 27, kept the crowd revved up as they waited for the pop-rock band to take the stage. Taking pictures, sparking conversations, and giving shout outs to the best signs is all part of being the plaza’s ringleader (Vine after the jump).

“That group outside, they’ve been up since 2:30am, and you would never know it,” he told us about one energetic group celebrating their friend’s 60th birthday. “You have to be interested in people’s stories. I feed off of their energy because they’re in amazing spirits.” When he’s not on the plaza he might appearing on the show’s fourth hour with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.

Ficquette’s path to the TV news business is a story in itself. “I didn’t go to school for film or production,” he said.

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The Sunday Ticker: Al, Jose, Maria Elena

  • The Weather Channel’s “Wake up with Al” celebrates its 5th birthday today. Last week, hosts Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams took a look back at the biggest storms, biggest guests and best remotes since the show launched July 20, 2009.

  • MSNBC and Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart will receive the Rubén Salazar Award for Communications at the NCLR annual convention in Los Angeles Tuesday. The organization presents the award to a professional dedicated to portraying news relevant to US Hispanics.

  • Univision News anchor María Elena Salinas travels to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, to get to the root of the current crisis at the U.S. border where more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained. Her special report will air on Univision tonight at 7 pm ET/PT.

This Cable News Host Isn’t Headed to ‘The View’

Mika Brzezinski at Fortune Summit_304x200As speculation about who will replace Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy on “The View” grows, you can scratch at least one name off the list.

We’ve been hearing that MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski could potentially be headed to the ABC chat show, so we asked MSNBC. The network tells us there’s no truth to the rumor.

Meanwhile, Meredith Vieira, one of the original “The View” co-hosts was on NBC’s “Today” show giving her thoughts on last night’s firing of Shepherd and McCarthy. “It’s practically broken down the show, it’s just Whoopi [Goldberg] who’s left,” said Vieira.

Vieira said she’s heard rumors of former host Rosie O’Donnell returning as well as the potential for male hosts. Al Roker asked Vieira if she can make a call and get the inside scoop. “I don’t have enough to do, that I have to do your homework…I don’t work on the show anymore!” Vieira said (watch after the jump).

A couple hours later, Barbara Walters returned to “The View” to discuss her interview with the father of the Isla Vista shooter, which will air tonight in a “20/20″ special. The segment was pre-taped Wednesday, before Shepherd and McCarthy’s exits.

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NBC Invades Disney’s Backyard

fallonorlandoBoth the “Today” show and the “Tonight Show” are heading to Orlando this week as NBC’s corporate cousin Universal opens Diagon Alley, a new attraction at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist and Tamron Hall will broadcast the third hour of “Today” from the park on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon is bringing “The Tonight Show” to Universal Orlando Resort for a week of shows. Several stars of the Harry Potter movies will guest on “Today,” while Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Buffett, Rosario Dawson, and Pitbull are among the guests on “Tonight.” Fallon and announcer Steve Higgins also get in on the Miami Vice action for tonight’s opening credit sequence (above).

Universal opened its first Orlando theme park in 1990. NBC merged with Universal in 2004. Orlando is most famous for the theme parks operated by Disney, the first of which opened in 1971. Disney owns NBC rival ABC.

The NBC Ticker: Mancini, ‘Skywire,’ Dads

  • The AP’s John Mancini is joining NBC News as the director of digital newsgathering. In a note to staff, SVP of worldwide newsgathering David Verdi said the hire “is the next step in our transformation to creating content for all our users and viewers no matter how they choose to get their news.”

  •  Discovery’s “Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda,” which was produced by NBC News’ Peacock Productions, is the winner of two 2014 Realscreen Awards. The special was honored this week for Digital and Branded Content – Multi-Platform Project and for Most Original Concept.

  • Leading up to Father’s Day, the “Today” show is dedicating next week to “Modern Dads.” The weeklong series of reports will include interviews with Rob Lowe and Terry Crews, as well as stories from”Today” show fathers Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Willie Geist, Carson Daly and Lester Holt.

Barbara Walters Farewell: ‘True, I Was the First Female Co-Host… But Also True, I Was a Flop’

WaltersSawyerIt was a star-studded farewell for Barbara Walters at New York City’s Four Seasons restaurant tonight. From comedian Joan Rivers to commissioner Bill Bratton; from New York’s chronicler of scandal, Cindy Adams, to the man who plays the president on “Scandal,” Tony Goldwyn; from actor Woody Allen to attorney David Boies, But mostly, the pool room was packed with Walters’ fellow TV news colleagues and those ladies — past and present — from “The View.” Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd; Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar.

Following a best of Barbara video, Disney Chairman Bob Iger welcomed the crowd, before Walters delivered a few words of thanks and admitting it hasn’t always been easy. “True, I was the first female co-host of a network news program. But also true, I was a flop. My male co-host didn’t want a partner and neither did the audience. I was drowning, gasping for air. Then someone threw me that life preserver called Specials with the biggest stars in news and show business and I learned how to swim again.”

Current and former evening news anchors were there, including Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams who arrived with Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and fiancé John Molner; and Connie Chung (who was part of an ill-fated co-anchor pairing with Dan Rather) and husband Maury Povich. We caught up with early risers Savannah Guthrie and George Stephanopoulos along with their spouses, Mike Feldman, and Ali Wentworth, respectively, as they were heading out. Guthrie’s “Today” colleague Al Roker and his wife, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts made the rounds as well.

Walters continued: “I’m grateful to the legendary Roone Arledge for bringing me to ABC News; thankful to David Westin for his steady leadership; to Ben Sherwood – you made us all believe we could win and with your leadership and passion, we did; and James Goldston – I’m told that all our shows are number one at the moment – you should quit right now.” Sherwood, Goldston and Westin were all on hand, as were other ABC News executives including Barbara Fedida, David Sloan, Jeanmarie Condon and John Green.

We spotted Jenny McCarthy hand-in-hand with fiance Donnie Wahlberg; the “Nightline” team of Juju ChangDan Abrams, and Dan Harris as well as a host of correspondents and anchors from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox, including Elizabeth VargasAmy RobachDavid MuirNorah O’DonnellJon KarlGio Benitez, Dr. Richard Besser, Tory JohnsonRick Klein, Brian Ross, Mara Schiavocampo, Thomas RobertsAlicia MenendezHoda Kotb, Greta Van Susteren and Lisa Ling, a former “View” co-host, now woking on a new show for CNN.

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White House Lockdown as TV Meteorologists Descend on Washington

The White House went on lockdown this afternoon just as local and national TV news meteorologists were planning live shots as part of the White House climate change report released earlier today. Security officials closed the gates, cleared the North Lawn, and asked occupants to stay inside the building after they spotted a blue Honda Civic parked near the White House’s front entrance.

According to secret service, the driver of the car was a “Treasury Department pass holder” who was not authorized to cross the secure perimeter. The lockdown was lifted after about 15 minutes.

NBC’s Al Roker and ABC meteorologist Ginger Zee (CBS’s morning show does not have a staff weatherperson) along with six meteorologists from local stations sat down with President Obama today for interviews on climate change. But a few also asked about the situation in Nigeria and how far the U.S. is willing to go to help rescue more than 200 schoolgirls being held by terror group Boko Haram.

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