Congratulations to the seven newest members of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, all of whom will be inducted on January 20 in Beverly Hills. They join over 100 other television pioneers and icons inducted over the past 26 years, including Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, Carol Burnett, Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby, Walter Cronkite, Walt Disney, Norman Lear, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward R. Murrow, Betty White and Oprah Winfrey.
Diahann Carroll is a four-time Emmy nominee best known for her starring role in the 1960s series "Julia," making her the first African-American actress to star in her own show. Other notable television roles have been on "Naked City," "Dynasty," "A Different World," "Grey's Anatomy," "White Collar," and countless variety and talk shows.
Tom Freston is one of the pioneers in cable television programming and is one of the co-founders of MTV. He led that network for 17 years and helped launched other channels like Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, CMT, TV Land, Spike, Logo and Noggin.
Earle Hagen, who passed away in 2008, won one Emmy Award among four nominations as one of the best known composers in television history. His compositions and theme songs included "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Barbara Stanwyck Show," "Rango", "I Spy," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," "The Guns of Will Sonnett, "That Girl," "The Mod Squad," and many others.
Susan Harris is the Emmy-winning creator of "Soap," "Benson," "The Golden Girls,"and "Empty Nest" and an acclaimed writer of many other shows, including "The Partiridge Family," "Love, American Style," "All in the Family," and "Maude."
Peter Jennings, who passed away in 2005, was a journalist, reporter, host and anchor who won 16 news Emmys in his career. At age 26, he became the youngest news anchor in the history of American television. He followed that short stint by continuing his work at ABC as a journalist and foreign correspondent before returning to the anchor chair for another 22 years starting in 1983.
Cloris Leachman has won eight Emmy Awards, more than any other person in the acting categories. Her television career has included notable roles in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Phyllis," "Lassie," "The Facts of Life," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Raising Hope," and many movies, variety specials and guest appearances.
Bill Todman, who passed away in 1979, created and produced many classic game shows with partner Mark Goodson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame separately in 1993. Their series included "Beat the Clock," "Match Game," "Password," "The Price is Right," "Family Feud," "To Tell the Truth," and "What's My Line."
While all of the new members are deserving of this honor, quite a few other men and women have been waiting too long for their own inductions:
David Letterman, many Emmy wins and approaching his 30th anniversary in late night.
Don Knotts, five Emmy wins and an iconic character (Barney Fife).
Ed Bradley, journalistic pioneer and 19-time Emmy winner.
Tyne Daly, six-time Emmy winner.
Ken Burns, top documentary filmmaker in television history.
Jay Sandrich, one of the most prolific directors for several classic shows.
Brian Lamb, founder of C-SPAN.
Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David, creators of one of the best comedies of all time.
Peter Falk, five-time Emmy winner and another iconic character (Columbo).
Julia Child, pioneer in daytime programming.
Michael J. Fox, five-time Emmy winner in comedy and drama.
David E. Kelley, creator and producer whose shows have won 52 Emmys.
Lily Tomlin, versatile four-time Emmy winner.
Image: TV Hall of Fame (ATAS)