When it comes to entertainment, Americans like their choices multiple. There’s room for Pretty Woman Julia Roberts and Hungry Man Hannibal Lecter, for the jolting In Living Color and the gentle Northern Exposure, for Mariah Carey’s unplugged voice and Michael Bolton’s electrified hair. Okay. So much for fairness. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, right? Thus, our second annual survey of the nation’s tastes in entertainment. We asked 600 Americans what makes them swoon (Mel Gibson), snooze (TV golf), shriek (Rebecca De Mornay), and smile (nobody more than Tim Allen). For more about all of them, read on.
Who is the funniest actress on TV?
1. Candice Bergen
2. Roseanne Arnold
3. Kirstie Alley
4. Katey Sagal
5. Estelle Getty
Motherhood may make Murphy Brown more controversial and even crankier, but a lot of people like her just the way she is — especially women, who give Bergen a substantial victory. But Arnold has plenty of allies; she takes top honors among respondents who make less than $30,000 a year, younger TV viewers, nonwhites, and — surprisingly — men, who give her blue-collar brio a narrow edge over Murphy’s Beltway topicality. And things look good for a sixth-place finisher who hasn’t starred in a series lately but will get her own talk show next fall: Whoopi Goldberg.
Whom would you rather play football for: Burt Reynolds on Evening Shade or Craig T. Nelson on Coach?
Burt Reynolds 55%
Craig T.Nelson 43%
Although Coach beats Evening Shade in the Nielsens, viewers would rather have Reynolds call the plays, especially if the team is composed of women; 61 percent of them would like him to run a league of their own.
On which of these television game shows would you most like to appear?
Wheel Of Fortune 54%
Love Connection 3%
Though Wheel wins overall, Jeopardy! scores a decisive victory among college graduates, who didn’t pay all that tuition just so they could buy a vowel from Vanna. And 30 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds would rather win in the game of love, even if they have to go on Studs to do it.
Which of these is the coolest TV show?
Northern Exposure 21%
Beverly Hills 90210 19%
In Living Color 15%
Saturday Night Live 9%
The Simpsons 7%
David Letterman 7%
Perhaps the windchill factor helped, but the deep-freeze chic of Exposure just edges the sunnier setting of 90210 for cool cachet. Still, opinion was sharply divided on this question, as the top three finishers all had strong followings. Exposure was first among TV viewers over 35 and college-educated viewers. 90210 was the overwhelming favorite of 15- to 24-year-olds, who dropped Exposure to a dismal sixth place. And men chose In Living Color, which was also No. 1 among nonwhite viewers by a wide margin.