So when he was absent from the broadcast Thursday morning, viewers couldn’t just move on like nothing happened.
After all, Roker, 68, is as much a part of the day’s traditions as turkey, stuffing, football, the dog show, parade floats and Broadway numbers.
“Today” hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie started off the parade broadcast by reminding viewers that Roker would not be part of the show this year due to a health issue. He has been an on-air fixture at the parade since 1995.
Dylan Dreyer, a “Today” and NBC News meteorologist who hails from Manalapan, filled in for Roker as a roving co-host, also fielding a holiday phone call from President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden.
Roker tweeted last week about a serious health issue that has kept him away from work.
But for many, his absence came as news Thanksgiving morning.
“So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I’ve been,” Roker tweeted Nov. 18. “Last week I was admitted to the hospital w/blood clot in my leg which sent some clots into my lungs. I am so fortunate to be getting terrific care and on the way to recovery. Thanks for all the well wishes & prayers.”
The longtime “Today” weather anchor underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2020.
Roker fans kept wishing him well, but for many, the showy holiday morning ritual just wasn’t the same without him.
For instance, who was going to tell the Butter to get out of here, a la the Roker-inspired Thanksgiving Day Parade meme from 2019?
“Get out of here, ya butter!!” Roker shouted at a man dressed as a stick of butter, pushing the costumed parade participant away in a moment still getting mileage this year.