Many a television newsman has had a signature phrase, whether it’s a unique sign-off or a particular expression that viewers come to associate with him.


Could Al Roker’s be …”man candy?”


Yesterday, Roker, of NBC’s Today Show fame, surveyed the sea of tight-T-shirted young men lined up on the Today Show Plaza for Cosmopolitan magazine’s search for “The Most Eligible Bachelors in the United States” and proclaimed: “It’s like a Whitman’s Sampler of man candy.”


On Monday, “award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson” appeared on the show to prepare an autumnal feast and inspired this exchange between Roker and Ann Curry:


CURRY: “[Samuelsson] is so talented.”

ROKER: “He is. And a sweet piece of man candy.”


Three weeks ago, actor John Stamos was a guest on Today, provoking this adroit segue/teaser from Roker: “And speaking of dessert, he’s one fine piece of man candy. John Stamos will be here.”


Two days prior, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira got in on it, ogling some male models donning tuxedos for a “Today Throws A Wedding” segment.


LAUER: I’ve been — yeah, I’ve been checking out the male models all morning. Woo!

ROKER: Yeah.

VIEIRA: But Ann [Curry] and I — they are so hot!

ROKER: They are so hot, such man candy.

LAUER: Man, there is some beefsteak here today. Whoa!

ROKER: Oooh, man. Yeah!


Back in August, it was singer John Mayer’s turn to be pronounced by Roker “a sweet piece of man candy, that’s right.” In May, “that Hugh Jackman,” on Today to promote a film, also made Roker’s cut (“One sweet piece of man candy.”) “He’s a sweet piece of man candy, I’ll tell ya,” is what Roker told viewers in January 2005 about actor Dermot Mulroney. And in September of ‘05, actor Benjamin Bratt was “the other piece of man candy we have for you, Katie.”


Sometimes, Roker stirs things up by making the “man candy” moniker job-specific. In May of 2005, Roker — fulfilling a lifelong dream of whitewater rafting in Costa Rica as part of the “Live for Today” series — dubbed one of his Costa Rican rafting guides “a sweet piece of rapid man candy.” Chef Andrew Alexander has been called by Roker “a sweet piece of cooking man candy” — though during a separate Alexander visit to Today, Roker went with the simple, “sweet piece of man candy and a heck of a chef.”


Even C-list actors have received Roker’s term of endearment.


There was this, from Roker, in October of 2003: “Dean Cain’s a sweet piece of man candy. He is. There’s no question about that.”


And here is Roker, back in the summer of 2002, making the case for actor Vin Diesel:


COURIC: “Well, what is it about him that women find so appealing?”

ROKER: “He’s a sweet piece…”

COURIC: “Because it’s lost on me.”

ROKER: “…of man candy.”

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.