Mark Harmon ousts Oprah Winfrey in TV star actor poll


The Harris Poll has released the results of its annual test of television star popularity, and it contained some highly interesting changes in the pecking order. At the top of the list this time is NCIS star Mark Harmon, who leapt all the way from the #8 position the year before. Knocked off the top of the heap was Oprah Winfrey, who didn’t even get to sit at #2 by herself.

Oprah had to share the #2 slot with Hugh Laurie from St. Elsewhere.

Here is the current top ten list from Harris:

1. Mark Harmon

2T. Oprah Winfrey

2T Hugh Laurie

4. Conan O’Brien

5T. Jon Stewart

5T. Charlie Sheen

7. Ellen DeGeneres

8. Bill O’Reilly

9. David Letterman

10. Steve Carrell

Source: The Harris Poll

O’Brien and Carrell both returned to the top ten list. O’Brien had been MIA for the previous three, and Carrell had a one-year hiatus after showing up in the top ten for the first time two years ago.

Three of the top ten were late night talk show hosts – O’Brien, Stewart and Letterman. This can not be seen as good news for Jay Leno, who was at #3 last year but was the victim of numerous zingers after his failed 2010 move to primetime, and who subsequently fell out of the top 10. The other notable MIA was Glenn Beck, who fell even further, from #2 to off the list.

If you look at the top ten in terms of daypart, prime time is the winner with 5, followed by three late-nighters and two day-timers.

Harris added additional comments about the results. It remarked, “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.”

RBR-TVBR observation: If this poll does anything, it shows that it is much easier to build a personal following if you appear on television as yourself. Program hosts hold seven of the top ten positions at the moment, to only three for roll-playing actors.