Since Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist premiered five years ago, the show has evolved into a weekly in-depth look into breaking news, cultural trends and the people, including celebrities, shaping the world around us. The show is celebrating its fifth anniversary on April 18, and for the occasion, Willie reflected on what its success — and his viewers — mean to him.
Tune in to Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist's fifth anniversary show on Sunday morning, April 18.
Who was your favorite person to interview on Sunday TODAY?
Oooh, boy. It’s impossible to choose one from five years, but I love talking with Chip and Joanna Gaines. I went down to Waco to interview them inside an old, rundown municipal building they’re renovating into a boutique hotel. Chip and I did some demo after the interview, which really is a nice way of saying we broke a bunch of stuff like 10-year-old boys. By the end of it, he and I were having a hammer-throwing contest as Joanna stood there and said, “Y’all are idiots.” She was right, as always.
What are some standout moments from the past five years of the show?
The moment two years in when Bill Murray agreed to come on the show was a big breakthrough for us. He doesn’t do many interviews and the fact that he thought it was worth his time to spend an hour or two with us was incredibly gratifying for our team and a stamp on what we’d been building. His validation led to a bunch of other big-name bookings, especially in the comedy world with people like David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld.
The Chadwick Boseman interview was huge for us, too. He was right in the middle of "Black Panther" mania, fresh off a plane from South Korea, I think, and plopped down across from me, exhaled and gave an incredibly thoughtful interview. Obviously I cherish that day even more now with his passing.
How has your life changed as a result of Sunday TODAY?
My life has changed mostly in that I work on the weekends! That’s in addition to my daily weekday gig on Morning Joe over on MSNBC. I’m not much of a late-night partier on Saturday nights anymore, and weekend trips are kind of out, but I have an incredibly supportive wife and kids who don’t make me feel bad about that. Except when they ask for expensive gifts and say, “You’ve taken our lives away. This is the least you can do, you monster.” Other than that, we’re good.
What are your hopes for the future of the show?
I hope we can continue to shine a light on all that makes our country special, in addition to confronting its challenges. I’m always happiest when a viewer says he or she got the information they needed through the first half-hour of the show, then laughed and cried through the back half of the show. Our team puts together a great mix of stories, and we try never to waste a moment of our viewers’ time. We hope you’ll be moved in some way by everything we show you.
What is your family’s reaction to five years of Sunday TODAY? What role have they played in the success of the show?
I joke about the kids complaining, but they’re the best. Over the last year, we’ve done many of the shows from out in our garage to stay distant from the studio. Most mornings, Christina and the kids come over, get under a blanket on the couch, and just off camera as I do the show. What a gift to be able to share the show I love so much with the people I love the most.
Tune in to our Sunday TODAY streaming event on April 18 on TODAY All Day.