Roker had been in and out of the hospital since mid-November, initially due to blood clots found in his leg and lungs. He was first released from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, having sat out NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Parade for the first time in 27 years, but was readmitted the following day due to unspecified complications and remained in the hospital until early December.
At the start of Friday’s show, co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb offered the beloved weatherman the warmest of welcomes.
“I’m sorry, but the tears are already flowing,” Guthrie said. “Al, to say we have missed you doesn’t even begin to describe it. It is nothing without you here.” Added Kotb: “The crew is weepy, the crowd outside has been waiting for you… They’ve been bugged every day we’ve walked out there. They’re like, ‘Where is Al?'”
“I have missed you guys so very much,” Roker responded. “You are my second family, and it’s just great to be back… and wearing pants.”
Roker also took a moment to give thanks to his beloved wife/”warrior woman” Deborah Roberts. “She is the main reason I am still here,” he said.
The countdown is finally over. Al is back in studio with us for the first time in more than two months! 😭❤️ pic.twitter.com/rvPbuxCcEf
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 6, 2023
Roker briefly returned to Today in December when morning show staffers — led by Kotb and Guthrie — gathered outside his front door to sing “Jingle Bells” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (or rather, “Al Be Home for Christmas”). The surprise brought Roker to tears, as seen here.
Roker had previously been candid with NBC viewers about his various health struggles, including a prostate cancer diagnosis in November 2020.
Watch segments from Friday’s episode above, then hit the comments and tell us if you’re happy to have Roker back on Today.