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The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History 

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Updated April 14, 2020 6.4k votes 972 voters 56.2k views 51 items

List Rules Shows near the top must be only the best Variety Show TV series.

The very best variety show shows on television, ranked from best to worst. This list of the greatest variety show shows also includes pictures from the shows when available. Popular variety show TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining variety show show of all time is. Don't let your favorite variety show television programs in history get to the bottom of the list- be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot. The list of variety show television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available.

This list answers the questions, "What is the best variety show show of all time?" and "What are the greatest variety show shows?" and includes Frank TV, Bienvenidos, and more! Old variety shows! New variety shows! The only rule is they have to be good variety shows!

 

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1
Running Man is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
ricaquintana added Running Man

Premiered: 2010

Running Man is a South Korean variety show; a part of SBS's Good Sunday lineup, along with K-pop Star 4. It was first aired on July 11, 2010. Running Man is classified as an "urban action ...more
2
The Carol Burnett Show ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman

Premiered: 1967

The Carol Burnett Show is an American variety/sketch comedy television show starring Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner. It originally ran on CBS from September 11, ...more

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#65 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #75 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #125 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

3
The Dean Martin Show is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Dean Martin, Sandahl Bergman, Dom DeLuise

Premiered: 1965

The Dean Martin Show, also known as The Dean Martin Variety Show, is a TV variety-comedy series that ran from 1965 to 1974 for 264 episodes. It was broadcast by NBC and hosted by entertainer ...more

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#160 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #65 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows #55 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

4
The Johnny Carson Show ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History

Premiered: 1955

The Johnny Carson Show is a 1955-56 half hour prime time television variety show starring Johnny Carson. While working as a staff writer on The Red Skelton Show, local Los Angeles television ...more
5
The Muppet Show is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt

Premiered: 1976

The Muppet Show is a family-oriented comedy-variety television series that was produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and features The Muppets. After two pilot episodes produced in 1974 and 1975 ...more

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The Most Interesting Muppet Show Characters #12 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #30 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

6
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
KarenBockwich added Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson

Premiered: 1975

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975), also known as SNL, is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. Hosted by a ...more

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The Best SNL Cast Members of All Time #55 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #74 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

7
The Ed Sullivan Show is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Ed Sullivan, Bern Bennett, Ralph Paul

Premiered: 1948

The Ed Sullivan Show was an American TV variety show that ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan. It was ...more

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#163 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #39 of 43 The Best TV Shows That Lasted 10+ Seasons #3 of 29 The Best TV Shows of the 1940s

8
The Sonny & Cher Com... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Sonny Bono, Cher, Ted Zeigler

Premiered: 1971

The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour is an American variety show starring American pop-singer Cher and her husband Sonny Bono. The show ran on CBS in the United States, when it premiered in August ...more

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#417 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #190 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #56 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows

9
Smothers Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Sally Struthers, Tom Smothers, Peter Cullen

Premiered: 1967-02-05

The Smothers Brothers are Thomas ("Tom" – born February 2, 1937) and Richard ("Dick" – born November 20, 1939), American folk singers, musicians, and comedians. The brothers' ...more
10
Rowan & Martin's Lau... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
RobLein added Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, Ruth Buzzi

Premiered: 1968

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In is an American sketch comedy television program that ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973, on the NBC television network. It was hosted by ...more

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#129 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #133 of 214 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #115 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

11
Hee Haw is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Roy Clark, Gunilla Hutton, Buck Owens

Premiered: 1969

Hee Haw is an American television variety show featuring country music and humor with fictional rural Kornfield Kounty as a backdrop. It aired on CBS-TV from 1969–1971 before a 20-year run in ...more

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#139 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #55 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows #33 of 101 The Best Sketch Comedy TV Shows

12
Walt Disney's Wonderful ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Walt Disney, Kevin Corcoran, Paul Frees

Premiered: 1954

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color is a action adventure biography TV series.

