Bob Iger, Geraldine Laybourne, Seth MacFarlane, Jay Sandrich and Cicely Tyson are the five people chosen for induction into the 25th TV Hall of Fame. The Television Academy will host the 25th ceremony on January 28, 2020, at the Saban Media Center.
Iger is the current Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. He follows founder Walt Disney and former chairman Michael Eisner for induction. Laybourne led the team that originally founded Nickelodeon and Oxygen Media. MacFarlane is a five-time Emmy winner best known for “Family Guy.” Sandrich is a five-time Emmy winner as a director of such shows as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Cosby Show,” “The Golden Girls” and more. Tyson has won three Emmys in her career and is best known for her TV movies and miniseries.
The first induction was held in 1984 and it’s been an annual tradition almost every year. That class of legends consisted of actress/executive Lucille Ball, actor/comedian Milton Berle, writer Paddy Chayefsky, writer/producer Norman Lear, journalist Edward R. Murrow, CBS founder William S. Paley, and NBC founder David Sarnoff.
The most recent class from late 2017 featured the inductions of production designer Roy Christopher, producer/writer Shonda Rhimes, comedian/actress Joan Rivers, producer/writer John Wells and the original cast of “Saturday Night Live” (Dan Akyroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner).
Many worthy people are still waiting and waiting for their induction into the TV Hall of Fame. Each year a small committee makes the selection of just a few people to be inducted. You can visit their busts, statues and tributes at their plaza in North Hollywood, California. Our recent photo gallery offered 50 individuals who easily deserve to be include. It’s quite surprising that the following people still haven’t been chosen yet:
1. David Letterman
With 33 years as a late night TV host, Letterman had the longest tenure of anyone in history (three years longer than his idol Johnny Carson). He started with the critically acclaimed daytime program “The David Letterman Show” (1980) before his 11 years hosting “Late Night” (1982-1993) and 22 years on “Late Show.” He has five primetime Emmy wins in 52 nominations plus two daytime wins.
2. Lily Tomlin
Tomlin’s breakout on television was as a cast member on the top-rated “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh’In” (1969-1973). In addition to many variety programs and guest roles, she has recently starred on the Netflix comedy series “Grace and Frankie.” She won five Emmy Awards for writing or producing variety specials before winning in 2013 for narrating “An Apology to Elephants.” She also won a Daytime Emmy for the animated program “The Magic School Bus” (1995).
3. Ken Burns
Burns is one of the greatest American documentarians in history. He is a five-time Emmy winner for “The Civil War” (1991), “Baseball” (1995), “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson” (2005), and “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” (2010). Other nominations were for “The Statue of Liberty” (1986), “Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio” (1992), “Jazz” (2001), “The War” (2008), “The Roosevelts” (2015), and “Cancer” (2015).
4. Tyne Daly
Daly is one of the most respected and awarded actresses on television. She has a total of six Emmy wins with four for “Cagney and Lacey” (1983, 1984, 1985, 1988), one for “Christy” (1996), and one for “Judging Amy” (2003). With 17 overall nominations, other programs included “Intimate Strangers” (1978) and “Wings” (1992).
5. Henry Winkler
There was no bigger star in the 1970s than Winkler, who had an explosive breakout role as Fonzie on “Happy Days.” He received three Emmy nominations for that role and has four others in primetime plus five in daytime. Beyond his acting work, he produced “Hollywood Squares,” “MacGyver,” specials and TV movies.
6. Peter Falk
Nobody could have played the iconic homicide detective “Columbo” like Falk. He began his long run as the offbeat cop with the 1968 telefilm “Prescription: Murder” and then followed with NBC episodes 1971-1978 and ABC episodes 1989-2003. He was nominated at the Emmys for that role 10 times, winning four times in 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1990. He also won an Emmy for the anthology program “The Dick Powell Show” (1962).
7. Ellen DeGeneres
DeGeneres launched her stand-up comedy career to most Americans in 1986 with a rollicking appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” She went on to many TV guest appearances and her own series “Ellen,” picking up one primetime Emmy win in 15 career nominations. But it has been her daytime talker “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” providing her with the most acclaim and 29 Daytime Emmy victories.
8. Bob Costas
Costas has spent most of his sportscasting career with NBC in 1980, covering baseball, basketball, and the Olympics among many sports. He has an astounding 28 Sports Emmy wins for hosting, reporting and more.
9. Don Knotts
One of the most iconic characters in TV history is Barney Fife played by Knotts on “The Andy Griffith Show.” He won five Emmys for the role (1961, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967) and has the distinction of never losing on a nomination. His career also included “The Steve Allen Show” (1956-1960), “Three’s Company” (1979-1984), plus many variety specials and guest roles.
10. Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
Seinfeld was already one of the top stand-up comedians when his show “Seinfeld” launched in 1989. David had been developing a writing career when he and Seinfeld teamed up for one of the most critically-acclaimed and popular comedies ever. The show won Best Comedy Series at the Emmys in 1993, and both men have received many other nominations for that show and others along the way.