Al Roker and his wife, Deborah Roberts, are branching out with a special new project. The TODAY show weatherman and ABC News national correspondent revealed Thursday that Roker's production company, Al Roker Entertainment, has optioned The Personal Librarian for what could become a limited series or film that hopefully gets picked up by a streaming service or other home.
The original book, by authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, is about J. P. Morgan's personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, a Black woman with light skin who hid her true identity to pass as white. Roberts played a huge role in persuading the authors to work with the production company after she first became a fan of the book, introducing it to her husband, reports Variety. Both Roker and Roberts will work as executive producers on the project.
"It blew me away," Roker said in an interview with the outlet. "The idea that somebody has to subvert their very identity to succeed – there's some of that going on today." Roberts added in a statement, "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." While the two have already begun approaching studios about the project, there's no exact timeline just yet. "Things can take time or they can all of a sudden click and you are off to the races," Roker added. "I'm hoping it's the latter."
The couple also shared their big news on Instagram. "We've teamed up on so many things...kids, parties and even covid survival," Roberts wrote. "Now my guy @alroker and I are teaming up on a special project ... hopefully bringing this brilliant book to life on a screen." Continuing how "obsessed" she was with the "amazing work" of historical fiction, Roberts said she "couldn't stop thinking about" the story after reading it. "Now we are taking my obsession to the next level!" she ended, adding the hashtags "dreaming," "goals" and "teamwork."
Roberts' followers were on board immediately. "Wowwww! I haven't read it yet, but now I've got to! Can't wait for you to reveal your next move with Al!!!" one person wrote. "Congratulations!!!" Another added, "It IS an amazing work, I'm so thankful to have learned of it thanks to you! Cannot wait for this project to come to life!"