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#185 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #17 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

13
The Red Skelton Show is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Greer Baudreau added Ginger Rogers, Red Skelton

Premiered: 1951

The Red Skelton Show is an American variety show that was a television staple for two decades, from 1951 to 1971. It was second to Gunsmoke and third to The Ed Sullivan Show in the ratings ...more

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#122 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #168 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #39 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

14
In Living Color is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jim Carrey, Kelly Coffield Park

Premiered: 1990

In Living Color is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990, to May 19, 1994. Brothers Keenen and Damon Wayans created, wrote and starred in the ...more

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Here's What The Cast Of 'In Living Color' Looks Like Now #58 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #148 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

15
The Flip Wilson Show is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Flip Wilson, Tim Conway, George Carlin

Premiered: 1970

The Flip Wilson Show is an hour-long variety show that aired in the U.S. on NBC from September 17, 1970 to June 27, 1974. The show starred American comedian Flip Wilson; the program was one of ...more

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#197 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #134 of 137 The Funniest Shows To Watch When You're Stoned #73 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows

16
The Mickey Mouse Club is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Jimmie Dodd, Tommy Cole, Eileen Diamond

Premiered: 1955

The Mickey Mouse Club is an American variety television show that aired intermittently from 1955 to 1996. Created by Walt Disney and produced by Walt Disney Productions, the program was first ...more

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Mickey Mouse Club: Where Are They Now? #112 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcoms #93 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

17
The Smothers Brothers Co... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Sally Struthers, Tom Smothers, John Hartford

Premiered: 1967

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour is an American comedy and variety show television series hosted by the Smothers Brothers and initially airing on CBS from 1967 to 1969. The series was a major ...more

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#425 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #194 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #54 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

18
The Tonight Show is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Eric Ebacher added Skitch Henderson, Hugh Downs, Art Linkletter

Premiered: 1954

The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show broadcast from the Rockefeller Center in New York City and airing on NBC since 1954. It is the world's longest-running talk show, and the ...more

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#191 of 1,318 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows #21 of 67 The Best Talk Shows On TV

19
The Andy Williams Show ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
RobLein added Andy Williams

Premiered: 1962

The Andy Williams Show is an American television variety show that ran from 1962 to 1971, and a short-lived run in syndication, beginning in the fall of 1976. It was hosted by crooner Andy
20
The Ellen DeGeneres Show... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
RashadShapath added Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Boss, Anthony Okungbowa

Premiered: 2003

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is an American television talk show hosted by comedian/actress Ellen DeGeneres. Debuting on September 8, 2003, it is produced by Telepictures and airs in syndication, ...more

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The Best Musical Guests on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' in 2020 #116 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #108 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

21
The Colgate Comedy Hour ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin

Premiered: 1950

The Colgate Comedy Hour is an American comedy-musical variety series that aired live on the NBC network from 1950 to 1955. The show featured many notable comedians and entertainers of the era as ...more
22
The Steve Allen Show is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
RobLein added Peggy Lee, Steve Allen, Al Flosso

Premiered: 1956

The Steve Allen Show was an American variety show hosted by Steve Allen from June 1956 to June 1960 on NBC, from September 1961 to December 1961 on ABC, and in first-run syndication from 1962 to ...more

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#376 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #139 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

23
The Gong Show is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Phyllis Diller, Michele Lee, George Gray

Premiered: 1976

The Gong Show is an amateur talent contest franchised by Sony Pictures Television to many countries. It was broadcast on NBC's daytime schedule from June 14, 1976, through July 21, 1978, and in ...more

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#114 of 152 The Best Reality Competition Series #178 of 457 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #26 of 87 The Greatest Game Shows of All Time

24
The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hou... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, Desi Arnaz

Premiered: 1957

The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour is a collection of thirteen black-and-white one-hour specials airing occasionally from 1957 to 1960. The first five were shown as specials during the 1957-58 television ...more
25
Cake is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History
Mamoudou Athie, Avital Ash, Samantha Jayne

Premiered: 2019

Cake (FXX, 2020) is an American live-action/animated anthology television series. Cake is its own unique series as well as incubator for shorter shows that could be developed into half-hour