Al Roker during a "Today" show broadcast. Al Roker during a "Today" show broadcast. Al Roker during a "Today" show broadcast. (Photo: Courtesy NBC Universal)

Take cooking lessons from Al Roker

The popular meteorologist is producing a 3-part series on live-streaming app Meerkat.

Al Roker, the avuncular weatherman for NBC's "Today," is producing and co-starring in three cooking shows this week on live-streaming app Meerkat. The mobile app, founded earlier this year by 27-year-old Israeli Ben Rubin, has taken off since it was introduced at South by Southwest in March.

Roker, who has his own production company, Al Roker Entertainment, is producing the shows through Roker Labs, the new live-streaming branch of his production company.

His first show aired Monday and featured cook-at-home delivery company Plated's co-founder Nick Taranto, and vice president of culinary Elana Karp.

Karp said live-streaming content on apps like Meerkat seemed like the logical thing to do for social companies like Plated.

"Social media has always been an important part of how Plated connects to our customers, and we were thrilled to partner with Al Roker Entertainment and Meerkat to try out a new way of connecting," she told From The Grapevine. "Al was fantastic to work with, and we had a great time."

The next two shows will air today at 4 p.m. eastern and will feature food bloggers Phoebe Lapine and Erin Palinski-Wade. The last scheduled show is set to air Wednesday at 1 p.m.

For Roker's part, he voiced his excitement at the prospect of being involved with a new broadcast platform.

“It’s sort of like radio in the 1920s. Why not take a shot at it?” Roker told Variety. “You don’t know where it’s going to go, but I think it’s going to be fun to be the first out there. It’s not like anybody’s going to get hurt.”

NBC's "Today" show meteorologist Al Roker is producing three cooking shows on Meerkat.NBC's "Today" show meteorologist Al Roker is producing three cooking shows on Meerkat. (Photo: Meerkat)

Roker may just be the hardest working man in the news biz. In addition to his "Today" duties, he also hosts his own show on The Weather Channel, "Wake Up with Al." And as if to prove his endurance, last year Roker set the new, official Guinness World Record with a 34-hour uninterrupted live weather report.

Roker isn't the only celebrity gravitating to Meerkat. Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Arnold Shwarzenegger and Questlove have made no secret of their fondness for the app. U2 has been broadcasting concerts from their current world tour on the live-streaming app. Jimmy Fallon has broadcast "The Tonight Show" monologue rehearsals using the app, and Madonna premiered her new music video on it.

Bono U2 MeerkatBono performs next to a fan who is live-streaming U2's June 15 Montreal concert via the live video app Meerkat. (Photo: justinanewton/Flickr)

Meerkat in return has made no secret of its Hollywood ambitions, earlier this year hiring an executive to work with industry partners and content creators.

The app's creator, Ben Rubin, has also been very blunt about the fact that he sees Meerkat as the facilitator of a new kind of interactive content.

"The way we see it is the medium will be successful when we change the type of content – and the type of content should change because this is live streams,” he said. “You can change the content when you empower the audience to take part in the content, not consume. If the past decade was about consuming or sharing, the next decade is going to be about participating in content.”


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