For Third Year in a Row Oprah Retains her Position as America's Favorite TV Personality

Top-Ten List Made Up Mainly of Comedians and Talk Show Hosts

At the end of every year since 1993, The Harris Poll(R) has asked Americans to name their favorite TV personalities. In this year's survey, Oprah Winfrey retains the number-one position she has held for the last two years. In the 12 years that Harris Interactive(R) has conducted this survey, Oprah has always been one of the top-three favorites. In fact, this is the fifth time she has been number one; she also topped the list in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003.


The rest of the top ten are made up of mainly either talk-show hosts or comedians or those who are both. David Letterman remains at #2 though he now shares that spot with fellow late night comedian and talk-show host, Jon Stewart. Stewart, who has moved up from #6 last year, has received a lot of additional attention this year, not only for his Emmy award-winning programming, but also for his best-selling book and strong comments during the election campaign on CNN's Crossfire.


Fourth and fifth places are held by Ray Romano and Jay Leno, both of whom held these positions in 2003. One surprise is that Bill Cosby comes in at #6. Cosby had regularly been among the most popular entertainers for many years but fell out of the top ten in 2001.

 

These are the results of a nationwide survey conducted online by Harris Interactive among a nationwide sample of 1,036 U.S. adults between December 8 and 15, 2004.


  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Other TV personalities who make it into the top-ten list this year are:

 * Ellen Degeneres, comedian and host of a very popular daytime talk show,
     moves up to #7 from #10.

 

 

 

 

* Bill O' Reilly, controversial talk-show host, falls to #8 from #3,
     perhaps due to the recent allegations surrounding a sexual harassment
     law suit.
 

 

 

 

 

 

  * Dr. Phil McGraw (previously #6) and

 

 

 

 

Regis Philbin (not in the top ten
     since 2001) are tied at #9 this year.


The four people who dropped off the list this year are William Peterson (CSI star was #8 in 2003), Whoopi Goldberg (was #9 in 2003), Jennifer Aniston (was tied for #10) in 2003 and Martin Sheen (was tied for #10 in 2003).


While Oprah Winfrey is tops with women and older adults aged 65+, David Letterman is #1 among men. Among younger viewers aged 18-29, who are so important to advertisers, Jon Stewart is the most popular.


                                 TABLE 1
                         FAVORITE TV PERSONALITY
                  "Who is your favorite TV personality?"
   Base: All adults

                1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002* 2003 2004
  Oprah Winfrey   2    2    3    3    3    1    2    1    3    1     1    1
  David Letterman 6    6    4    5    7    *    *    6    4    3     2   =2
  Jon Stewart     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    =6   =2
  Ray Romano      *    *    *    *    *    *    *   =7    5    2     4    4
  Jay Leno        *    8   10  =10    8   =6    *   =7    6    9     5    5
  Bill Cosby      3    4    5    4    4    4    3   10    *    *     *    6
  Ellen Degeneres *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   =10    7
  Bill O'Reilly   *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    7    5     3    8
  Dr. Phil McGraw *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    7    =6   =9
  Regis Philbin   *    *    *    *    *    *    2    2    *    *    =9    *

  The 2002 survey was conducted in January 2003.


(C) 2004, Harris Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited without the express written permission of Harris Interactive.


                                 TABLE 2
              FAVORITE TV PERSONALITY AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS

              AMONG:                      2004
              Men                         David Letterman
              Women                       Oprah Winfrey

              Aged 18-29                  Jon Stewart
              Aged 65+                    Oprah Winfrey

              Republicans                 Ray Romano
              Democrats                   Jon Stewart
              Independents                Oprah Winfrey


(C) 2004, Harris Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited without the express written permission of Harris Interactive.


                                 TABLE 3
                     DROPPED OUT OF TOP TEN THIS YEAR

                                              Rank in 2003
   William Peterson                                    #8
   Whoopi Goldberg                                     #9
   Jennifer Aniston                                  =#10
   Martin Sheen                                      =#10


(C) 2004, Harris Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited without the express written permission of Harris Interactive.


Methodology


The Harris Poll(R) was conducted online within the United States between December 8 and 15, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 1,036 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, 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.


In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g., for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample is not a probability sample.


 

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