6. Keith Olbermann
Host of MSNBC’s ‘Countdown With Keith Olbermann’
Last year’s rank: N/A
Why he was chosen: The utter failure of Phil Donahue on MSNBC in 2003 was presumed to mean left-leaning hosts of prime-time TV shows were an endangered species. But, lo, a star rose in the west over Secaucus, N.J., and its name was Keith Olbermann.
First-quarter 2007 ratings for the cranky Mr. Olbermann’s “Countdown” rose 76 percent year-to-year to an average 713,000 viewers and helped galvanize MSNBC’s increasingly popular, politically obsessed lineup; even the first telecast of “Tucker Carlson” perked up 33 percent to 238,000 viewers in the first quarter.
Mr. Olbermann’s take-no-prisoners approach frequently means he gives a demographic beat-down to his CNN competitor, Paula Zahn.