Today show viewers are celebrating the upcoming return of Al Roker, but there are at least two people who are more excited than them all: Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. After the NBC morning program announced that the beloved meteorologist would be returning to Studio 1A on Friday, Jan. 6 following a multi-week absence due to health concerns, Roker's Today co-stars couldn't hold back their excitement at having "the lifeblood of this show" return.
Guthrie and Kotb opened up about Roker's upcoming return during a recent chat with Entertainment Tonight, with Guthrie confirming to the outlet that her co-star will be "back and better than ever." Roker has mostly been absent from the program since November when he was first hospitalized for blood clots in his legs and lungs. After being discharged and spending Thanksgiving with his family, the meteorologist was readmitted to the hospital shortly after Thanksgiving. He was released from the hospital on Dec. 8, but has remained absent from the Today show, an absence that has been heavily felt but Kotb and Guthrie, who called Roker "the lifeblood of this show, he's the heartbeat."
"I mean, it just doesn't work without Al. We love him so much, we miss him so much," Guthrie told ET. "He went through this period that was difficult and he did it in his trademark way where he's always smiling, always upbeat, and he is roaring to come back. He is ready."
Reflecting on Roker's recent health concerns, Kotb noted that her co-star "went through the wringer and Al never complains about anything." She added that "to understand that he came back from a very difficult place, is on his feet, is strong again and is gonna be sitting next to us on Friday. We've seen Al go through everything. He's never out. He never takes time. The fact that he took time meant that he needed it and now his moment is here."
Kotb said that both she and Guthrie, who recently marked five years of co-anchoring together, are "ready. The crowd's ready." However, Guthrie was quick to joke that she, Kotb, and the rest of the Today cast and crew may need to "hold him back. I mean I think you know all of us around him are saying, 'Take it easy, buddy.'" Guthrie called Roker "the Energizer Bunny," telling ET, "I hope he takes as much time as he wants to, but I think he's really excited to come back to work, and we're excited to have him."