Al Roker Expected to Return to ‘Today’ Following Surgery
Al Roker will be back on “Today” for the holidays.
The morning-show veteran will return to the NBC A.M. franchise next week following a break for surgery to remedy a diagnosis of prostate cancer. And he will take part in NBC’s annual broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, putting to rest concerns that he might miss the event. Roker has been involved with that holiday special since 1995.
Appearing Tuesday on “Today,” Roker revealed he was able to return home from the hospital just a day after having surgery. He has an “excellent” prognosis, but will require regular monitoring as part of his medical regimen.
“I feel good,” Roker said to colleagues Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb during an interview segment. Roker was seen from home, while Guthrie and Kotb were in their NBC studio. He noted he was dealing with certain after-effects, like swelling, which made him feel “like Bibendum, the Michelin Man.”
Roker has been with “Today” since 1996, and has seen the program through many of its most notable transitions. He has worked on air with Bryant Gumbel, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, and Meredith Viera — and, more recently, Ann Curry, Guthrie and Kotb. He succeeded longtime weather personality Willard Scott, and audiences have kept track of Roker through medical issues; seen his family members on air; and followed him through non-stop “Roker-thons,” mammoth record-setting weather forecasts, one of which involved travel across the nation. He also works as a co-anchor during the program’s third hour, and has led a series for the franchise’s streaming efforts in which he talks to celebrities about their favorite sandwiches.
Viewers of morning programs tend to rally around the shows’ anchors when they acknowledge health issues. Robin Roberts’ battle with the bone-marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012 and 2013 inspired viewers of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” as did the travails of her colleague, Amy Robach, who fought breast cancer in 2013. More recently, “Today” viewers supported Guthrie late last year after she suffered an eye injury that appeared to compromise her vision for a period of time.