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Al Roker defends his Speidi interview on 'Today'

June 16, 2009 |  2:13 pm

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