Al Roker is best known for his facility in explaining the weather. But the “Today” veteran is about to test his footing on new terrain.
His production company, Al Roker Entertainment, has optioned “The Personal Librarian,” by authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, for what he hopes will become a limited series or film that could find a home, potentially, on a streaming service. The book has personal relevance to Roker. His wife, the ABC News national correspondent, Deborah Roberts, is a fan and played a key role in persuading the authors to work with the production company. Roker and Roberts will work as executive producers on the project.
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The novel is about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman with light skin who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white. The book fascinated Roberts, and, subsequently, Roker. “It blew me away,” he says in an interview. “The idea that somebody has to subvert their very identity to succeed — there’s some of that going on today.”
While many TV viewers know Roker from his years spent analyzing the climate for “Today” and other venues, few know that he has led a small TV-production company for more than two decades. The shop, Al Roker Entertainment, has produced unscripted and short-form scripted programming for a wide range of venues, and he has experimented with content that can be transmitted with new technologies, such as Meerkat. But Roker acknowledges that this new effort would mark “the first time we are doing something like this.”
“From the moment I picked up ‘The Personal Librarian,’ I fell in love with it. And I knew it needed to make the leap to a series or motion picture, “said Roberts, in a prepared statement.
The duo have begun approaching potential studios about the project, Roker says, but don’t have a time-table at present. “Things can take time or they can all of a sudden click and you are off to the races. I’m hoping it’s the latter.”
Marie Benedict is represented by Laura Dail of Laura Dail Literary Agency, Inc. Victoria Christopher Murray is represented by Liza Dawson at Liza Dawson Associates.
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