For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Al Roker to write a tribute to Craig Melvin, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. For the full list, click here.
I’m just going to come right out and say this. I have a man crush on Craig Melvin, and I don’t care who knows it.
How can you not love this guy? He’s a young Southerner who was raised by a mom who was a teacher and a dad who worked shifts at the post office in South Carolina. I love that even though he is so young, he has made his success the old-fashioned way: through hard work, coming up through local news in South Carolina, winning Emmy Awards, becoming an honored anchorman. Then at the NBC station in Washington, D.C., he not only distinguished himself with his journalistic chops — he multitasked by meeting, wooing and marrying the much more talented sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak.
I have watched with respect and admiration that in the short time since Craig joined NBC News and MSNBC, he’s covered everything from the Olympics to mass shootings to presidential conventions. Craig’s interviewed former presidents, secretaries of state, ambassadors and school-kids, all with the same intelligence, honesty and integrity.
Last year, while Craig and I were on a road trip, I got to witness him juggle his professional life — while we were shooting nonstop — and his personal life, caring for his dad and one of his brothers and checking in at home fretting over his kids. I knew then just how special this guy is.
And then our relationship deepened when he joined the weekday desk at “Today.” His gravitas, wit and humor has been on full display, as has his collection of Johnny Carson-worthy plaid sport coats.
In September, who else but Craig Melvin takes off from his “Today” show duties to put his 5-year-old son on the school bus for the first day of school, then surreptitiously follows said bus ’til it gets to school and sees his little man safely inside?
And let’s face it: Vocally, he is the newsman’s version of Lou Rawls and one good-looking, sweet piece of man candy. OK, I’m shallow. Sue me!! So, yes, I am crushing on Craig Melvin. He’s mine. And yeah, I’m talking to you, Mike Tirico. Back off!!
Al Roker is a host and weatherman on NBC’s “Today Show.”