Al Roker's “Today” Co-Hosts Celebrate His 45th Anniversary at NBC: 'You Are the Beating Heart of This Show'

“He’s been at the Peacock longer than I’ve been alive,” co-host Craig Melvin joked

<p>John Lamparski/Getty</p> Al Roker marked 45 years with NBC in 2023.

John Lamparski/Getty

Al Roker marked 45 years with NBC in 2023.

Al Roker celebrated a major milestone this week!

On Monday, the beloved weatherman and Today co-host, 69, marked 45 years with NBC, and his co-hosts insisted on commemorating the anniversary on-air — despite Roker’s sly attempt to slip away after delivering the weather forecast.

“Ope, look at the time, I’ve got to go,” Roker joked to his Today co-hosts Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Sheinelle Jones, who insisted he stick around for his celebration.

“Al, my friend, you are the beating heart of this show,” Guthrie, 51, said, and Kotb, 59, added, “the heart and the soul.”

<p>Today Show/X</p> Al Roker and his 'Today' co-hosts celebrate his 45th anniversary at NBC.

Today Show/X

Al Roker and his 'Today' co-hosts celebrate his 45th anniversary at NBC.

Related: Today Show Hosts Recreate Famous 1932 Photo Almost 1,000 Feet Above New York City

The hosts looked back Roker’s career with NBC, which began in 1978 in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked at affiliate station WKYC for five years before returning to his hometown of New York City to work for WNBC-TV.

He joined Today in 1996 as a regular weatherman and has stuck around the beloved morning show ever since.

“You know, Roker, you’re like the first person most of us met when we came here,” Kotb told the NBC veteran. “And you always made every new person feel included and loved.”

According to Today’s calculations, his NBC career has consisted of 7,047 3:45 a.m. wake-ups, as well as 27 Thanksgiving Day Parades and 13 Olympics.

As Melvin, 44, put it, “He’s been at the Peacock longer than I’ve been alive.”

The hosts also gave a glimpse into Roker’s WKYC field reporting days, including a clip of him with penguins at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and a clip of him on a hang glider. Of the latter, he joked, “It took a while for people to get me off the ground.”

Related: Al Roker Says He's 'Thankful' to Be at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade After Missing Last Year's Due to Health Issues

Elsewhere in Monday’s episode, the Today team put together a short-but-sweet message that included cameos from NBC staffers like Carson Daly and Jenna Bush Hager, as well as two of Roker’s kids, Leila, 25, and Nick, 21, and his wife of 28 years, Deborah Roberts.

“Happy, happy, happy anniversary,” said Roberts, 63. “And here’s to so many more. I’ll be popping the champagne, so come on home.”

<p>Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty </p> Al Roker joined 'Today' in 1996.

Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Al Roker joined 'Today' in 1996.

After watching the special video, Roker, Melvin and Jones, 45, each enjoyed an Aperol spritz — “the official Roker drink,” per Melvin, who went on to share a sweet message of his own with Roker.

“Any time someone says, 'What’s Al Roker like off camera?' I tell them, ‘Even better than he is on camera,” he said, adding that Roker is “the classiest of acts” and “our North Star.”

Related: Al Roker's Most Heartwarming Photos with His Granddaughter, Sky Clara

Last month, Roker appeared on WKYC with his former coworker, anchor Leon Bibb, to reflect on their career beginnings at the Cleveland station, which he said was a “really special time.”

“This guy here brought our humorous side,” Bibb said of Roker — a claim evidenced by the clips resurfaced on Today for his NBC anniversary.

Roker also revealed that his decision to leave Cleveland was “a very difficult choice.”

“And the only reason I really left was it was home,” he told WKYC. “I loved it here, and I still love it here."

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