On the heels of NCIS hitting series highs for viewers in its 8th season…

via press release:

Mark Harmon Jumps 7 Spots and is America’s Favorite TV Star

Oprah drops one to a tie with Hugh Laurie for the number 2 spot

NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2011 — He was a lothario doctor on St. Elsewhere, another doctor on Chicago Hope and now he is NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Mark Harmon, and his piercing blue eyes, is America’s Favorite TV Star, a jump from last year when he was number 8 on the list. Oprah Winfrey, last year’s number one, drops to a tie for number two. Hugh Laurie, TV’s Dr. House, moves up from a tie for the 4th spot last year to a tie for the number 2 spot this year.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,331 adults surveyed online between December 6 and 13, 2010 by Harris Interactive®.

Seventh Heaven

Rounding out the top five are two late night talk show hosts – returning to the list after a three year absence with his new TBS show, Conan O’Brien is number 4.  The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is tied for number 5, and even with some recent bad press, Two and a Half Men’s Charlie Sheen moves up from number 7, to tie Conan at number 5.

The next three on the list all host their own shows: Ellen DeGeneres drops down from a tie for 4th place to number 7 this year, Bill O’Reilly moves up two spots from number 10 last year to number 8 this year, and making his own top ten, David Letterman remains at number 9. Returning to the list after dropping off last year is Steve Carrell of The Office.

Off the Map

While two people moved back to the list, two television personalities moved off the list. Last year he debuted at number 2 on the list but even after staging a large event on the National Mall, this year Glenn Beck has dropped out of the top ten. Another television personality was in the news this past year—yet despite his return to the Tonight Show, Jay Leno still dropped from number three last year out of the top ten.

Different Strokes

There are different number ones for different groups. Men say Mark Harmon is their favorite, while for women it is Oprah.  Generations also have their favorites. Echo Boomers (those aged 18-33) are happy he’s back on television as Conan O’Brien is their favorite, while for Gen Xers (aged 34-45) it’s all about Dr. House and Hugh Laurie. Baby Boomers (aged 46-64) have a tie for their favorite as both Charlie Sheen and Mark Harmon top their list.  For Matures (aged 65 and older) there are also two on top – Mark Harmon and Bill O’Reilly.

There are definitely some partisan differences. Bill O’Reilly is the favorite for Republicans but for Conservatives he ties with Mark Harmon as the favorite. For Independents, Mark Harmon is number one and for Moderates their favorite is Oprah Winfrey.  Number one for Democrats and Liberals is the same – Jon Stewart.

Each region also has their favorite. For the East it is Oprah, while Midwesterners say Conan is their favorite. Westerners are partial to Mark Harmon and Charlie Sheen is tops for Southerners.



“Who is your favorite TV personality?”

Base: All adults

1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Mark Harmon * * * * * * *
Oprah Winfrey 2 2 3 3 3 1 2
Hugh Laurie * * * * * * *
Conan O’Brien * * * * * * *
Jon Stewart * * * * * * *
Charlie Sheen * * * * * * *
Ellen DeGeneres * * * * * * *
Bill O’Reilly * * * * * * *
David Letterman 6 6 4 5 7 * *
Steve Carrell * * * * * * *
“=” means there was a tie for that position
TABLE 1 (continued)


“Who is your favorite TV personality?”

Base: All adults

2000 2001 2002* 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Mark Harmon * * * * * * * * =9 8 1
Oprah Winfrey 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 1 =2
Hugh Laurie * * * * * * 4 4 2 =4 =2
Conan O’Brien * * * * * 7 =8 * * * 4
Jon Stewart * * * =6 =2 2 2 5 6 6 =5
Charlie Sheen * * * * * * * * 7 7 =5
Ellen DeGeneres * * * =10 7 6 =8 1 3 =4 7
Bill O’Reilly * 7 5 3 8 =4 3 8 * 10 8
David Letterman 6 4 3 2 =2 3 5 =6 5 9 9
Steve Carrell * * * * * * * * 8 * 10
* The 2002 survey was conducted in January 2003.

“=” means there was a tie for that position

Glenn Beck (was No. 2) and Jay Leno (was No. 3)


AMONG: 2010
Men Mark Harmon
Women Oprah Winfrey
Echo Boomers (18-33) Conan O’Brien
Gen X (34-45) Hugh Laurie
Baby Boomers (46-64) Charlie Sheen/Mark Harmon
Matures (65+) Mark Harmon/Bill O’Reilly
Republicans Bill O’Reilly
Democrats Jon Stewart
Independents Mark Harmon
Conservatives Bill O’Reilly/Mark Harmon
Moderates Oprah Winfrey
Liberals Jon Stewart
Household with children Hugh Laurie
Household without children Mark Harmon
East Oprah Winfrey
Midwest Conan O’Brien
South Charlie Sheen
West Mark Harmon


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States December 6 and 13, 2010 among 2,331 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.



The Harris Poll® #5, January 13, 2011
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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