Al Roker won't be able to return to Today for a while, so the Today family brought the show to him in an emotional segment this morning.
Led by anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, the Today staff surprised Roker at his front door with a round of Christmas carols including "Jingle Bells" and "Al Be Home for Christmas". When Roker stepped out from his home, he was brought to tears by the gesture.
"I’m impressed you did that without a prompter," he joked, as they finished one song. Roker then fought back tears as he expressed his gratitude. "I just want to thank you all. It's been a long, hard slog, and I’ve missed you all so very much," he said. "All these faces — it just means the world to me and to our family."
"We love you so much, Al," said a tearful Kotb. "Every single person couldn’t wait to come out here and sing to you."
Roker, 68, began his full-time journey as weather anchor with Today back in 1996. In his absence, Dylan Dreyer has filled in. The anchor was hospitalized for blood clots in his legs and lungs in early November, causing him to miss the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in 27 years. He was also absent from the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center.
On Monday, he appeared on Today virtually for the first time since being hospitalized, and updated viewers on his recovery. "You lose a certain amount of muscle mass for every week you’re in the hospital, and I was in the hospital for 4 weeks," he said, when asked about when he might return to the show. "So it’s just a certain amount of weakness.... I’ve got to just get my strength back."
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.
TOPICS: Al Roker