Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie Share Their Hope for Al Roker When He Returns to ‘Today’ (Exclusive)

Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie are gearing up for Al Roker’s return. Earlier this week, the hosts announced that the beloved weatherman will be making his return alongside them at Studio 1A on Friday following his two-month absence due to health issues. 

“Back and better than ever,” Guthrie told ET’s Rachel Stern on Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange.

“Al is the lifeblood of this show, he’s the heartbeat. I mean, it just doesn’t work without Al. We love him so much, we miss him so much. He went through this period that was difficult and he did it in his trademark way where he’s always smiling, always upbeat, and he is roaring to come back. He is ready.”

Roker was hospitalized in November due to an issue with blood clots in his lungs and leg. At the time, Roker wrote on Instagram that he was “fortunate to be getting terrific medical care and on the way to recovery.” Following his initial release, Roker had to return to the hospital due to complications.   

Due to his health issues, the famed anchor missed his first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in two decades, and the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  

Despite his time off, Kotb said that Roker remained optimistic and focused on his return.  

“Al went through the wringer and Al never complains about anything,” she said. “So, to understand that he came back from a very difficult place, is on his feet, is strong again and is gonna be sitting next to us on Friday. We’ve seen Al go through everything. He’s never out. He never takes time. The fact that he took time meant that he needed it and now his moment is here. We’re ready. The crowd’s ready.”

Knowing that Roker is going to come back in full force, Guthrie admits they may have to encourage him to slow down as he is set to hit the anchor desk full-time.  

“I think they’ll have to hold him back,” Guthrie quips. “I mean I think you know all of us around him are saying, ‘Take it easy, buddy.'”

She continued, “He’s the Energizer Bunny and I hope he takes as much time as he wants to, but I think he’s really excited to come back to work, and we’re excited to have him.” 

The morning show duo isn’t just celebrating Roker’s return. This year marks five years that Guthrie and Kotb have been beside each other at the Today anchor desk.

“I put out my hand, she put her hand in mine and we did it together and we’ve done it together every single day since,” Guthrie said about her and Kotb’s on-air partnership. “And it means so much to have your partner and your friend, a professional, somebody who is by your side and has your back every single day give you the joy to wake up and come to work, but also the confidence.”

Kotb added, “That’s Savannah to a T, because you can’t do these jobs without someone holding you. You just can’t because you’re gonna fall a million times and someone has to say. ‘I got you,’ and if your heart is pounding when you make a mistake and someone gives you a look like, ‘Don’t you worry,’ you’re like, ‘I got it. I’m back. I feel OK,’ and that’s what we both give each other.”

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