Best in TV: Best Talk Show Host

Part 5: Carson, Winfrey or Letterman? Which host chatted his or her way into viewers' hearts?
3:00 | 09/18/12

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Transcript for Best in TV: Best Talk Show Host
"Best in tv" with barbara walters continues with your favorite tv hosts. Your number five favorite host -- david letterman. Shut I have protective goggles on or anything? Long before he was showing us stupid pet tricks, and top ten list. And the number one thing mr. Romney would like to say to the american people -- it's a hairpiece. He was a waterman. Of the united states. Then a stand-up comic, a late, late night host. Will you welcome david letterman. And johnny carson's protege and heir to his late name kingdom. But jay leno got dethroned. Just how pissed off are you? So letterman built his own show. "The late show" with david letterman. Around his unique mix of ony and silliness. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a promo. This is the actual show. What I loved about david letterman was it was unpredictable. Here we are supposed to be a talk show and he's jumping on a trampoline and sticking to a wall of velcro. Carson continued to support him secretly writing jokes for his mon locate and making a rare guest appearance on his show. It seems, david, that you are the $1 million winner. Oh, my god. He may have learned from the master, but now he's a master himself. It's going to be a little hot so be careful. Aaagh. Your number four favorite host and every woman who could play any woman. What have I done to myself? Carol burnett. It's the "the carol burnett show." Her variety show introduced us to some of television's most memorable sketch comedy characters. Say something to me. Can you hear me? Surprise, surprise! Maybe the most memorable, carol herself. Let's turn up the lights and see if you have any questions. She started each show with a q and a. She said she was terrified of talking off script but soon became one of her favorite parts of the show. Yes. What do you do with all your old clothes. Are you asking for yourself, sir? It was classic carol. Relaxed, relatable, real. Boy, what a haul. Each show included a secret signal to the grandmother who raised her. This earlobe was kind of like two millimeters longer than this one from yanking it all those years. ♪ I'm so glad we had this time together ♪ carol said her final good-bye after 11 seasons. Good night. Thank you. your number three favorite host, the woman with the midas touch, oprah winfrey. More than a host, oprah is a source. You get a car. You get a car. You get a car. You get a car! Everybody gets a car! For 25 years she was the most influential talk show host ever. At the height of her fame she was like a human campfire around which everybody gathered. Have you ever felt this way before? And it was incredibly powerful. She turned experts into stars. It'll be fun, y'all. Books into best-sellers overnight. You could have a pamphlet and oprah would sell it. Anything oprah praised blew off the shelves. It's beginning to look a lot like favorite foods. Most of all, oprah inspired with her gospel of self-improvement. Because it's the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that'll be enough. Over the course of her career, I fortunately interviewed oprah four times. But I'll never forget what she said when we first met. I've always known that I was born for greatness in my life. Yeah, I meant that. I think every soul has its calling. That's what I meant by born into greatness. In oprah's case, she was right. Your number two favorite host, someone with all the right MOVES, ellen DeGeneres. ♪ she's not that sort of typical talk show personality. But that's part of her appeal. Not everybody is that homecoming queen. Ellen's show is a permanent party. Part of the trick. Even the biggest celebrities let loose with ellen. You're screaming with a boat horn in the middle of the street. She made geekiness look cool. It was her off-beat charm that led her to her big break on carson's tonight show. She did a bit about calling god. Yeah, hi, god, this is ellen. Ellen. Listen, if you weren't -- sure, hold on. Somebody is at the gate. That's very clever. Very fresh and -- well, that's wonderful hearing that from you. It made her a top stand-up comic, a sitcom star and one of the first big hollywood stars to come out as gay. So thanks for stopping by. This is a -- you're gay. Which today doesn't seem like a big deal because ellen is just, well, ellen. ♪ Hip-hop hooray ♪ if you were calling god today what would you say? Thank you. Your number one favorite host -- here's johnny! The great starmaker himself and the king of late night, johnny carson. Really should stop applauding because you give me a big head and, no, and my crown won't fit anymore. Late night's smoothest suavest host didn't start out that way. He'd been on two prime time flops and a game show. Johnny. Before taking over "the tonight show" for jack paar. For the next 30 years the boyish-looking nebraskan native dominated late night. Momma, I'm on tv. Famously private and introverted came alive on tv. Piggedly-wiggedly. Describe's kermit's wedding night. His monologues were so influential some say he got richard nixon to leave office. Tonight's monologue is dedicated to president nixon. I've got a monologue that just won't quit. But mostly cost him sidestep controversy. "The tonight show" is basically to amuse people, to make them laugh. He milked every moment. I didn't even know you were jewish. Even jokes that fell flat were funny in johnny's expert hands. Kmart shoppers, attention. And carson always prided himself on his comic timing. He knew when it was time to go. I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you.

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