Earlier this week, we unveiled our Hall of Fame April nominees. Today, Rabin returns to provide you with his statistical analysis to assist in making your voting decision.
If you’re new to this or need a quick refresher, let’s revisit the ACTOR equation. Today, we focus on evaluating the lead actors in comedy series.
The candidates for this month are nearly as impressive as the celebrated female leads we highlighted in March.
Out of the 100 eligible actors I assessed, the nominees encompass the top four performers, five from the top ten, and six from the top twenty.
How do they compare to one another in this competition?
No, you’re not misinterpreting that score next to Kelsey Grammer. Grammer, renowned for his roles as Frasier Crane in both Cheers and Frasier, attains a remarkable 155.79 in ACTOR, surpassing the previous high scorer, Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy.
And it’s not just a marginal difference; in ACTOR terms, the gap between Grammer and Ball is only slightly less than Harriet Hilliard’s portrayal as Harriet Nelson in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which translates to 32.41 in human terms.
So, where do all the lead acting nominees rank? Please keep in mind that the current nominees are highlighted in purple, Hall of Fame inductees are represented in blue, and the less fortunate ones (sorry, Mr. Clooney) are in green.
Each of the nominees this month outperforms at least two Hall of Famers, namely Lauren Graham and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
If we adhere to the principle that anyone superior to the weakest Hall of Famer should be inducted, the first step would be to extend our apologies to George Clooney, followed by casting a “yes” vote for all the nominees.
For those not falling into this category, here’s the detailed breakdown.
Kelsey Grammer, Frasier Crane, Cheers and Frasier;
Caroll O’Connor, Archie Bunker, All in the Family and Archie Bunker’s Place;
Alan Alda, Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H;
Ted Danson, Sam Malone, Cheers
“That’s a bit unusual,” you might observe. “You’ve never organized the nominees like this in the past. What’s the reasoning behind this, Andrew?” Firstly, I’m genuinely flattered that you pay such close attention to my writing and have become a continuity enthusiast.
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You’re absolutely correct; this is a departure from my usual approach.
However, the information presented in this chart would have essentially duplicated what was already covered in four different charts. So, what would be the point of that redundancy?
We also need to address the matter of spinoffs, as it appears three times in this chart. In the case of Cheers, Frasier Crane began as a supporting character and later became the lead in Frasier. Archie Bunker was the central character in both All in the Family and Archie Bunker’s Place.
Likewise, Lou Grant played a significant role in both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant. So, what do we count? For statistical purposes, any comedy in which the actor was a regular cast member as that character at some point counts.
Therefore, Grammer receives credit for his time on Cheers (excluding seasons before his arrival), as well as for Frasier, in terms of episodes, ratings, and awards.
On the other hand, Asner is only credited with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as his tenure on Lou Grant was evaluated separately for lead actor in a drama rankings, where he ranked 18th.
This method is not unique to this month; I’ve employed the same approach with actors like James Spader (The Practice/Boston Legal), Cloris Leachman (MTM/Phyllis), Valerie Harper (MTM/Rhoda), and others in the past.
However, it’s the first time this issue has arisen with a nominee, so I wanted to address it.
Regardless of your stance on this statistical method, all four of these individuals are straightforward “yes” votes.
It’s clear why Grammer, O’Connor, Alda, and Danson occupy the top four positions, given their legendary status as television actors in their iconic roles.
Matthew Perry, Chandler Bing, Friends
Can Matthew Perry possibly be any more deserving of Hall of Fame recognition? Just for reference, Perry’s portrayal of Chandler Bing holds the second position among the male characters from Friends, while Matt LeBlanc ranks seventh (partially due to Joey), and David Schwimmer comes in at 17th.
I don’t believe Chandler Bing reaches the same iconic status as many of the other nominees, but he consistently delivered one of the strongest performances in one of the most significant series of the past two decades. Another resounding “yes.”
Henry Winkler, Arthur Fonzarelli, Happy Days
When it comes to iconic roles, few characters have transitioned from a supporting role to a legendary lead as impressively as Henry Winkler’s Fonz.
This is another affirmative vote for a character that continues to epitomize coolness.
Bob Newhart, Robert Hartley, The Bob Newhart Show
I understand, nobody really wants to delve into what this might appear to be, and I’m with you on that. The reality is, time has been far more generous in its assessment of Bob Newhart’s initial sitcom than the awards he received during that era.
In total, he earned just two Golden Globe nominations. To clarify, Newhart’s other leading role in “Newhart” holds the 45th position.
The figures don’t strongly support a definite “yes” vote, so I’m inclined to place this one in the “maybe” column.
Rowan Atkinson, Edmund Blackadder, Blackadder
As I’ve mentioned previously, I believe that ACTOR tends to treat British stars unfairly due to their lower episode counts.
However, Rowan Atkinson manages to overcome this limitation to some extent and falls between two reasonably well-regarded leads.
Nevertheless, the numbers still don’t provide a strong case for a “yes” vote, but Atkinson certainly warrants some consideration.
So, to recap, we have Grammer, O’Connor, Alda, Danson, Perry, and Winkler as clear “yes” recommendations, while Newhart and Atkinson stand as borderline nominees, with no definitive “no” selections.
With this, we conclude four months of lead actor and actress nominations.