While not everyone is a fan of films or goes to them there are very few people who don't watch television. Television is the most powerful of the entertainment mediums as it reaches the most people. That translates to the people on television being some of the most powerful in Hollywood. With that in mind I have created a list of the ten most powerful people in television and here it is in no particular order:
1) Oprah Winfrey: Yes, her ratings are not what they were in her heyday but when Oprah leaves daytime television it will leave a huge void. That is supposed to happen in May of 2011. Oprah is moving on to create her own women's cable channel called (of course) The Oprah Winfrey Network. It will launch in January 2011. Average viewership: 6.6 million.
2) Simon Cowell: He is the biggest star to ever emerge from American Idol. Cowell is in the midst of his self-imposed one year away from television while he is getting a new version of the British megahit The X Factor ready for North American audiences. He owns the rights to this big hit as well. It will debut on Fox in 2011. Average viewership: 24.3 million.
3) Ellen Degeneres: There is no doubt in many minds that when Oprah leaves daytime television Ellen will become number one. Though her stint on American Idol was not too successful and only lasted one year, she exited gracefully and has not really been negatively affected by it. Average viewership: 3.2 million.
4) Ryan Seacrest: Since Simon and Paula have left American Idol he is now top banana on the show. His unflappability has made him the headliner on television's biggest show. I guess the guy does not sleep as he also anchors E! News and produces Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Average viewership: 24.5 million.
5) Charlie Sheen: If he wasn't so powerful and successful his antics would have had him fired long ago. Sheen is the highest paid actor on television. Not even a guilty plea to assaulting his wife recently has changed that. Fans keep watching Two and a Half Men. It is in its eighth season and is still the most watched sitcom in the U.S. Average viewership: 14.3 million.
6) Seth MacFarlane: It just struck me that this guy produces most of Fox's Sunday night lineup with Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show airing back-to-back-to-back. His voice is featured on all three. Average viewership: 7.8 million.
7) Jon Stewart: The Daily Show exerts plenty of cultural power and wins Emmys. The ratings are modest but the media and political influence it wields adds up to something greater. Average viewership: 2.1 million.
8) David Letterman: Not even his sex scandal reduced his popularity. After 28 years hosting late night talk shows he still knows how to keep up with the changing stars and get the most out of chatting with them. He may be behind Jay Leno in the ratings but he still has more power. His production company owns both The Late Show and Craig Ferguson's The Late Late Show. Average viewership: 3.2 million.
9) Tina Fey: Fey's sitcom is the most intelligent on television. Whatever she touches be it skit comedy, sitcoms and even films turns to gold. A victory for the intelligent girls. Average viewership: 6.8 million.
10) Hugh Laurie: He is now the highest-paid actor in a drama series on television. Despite the fact that he has been nominated for an Emmy five times he has never won. Laurie's contract is up after next season and if he decides to leave the show there will be a lineup of show producers who want to woo him. Average viewership: 16 million