• June 17, 2005 | 11:45 a.m.
Quotes from the Green Room (Alexander, "Today" show page)
A great atmosphere today (helped by a wonderful, crisp morning). As pop superstar Hillary Duff belted out her new hit, “Wake Up,” the Plaza did just that. Not a square inch of area around the studio was left unoccupied as thousands of screaming fans, young and old, sang along with Hillary’s hits from her first album, “Metamorphasis,” and sophomore effort, “Most Wanted.”
But it was another young woman who had the most impact on the Green Room today. Twenty-year-old Danielle Fisher is fresh back from a trip to Nepal where she climbed Mount Everest (the highest mountain in the world at 29,035ft). And as if that weren’t enough, Everest was only one of seven incredibly high mountains she climbed to become the youngest person in the world to scale what climbers call "the seven summits" — the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Her plans for the future? “I’m going back to school in the fall [sophomore year at Washington State University] and then going to Pakistan next summer for more climbing.” What else she can accomplish in the climbing world remains to be seen, but she is already an exceptional young woman.
And from the sublime…. The saga that is “TomKat” reached a new high (or low, depending on your opinion) today as Tom Cruise got down on his expensive knee and proposed to Katie Holmes high atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Cruise took time out in from his round-the-world promotion trip for the upcoming “War of the Worlds” to give Holmes a tear-shaped diamond engagement ring.
On the show to give us the 411 on the happy couple was Larry Hackett, deputy managing editor of People magazine. “At this rate they could be married by lunch,” he joked.
• June 16, 2005 | 1:30 p.m.
Getting frisked on the air (Al Roker)
Hey gang! This morning, I got frisked on the air.
I was interviewing actor Chris Noth about his role in the new movie, "The Perfect Man." Hillary Duff plays Heather Locklear's daughter. As the daughter of a single mom, Hillary tries to set up her mom with the "Perfect Man", portrayed by Chris Noth.
A fascinating actor, a lot of folks know him as Big on "Sex And The City." I know him, along with millions of viewers as Detective Mike Logan from "Law and Order." Well, when we started talking about "L&O", our audio guy, Alex, played the L&O stinger...you know..DHUNG!! DHUNG!! Well, they kept playing and each time, Chris would start channelling Mike Logan and spouting some cop speak. As I was signing off the interview, they played the L&O stinger again and Chris started frisking me and reading me my rights.
All I know is, Alexis Glick and Natalie Morales were very jealous.
See ya tomorrow when Hillary Duff rocks the plaza!
• June 15, 2005 | 3:15 p.m.
Quotes from the Green Room (Alexander, "Today" show page)
Love was in the air and on the Plaza this morning as Heather Locklear stopped by to talk about her new romantic comedy, "The Perfect Man" and one lucky lady, Sarah, was plucked from the crowd to play the "Today" show dating game! But the fun didn’t stop there. Sarah’s three gentlemen callers turned out to be celebrity suitors MotoGP rider Nicky Hayden, country crooner Keith Anderson, and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones! After three harrowing rounds of questions, Sarah chose speed demon Nicky as her bachelor du jour, but it was no easy decision. Sarah gushed, "It was hard to pick between them because I knew my mom would be unhappy if I chose the guy who drove fast!" Sarah’s mother, however, was too busy taking it all in: "I’ve been a "Today" show junkie for years. To come to New York and see the show and then to have my daughter on the show is just incredible!" Keith Anderson then led Sarah into the studio and serenaded her with his hit, "Pickin' Wildflowers." The dapper Mr. Jones joked that, [he] and Nicky felt slighted because [they] didn’t get to sing. "Girls love singing. But it was a great experience anyway."
Not to be outdone by love, sports also made a big splash on the show. Mother/daughter team Sharon and Sarah Troups came to talk about Sarah’s passion for cheerleading and their new show on Bravo “Sports Moms and Dads”. Sharon commented “It felt really good to talk about how excited we are about the show. Alexis [Glick] was great, she made me feel really comfortable”. To which Sarah added “Me too!” And nearing the start of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong’s longtime coach Chris Carmichael was on hand to talk about the six-time champion’s chances: "The Discovery Channel team is only going to do good things. Lance is going to repeat and be a seven-time champ. And Ann Curry was charming."
‘American Idol’ the American dream (Al Roker)
Hey folks, so I guess I'm the only person on the planet who has never seen an entire "American Idol" show. Today we had the latest "American Idol" winner, Carrie Underwood. This thing is such a phenomenon. It has changed the way we listen to music, watch TV, buy CDs.
I think what's great about the result of the show, we get to meet and see talent that doesn't seem like it's manufactured, packaged entertainment. From Reuben,to Clay, Fantasia to Carrie, these kids all come from nowhere to become stars. It is the American dream.
Down the road, stardom has to change them. They become part of the entertainment megaplex, but that's to be expected. But for that brief moment between their ascension to the top spot and that first CD, the Carries and the Reubens are what we all dream of becoming, whether we have talent or can barely carry tune, even if it's on our iPod.
• June 13, 2005 | 7:58 a.m.
'Today' in the news (Al Roker)
Hey gang, one of the questions I always get asked is, "What's the deal with the guy in the glasses who's outside the window everyday?" An article from this past Sunday's New York Times answered that question. The writer, Ms. Bethany R. Lye, also takes a little swipe at my co-anchors at the end.
It's like people now feel the need to get their digs in now that we are viewed as vulnerable. But at the end of the day, we're still number one. This is a very nice article about a very nice guy. A shot at Matt and Katie "smiling through thick makeup" is not only uncalled for, it's not true. Do we wear makeup? Sure. Everyone in our business does. Is it thicker than anyone else's? I would argue they wear less than most. I know it's a small point, but after a month or so of people taking what I consider uncalled for and unfair shots, it starts to get a little old.
As my grandmother use to say, "If you can't say something nice..." But in today's world of "gotcha" journalism, it's more like, "If you can't say something nasty, what's the point?"
"Today" airs weekdays, 7 a.m. ET on NBC.