On Wednesday, NBC’s Today show announced that weatherman Al Roker would be interviewing former President Barack Obama the following week for the morning show. Roker was already swooning as he confessed that he was “so excited” for the softball chat that would preach climate activism and promote Obama’s upcoming nature documentary series on Netflix.
“A programming note, Al will be sitting down with former President Obama. An exclusive conversation on the environment, Earth Month, and his new nature documentary on Netflix,” co-host Savannah Guthrie touted in the 7:00 a.m. ET hour. Later, on the 3rd Hour Today show in the 9:00 a.m. ET hour, co-host Craig Melvin repeated: “We made a big announcement that we want to tell you a little bit more about this morning as well. Al Roker, our own Mr. Roker here sitting down with President Obama next week.”
“What are you two gonna talk about?,” Melvin wondered. Roker joked: “The kids. How’s Michelle? Yeah, just a few things.” He then noted the actual topics of discussion, as if they were any more hard-hitting that talking about the Obama family: “We are going to cover a lot of topics, including the environment, Earth Month, and there’s a new Netflix documentary series that the President narrated, called Our Great National Parks.”
A clip then played of the Netflix trailer for the series that the former president would be narrating and hosting. After the clip, Melvin remarked: “This is right up your alley.” Roker gushed: “Yeah, I’m so excited.”
Moments later, Melvin declared: “We’re looking forward to it because as most folks know, he doesn’t do at lot of sit-downs.” Roker quipped: “Well, we’re actually going to be standing up....we’re going to be hanging around at a national park in the area.”
Roker’s longstanding bromance with current Democratic President Joe Biden has been well documented by NewsBusters, but his adulation for Obama has been equally strong over the years. When the former president was first inaugurated in 2009, Roker emotionally told then-NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams:
And, and I gotta tell ya it, it, really moved. I had tears in my eyes.... It was, it was one, a moment that I think this entire country is sharing. Republican, independent, Democrat. Everybody has these hopes with this President. And, and I gotta tell ya it was one of the most moving moments in, in my life....This sense of family, of the country coming together. That’s what people are looking for, I think.
Just a couple months later, as the new President prepared to celebrate his first St. Patrick’s Day in the White House, Roker marveled at Obama’s Irish roots: “As St. Patrick’s Day approaches in Moneygall the townsfolk join in the chorus, determined to keep hope alive....In a small pub in Ireland they’re still celebrating Obama’s victory. Dancing in honor of their adopted son.”
During Obama’s second inauguration in 2013, Roker screamed at both Obama and Biden like an adoring groupie as he stood alongside the parade route in Washington, D.C.
In 2014, Roker and his wife, ABC News reporter Deborah Roberts, were invited to the White House to celebrate the 50th birthday of First Lady Michelle Obama. The next morning, he called into the Today show and excitedly gushed: “I actually got to boogie a little with the First Lady....Deborah and I were dancing and all of a sudden I turned around and there was Mrs. Obama....And I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m dancing with the First Lady.’”
Given that history, viewers can expect similar Obama-gasms from Roker in next week’s interview with the former president.
Here is a full transcript of the April 6 discussion:
7:14 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: A programming note, Al will be sitting down with former President Obama. An exclusive conversation on the environment, Earth Month, and his new nature documentary on Netflix. We’ll have that for you next Wednesday, right here on Today.
3rd Hour Today
9:09 AM ET
CRAIG MELVIN: By the way, in case you missed it. In addition to Tiger’s big announcement. We made a big announcement that we want to tell you a little bit more about this morning as well. Al Roker, our own Mr. Roker here sitting down with President Obama next week. What are you two gonna talk about?
AL ROKER: Well –
SHEINELLE JONES: Oh, the kids.
ROKER: The kids. How’s Michelle? Yeah, just a few things. We are going to cover a lot of topics, including the environment, Earth Month, and there’s a new Netflix documentary series that the President narrated, called Our Great National Parks. And this morning, we’ve got a first look.
BARACK OBAMA [OUR GREAT NATIONAL PARKS, NETFLIX]: Wild spaces are where we can connect with ourselves, our families, and something greater than us. This year we’ll all have a chance to experience them up close. Join me, as we explore the wonders and secrets of some of the most extraordinary national parks on the planet.
DYLAN DREYER: So cool.
ROKER: So, I mean, he not only narrates but he goes to all these different national parks all around the world.
MELVIN: This is right up your alley.
ROKER: Yeah, I’m so excited. And it’s beautiful.
DREYER: Do you just call him up and say like, “Hey Barack, question for you, want to go to lunch? We’ll bring some cameras.”
ROKER: No, no. First, I refer to him as “Mr. President” and – no, I don’t.
MELVIN: And then he goes through six people.
ROKER: Yeah, exactly.
JONES: This is the problem when he’s friends with us. Like, other anchors will be like, “Well, thank you, Al.” We’re like, “So what he like?” [Laughter]
ROKER: Well, I’ll let you know when we get there. Make sure you tune in next Wednesday for our exclusive conversation with President Barack Obama right here on Today.
MELVIN: We’re looking forward to it because as most folks know, he doesn’t do at lot of sit-downs.
ROKER: Well, we’re actually going to be standing up.
JONES: Are you really?
ROKER: Yeah, we’re going to be hanging around at a national park in the area.
JONES: Okay, a little walk and talk, as we say in the business.
ROKER: Yeah, something like that. And have some kids around, too.
JONES: Okay, sure.
DREYER: Nice. Random kids.
JONES: If you need some kids, I’ve got three.