TOP TEN PEOPLE IN TELEVISION I SIMPLY CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF …
by Timothy Rollins, Editor and Publisher
Second of Two Parts
March 20, 2002
Yesterday, I wrote a column about the ten people on television that just drive me around the bend. So in fairness, today's list will be the ten people on television I just can't get enough of. With television being the vast cultural wasteland it has so often been called, it is refreshing to find something that is either respectful of the viewer's intelligence or something that allows us to blow off some steam. With that in mind, here we go.
10. Celebrity Deathmatch - This little gem from MTV in the form of Claymation allows the viewer to see celebrities go "head-to-head" in a match to the death. Billed as "the world's leader in claymation carnage", it's not exactly my idea of family entertainment - but then again, I don't tape it and it's not shown when my 6-year-old is awake. Everybody is entitled to his or her guilty pleasures, and this happens to be one of mine.
9. Catherine Bell - Lieutenant Colonel Sarah McKenzie, United States Marine Corps (right), or "Mac" from the CBS hit series "JAG". She has been a stabilizing influence in keeping the series among the highest rated in CBS' Tuesday night lineup. Originally inherited from NBC who let the show go after one season, Bell was a guest star whose character was killed off. Recast as "Mac", she has given David James Elliott's character "Harm" a lot of balance and somewhere in there, it is hoped they will act on the deep feelings that their characters have had for each other for so long. Quick-witted, intelligent and beautiful, Catherine Bell has shown herself to be an actress of character, class and dignity. She can grace my television anytime. Such class is all too rare these days and when it does show up, it is all the more treasured because of it.
8. Gates McFadden (left) - Dr. Beverly Crusher of Star Trek: The Next Generation, her character has been one that has shown a quiet strength and compassion in the seven years the show was in syndication and in the three feature movies that have come out so far. Never one to hog the spotlight, one could always sense her quiet strength and it was always exciting to see that shining ever so bright within her. As a single mother for Wesley in the time his character was on the show, it was easy to see that she had her issues to deal with as well. A role model as well as a symbol of strength, Beverly Crusher was a delight to watch, as is Gates McFadden for having played the role so well.
7. Angie Harmon - (right) A 'good old girl' from Dallas, her Law & Order character was one that didn't take flak from anybody. In the three years she was on the show, she clearly distinguished herself from predecessors Jill Hennessy and Carey Lowell. Whereas Hennessy's character was one heck of a bird dog (see #3 below), and Lowell never really quite measured up, Harmon's character Abbie Carmichael had a "hang 'em all!" mentality when it came to going after the bad guys. Having her on the show was an absolute delight and it was a shame to see her character go off to the U.S. Attorney's Office. That did however, leave an opening for Elisabeth Rohm (see #2 below), and I'm sure we will see Angie on television again soon as talent of that caliber does not sit idle for long.
6. John Stossel (left) - The winner of 19 Emmys, this correspondent for ABC's newsmagazine 20/20 has a reputation for getting to the heart of an issue and for exposing either the silliness or corruption of various organizations within American society, his awards and recognition have been well-earned and well-deserved. There have been those who have tried to silence him, yet his ratings to ABC have been high enough that the network cannot afford to get rid of him. We need more reporters like him in the investigative news business. Believe me, there is more than enough corruption to go around to keep the likes of him on the job.
5. Sean Hannity (right) - The co-host of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes is perhaps the most articulate and witty of the interview show hosts. Working with Alan Colmes (from the Left), they put together an informative show that is always worth watching with guests that provide for 60 minutes of television that is both informative, yet highly entertaining.
4. Bill O'Reilly (left) - Also from FOX News, The O'Reilly Factor has gone on to become the highest rated show on cable television, beating out the previous champion Larry King Live on CNN, even though they are not in the same time slot. O'Reilly's refusal to accept the status quo and his insistence to get to the bottom of the issue is such that it's no wonder America loves him. It's what made me a fan of the man and his work. Also, the fact that he doesn't take any abuse or excuses only serves to further endear him to the American people. That, and with O'Reilly, you know it's never going to be a dull moment from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern.
3. Jill Hennessy (right) - The star of NBC's "Crossing Jordan" and former star of "Law & Order" has clearly distinguished herself as a delight to watch because both roles seem to be in a sense, an extension of one another. On Law & Order, she played ADA Claire Kincaid, where she became an incredible bird dog with investigative skills in tracking down information in the course of an investigation for the DA's office. As Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, MD for the Boston Medical Examiner's Office, she essentially does the same thing establishing the real cause of death, using her ex-cop father (played by Ken Howard) for assistance. Beautiful and talented, Jill brings to the small screen intelligence, vulnerability, wit and passion - qualities that are all too rare for all too many who try to pass themselves off as actors and actresses in an industry that tends to lack legitimate talent.
2. Sam Waterston and the current cast of Law & Order - Easily the best character actor on television with nobody else even coming close, Sam Waterston (left) leads the cast of Law & Order into its 12th season on NBC, making it the longest-running drama on television and the longest running series in production, second only to The Simpsons on FOX. L&O's strength comes not only from its first-rate writing, but also from its actors who not only do a great job, but who are humble enough to recognize that the writing is the real star of the show. Another strength of the show is the continually changing cast. With the exception of the seventh season where they did not change any cast members, there have been changes of at least one cast member per season, with Elisabeth Rohm (right) being the newest addition as ADA Serena Southerlyn, a brilliant, aggressive and ambitious mind in her own right. I look forward to getting to know her character more in the seasons ahead. … and finally, (drum roll, please)
1. Jane Clayson (left) - What can I say? Considering that I cannot handle Katie Couric and I don't really care for Diane Sawyer all that much, I find Jane Clayson a breath of fresh air. She is an absolute delight to watch, is able to keep Bryant Gumbel in check somewhat, can endure Martha Stewart and has a genuine charm to her - not to mention the fact that she is downright easy on the eyes. A pleasure to watch and a delightful lady in her own right, The Early Show is now the show I wake up to first thing in the morning to get my day off to a great start. Plus, if someone were to line me up for the privilege of having dinner with her sometime, I'd be eternally grateful.
And like I said yesterday in Part One when referring to the New York Lottery, "Hey, you never know …" ***
© 2002 Timothy Rollins
COPYRIGHT © 2002 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN. All writers retain rights to their work.