The happily married team of ABC News’ Deborah Roberts and NBC News’ Al Roker might work for competing networks, but they’re working together on a new book, Been There, Done That.
“We’re fighting over the remote constantly. Al came in this morning and I was watching Good Morning America. I go to the bathroom, come back and it was on NBC,” Roberts told TVNewser in a joint interview with her husband last week. “We wrestle over the remote quite a bit,” she joked.
“We’re at these two primary networks, NBC and ABC, working in the same industry. Sometimes competitively, some of those things have arisen,” said Roberts. A chapter of Been There, Done That details a time when Roker and Roberts competed for the same story.
“It really sort of strained our marriage,” Roberts said. “Traditionally we don’t really report in the same arena. Al mostly does weather, sometimes lighthearted stuff. I do a little bit more serious journalism. On this particular story, the time that Whitney Houston died, we were all scrambling. All the networks were competing. Al and I were in a position where we were going head to head for the same interview.”
Roberts explained she landed an interview with a “music legend,” but at the last minute the person decided to do the interview with Roker instead.
“It was a very, very difficult time,” Roberts said. “I’m not really proud of the way I handled myself with Al. We really had a knock-down, drag-out about it.”
The couple eventually worked it out and they say in the end, their relationship trumps everything.
“We’re all in the same boat–even though our boat may be a little difference than yours–we’re all in the same boat when it comes to trying to keep relationships together and keep the fires burning,” Roberts said.
The TV news industry has been inundated with broadcasters and journalists writing books lately, but Roker and Roberts don’t consider their project an “industry book.”
“If you’re a parent or in a relationship, if you know somebody who has got kids or lived through raising kids. I think that’s really who this book is aimed at,” Roker said. “We talk about careers and about the pressures on couples but I don’t want people to think this is a TV insiders’ book.”
Roberts agrees: “What makes it interesting is people know us as an ABC personality and an NBC personality. But I think more than anything, whenever I’m out giving speeches or even when Al and I are out at dinner parties and talking about our lives, our careers as a couple, as parents.” Roker and Roberts have two children together: Leila and Nicholas. Roker also has a daughter, Courtney, from a previous marriage.
The couple has different writing styles and are “total opposites” when it comes to certain things.
“The way we survived writing this book is we didn’t write it together,” Roker said. They alternated writing each chapter.
“In one chapter about my driving, because that’s when we have our most arguments, Deborah does not really agree with the way I drive,” Roker said before his wife interrupted, “because he drives like an old lady.”
Roberts claims she’s learned to “loosen up a little bit” from her playful husband, while Roker says he has learned to “get a little bit more serious” from his wife.
When asked if the couple has ambitions to work together in the future, it didn’t take much thought.
“If someone came and knocked us over with a fabulous deal, we might consider it. But I don’t know if that’s what we’re going for,” Roberts said. “People have often suggested that we’d be a great team.”
Roker interrupted his wife, “or we might not be.”
Whatever Roker and Roberts do in the future, they don’t think anything can make them a “power couple” despite what the book’s press release says.
“You know what’s funny? I didn’t even see the press release. I don’t consider us a power couple,” Roker said while Roberts chimed in, “not at all.”
‘They might want to change that press release. Our kids sure don’t consider us a power couple. They certainly don’t treat us that way,” Roker joked.
Partners in life and rivals on air, Roker and Roberts figured the best way to promote Been There, Done That on TV, was to go on both their networks’ morning shows. Both GMA and Today aired pre-taped pieces this morning around 8:45 a.m. ET.