TV Pioneers

Try to imagine a world without Lucille Ball, Fred Rogers, Steve Allen, Gracie Allen, or Captain Kangaroo. A dark and dismal planet where no one had heard of Bill Cosby or Walt Disney, of Hanna-Barbera or Merv Griffin, where the names Johnny Carson, Edward R. Murrow, Lorne Michaels and Groucho Marx meant nothing. Think of where we’d be without Carol Burnett, and Mary Tyler Moore.

Like the medium that made them stars, the pioneers of television weren’t just performers, they were revolutionaries. Whether they were proving the worth of children, women, minorities or Elvis, people like Fred Rogers, Freddie Prinze, Carl Reiner, Roseanne Barr and Ed Sullivan used drama and humor, sometimes gentle, sometimes barbed, to prod American society into the modern age.

They knew what the rest of America soon learned—that entertainment is the most effective way to ensure progress and that box in the living room may be the most powerful tool we have. A tool folks as disparate as Desi Arnaz, Gene Roddenberry, Aaron Spelling and Danny Thomas have used to change the world.

— Mary McNamara, who has been The Times' television critic since 2007

If you do not see the person you are looking for below please search our complete list of the stars on the Walk of Fame. And, if you haven’t yet, check out The Times virtual tour of the stars.

Two thoughts about TV Pioneers

Share a thought about The Times’ “TV Pioneers” category

  • Which star best represents the group?
  • Does everyone here deserve to be on the list?
  • Who has been overlooked?