The List: Ranking talk show hosts

Erica Thompson
Oprah Winfrey

With Craig Ferguson bringing his “Hobo Fabulous Tour” to the Jo Ann Davidson Theatre at the Riffe Center on Wed., Nov. 28, we thought we'd rank talk show hosts.

Honorable Mention:Jerry O'Connell

He filled in for Wendy Williams for a week and killed it. I'm not sure how he'd do on his own without Williams' quirky setup to fall back on, though.

1,002) Kris Jenner

That family can't have everything, sorry.

782) Magic Johnson

The only thing I remember about “The Magic Hour” is Sheila E.

9) Jerry Springer

Representing for the dregs. His ability to deliver a poignant, articulate “Final Thought” after setting humanity backwards was impressive. And I hate his show only an iota less than “Maury.”

8) Howard Stern

He's a little too problematic for my liking — I cringe whenever he talks about race — but I'm not his audience. He's made quite an impact on his fans, and the radio industry. They don't give the title of “King of All Media” to just anyone.

7) “Talk Show Host”

My editor submitted this for consideration. It was met with an eye roll until I realized this Radiohead song is on the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's “Romeo + Juliet,” which I loved. (Editor's Note: The best part of this job is the respect I've earned from my team.)

6) Brian Fellow

Host of “Brian Fellow's Safari Planet.” The brilliance of Tracy Morgan being Tracy Morgan.

5) Arsenio Hall

His show was groundbreaking for diversifying the industry in the '90s, and I felt terrible when his comeback didn't stick. And the fist-pumping "Dog Pound" is forever etched in popular culture.

4) Jay Leno

A legend, but loses points for the annoying 2010 “Tonight Show” controversy.

3) David Letterman

To quote theLos Angeles Times on Letterman's influence:He subverted the showbiz conventions of late night; he poked fun at the high and mighty; he did absurd things like showcase Stupid Pet Tricks and toss TVs and other heavy objects out of high-rise windows just to watch them smash on the pavement below.”

2) Johnny Carson

I've watched enough “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” to know that Carson MADE careers. And he was the pioneer.

1) Oprah Winfrey

As the host of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” — “You get a car! You get a car!”— Winfrey became such a force that any book, movie, second-tier talk show host (Hi, Dr. Phil) or presidential candidate she endorsed became a hit. She's one of the most well-known billionaires in the world, and many are still holding out hope she'll run for president in 2020.