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Al Roker defends his Speidi interview on 'Today'

Al Roker knows the temperature all right. A day after the friendly "Today" weatherman grilled the monster celebrity couple known as Speidi (Heidi and Spencer Pratt), Roker defended his tougher interviewing persona.

“Like any other interviewer, if you ask a question you expect it to be answered, and you have a certain amount of time for a live interview,” said Roker in a phone interview with the L.A. Times today. “When she wasn’t answering [the question], I had to ask her again. I just wanted a yes or no.”

On a Monday interview segment, the amiable NBC personality asked Heidi Pratt if she was proud of her recent erratic behavior on NBC's prime-time reality show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!"  She never really answered the question, but her stumbling attempts and Roker's unusual persistence turned the segment into a popular Web video. (The couple, when later interviewed by Ryan Seacrest for his morning radio show on KIIS-FM, claimed the weatherman "personally attacked" them and was "rude" and "mean-spirited."

Roker disagreed.

“This wasn’t the entertainment shows where they throw softball questions, telling them they're great,” said Roker. “We’re on a news show. You have to ask questions. If they ever get asked to go on another news show, they’re going to get asked the same questions.”

Still, Roker questions whether Heidi and Spencer deserve to even be called celebrities and predicts their celebrated status will soon expire.

“That [behavior] grows old very quickly, and people grow tired of it,” he said. “There are people who’ve actually accomplished things, people who are known for their great works. Just because you’ve been on a show where you just behave badly doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished anything.”

Despite the backlash from Spencer and Heidi, Roker has not received any negative responses from the public or NBC, he said.

“I think it was a fair interview, and I stand by it. I have nothing to defend about it,” Roker said. “I feel badly that they feel they were somehow attacked.”

— Juliette Funes


Comments () | Archives (4)

Spencer and Heidi are very young and actually very nice. Roaker should consider good manners and then maybe he would get an answer. But Roaker put them on the defensive, very NBC Morning and I salute the couple for their dignity. Freedom of speech, although it doesn't apply to television, allows Roaker's crude questioning and Spencer and Heide's decision to not respond. What you saw was a husband covering his wifes threat attacker and I salute this young couples awkward poise. Within them there is greatness. Roaker has already proved what he is.

The idea that this is some kind of slam or attack is preposterous. What Al did was confront these classless solipsists with a rational outside take on themselves. He was respectful at all times, and to say that his pride question betrays some sort of latent sexism is not only delusional, it's completely offensive to all the real women who can actually handle being asked a gender-neutral question about the things that they have done without cowering under Spencer Pratt's after-the-fact chauvinism. Al has handled this situation with poise, humor, and realism at every stage, while the Pratts have consistently wrapped their every defense in their arbitrary entitlement to everything.

Heidi, you are an Aryan billionaire. Your shameless self-victimization is an insult to the generations of women who were born with less and sacrificed more so that you might have access to the respect you now squander.

Spencer, you don't get to be the hero in real life. The things you do and say, the people you interact with onscreen and off, that is real life. That is your stupid, stupid life.

There was a lot of luck involved in Roker getting to his high (horse) position.
Shame on him for 'dissing' the young couple.

What is up with the Bill Maher show on HBO? I have to have the remote in hand through the entire program. One second, you cannot hear him at all, so you raise the volume; the next second, the sound blows you out of your chair! How annoying!!! Really, it's enough to make me quit watching.


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