‘Today’ regular helps with annual New York tree lighting
Q: Do you still enjoy the annual traditions that “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” and arguably its highlight, the lighting of the site’s tree for the holiday season, are?
A: It’s something that I was involved with long before it became a national show. It began as a little part of our New York station, WNBC; it was the last five minutes of “Live at Five,” the 5 p.m. newscast. I first did it in December of 1983, and I’ve been with it ever since, and it’s been a real honor.
I look at this as the national tree. I know there’s also one in Washington, but this is probably the world’s most famous Christmas tree, and the one that’s probably seen by more people in person than any other tree in the world. It’s very special. The moment when you hear, “3 … 2 … 1,” and the choir starts singing, I think the spirit overtakes everybody whether they’re religious or not.
Q: Isn’t there more “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” coverage than what’s seen on the full network?
A: They make it available to all the NBC affiliates that want to carry it, and what’s interesting is that a pretty good number of stations carry that earlier hour as well.
Q: You celebrate multiple holidays on yearly NBC specials. Is there a particular connecting factor between them for you?
A: What’s great is that I get to spend three great holidays with Hoda (Kotb, one of Roker’s “Today” colleagues) – there’s Thanksgiving (with the Macy’s Parade) and Christmas, and then there’s the Rose Parade to kick off the new year. So, I’m a pretty lucky person.
Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.