#60. Hot in Cleveland (2010-Present)
This show is about 3 middle-aged women from L.A. who, on an unexpected stop, settle down in Cleveland OH. One is an actress, one is a famous hair stylist and one is recently divorced. Together, along with their house caretaker Elka, they are like a modern, younger Golden Girls. In Cleveland, unlike LA, they are exotic and very attractive to men, so they think it is a great place to stay for a while.
Notable Performance: Betty White as Elka Ostrovsky
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 5 & 6 : I Love Lucci Part 1 & 2
#59. Ellen (1994-1998)
These Friends of Mine was a show that began in 1994. After one season and major cast changes, it became Ellen. The much-needed revamp probably saved the show from cancellation. Ellen Degeneres is really funny, we all know that from her talk show, but she needed a cast that could play off of her. That included adding Jeremy Piven and Joley Fisher. Ellen is, of course, most famous for her character coming out as a gay woman. Unfortunately, that overshadowed the show and after that episode the viewership dropped. Still, there would not be shows such as Will and Grace and storylines like on Grey’s Anatomy and Glee, if Ellen hadn’t broken the ice first.
Notable Performance: Ellen Degeneres as Ellen Morgan
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 22 &23: The Puppy Episode Part 1 & 2
#58. The Apprentice / Celebrity Apprentice (2004- Present)
Donald Trump’s powerhouse of a show has changed over it’s 7 years on the air. It started out being a reality show where actual professional people actually competed for a job in the Trump Organization. Trump looked for applicants that had real determination and drive. He split them up into teams and gave them tasks to work on together. The losing team then had to meet in his boardroom where then someone would be fired. In 2008 Trump started the first Celebrity Apprentice, having stars compete for the charity of their choice. The show then took on a life of its own and even though Trump tried to go back to the original concept in 2010, with real people, it didn’t work, we wanted our crazy celebrities.
Notable Performance: Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Season 1
Memorable Episode: Season 11 Episode 5: The Art of the Deal
#57. What’s Happening!! (1976-1979)
What’s Happening was a show that focused on three teenage boys in Chicago getting into all kinds of hijinks. Raj, Dewayne and Rerun always had either girl trouble or money trouble. Mama Thomas was always there to keep an eye on them, as was Raj’s meddling sister Dee. The kids favorite hangout, Rob’s Place, was the setting for a lot of the show. Sassy waitress Shirley usually stole the show with her snide remarks.
Notable Performance: Shirley Hemphill as Shirley Wilson
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 18: The Tickets
#56. All in the Family (1968-1979)
Archie Bunker is one of the most iconic characters in television history. An extremely conservative man, often called a bigot, Archie was very outspoken on what his opinions were. His naive wife Edith would try to reason with him, as would his daughter and son-in-law Gloria and Mike (a.k.a. Meathead) . At a time when the world was really trying to get past stereotypes and racial boundaries, All in the family dares to write a character that exemplifies all those things, only to really be making fun of him. It was a pioneer of a show from the brilliant mind of Norman Lear.
Notable Performance: Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker (Emmy Winner 1972, 1977, 1978 & 1979)
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 12 : Cousin Maude’s Visit
#55. House M.D. (2004-Present)
Not your typical medical show, House M.D. focuses on Dr. Gregory House, a pain-killer addict who solves unusual medical cases. It is as much as a mystery show as it is medical. He is a cranky curmudgeon who just wants to be left alone. He constantly tests his crew of doctors, even putting them through a “reality show like” competition for a job on his team. We have gotten to see Dr. House soften a bit after seven seasons including falling for his boss Dr. Cuddy.
Notable Performance: Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 24: No Reason
#54. The Love Boat (1977-1986)
I know that this may be a surprising pick, but The Love Boat is just pure enjoyment to me. Everything turns out wonderful on this cruise ship. Whether it is finding the love of your life or solving any kind of problem it will happen by the end of your cruise. It was fun to see which guest stars were going to be on each week and who was going to fall in love with whom. When this show started in 1977 cruise ships were a more exclusive luxury excursion than they are today. The Love Boat had a way of making the viewer feel like they were on a vacation too, at least for an hour.
Notable Performance: Fred Grandy as Gopher Smith
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 2 : A Tasteful Affair/Oh, Dale!/The Main Event
#53. Bewitched (1964-1972)
Samantha Stevens is a witch that married a mere mortal man. She made a promise to him not to use her powers but that is usually hard for her to do. Darren, her husband, is an ad executive. They try to lead a normal life, but with interference from her mother, aunt, uncle and nosy neighbors, it proves to be very difficult. A great popcorn show that ran for eight seasons and went through two Darrens.
Notable Performance: Agnes Moorehead as Endora
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 2 : Babes in Toyland
The guilty pleasure known as Glee, is a teenage dramedy set against the backdrop of a newly formed glee club. What makes this show work is the impeccable cast of young actors mixed with contemporary songs that they sing throughout the show. One of the things that is great about Glee is that it always conveys a great message. The glee club is made up of kids, for one reason or another, don’t belong, and the gift of song brings them all together. There are so many great actors on this show it is hard to just pick one. Some standouts are Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Lea Michele as Rachel Berry and Heather Morris as Brittany S. Pierce.
Notable Performance : Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 11 : The Sue Sylvester Shuffle
#51. Frasier (1993-2004)
A spin-off of one of my favorite shows, Cheers, Frasier was a very sophisticated comedy. Dr. Frasier Crane has moved from Boston to Seattle and now lives with his father. Frasier and his brother Niles are both well-educated psychiatrists who are often pretentious compared to their down-to-earth father. It has been a joy to watch Kelsey Grammer play Frasier for about 20 years, an amazing feat in itself. Frasier was also an Emmy magnet, it is the only show to win the best comedy award five years in a row.
Notable Performance : David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane (Emmy Winner 1995, 1998, 1999, & 2004)
Memorable Episode: Season 3 Episode 14 : The Show Where Diane Comes Back
#50. Alice (1976-1985)
Based on the movie “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, Alice was about a widow who moves to Phoenix with her son to start a new life. She ends up working at Mel’s Diner with two other quirky waitresses Vera and Flo. The show had a lot of heart and Linda Lavin was excellent in the title role. It also had one of the most famous catchphrases in television, “Kiss My Grits”.
Notable Performance : Polly Holliday as Flo Castleberry
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 12 : Good Buddy Flo
#49. Kitchen Nightmares (2007-Present)
This is the second Gordon Ramsey sighting on my list. I love Kitchen Nightmares! Gordon goes to a failing business, per their request, and tells them straight up what they are doing wrong. Of course, they never think their food is bad or their management skills are lacking. It takes a strong presence like Ramsey to get through to these people, because they usually just don’t get it. In the end he tries to turn the restaurant around and you really root for the owners to make a change.
Notable Performance : Gordon Ramsey as Himself
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 12: Capri