In the chatter this week about who will replace Matt Lauer at “The Today Show,” one name that should be obvious is largely missing: Al Roker.
One theme running through many of the stories and opinion pieces speculating on who should get Lauer’s job is the notion that there is no one in particular who is “ready” or “qualified” to take it on.
Qualified? Ready? Two words: Al Roker. NBC News should bump him up to the lead role on “Today” and be quick about it.
Someone is out there promoting Craig Melvin -- a co-anchor on “Weekend Today” -- for the job. At least it seems as if someone is promoting him because his name has begun to pop up near the top of these speculative pieces.
If you have ever caught Melvin on the weekend shows, you might conclude that he’s an affable enough guy. But he is a virtual unknown to the show's weekday audience.
You know who isn't unknown -- and as a matter of fact, is very well-known to the weekday viewers? Al Roker.
There are those who might say a TV personality who handles the weather segments and other “feature” portions of “The Today Show” does not have the “gravitas” to take a lead role on such an august broadcast as NBC's storied morning show.
News flash: Lauer did not have any gravitas either. But he had the dexterity to interview just about anyone. You know who else has the same skill, and who has been doing national television at least as long as Matt Lauer, if not longer? Al Roker.
As suggested recently here in another TV Blog about the network morning shows, their success depends in large measure on the comfort level that viewers feel with a show's on-air personalities.
Here's an exercise you can do now in your home, office, taxi or commuter train: Try to think of the single best-known and best-liked TV personality in all of network television in the morning. You know the answer already: It’s Al Roker.
It might be true that some people may not like Al Roker. But these people are obviously deranged. For the vast majority of people, Al Roker is a great constant in a changing world. He has been around a long time, and when it comes to the art of broadcasting, he is one of our few true masters of the craft.
You know who else might be deranged? Anyone at NBC News who isn't seriously considering Al Roker to fill the Lauer vacancy.