Willie Geist's wife: He was 'memorable at first sight'

It's Willie Geist's first official day of co-hosting the 9 o'clock hour of TODAY, and his fellow anchors welcomed him with a look back at his life.

Willie with his now-wife Christina, who he met in the sixth grade.

A special "Welcome Willie" segment featured testimonials from his wife, his dad, and new co-anchors, along with some choice photos and footage from his youth and early work in television (some of which he'd rather you didn't see).

Adorable! Willie as a kid.

He's joining the crew after a long career in news, from CNN to "Morning Joe" to subbing in for Matt, all while apparently dabbling in a little amateur rapping (watch the video to see him quote the late Eazy-E; as his dad reveals, Willie "was a suburban kid who wanted to be a hip-hop guy").

Willie strikes a pose; at Ridgewood High in N.J., he was captain of the football and basketball teams.

"I have to say your producers are beyond corruption, because there were several photos and moments that I offered cash payments for them to keep out of that piece," Willie sighed afterwards.

"We learned a lot about you this morning," joked Savannah. "We knew you got your start in television, but behind the scenes, we're sorry your rap career didn't work out."

Willie on his first day of "Way Too Early."

But, alas, despite his inability to bribe the producers, it was a happy occasion for everybody. As Willie put it, "anybody who says being on the TODAY show for the first time isn't a little bit of a 'pinch me' moment is probably lying."

The TODAY anchors welcomed Willie to his new 9 a.m. gig.

Willie Geist

Way Too Early with Willie Geist

The host of msnbc's "Morning Joe" and "Way Too Early" became co-anchor of the 9 a.m. hour of TODAY.

Julieanne Smolinski is a TODAY.com contributor and fellow NWA fan.


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