For decades, Americans have gathered around their television sets to be entertained, commemorate holidays, watch riveting sporting events and be informed. Though many TV hosts have come and gone, a select few have had the charisma, skill and star factor to keep Americans tuning in to their programs.
Though the attention paid to the entertainment world is more scattered than ever thanks to the internet and streaming services, a select few TV hosts are still able to capture the attention of millions across the country.
To determine America’s most loved TV personality, 24/7 Tempo developed an index of six statistics measuring popularity and critical reception.
With ever more TV channels and new shows popping up regularly, America’s favorite TV entertainers come from a number of different backgrounds and programs. Some are late night talk show hosts, who are beloved for their sense of humor and sometimes their political commentary. Others are interviewers known for getting the most out of their guests. More recently, reality competition hosts have become popular, guiding contestants through a series of challenges for the viewers’ entertainment.
TV personalities may have a tougher job than ever before. Not only do they have to compete with other programs on other channels, but they also have to entice viewers away from any streaming shows they might be binging at the moment.
With new streaming services constantly appearing, many Americans now have the chance to watch through classic series they had missed when these shows first aired.
Oprah Winfrey is the most-loved personality. Some statistics we gathered show why:
> Most popular show: The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986 to 2011)
> Pct. of people who have heard of Oprah Winfrey: 97.0% (first out of 500 celebrities)
> Total Oprah Winfrey Wikipedia page views March 2019 to March 2021: 6.4 million (15th out of 500 celebrities)
> Facebook followers: 20.3 million (ninth out of 120 celebrities)
After decades on air, Winfrey still ranks as America’s most-loved TV personality. Born into poverty in Mississippi, she rose through the ranks as a TV broadcaster on local stations. Even though she faced harassment and setbacks, she persevered and eventually landed her own morning talk program, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The program ran from 1986 to 2011, and her empathetic interviewing style helped make her a household name and a superstar.
No TV personality has greater name recognition, and she parlayed her status into a multibillion-dollar media empire, including her own TV channel, OWN. Winfrey is worth an estimated $2.6 billion, according to Forbes. She is still making TV headlines, most recently with her highly anticipated interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry after they distanced themselves from the British royal family.
Note that, in determining the most-loved TV personality, data on daily average Wikipedia pageviews came from Wikipedia and were included in the index at full weight.
Data on the number of career award wins came from the Internet Movie Database and were included in the index at full weight.
Data on the number of Facebook followers for each personality’s fan or show page came from Facebook and were included in the index at full weight.
The average IMDb rating for all game, talk or reality TV shows hosted by each personality, as well as the total number of IMDb votes for those shows, were each included in the index at half-weight.
Finally, data on the percentage of people who have heard of a given celebrity from global public opinion and data company YouGov was included in the index at quarter-weight.
Only celebrities who are or were among the four lead credits on a talk, game or reality TV show with at least 1,000 IMDb reviews were considered. Except for Kris Jenner, every celebrity on our finalist list is the lead individual credited on their show. Celebrities who are no longer alive or who have suffered a recent public scandal were excluded from consideration.