I feel sorry for this guy. Seriously. It's like the producers of "Today" go out of their way to put him into uncomfortable positions. As in: Meredith or Matt will announce, "Coming up, we meet with the parents of two Columbine victims, on the anniversary of their tragic deaths." Then Al gets to follow that up with, "And THEN, Martha Stewart will show us how to make whimsical napkin rings out of recycled materials."
It's the same pattern, day in or day out: Meredith and Matt announce an exclusive interview with someone who has lost a limb/family member/home/etc. in some tragic fashion, and then Al gets to immediate segue into a promo for a cooking segment or some such. And he's a total pro at it in fact, he ought to patent his technique. Somehow he manages to convey with his voice, "Oh, man, I really don't want to have to go here, because that last piece was SO FLIPPIN' SAD, but . . . life goes on, and NOW MY VOICE IS MODULATING UPWARD AND I'M TRANSITIONING FROM SOLEMN TO CHIPPER!"
It's a talent. Really.
Today's example: a live remote by Al from South Beach, Florida, where he's covering a wine and food festival. The sun in shining, he's in a polo shirt and khakis, there are flowers are blooming around him everywhere . . . and he gets to deliver the intros to a series of fun and upbeat weather-related stories. Crippling snowstorms! The aftermath of the earthquake in New Zealand! Flood waters that swept four Amish kids in Kentucky out of their horse-drawn carriage and into a swollen creek!
I felt sorry for him. A little. But not much. Since he's being paid to hang out in South Beach and nosh on gourmet food and all.