Hollywood’s Best Talk Show Hosts of All Times

Talk shows have proven to be a game-changer for the American entertainment landscape for the longest time. We take a brief gander at some of the most hyped, funniest and highest paid, talk show hosts of the time.
  • 23 Jun - 29 Jun, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
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Ellen DeGeneres

“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.” – Ellen DeGeneres on animal cruelty

Net worth: $360 million
Currently hosts: The Ellen DeGeneres Show

The television show host, comedian and actress is hailed as one of America’s funniest persons. Starting as a standup comedian at small pubs and coffee houses, Ellen went on to host America’s most watched television show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show that enjoys a whopping 3.9 million viewers per episode. The talk show has seen the likes of Michelle Obama, George Clooney, Bill Gates and many high-profile celebrities. The comedian made her first on-screen appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As a film actress, DeGeneres starred in Mr. Wrong and The Love Letter. She lent her voice to Dory in the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. The voiceover for Dory landed her many accolades, with many praising Ellen for her “whale-speaking” skills. Her immense success is largely attributed to her charming, quirky personality and rapidly-growing reputation as a humanitarian hero.

Jimmy Kimmel

“When you know someone, you can make a little more fun of them without them getting offended.” – on talkshow business

Net worth: $35 million
Currently hosts: Jimmey Kimmel Live!

Now a television host, comedian and writer, Kimmel was in high school when he began exploring his flair for hosting. He began with Sunday night interview shows on UNLV's college station. Later, he landed a job alongside Kent Voss as morning drive co-host of The Me and Him Show at a radio station in Seattle, Washington. After co-hosting a number of comic television shows, Kimmel made it big with the release of his late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2003 on ABC. It remains to be the longest running late-night talk show in ABC's history in 15 years. Kimmel has pushed the envelope in talk show business with his tremendous ability to engage guest. He is regarded as being quiet sensitive, perceptive, and slightly shy. These qualities are both, his strengths and weaknesses, for while Kimmel possesses enormous sensitivity to his feelings and those of others, that same sensitivity can cause him to hold back and repress his considerable talents.

Jimmy Fallon

“I wanted to be a Priest at one point. I was pretty religious. I was an altar boy, and I was good at it. Then, I started meeting girls and I’m like ‘You know, maybe I shouldn’t be a priest.” – Fallon on life choices.

Net worth: $35 million
Currently hosts: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Regarded as the lovable king of late night television, Fallon has been a part of two big-budgeted talk shows, Saturday Night Live and currently as the host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. As a young man he grew up with the wildest obsession and a lifelong dream, to be casted on SNL. As a host, Fallon taps into his very affable, easy going personality, which instantly allows even the most introverted celebrities to open up to him. Engaging games on his show are something of a cult-favourite. Fallon strikes one as the man who can effortlessly distinguish between funny and offensive, making the perfect concoction out of them. The self-deprecating host, beneath his well-tailored suits and big grin, is also an actor, has two comedy albums to his name and has authored five books.

Chelsea Handler

“I'm a devilish kind of person, but I embrace it. I don't try to fight it. It's proven very well for me.”

Net worth: $40 million.
Last hosted: Chelsea, on Netflix

On the list of Time’s 2012 100 most influential people in the world, Handler is rare bred hostess. She was a member of the all-female cast of Oxygen network's hidden camera reality television series Girls Behaving Badly. Other shows on which Handler has appeared include Weekends at the D.L., The Bernie Mac Show, My Wife and Kids, and The Practice. She is best known for hosting the late-night talk show Chelsea Lately on the E! Network and the documentary series Chelsea Does on Netflix. She aces her game at observational, blue and insults comedy and impeccable takes at satire. Handler has also authored five books that have made the New York Times Best Seller list, four of which have reached the number one spot.

Conan O’Brien

“It’s a good thing I was born in this century, when superfluous television seems to be part of the economy.” -On the talk show business.

Net worth: $12 billion

Conan O’Brien is best known for hosting several late-night talk shows; since 2010, he has hosted Conan on TBS. He wrote extensively for HBO’s Not Necessarily the News, later joining the hit animation series The Simpsons as a writer. Stepping into the foray of hosting, he then hosted the Late Night with Conan O’ Brien, but received bad reviews and came close to being cancelled. Conan started connecting with the audience and by its last season and the show became one of the most amazing transformations that TV had ever witnessed. By 2005, the show had garnered an average viewership of 2.5 million. Soon, O’Brien started to host The Tonight Show on NBC. He is currently the executive producer of the TV show People of Earth. His clever, fresh outlook at the show and successful production company has made him the highest paid talk show host. With the retirement of David Letterman, O'Brien became the longest-working of all current late-night talk show hosts in the United States, at 22 years.

Amy Schumer

“All my friends are getting married. I guess I’m just at that age where people give up.”

Net worth: $16 million
Currently hosting: SNL episode: "Amy Schumer/Kacey Musgraves"

Stars as herself in Inside Amy Schumer.
Schumer initially began her career as a comedian by appearing as a contestant on the fifth season of the NBC reality competition series Last Comic Standing in 2007. Since 2013, she has been the creator, co-producer, co-writer, and star of the Comedy Central sketch comedy series Inside Amy Schumer for which she received a Peabody Award and has been nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards, winning Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. She published a memoir in 2016, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, which held the top position on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller list. Schumer wrote and made her film debut in Trainwreck as lead. She has also bagged two Grammy Award nominations for Best Comedy Album for Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo and Best Spoken Word Album for The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.

David Michael Letterman

"Labour Day is a great American holiday that people celebrate by going out and buying products made in China." – Letterman on Labour Day in America

Net worth: $400 million and annual salary of $20 million
Currently Hosts: My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

Being part of the late-night television business for an astounding total of 33 years, Letterman is something of a comedy veteran. The American television host, comedian, writer and producer made his debut with Late Night with David Letterman on NBC in 1982, entirely transforming the late-night television essence for the world at large. His last broadcast was in 2015 at Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. In totality, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing all figures held by his counterparts. In 1996, Letterman was ranked 45th on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. The Late Show held the seventh ranking on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Currently, he hosts the Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with david Letterman. Letterman has served as a key influence for many contemporary television hosts, including Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers. His hosting skills bank on observational comedy, surreal humour and distinct take at American politics.

Stephen Colbert

"Don't cry over spilled milk. By this time tomorrow, it'll be free yogurt."

Net worth: $45 million
Currently hosts: The Late Show with Stephan Colbert

The king of Comedy Central’s highest rated news parody series, The Colbert Report, gained his breakthrough fame by playing the character of Chuck Noblet on the cult television series Strangers with Candy. Initially, the host planned on becoming a dramatic actor but inclined towards improvisational theatre instead. His wide recognition through earned him a spot to perform as featured entertainer at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2006. After the end of he hosted the Late Show on CBS. Colbert wrote the #1 bestseller book by The New York Times 2007 titled I Am America (And So Can You!). He has won multiple achievements which included nine Primetime Emmy Awards and two Grammy Awards.