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Fame & Fortune
Al Roker
Jovial TV weatherman shows a serious side
Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Al Roker

Bankrate: What's the hardest thing you have to deal with while producing?

Al Roker: Firing somebody. It's never pleasant, but sometimes you have to. If somebody's not doing their job, you're not doing them any favors by not letting them know that. You warn them, you tell them, and if they don't fix the issue, then you gotta let 'em go.

Bankrate: Is this something you've had to do a lot of over the years?

Al Roker: Not a lot of, fortunately.

Bankrate: When the time comes, do you handle it personally?

Al Roker: Yeah.

Bankrate: How did you wind up doing the special "Meth, Murder and Madness"?

Al Roker: One of our producers came up with the idea and said, "I think this is an interesting story." We looked at it and said, "yeah, it is." The meth epidemic was poised to wash along shore on the East Coast, so we decided that this is something interesting. It's something people need to know about. So we did it.

Bankrate: What was the most surprising thing you learned while doing that special?

Al Roker: It turns this drug issue on its head, in that usually it starts in the big cities and goes out to smaller towns and rural areas. This is just the opposite. It starts in rural areas, and works its way into the big cities. It's pretty insidious.

Bankrate: What is your role in getting these shows off the ground?

Al Roker: People come up with ideas, we flesh them out, and I'm part of the team that goes and pitches them to try to sell them to different networks. Once they get sold, we have producers and executive producers, but I'm always one of the executive producers, and always watch everything that goes through. I always work with the producers on it and promote it when it's time to promote the show.

Bankrate: How big a factor is your name in helping get a show sold?

Al Roker: I'm not Ashton Kutcher, but it certainly helps you get your foot in the door to make the call.

Bankrate: Do you have time to do things CEOs generally do, like participating in long-term financial planning?

Al Roker: Yeah. It's my company, so I'm involved in financial planning, real estate, where the offices are, equipment purchases. Anything that's part of the company.

Bankrate: Do you enjoy that side of it, or is it a necessary evil for you?

Al Roker: A little of both. Sometimes it's interesting, and sometimes the minutia starts to grind away, but it's part of the gig. If you want to run the company and not have any surprises, you need to know all aspects of it.

Bankrate: Has running a business made you smarter in terms of how you handle your own personal finances, and the business end of your personal life?

Al Roker: I think they help each other. I don't know which one helps more, but in certain ways you run your professional life as you want your personal life to be and vice versa.

Bankrate: Tell me about "Celebrity Family Feud." How did this come about?

Al Roker: I don't know, to be honest. They came to me and said, "We're doing this show, would you like to host it?" And I said, "You bet!" It just happened to come along at the right time and (on) the right network.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: June 27, 2008
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