via press release:

Oprah Regains Her Position as America’s Favorite Television Personality Glenn Beck debuts at number 2, Jay Leno drops to number 3

One of the joys of watching television is seeing characters and over-sized personalities; in fact, one station even has a whole marketing campaign centered on characters. Each year, new television personalities are added to the list of favorites and others drop off, showing another joy of television watching – it is never the same, year after year.

This year, likely due to her announcement that she will be discontinuing her show in September 2011, Oprah Winfrey is America’s favorite television personality, up from No. 4 last year. Brand new to the list and debuting at number 2 is Fox News’ personality, Glenn Beck, while last year’s number one, Jay Leno drops to number three. One thing to note is that this survey was conducted before the change on NBC, dropping the 10pm Jay Leno show and moving him back to the Tonight Show.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,276 adults surveyed online between December 7 and 14, 2009 by Harris Interactive®.

Six Guys and a Girl

The only female on the rest of the list comes in at a tie for fourth place, talk show host and new American Idol judge, Ellen DeGeneres, down from no. 3 last year. The new and maybe improved Dr. House, or rather Hugh Laurie is also tied for fourth, down from no. 2 last year.

Next on the top ten list are The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart at number 6, Two and a Half Men’s Charlie Sheen (no. 7), NCIS’s Mark Harmon (no. 8 ) and making his own top ten, David Letterman at number 9. Returning to the list after dropping off last year is Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly at the tenth spot.

On the Fringe

This year, two news personalities, both conservatives are new to the list. One is making a first time appearance (Glenn Beck) and the other is returning after a one year absence (Bill O’Reilly). This means two television personalities have dropped off the list. One is a fake television conservative, and Daily Show alum, Stephen Colbert who was tied for number 9 last year. The other is also a Daily Show alum, but he plays a bumbling Office manager, Steve Carrell, who was number 8 last year.

Talk Soup

There are different number ones for different groups. Men say Jay Leno is their favorite, while for women it is Oprah. Generations also have their favorites. Echo Boomers (those aged 18-32) are about to be disappointed as Conan O’Brien is their favorite, while for both Gen Xers (aged 33-44) and Baby Boomers (aged 45-63) it is Oprah. Another talk show personality is tops for Matures (aged 64 and older) – Glenn Beck.

There are definitely some partisan differences. Glenn Beck is the favorite for both Republicans and for Conservatives, but, interestingly, also for Independents. Oprah Winfrey is number one for Democrats and Moderates, while Jon Stewart is the favorite for Liberals.

While there may be different favorites for different groups, there is one consistent theme. Of the ten on the list, seven of them are talk show personalities. Just one is a sitcom star and two are from dramas.



“Who is your favorite TV personality?”

Base: All adults
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Oprah Winfrey 2 2 3 3 3 1 2
Glenn Beck * * * * * * *
Jay Leno * 8 10 =10 8 =6 *
Ellen DeGeneres * * * * * * *
Hugh Laurie * * * * * * *
Jon Stewart * * * * * * *
Charlie Sheen * * * * * * *
Mark Harmon * * * * * * *
David Letterman 6 6 4 5 7 * *
Bill O’Reilly * * * * * * *
“=” 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
Oprah Winfrey 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 1
Glenn Beck * * * * * * * * * 2
Jay Leno =7 6 9 5 5 =4 6 3 1 3
Ellen DeGeneres * * * =10 7 6 =8 1 3 =4
Hugh Laurie * * * * * * 4 4 2 =4
Jon Stewart * * * =6 =2 2 2 5 6 6
Charlie Sheen * * * * * * * * 7 7
Mark Harmon * * * * * * * * =9 8
David Letterman 6 4 3 2 =2 3 5 =6 5 9
Bill O’Reilly * 7 5 3 8 =4 3 8 * 10
* The 2002 survey was conducted in January 2003.

“=” means there was a tie for that position


Steve Carrell (was No. 8), and Stephen Colbert (was tied for No. 9)



AMONG: 2009
Men Jay Leno
Women Oprah Winfrey
Echo Boomers (18-32) Conan O’Brien
Gen X (33-44) Oprah Winfrey
Baby Boomers (45-63) Oprah Winfrey
Matures (64+) Glenn Beck
Republicans Glenn Beck
Democrats Oprah Winfrey
Independents Glenn Beck
Conservatives Glenn Beck
Moderates Oprah Winfrey
Liberals Jon Stewart
Single women Oprah Winfrey
Married women Oprah Winfrey
East Oprah Winfrey
Midwest Glenn Beck
South Oprah Winfrey
West Hugh Laurie


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States December 7 and 14, 2009 among 2,276 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®#10, January 25, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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