It looks like giving up her syndicated show wasn’t such a big deal after all. Almost two years after she called it quits on her talk show, Oprah Winfrey is still the most influential celebrity in America, according to Forbes.
According to data from E-Poll Research, 48% of people polled rate Winfrey as influential. That’s down only one point from last year when she also topped the list of Most Influential Celebrities. Ratings at Oprah’s OWN network are starting to creep up thanks to big “get” interviews like her recent special in which she grilled Lance Armstrong about his drug use. The two-part show drew 28 million viewers around the world. Prime-time ratings at the network are up 17% already this year, according to Nielsen.
Winfrey’s magic has rubbed off on at least one of her proteges: Dr. Mehmet Oz also makes the list. He’s ranked 6th with a 40% influential rating. That’s important for Oz since he endorses products that mainstream scientists sometimes find questionable, like homeopathic remedies.
E-Poll Research’s E-Score Celebrity service ranks more than 7,500 celebrities based on 46 attributes.
Oz’s 40% influential score means that 40% of the population believes he is influential. The average for all celebrities E-Poll tracks is only 11%. (Ties on this list were broken by E-Scores which measure a celebrity’s “marketing effectiveness” by combining awareness, appeal and other factors.)
E-Poll Chief Executive Gerry Philpott says the term “influential” can mean different things to different people but most of the time, it speaks to someone’s impact on the culture. It’s not always a sign that the celebrity is well-liked. Donald Trump, who just misses the top 10 with a 35% influential rating, was only rated likeable by 15% of the people polled. His most notable attribute: rudeness.
Steven Spielberg ranks second on the list with an influential rating of 47%. How can a movie director be considered so influential?
“To this day, ask anyone what they think about before going in the ocean,” says Philpott (referencing Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws).
Spielberg is just one of four directors in the top five. The others are Martin Scorsese (third), Ron Howard and George Lucas (they tie for fourth). To see how influential Lucas still is just check out how worked up fans have gotten over casting rumors for Disney’s continuation of Lucas’ sci-fi saga, Star Wars.
One notable celebrity who didn’t make the list this year is Michael J. Fox. The actor ranked second last year but falls to 13th place in 2013. Fox has been busy working on TV projects, like the upcoming comedy based on his life, and hasn’t been in the public eye as much as last year.
A notable addition: Clint Eastwood. The actor/director ranked 13th last year. So while he may have been ridiculed for his performance opposite an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, it seems to have helped make him an influencer.
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