The Most Popular Talk Show Host in Your State

Aaron Gunderson
Site Director & Writer
Read More
May 08, 2017
3 min read

Talk shows are the entertainment fodder holding the keys to our gossip-loving hearts, but not all hosts are created equal. From daytime therapy sessions with Dr. Phil to afternoon scares with Ellen, our favorite talk show hosts have brought laughs, tears, and awkward moments to our lives. With Stephen Colbert’s recent pizza celebrations beating Jimmy Fallon’s ratings for the first time ever, we teamed up with to take a look at Google trends data over the last five years of other talk show host rivalries to see who America searches for the most.

Talk Show Host Map

It turns out, Ellen is the host with the most. She is America’s overall favorite, followed closely by Jerry Springer, Piers Morgan, and Oprah Winfrey in tied second place. Really, we’re not surprised Ellen is the sure winner, as she makes us all laugh with her unconventional tactics. Who can forget the time Dennis Quaid ordered a coffee, or Kristen Bell’s Sloth Meltdown, or the countless scares?

I mean, who doesn’t want to be Ellen’s best friend?

When looking at the top favorite talk show host in America, we noticed some interesting correlations. Here are some of the juicier morsels:

  • Ellen took first place as she won 10 states, all randomly scattered around the US.
  • Oprah’s southern charm obviously won over hearts from the South.
  • Colbert's political commentary plays well in blue state of Vermont, where liberals love a good take-down of the current administration, served with a side of humor.
  • Despite Fallon’s wide appeal against Stephen Colbert in their map, he is only one state’s most searched—Utah.
  • Since there’s nothing else to do in the northwest, they have to get their entertainment from other people’s problems on Dr. Phil.
  • Interestingly enough, many blue states searched for conservative troll Piers Morgan, perhaps some click-bait hate-watching?

We also wanted to compare rivalry talk show hosts or similar shows head-to-head to see who came out triumphant. Here’s what we found.

The late night funnies: Jimmy Fallon vs. Stephen Colbert

Despite the celebrations at Colbert HQ last week, Fallon wins in a landslide. Colbert's history in political commentary on Comedy Central helps him in the liberal states of Vermont and Oregon, whereas Fallon’s jovial dance numbers win over across the country.

Sorry Colbert, you may have won the ratings this month, but you have a long way to go.

The British are coming: Piers Morgan vs. James Corden

Corden vs Morgan

These British transplants both took over late night shows in recently. James Corden replaced fellow Brit Craig Ferguson in 2014 on CBS' The Late Late Show. Piers Morgan replaced icon Larry King in 2011. Despite Morgan being off the air, he still beat currently airing Corden in many states, perhaps due to his inflammatory comments and high-profile feuds. Though we do see a surge in Corden’s ratings after his "Carpool Karaokes" with Adele and First Lady Michelle Obama last year.

Back away from bashing fellow brits and brush up on your karaoke routine, Morgan. Corden is gaining on you.

Political thought 101: Trevor Noah vs. John Oliver

Trevor Noah and John Oliver both subbed for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show over his run as host. Oliver stood in while Stewart was shooting his documentary, Rosebud, in 2013. Since then, Oliver has starred in his own version of the show on HBO.

His support is mainly in the Northeast. Noah took over hosting The Daily Show in 2015, and despite initial concerns, we see that he has maintained a strong following across the states.

Daytime dames: Ellen vs. Oprah

Ellen vs Oprah

Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres have a long and important history. Twenty years ago, in April 1997, Winfrey played the therapist who helped Ellen discover her sexual orientation in the sitcom Ellen. Then, the “real” Ellen appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her discovery, and it was the most hate mail The Oprah Winfrey Show ever received.

Now, twenty years after the therapist scene aired, the trend data demonstrates how times have changed. Ellen has broad popularity, and her daily talk show and voice acting work on Pixar have made her a household staple.

As for Oprah, we found that most of her followers were mainly concentrated in Southern states and where her show was shot (Illinois). Her iconic show may have been off the air since 2011, but she still has the popularity to be a main contender.

Daytime advisers: Dr. Phil vs. Jerry Springer

Dr. Phil vs. Springer

Despite Springer and Phil’s differences, both these men help everyday, normal humans, rather than simply interviewing celebrities. When Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer come head-to-head, we found that both Springer and Phil had a pretty even spread in terms of popularity.

  • Jerry Springer is known for his daily interviews of interesting people, and has seen steady popularity since first airing.
  • Dr. Phil takes on a more serious note, sorting out people’s issues and working through relentless dramas. Remember “howbow dah” girl? After “howbow dah” girl made her appearance, his ratings immediately shot up.

Is your state’s favorite host on point? Share and discuss!