Matt and Al’s Windy City Adventure

By Alissa Krinsky 

Alissa Krinsky
TVNewser Contributor

Matt Lauer and Al Roker held court in Chicago this morning, part of a split edition of Today. Being on the road “adds energy to the show,” says Lauer. “I think there’s a little bit more excitement.”

Energy is critical, of course, when you’re a #1 morning program for more than a decade. It’s a streak Al Roker can’t quite explain. “It’s like sausage…do you really want to see how it’s made?” he asks. “Not really. All you know is it tastes good.”

“There’s a certain intangible,” Lauer concurs. “Somehow the chemistry is working.”

It has worked for eleven years. Numbers come up a lot in the interview: Lauer is turning 50 in December. “It’s a much bigger deal than when I turned 40,” he reflects. “I don’t know why, but I know it’s on my mind a lot more. 50 is kind of a milestone. People start to think about what’s next, about second acts.”

So how much Today is in Lauer’s future? His current contract runs until 2011, and he can envision a post-show life.

(photo by Alissa Krinsky)

“Let’s say I do a number of more years on this show, and then I leave to do something else. I’d love to be able to take (my kids) to school in the morning. I want to coach Little League for my kids.

“I’m not hinting at anything. It’s just that there will come a time where I stop doing this, and at that point it will be all about family.”

And Roker? “I’m one of those people, I never made plans,” Roker says. “I’ve got a five year old, so I gotta get him through college. Get him out of the house, and then maybe slow down. I hope they want me that long!”

As for the more immediate future, which includes Halloween, what costumes will Matt and Al don this year? “I could tell you,” Roker explains, “but then I’d have to kill you.”

Lauer is a little more forthcoming: “It’s more of a group effort this year, I can reveal that.”

What Roker and Lauer both agree upon completely is that being part of Today is a true privilege. “We’re both New York (area natives),” Roker explains, “and we both were so thrilled to get jobs on local television in New York. To be doing [Today] is unbelievable.”