(NEW YORK) — 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.”
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.
Here are the some of Best in TV‘s top winners and finalists:
Best TV Comedy
WINNER: I Love Lucy
The Cosby Show
All in the Family
Best TV Drama
The Twilight Zone
The West Wing
Best Legal or Cop Show
WINNER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Law & Order
Hill Street Blues
Best Reality Show
WINNER: Dancing with the Stars
The Amazing Race
The Deadliest Catch
Favorite TV Mom
WINNER: Phylicia Rashad as “Clair Huxtable”
Florence Henderson as “Carol Brady”
Doris Roberts as “Marie Barone”
Marion Ross as “Marion Cunningham”
Barbara Billingsley as “June Cleaver”
Best TV Host
WINNER: Johnny Carson
Best Non-Human Character
WINNER: Kermit the Frog
Best Variety Show
WINNER: Saturday Night Live
The Carol Burnett Show
In Living Color
The Ed Sullivan Show
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sara Stewart, CNN
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN