'I Love Lucy' Voted the Best TV Show of All Time

"Lucy" beat "Seinfeld" and "M*A*S*H" in ABC News, People magazine poll.

ByABC News
September 18, 2012, 3:21 PM

Sept. 18, 2012 — -- intro: More than 60 years after it premiered, the iconic television sitcom "I Love Lucy" nabbed top honors with TV fans in a survey conducted by ABC News and People Magazine for "Best in TV," a special edition of "20/20" that aired Tuesday night.

"Lucy" was voted the best show of all time, beating out finalists "Seinfeld," "M*A*S*H," "All in the Family" and "Cheers." All five finalists were comedies.

"We were not surprised Americans chose comedies as their favorites of all time," said ABC News' Barbara Walters, who hosted the special. "We all like to laugh and these shows still make us laugh today."

Web Exclusives: What Were Viewers' Picks for Best Soap Opera, Theme Song and Game Show? Find Out at BestInTelevision.com.

During a rare interview in 1977, "I Love Lucy" star Lucille Ball told Barbara Walters that she didn't think she was funny.

In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, Ball's now-adult children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. explained that their mother had a dry sense of humor.

She was witty, with "a Will Rogers kind of sense of humor...great humor, but not like Lucy (on the show)," Desi Arnaz Jr. said.

"My mother was a clown, and she could turn funny, brilliantly funny written things into magic...But she didn't think funny," Lucie Arnaz said.

"Best in TV" featured a countdown of winners in a number of other categories, from Favorite TV Reality Show to Favorite TV Drama to Favorite TV Mom. In addition to the categories featured on the TV Special, ABC News and People also polled Americans in several other categories like Favorite TV Soap Opera, Favorite TV Game Show, and Most Memorable TV Moment of All Time. See the finalists in these categories online at www.bestintelevision.com.

Nominees in all categories were determined by an all-star panel of television writers, producers, actors and directors. And from the list of nominees, Americans registered more than one million online votes earlier this summer at www.bestintelevision.com. Click through to see the winners and finalists in each category featured on the "Best in TV" special.

quicklist: 1title: Best TV Comedytext: WINNER: "I Love Lucy"

Other finalists:
"The Cosby Show"
"All in the Family"

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quicklist: 2title: Best TV Dramatext: WINNER: "ER"

Other finalists:
"The Twilight Zone"
"The Sopranos"
"The West Wing"
"Mad Men"

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quicklist: 3title: Best Legal or Cop Showtext: WINNER: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"

Other finalists:
"Law & Order"
"Hill Street Blues"

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quicklist: 4title: Best Reality Showtext: WINNER: "Dancing with the Stars"

Other finalists:
"American Idol"
"The Amazing Race"
"The Deadliest Catch"

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quicklist: 5title: Favorite TV Momtext: WINNER: Phylicia Rashad as "Clair Huxtable"

Other finalists:
Florence Henderson as "Carol Brady"
Doris Roberts as "Marie Barone"
Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham"
Barbara Billingsley as "June Cleaver"

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quicklist: 6title: Best TV Hosttext: WINNER: Johnny Carson

Other finalists:
Ellen DeGeneres
Oprah Winfrey
Carol Burnett
David Letterman

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quicklist: 7title: Best Non-Human Charactertext: WINNER: Kermit the Frog

Other finalists:
Miss Piggy

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quicklist: 8title: Best Variety Showtext: WINNER: "Saturday Night Live"

Other finalists:
"The Carol Burnett Show"
"American Bandstand"
"In Living Color"
"The Ed Sullivan Show"

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