The Most Bankable Stars in Syndication in 2008

Oprah No. 1; Family Guy and Two and a Half Men tie for No. 10; CBS dominates list

TV Week’s annual 10 Most Bankable Syndication Stars issue is out this week, and it boasts a few surprises:

– Oprah Winfrey’s star power continues to shine as she repeats at No. 1. (well, that’s not a surprise), thanks to her public endorsement of Illinois Senator Barack Obama for President and other ventures.

– Ellen DeGeneres is sixth this year, as she was last year (despite the fact that her daytime show is quite hokey.)

– A nice welcome back to Pat Sajak and Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune, who did not rank last year, appeared at number seven in this year’s survey.

– Meredith Vierra, who took over as co-host of Today, ranked ninth with the underrated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which continues to be a quiet success story.

Family Guy and Two and a Half Men ranked tenth. The surprise here is these two new off-network comedies ranked on the survey, replacing other off-network series that have appeared in the list in the past, including Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, and The Simpsons, perhaps reflecting the decline in the ratings for each in the last year.

– Tyra Banks is also off this year’s survey, as she has been surrounded in controversy this past year, with a looming Top Model scandal and goofy antics on her ratings-challenged talk show, which all of a sudden may not be a lock for a future after 2009.

– CBS Television Distribution’s personalities dominate the list with six entries (including one that is shared with Warner Bros.) – the most of any syndicator.

– Last year, yours truly scolded the panel for not including evergreen sitcoms such as I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show as most bankable stars in syndication, and they do so again this year. Many of these classic shows continue to perform well for broadcast stations across the country. What’s wrong with giving props to the old school? At least create an honorable mention section.

To read the entire list, click here.

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