One of the most persistent morning TV shows, Rocker told viewers of NBC’s “Today” Friday morning that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was taking time off for surgery and recovery.
“It’s good news – kind of bad news,” Roker told viewers during the broadcast of the morning show on Friday. “The good news is that we discovered it early on. The good news is not that it is a bit aggressive, so I’m going to take a while to take care of this.” NBC said Rocker will have surgery next week at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Roker has worked with “Today” since 1996, and has watched the show through several notable transitions and during the stints of popular morning correspondent groups, including Bryant Gumbel, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Meredith Viera – and, more recently, Anne Carey, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb . He has long been behind Willard Scott’s weather character, and fans have followed Roker through medical issues. He saw his family members on the air; They followed suit with non-stop “Roker-thons” weather forecasts that set records, one of which included cross-country travel. Also serving as a co-presenter during the third hour of the show, he led a series of broadcast efforts in the franchise in which he spoke to celebrities about their favorite sandwiches.
The AM character has also shown a willingness to start new business paths. It keeps a separate production process, trying new forms of video entertainment, including broadcast software. “It’s the kind of 1920s radio. Why don’t you take a shot at that?” Roker asked in an interview with variety In 2015, after the disclosure of new efforts via the Meerkat mobile app. “You don’t know where to go, but I think it would be fun to be the first there. It’s not like anyone gets hurt.”
The diagnosis calls into question whether Rocker will be able to participate in NBC’s annual broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which has been a part of it since 1995. NBC’s broadcast will be different this year, due to the conditions set by the coronavirus pandemic, but Roker’s association with the event has led To some interesting moments, including an incident in 2019 when he entangled a man dressed as a slice of butter as he sought to give viewers some colorful details of the parade.
On Friday, Roker said, “I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, poor thing,’ because I’m going to be okay.”
Morning-program viewers tend to rally around health program announcers and problems. Robin Roberts’ battle with bone marrow myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012 and 2013 inspired viewers of ABC’s “Good Morning America”, as did the struggles of her co-worker, Amy Robach, who fought breast cancer in 2013. And more recently, “Today” Viewers rallied around co-host Savannah Guthrie late last year after she suffered an eye injury that seemed to blur her eyes for a while.
In a 2014 interview with variety, Rocker admitted how much the nation’s broadcasters contacted viewers. “They celebrate with us. They grieve with us. I lost both parents on the show,” he said. “It’s just one of those normal things. I don’t think anyone will stand against you. We are all old. We all have elderly parents. Maybe morning is where life happens … It’s a different beast.”
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