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Ellen DeGeneres in ‘Top Ten’ of TV’s favorite personalities
Oprah Winfrey still at top spot fifth year in a row

by Tracey McNerney

Tied for eighth place: Veteran TV personality and out lesbian Ellen DeGeneres made it onto the ‘Top Ten’ list again this year — which was topped by Oprah Winfrey and Jon Stewart.
Once again, The Harris Poll has asked U.S. adults “Who is your favorite TV personality?” and for the fifth year in a row, Oprah Winfrey lands in the number one position. Jon Stewart, host of the Conedy Channel's “The Daily Show,” is in second place for the second year, while right-wing conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly moves up one notch to third place. Next is a newcomer to the list, Hugh Laurie (star of the television show, “House”), who debuts in fourth place, while veteran late night host David Letterman drops from number three to fifth place. Letterman's rival, Jay Leno, is number six on the list (dropping from 2005 when he was tied for fourth place).

These are the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,162 U.S. adults surveyed online between Dec. 12 and 18, 2006 by Harris Interactive.

Besides Hugh Laurie, there are two other new TV personalities who make it into the top 10 list, one for the first time and one from previous years. Ray Romano returns at number seven while “24” star Kiefer Sutherland, who plays “Jack Bauer” on that show, makes his debut on the list, tied for eighth place. Rounding out the top 10 are two repeats — Ellen DeGeneres and Conan O'Brien, who are also tied for eighth place on this list. DeGeneres dropped from number six while O’Brien dropped from number seven.

Three people dropped off the list: Jerry Seinfeld (previously ranked eighth), George Lopez (previously ninth) and Tim Allen (previously tenth). Interestingly, the list lost three sitcom stars and gained two drama stars and one sitcom star. This might be an indication of what types of television shows viewers are watching.

Not surprisingly, there are differences in favorite television personality when it comes to some demographic breaks. Women cite Oprah as their top television personality, but men choose a different talk show host — Bill O’Reilly. There are also interesting age breaks: Echo Boomers (ages 18 to 29) say Conan O’Brien is number one, while Gen Xers (ages 30 to 41) turn away from talk and say Hugh Laurie is their favorite television personality. Baby Boomers (ages 42 to 60) say Oprah is their favorite while Matures (ages 61 and over) say it is Bill O’Reilly. Finally, even with television stars, political boundaries are drawn. Conservatives say Bill O’Reilly is number one while Liberals say Jon Stewart is their favorite.

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