I’m gonna be sporadic with my blog postings in December. Which sucks because I have LOTS to talk about, a veritable backlog of Cher-chat to share. People have been sending me really good Cher stuff I must say: a critical USC analysis of the Bono marriage marketing plan and a DVD full of 60s S&C performances to discuss. But life happens. My ceramics class is ending (much to do) and I just found out I’ll need to move this month (due to rehabbing that will be done to our apartment building), plus I have company in town this weekend and Christmas on the horizon. But stay tuned.
Today I just want to say how disgusted I am with Entertainment Weekly and TV Land’s list of 100 Greatest TV Icons. The list is breathtakingly disorganized and illogical and Cher is ridiculously low in its rankings. At the turn of the millennium, Cher ended up on many best-of entertainment lists. I felt her rankings were usually fair – even if they weren’t top 30. The fact that she made a music list here or there at all was a good sign of things to come. But on the television list, Cher should have been ranked much higher, in the top 50 at least. Entertainment Weekly and TV Land didn’t even bother to discuss the bottom 50 in the magazine or TV special. So annoying.
Here’s the list. I’m fine with the top ten but I’ve noted rankings that warranted extra comment.
100. Marcia Cross
99. Delta Burke
98. Meredith Baxter
97. In Living Color cast
96. Shannen Doherty – give me a break
95. Richard Dawson
94. Melissa Gilbert
93. Neil Patrick Harris – come ON
92. Judge Judy
91. Dennis Franz
90. John Stamos – why is he even on this list?
89. Robert Guillaume
88. Gavin MacLeod
87. Phil Hartman
86. Jerry Mathers
85. Rod Serling
84. Cartman from "South Park"
83. Isabel Sanford
82. Ted Knight
81. Dick Cavett
80. Adam West
79. Angela Landsbury
78. Art Carney
77. James Garner
76. Candice Bergen
75. Peter Falk
74. Joan Rivers
73. Tony Danza
72. Cher – travesty of justice
71. Rosie O'Donnell – sure she’s making a stir now but I predict she will not have such long-term impact. She is not in the league of Phil Donahue or Oprah and The View fiasco will soon be just a Hollywood footnote.
70. Bob Denver - Gilligan maybe; Bob no.
69. Barbara Eden – Genie maybe
68. Don Cornelius
67. Tom Selleck
66. Kelsey Grammer – great sitcom actor among other great sitcom actors. He shouldn’t be higher than Ted Knight.
65. Pamela Anderson – you’re kidding me with this
64. Phil Donahue
63. Ed Asner – an no Chloris Leachman??
62. Redd Foxx
61. Pee Wee Herman – should be toward the bottom of the list
60. Merv Griffin
59. Ted Danson – see Kelsy Grammer
58. Don Knotts
57. Charlie Brown
56. Betty White – and no Chloris Leachman??
55. Fred Rogers – should be way higher
54. Florence Henderson
53. Ed McMahon – if he’s here, Jerry Lewis should be here and who wants that?
52. Ron Howard – Opie maybe
51. Bob Hope
50. Larry Hagman – see Kelsey Grammer
49. Calista Flockhart – I bang my head against my keyboard on this one
48. Jimmy Smits – this list is totally un-credible now
47. Simon Cowell
45. Sarah Michelle Gellar – 90s star; wont last another 10 years I predict
44. Susan Lucci
43. Flip Wilson
42. James Gandolfini – his longevity is possible but remains to be seen
41. Jon Stewart
40. Sally Field
39. Jennifer Aniston – see Kelsey Grammer
38. Bea Arthur - see Kelsey Grammer
37. George Clooney – for Facts of Life???
36. Diahann Carroll
35. Michael J. Fox
34. Bob Barker
33. Ellen DeGeneres – fascinating but no icon yet she isn’t
32. Henry Winkler
31. Sarah Jessica Parker – see Kelsey Grammer
30. Alan Alda
29. John Ritter – I always liked John Ritter but I’m amazed he made it this high…could barely get a good gig while he was alive
28. Howard Cosell
27. Regis Philbin
26. Farrah Fawcett
25. Heather Locklear
24. Michael Landon
23. Barbara Walters
22. Milton Berle
20. Carroll O'Connor
19. Andy Griffith
18. William Shatner
17. Bob Newhart
16. David Letterman
15. "Not Ready for Primetime Players" – have sucked longer than they rocked
14. Ed Sullivan
13. Jackie Gleason
12. Dick Van Dyke
10. Dick Clark
9. Homer Simpson
8. Jerry Seinfeld
7. Mary Tyler Moore
6. Carol Burnett
5. Walter Cronkite
4. Bill Cosby – love and respect his comedy albums (didn't hate the Cosby Show but shouldn’t be so high for his 2 television shows; stand-up maybe; if this list is trying to be affirmative action, he still should be higher than Flip Wilson. I'm willing to discuss this one though; did he pave the way for more African American programming? Or did he just end up sending them all to the WB?
3. Oprah Winfrey
2. Lucille Ball
1. Johnny Carson
So that’s the atrocious list. Here is a sketch of my alternate rankings
1. Johnny Carson - dork but okay – he’s Mr. Television
2. Lucy - and Desi – stupid to leave off Desi when many of the I Love Lucy conventions were his ideas
3. Oprah – has virtual control over our souls
4. Phil Donahue – father of the talk show
5. Walter Cronkite
6. Carol O’ Connor – redefined acceptable sitcom characters
7. Ed Sullivan – father of variety
8. Kermit - symbol of children’s television programming
9. Milton Berle - – hate him but he’s a TV pioneer
10. Barbara Walters - ick but you think of woman reporter on TV and there she is
11. Homer – longest running television show
12. Jackie Gleason – helped define TV sitcoms
13. Dick Clark – helped define half-hour music programming
14. Bob Barker – the face of game shows
15. Howard Cosell – the face of sports
Basically, the top 20 should be for the ultimate TV pioneers or those who symbolize a genre of television.
The 20-30 range should be for landmark shows: Roseanne, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Dick Van Dyke represent the classic show.
The 30-40 range can be reserved for celebrities who were iconic style figures, people who influenced fashion or TV style for a goodly time. Cher would fall toward the top of this range; Farrah to the bottom (as she was just a poster of good hair when all is said and done). I feel Cher conquered 70s television and for that she deserves to be ranked near Flip Wilson. I’d put her in the top 30 for sure. No kid in the 70s wasn’t enamored by Cher on TV at some point in the 70s: budding feminists, the toddler gay community, and aspiring baby divas.
Workhorses who excelled in more than one show should appear in the 50-75 range: Ted Danson, Heather Locklear, Ed Asner.
Odds and ends who we somehow love but really didn't display much discernible talent should fall in the 75-90 range: Ron Howard as Opie, Bob Denver as Gilligan.
Late breaking favorites should be relegated to the bottom because they may have promise but they haven’t exhibited longevity yet: James Gandolfini, Rosie O’Donnell. Ellen DeGeneres
Please, send me your thoughts.