Segments out on the plaza always have a contagious flavor of excitement that goes along with them. The beginning of the 8:30 half-hour this morning was no exception. Matt, Meredith and Ann were all opening the show outside, and Mark Wahlberg was a guest in the open as well. So there was a flurry of activity outside Studio 1A.
At about 8:29:55, with seconds to go until we returned from commercial, Ann, Meredith and Matt were all in different corners of the plaza saying hi to people. Meredith and Ann booked it across the concrete to make it over to Matt to make it on air together. Mark Wahlberg, meanwhile, was walking around the plaza and greeting many of his screaming fans. I was standing with Jackie, who is Matt's assistant, and we could barely hear each other. The volume level was astronomical. All of our fans who come down to the plaza are always excited to have the chance to say hi to the anchors, and a visit by a celebrity outside is an added bonus for them. Needless to say, Mark did not let them down.
Even after his interview was over (amid the continued screaming of his throngs of fans), Mark continued to mingle with the crowd and take pictures. Once Matt and Meredith threw the show down to Al (who was doing the weather from Dallas today), the off-camera vibe on the plaza continued. Mark was still hanging around, Ann was chatting with fans, and the crowd was enjoying it all. The weather today in New York is beautiful, bringing one of the biggest crowds we have had recently. A perfect day for some merriment outside Rockefeller Plaza.
And a side note for fans of "Entourage," which Mark Wahlberg produces. The real-life inspiration for the character Johnny Drama was here today. Nice to know that they are still good buddies in real life.