Al Roker Is a Mentor to ‘Today’ Cohost Craig Melvin! Inside Their Friendship Over the Years
Some of television’s most iconic duos gained notoriety while working together on Today. Al Roker and Craig Melvin have established a real friendship after years of working together on the hit NBC program. Both proud fathers, successful journalists and Emmy Award winners, the duo have a lot more in common than you might think.
Al began working for NBC in 1978. Eventually, his popularity on the network as a meteorologist led to him joining Today in the late ‘90s as a frequent fill-in anchor. He was tapped to host Today’s Take from 2012 to 2017. In 2018, both he and Craig became cohosts of Today’s third hour.
During a July 2020 episode of Today, Craig revealed that he viewed Al as his “secret mentor.” The Pops: Learning to be a Son and a Father author shared that he asked Al to lunch years earlier and never expected him to say yes. It was only just the start of their friendship, which has blossomed into a full-blown bromance. In October 2019, the meteorologist wrote a touching tribute to Craig after he made Variety’s New Power of New York list.
“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,” the New York native wrote. “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.”
Al went on to share memories from a road trip that the pair went on together, where he saw Craig “juggle” his professional life and his personal life. He commended the father of two for taking off from Today that September so he could “put his 5-year-old son on the school bus for the first day of school.” Al recalled how Craig then “surreptitiously follows said bus ’til it gets to school and sees his little man safely inside.”
Both Craig and Al have shared love for each other on Today and on social media. In August 2019, Craig shared a selfie with Al on Instagram to wish him a happy birthday. “Here’s to the guy who makes everyone smile, laugh, and better. @alroker is 65 today. He’s like a fine wine though. A little better every year. Happy birthday brother,” he wrote.
Craig, who attended Al’s daughter Courtney’s wedding, showed his support for his cohost after he announced he would be undergoing prostate cancer surgery in November 2020. “This morning, my dear friend, mentor, road dog, and brother from another mother announced he’s having prostate cancer surgery next week,” the Dateline anchor said on Instagram. “Have been thinking about @alroker all day. For those who know its power, offer up a prayer for our guy. As I said this am, that cancer picked the wrong prostate. You got this, Al.”
Two weeks after having his prostate removed, Al returned to work on Today. Craig and his other third hour cohosts, Sheinelle Jones and Dylan Dreyer were happy to have him back. Craig wrote on Instagram in July 2021 that his colleagues “make work fun every day.”