From Al Roker Entertainment

It Takes a Village

Painting of Al Roker

If we have learned anything during this stressful year of 2020, it’s that we should never, ever say, “Well, it can’t get any worse”

We have realized that a microscopic virus can lay us low on a personal, national, and global level in no time flat.

We have realized that our democracy is a beautiful yet fragile thing that needs constant vigilance.

We have realized that there is a dangerous and ugly vein of racism and white supremacy running through our towns and cities and good people of all races, creeds and religions have risen up to say, “no more”.

And we have realized our vote is our voice no matter what party you affiliate with, and that’s why we’ve seen a record voter turnout.

No matter what the result of the election was and whether or not your choice was victorious, now comes a time for us to put country in front of affiliation and really reach across to those who don’t think like us and try and make this a truly more perfect union

Al Roker

Picture Credit: James Doane

The Give Back

In addition to his busy TODAY SHOW duties, Al Roker recently moderated a couple of virtual conferences – for Advertising Week and the Propelify Innovation Festival – on behalf of Al Roker Entertainment:

AdWeek

Al invited Rick Angeli, producer of Life Aid – A Story of Hope and Erica Rubach, co-founder of EMME Solutions, the agency responsible for originating this project onto the virtual stage at Advertising Week to discuss why brands need to make social impact marketing part of their success strategy. This conversation revolved around Life Aid – A Story of Hope, a one-hour, nationally-televised special that chronicles the first-hand accounts from 9/11 first responders, state troopers and military Veterans and their families, as they overcome brain injuries sustained by their heroic work in the line of duty and recover from mental health symptoms and thoughts of suicide. The program aired on the Discovery Network, Science Channel, and American Heroes Channel in early October. Life Aid – A Story of Hope, a partnership between Cerner and the Life Aid Research Institute, demonstrates the positive impact that results from effective social impact storytelling and how to best navigate this essential element of branding. Watch the one-hour TV special here.

Al Roker, Rick Angeli and Erica Rubach

Al Roker with Erica Rubach from EMME Solutions and Producer Rick Angeli

Propelify at TechUnited NJ

Diversity and Inclusion in the Media - Al Roker

We love the brilliant minds at TechUnited:NJ and the Propelify Innovation Festival, held annually in the Garden State. This year’s Tech Fest was all virtual and Al Roker kicked it off with a conversation on Diversity and Inclusion in Media, part of the Building A Better World For All program track. Al was joined by media executives, Madison Merritt, Executive Vice President at eOne Entertainment, and Michael Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at NPR. In this discussion, the three discuss how Black Lives Matter created a needed pivot in coverage of minorities, how race relations and “woke” culture are affecting Hollywood – from the executive suites to the projects getting greenlit – and the opportunities and obstacles that exist for women and people of color. It is a stirring conversation not to be missed. Watch it here.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Media

It Takes a Village II

Welcome to HOPETOWN. Population 2,400 and growing!

Hopetown

A fascinating and inspirational scripted project came across our radar earlier in the year, a story of hope and redemption with a strong social impact component. Based on the nine-book “Blessings” series by Beverly Jenkins, HOPETOWN is about a wealthy African-American divorcee determined to purchase a failing, childless town and turn it into a thriving foster-family community but must overcome resistance from the inhabitants, unwilling to support her outside-the-box ideas. Although HOPETOWN is contemporary, the story includes a nod to the “Exodusters” – African-American former slaves who migrated to Kansas at the end of slavery to start their own self-sustaining towns. Currently, only one surviving Exoduster town remains: Niocodemus, KS, which serves as partial inspiration for our fictional town, Henry Adams, KS.

Beverly Jenkins Books

For Al Roker Entertainment, this is our first foray into live-action scripted entertainment, as we typically produce unscripted fare and branded content, however, Al and the team were impressed with the positive, social good themes that populated the project: multi-ethnic characters, the notion of gratitude and giving back, the promise of second chances and the overriding theme of fostering. In addition, we also liked the element of community outreach. Not only does HOPETOWN chronicle a story of giving back, but we are able to create social impact by promoting foster care community activism through Hero Bridge, a new app being developed by our production partner, The Brave Road into the messaging for this project. Hero Bridge is currently beta testing the app with the mentors and young adults at Stepping Forward LA and will release the program nationwide in 2021.

Hopetown Kids

Al Roker Entertainment launched a HOPETOWN Facebook Group over the Labor Day weekend, expecting maybe two or three hundred people to join. Within 24 hours, we had over 1,000 group members! The idea of this forthcoming TV project resonated with our newly minted HOPETOWN community – thanks to the enthusiastic devotion of Beverly Jenkins readers – and at last clip, the group is closing in on 2,500 active members. The village is growing! 

HOPETOWN also hits home – so to speak – with Al Roker and a personal connection to fostering. Al not only has an adopted daughter, but also grew up with foster siblings and commented, “I know how important it is for every child to be given the opportunity to grow up in a positive and supportive way. HOPETOWN, not only inspires and entertains, it also sheds light on the importance of fostering and how foster kids benefit from being part of a connected community like the one portrayed in Beverly Jenkins books. This storytelling is uplifting and engaging and proves it really does take a village.” 

We are grateful to our new friends and production partners, The Brave Road, and Vast Entertainment for their dedication to this multi-ethnic inspirational story. If you want to keep up with the project, join almost 2500 other HOPETOWN inhabitants and check out our Facebook Group. If you’d like more information about the forthcoming project, including opportunities for branding, drop us a line at marketing@alroker.com 

The Revolution Will Be Streamed

The Covid19 Pandemic has accelerated the audience migration from “traditional” television to VOD, streaming TV and digital platforms for content consumption. Bedrock media companies are restructuring staff, shifting programming priorities, and focusing on a streaming future. We curate these substantial changes to the media landscape daily on our Twitter feed here and on the ARE LinkedIn here.

You Look So Much Better In Person by Al Roker

Need a gift idea for that Al Roker fan on your holiday shopping list? Al’s 13th and latest book, “You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success” is out now. Packed to the brim with cackle-inducing and cringeworthy behind-the-scenes insights and observations from over four decades in the media, this book reminds us all that long-term success in our personal lives and our careers is just within reach. You Look So Much Better in Person will leave you laughing out loud and inspired, and feeling not alone amidst life’s best and worst moments. Learn more HERE. (Hachette Go) 

Al Roker Entertainment

Thanks for reading!

Got a question? Idea? Recipe? Drop us a line: marketing@alroker.com