Probably staying up way past his bedtime, Today weatherman and NBC broadcast darling Al Roker celebrated the release of his first murder mystery novel, The Morning Show Murders, on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 24, at SushiSamba on Seventh Avenue.
The entire cast of Today gathered to congratulate Mr. Roker and praise his untiring work ethic. They also hinted at some supernatural activities at Studio 1A—perhaps explaining some of the inspiration for his fiction.
“You know, I’ve heard that Studio 1A is haunted,” said Natalie Morales, wearing a black blouse with one shoulder exposed and accompanied with a high-waisted gold skirt ruffled out at the hips. “Matt [Lauer] once said he smelled roses very strongly, near the hallways. Apparently that’s the sign of someone trying to make contact from the spirit world,” she told the Transom, grinning.
“We had a guy come and do sort of like a spiritual, psychic reading. And he said, ‘Yes, I feel a strong presence here,’ so someone maybe has died in the building a long time ago,” Ms. Morales continued.
Earlier that day, on the show, Meredith Viera had joked about the mystery of how on earth Mr. Roker got the book done. “I thought a lot about this,” she said before the crowd. “I looked at your schedule and how much you work, the time of day you get up. I realized, you didn’t write one damn word of this book!”
The Transom found the novelist standing near his particularly adorable family (his son Nicholas wore thick-framed black glasses and suspenders). “I’ve always loved mystery novels from when I was a kid,” he told us. “The Hardy Boys, Edgar Allen Poe—my mom read them like crazy.”
Someone at Random House heard Mr. Roker might want to get into the novel-writing biz and jumped right on it!
“I was thinking about something in the morning TV world because I know that,” the weatherman said. “But I didn’t want to make him a weatherman; that’s too obvious. So I made him a chef.”
But when the Transom asked Mr. Roker about paranormal activities back at Studio 1A, he drew a blank.
“I’ve never heard that story! And I’ve never smelled roses, that’s for sure! I’ve smelled something, but not roses. …” he said. “She’s the investigative reporter”—pointing at Ann Curry—“ask her!”
“I heard about it and I was falsely accused and I’m upset about it!” said Ms. Curry, before we could even ask a question. “I think she made it up!” said Ms. Curry, faux-glaring at Ms. Morales.
Ms. Curry was more interested in discussing the death of print journalism than murder mysteries. She told us that she has almost 900,000 followers on Twitter, reaching people across the globe.
“So I’d better not drop the ball! It’s a lot of pressure to always be on it, and be worthy of credit people give you,” she advised in a cool-younger-aunt kind of way.