Al Roker: ‘Producers Came Up With Different Ways to Try and Kill Me’

By Brian Flood 

Rokerthon 2 kicks off Friday with a Guinness World Record in its sights. Al Roker hopes to set a record for Fastest Time to Report a Weather Forecast from All 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia.

How will he do it? We caught up with the Today show co-host to find out.

Roker started off the conversation joking he only had a few minutes: “Bill O’Reilly and I are getting manicures. It’s manscape Wednesday with Bill and Al.”

As for Rokerthon 2, it wasn’t his idea. “Let me be blunt about that. The producers came up with different ways to try and kill me, basically,” Roker said. “They think, ‘how can we kill Al?'”

Last year, Roker set a Guinness World Record by broadcasting for 34 straight hours.

“When that didn’t push me completely over the edge, they thought ‘what can we do this year? Let’s try to break him. Foolishly, I said ‘yes.’”

Rokerthon 2 begins Friday in Hawaii and will culminate in New York City next Friday, Nov. 13. Roker won’t know what’s coming day-to-day during the 7-day, 50-state tour. “I’m old and I tend to forget what they told me, so there is really no point in it. I like to find out just before we hit a place what’s happening. I don’t know what I’m going to be looking forward to, but I can’t wait.”

The veteran weatherman has already visited all 50 states but he admits he’ll still be able to see a lot of things for the first time. Rokerthon 2 will raise money for Feeding America, which aims to end hunger in local communities. But with all this travel and numerous live shots per day, Roker will obviously work up quite an appetite himself.

“I am looking to hit up every mom and pop, hole-in-the wall, place I can. The places that are off the beaten path,” Roker said. “The stuff that is on the side of the road, a picnic table and a shack. That’s when you get your best stuff.”

Roker will use a “pu-pu platter of travel” to navigate the U.S.A, including planes, trains and “every known method available to humans.” This will obviously be very costly, but Roker doesn’t care. “I have no idea [what this costs]. I’m going to try to break the bank. I’m going to run up as many bills as possible.”

NBC has arranged local affiliates to promote Rokerthon 2, encouraging viewers to come out and support each stop along the way. The Rokerthon promotional video was even customized so local affiliates can insert their own anchors.

“They went above and beyond. I’ve never been part of a promo like that,” Roker said. “I’m looking forward to it all. I just can’t wait.”

Roker also hopes to do a live shot on every NBC affiliate across the country, or at least as many as possible. “We didn’t even approach Guinness about that, but I’m hoping to set two records,” he said.

Guinness won’t have a representative along for the trip, but it does require witness signatures and various forms of proof, including a GPS device that indicates where Roker has traveled.

“There are marks that we have to hit to get the record,” Roker explained before joking that he was possibly already in the record books for “fattest weatherman” before the original Rokerthon gave him a more respectable entry. NBC has a dedicated site to check in on Al at all times. And Roker, who is big into social media, will also be Periscoping along the way.

“I never dreamed that I would be getting, possibly two, Guinness Records let alone one,” Roker said. “But look, I never dreamed I’d be on the Today show. So, you never know.”

Roker is bringing an iPad and plans to read Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow during the week-long trip, but probably won’t get around to it.

“We have got the greatest crew of producers and camera people; you end up spending so much time laughing and having a good time that you never get to the stuff,” Roker said.

Roker’s agenda:

Friday 11/6

  • Honolulu, HI

Saturday 11/7

  • Anchorage, AK

Sunday 11/8

  • Spokane, WA
  • Coeur D’Alene, ID
  • Missoula, MT
  • Portland, OR
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Reno/Lake Tahoe, NV
  • Casper, WY

Monday 11/9

  • Four Corners (AZ, UT, NM, CO)
  • Wichita Falls, TX
  • Lawton, OK
  • Red Cloud, NE
  • Lebanon, KS
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Fargo, ND
  • Moorhead, MN
  • Dubuque, IA
  • Hazel Green, WI

Tuesday 11/10

  • Cape Girardeau, MO
  • Fort Defiance, IL
  • Wickliffe, KY
  • Union City, TN
  • Blytheville, AR
  • Goshen, IN
  • Coldwater, MI
  • Montpelier, OH

Wednesday 11/11

  • Slidell, LA
  • Biloxi, MS
  • Mobile, AL
  • Pensacola, FL
  • Savannah, GA
  • Hilton Head, SC
  • Kitty Hawk, NC
  • Charleston, WV

Thursday 11/12

  • Arlington, VA
  • Washington, DC
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Metropark, NJ
  • Providence, RI
  • Boston, MA
  • Portsmouth, NH
  • Kittery, ME
  • Brattleboro, VT

Friday 11/13

  • Stamford, CT
  • New York, NY