Mark Harmon is America’s Favorite TV Personality, Followed by Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon

New York, N.Y. — NCIS ruled the roost when The Harris Poll most recently asked Americans to name their favorite current TV show, and now Mark Harmon, who leads the show’s cast as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, takes back the role of America’s favorite TV personality – a title he last held in 2011. He swaps places daytime TV host extraordinaire Ellen DeGeneres, ending her three-year reign atop the list.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,252 U.S. adults surveyed online between December 9 and 14, 2015; participants were asked – in an open-ended manner, with no prompting – to name their favorite TV personality.

Party of Five

Talk show hosts are a running theme throughout the rest of the top five:

  • The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon, a newcomer to the list last year, repeats in the No. 3 spot.
  • Steve Harvey – host of both his eponymous talk show and the game show Family Feud – holds onto the No. 4 spot. It’s worth noting that polling occurred prior to Harvey’s much-discussed hosting gig at the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant.
  • Stephen Colbert, who filed his last Report (rhymes with “out the door”) in 2014 before taking over The Late Show from David Letterman this year, rises two spots to No. 5.

Just the Ten Eleven of Us

Hosting and acting gigs are more evenly represented among the remainder of the top 10 (which swells to the “top 11” this year thanks to a tie in the No. 10 spot):

  • The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons falls one spot to No. 6 this year.
  • Meanwhile, Blue Bloods’ Tom Selleck rises one spot to No. 7.
  • Jon Stewart, who left his long and beloved run on The Daily Show this year, ties for the No. 8 spot with Last Man Standing’s Tim Allen, who returns to the list for the first time since 2005.
  • Jerry Seinfeld, whose streaming series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee recently featured President Obama, is the first part of the aforementioned 10th-place tie.
  • The other end of that tie is held by Oprah Winfrey, who returns to the list after last year’s absence – her first since the list’s inception. Though she may not be leading the list presently, it’s worth noting that she’s held the top spot more times than anyone else.

Without a Trace

With some names returning to the list after their respective hiatuses, a couple of names from last year’s top 10 didn’t quite make the cut this time around:

  • Political commentator, TV host and author Bill O’Reilly falls off the list after holding the No. 9 spot last year.
  • David Letterman, who read his last Late Show top ten list in 2015, drops off after holding the No.10 spot last year.

Diff’rent Strokes

Though Mark Harmon tops the list overall, he certainly doesn’t have a lock on every subset:

  • Harmon does hold sway among men, but DeGeneres is the top pick among women.
  • Millennials look to DeGeneres and Gen Xers name Fallon, while Harmon is the top pick among Baby Boomers and Matures.
  • Regionally speaking, Harmon has the East, the South and the West locked down; DeGeneres leads in the Midwest.
  • Urbanites also pick Harmon, while those in Suburban and Rural areas choose DeGeneres.
  • By political party, Harmon is the top selection among Republicans and Independents while Steve Harvey is the top pick among Democrats.
    • Looking at political philosophy, Conservatives pick Harmon while Moderates and Liberals both lean toward DeGeneres.

 


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

Mark Harmon

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Ellen DeGeneres

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=10

Jimmy Fallon

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Steve Harvey

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Stephen Colbert

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Jim Parsons

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Tom Selleck

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Jon Stewart

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=6

Tim Allen

1

1

1

2

2

3

7

*

*

*

*

Jerry Seinfeld

4

3

2

1

1

2

4

4

*

*

*

Oprah Winfrey

2

2

3

3

3

1

2

1

3

1

1

^The 2002 survey was conducted in January 2003.

*Not in top 10

“=” means there was a tie for that position

 

TABLE 1 (continued)

FAVORITE TV PERSONALITY

“Who is your favorite TV personality?”

Base: All adults

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Mark Harmon

*

*

*

*

=9

8

1

1

2

2

2

1

Ellen DeGeneres

7

6

=8

1

3

=4

7

2

1

1

1

2

Jimmy Fallon

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

3

3

Steve Harvey

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=9

4

4

Stephen Colbert

^

*

*

=6

=9

*

*

10

*

6

7

5

Jim Parsons

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

9

5

4

5

6

Tom Selleck

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

10

7

8

7

Jon Stewart

=2

2

2

5

6

6

=5

3

3

3

6

=8

Tim Allen

*

10

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=8

Jerry Seinfeld

*

8

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=10

Oprah Winfrey

1

1

1

2

4

1

=2

7

8

8

*

=10

“=” means there was a tie for that position

*Not in top 10

 

DROPPED OFF OF LIST IN 2015

Bill O’Reilly (9), David Letterman (10)


TABLE 2

WHICH TV PERSONALITIES ARE IN THE TOP THREE AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS?

Group

FIRST CHOICE

SECOND CHOICE

THIRD CHOICE

Men

Mark Harmon

Stephen Colbert

Steve Harvey

Women

Ellen DeGeneres

Mark Harmon

Jimmy Fallon

Republican

Mark Harmon

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Democrat

Steve Harvey

Stephen Colbert

Ellen DeGeneres

Independent

Mark Harmon

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Conservative

Mark Harmon

Steve Harvey

Tom Selleck

Moderate

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Mark Harmon

Liberal

Ellen DeGeneres

Stephen Colbert

Jimmy Fallon/Steve Harvey (TIE)

Millennials (18-35)

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Stephen Colbert

Gen X (36-50)

Jimmy Fallon

Ellen DeGeneres

Oprah Winfrey

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Mark Harmon

Steve Harvey

Ellen DeGeneres

Matures (70+)

Mark Harmon

Tom Selleck

Ellen DeGeneres

East

Mark Harmon

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Midwest

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Steve Harvey

South

Mark Harmon

Ellen DeGeneres

Steve Harvey

West

Mark Harmon

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Children in household

Ellen DeGeneres

Jimmy Fallon

Kevin Hart

NO children in household

Mark Harmon

Steve Harvey

Ellen DeGeneres

Urban

Mark Harmon

Steve Harvey

Jimmy Fallon

Suburban

Ellen DeGeneres

Mark Harmon

Jimmy Fallon

Rural

Ellen DeGeneres

Mark Harmon

Steve Harvey

  


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 9 and 14, 2015 among 2,252 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #5, January 21, 2016

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll