Hollywood's 100 Favorite TV Shows: 28 NBC Shows That Made THR's List

10:12 AM 4/7/2016

by THR Staff

'Friends,' 'The West Wing' and 26 other shows from the Peacock Network loved by industry insiders.


Everyone has a favorite TV show. It might be the one you loved most as a kid or the one you watched with friends in a dorm room or the the one you shared with a significant other. The Hollywood Reporter asked more than 2800 Hollywood insiders— including 779 actors, 365 producers and 268 directors, among others — to tell us their favorites and then ranked the top 100 from Desperate Housewives (No. 100) to …..

Beyond the No.1 show, THR looked at how each network fared in the voting for the 100 favorite shows: ABC, CBS, FOX, HBO, and Netflix. THR also looked at the best shows by decade: 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s.

Here are the 28 shows from NBC that made the list of Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows. 

  • Family Ties (No. 98)

    (1982-1989) NBC

    Paramount Television

    Michael J. Fox was not NBC's first choice to play Alex P. Keaton — Matthew Broderick was offered the part — in this Reagan-era sitcom about aging hippie parents with self-involved kids. But it didn't take long to see a star was being born. "I walked into the mailroom during our first season," recalls Michael Gross, 68, who played Fox's TV dad, "and discovered several Santa-sized sacks of mail for Michael J. Fox."

  • Parenthood (No. 94)

    (2010-2015) NBC

    Courtesy of NBC

    The family drama, loosely based on Ron Howard's 1989 film, had its share of tragedy, starting with the death of NBC development exec Nora O'Brien, who had a brain aneurysm on the set during the filming of the pilot. "Seeing her die was a real life-changer," says star Peter Krause, 50. "That whole night is incredibly vivid to me."

    Photos 'Parenthood': Family Bonding With the Bravermans on the Set of the Jason Katims Drama

  • The Rockford Files (No. 89)

    (1974-1980) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    A few years into the private eye series, another show on a rival network came on with a similar theme song. "[James Garner] and I ran into the producer of that show," recalls Stuart Margolin, 75, who played Rockford's rascally sidekick, Angel. "Next thing you know, Jim throws a right hook. The producer gets up and says: 'Did you see that? Did you see him hit me?' Jim looks at me and says, 'You didn't see? I'll do it again.' And he knocks him down again."

    Read more THR's 'Rockford Files' Review in 1974

  • Scrubs (No. 87)

    (2001-2010) NBC, ABC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Zach Braff nearly blew his first audition to star in this offbeat medical comedy. "He sent a tape," recalls creator Bill Lawrence, 46. "It was horrible. I'm sure he was hungover." He was better in person.

  • Law & Order (No. 85)

    (1990-2010) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Dick Wolf's cops-and-lawyers show all but invented the procedural crime franchise. It cast huge stars before anybody knew their names (Samuel L. Jackson, Claire Danes, Philip Seymour Hoffman) and employed writers (Arrow's Marc Guggenheim and Treme's Eric Overmyer) who went on to become TV titans of their own. "It was a great show to learn how to craft a story," says House creator David Shore, 56.

    Read more THR's 'Law & Order' First Episode Review in 1990

  • Get Smart (No. 83)

    (1965-1970) NBC, CBS

    Courtesy of Photofest

    "It was a peak in my career," says co-creator Mel Brooks, 89, of teaming with Buck Henry to write and produce this goofy Cold War satire. "I once got a call from the CIA wanting to know how Buck Henry and I knew so much about the Cone of Silence."

    Read more THR's 'Get Smart' First Episode Review in 1965

  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (No. 81)

    (1999-Present) NBC

    Will Hart/NBC

    The first of many Law & Order spin-offs, SVU expanded the formula to include ever more despicable crimes (gang rape, pedophilia, illegal importation of rare gibbons). But star Mariska Hargitay, 51, knows the true secret of the show's success. "We all know what the cornerstone is of any show's creative direction," she says. "Hair."

  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (No. 73)

    (1955-1962) CBS, NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    The original TV fright fest from the master of horror. "It was a chance each week to get something new," says The X-Files creator Chris Carter, a childhood fan. "Television anthologies are sorely missing on TV today."

    Read more THR's 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' First Episode Review in 1955

  • Saved by the Bell (No. 71)

    (1989-1993) NBC


    This high school series was famous for its romantic pairings, but it was the interracial hookup between Zack and Lisa that elicited the strongest fan response. "We got thousands of letters," says exec producer Peter Engel, 55. "But it wasn't, 'How could there be a black and white kiss?' It was, 'How could Zack kiss Screech's girlfriend?' I was proud of that."

  • I Dream of Jeannie (No. 70)

    (1965-1970) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    "The day the show got picked up was also the day I found out I was pregnant," recalls star Barbara Eden, 84. "I went to [creator] Sidney Sheldon to tell him, assuming that they would replace me." Turns out she was irreplaceable. For much of the first season, Eden says "I was draped in so many veils, I looked like a walking tent."

    Watch Sarah Hyland Dresses Up as 'I Dream of Jeannie' Character

  • Hill Street Blues (No. 63)

    (1981-1987) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    "I'd get letters," recalls creator Steven Bochco, 71, of the reaction to his frenetic, envelope-pushing cop show. " 'It's too noisy, there are too many stories, the camera jig­gling makes me ill.' Critics loved it, but nobody watched." Emmy voters loved it, too, nominating it for a 21 awards its first season. "It was the lowest-rated show ever to get picked up for a second season," Bochco notes proudly.

  • Taxi (No. 60)

    (1978-1983) ABC, NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    James L. Brooks says he got the idea for the show when reading a magazine article about a cab company "where everyone had an ambition to be something else." He visited the company before writing the pilot and observed, he says, "a very short taxi dispatcher being given a bribe." And Danny DeVito's career was born.

    Read more THR's 'Taxi' First Episode Review in 1978

  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (No. 54)

    (1990-1996) NBC

    Everett Collection

    "In every country in the world, it is the thing that I am most known for," Will Smith, 46, has said of the upbeat family sitcom that first made him a star. "No matter how big the movies get, it's the Fresh Prince."

    Read more THR's 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' First Episode Review in 1990

    Photos 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Cast: Where Are They Now?

  • Freaks and Geeks (No. 50)

    (1999-2000) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    "People still come up to me and say, 'Your show saved me,'" says Linda Cardellini, 40, who played geek-turned-freak Lindsay Weir in co-creators Judd Apatow and Paul Feig's high school drama. "It was a bittersweet show, and that's probably why it didn't survive for long. I remember executives feeling bad that the characters were always losing. They'd say, 'Can't something good happen to them?' But the show wasn't about the shiny people. It was about real kids."

    Read more THR's 'Freaks and Geeks' First Episode Review in 1999

  • The Golden Girls (No. 48)

    (1985-1992) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Betty White originally auditioned for the role of sex-hungry Blanche but was "concerned the part might seem too close to Sue Ann Nivens from The Mary Tyler Moore Show," says the 93-year-old actress. The sitcom about a bunch of older ladies — NBC president Brandon Tartikoff came up with the idea after spending time with an elderly aunt — was anything but stodgy, dealing with such subjects as AIDS and gay marriage.

  • Frasier (No. 40)

    (1993-2004) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Kelsey Grammer was hesitant to spin off his Cheers character, so producers Peter Casey, David Angell and David Lee came up with the idea of Grammer playing an eccentric Malcolm Forbes-like billionaire who was paralyzed. NBC hated it, so Frasier Crane it was. NBC was in such a rush to get the show on the air that the network barely had time for notes. "They might have really dissected the thing," says Casey. "Instead they said, 'Let's roll.' "

    Read more THR's 'Frasier' First Episode Review in 1993

  • Friday Night Lights (No. 38)

    (2006-2011) NBC

    courtesy of Photofest

    Before they signed on for the family drama, Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler had one note for creator Peter Berg: "We did not want to be jumping into bed with other people and constantly at odds," says Britton, 48. "There's an old falsity that a working relationship is not going to be interesting to watch."

    Photos 'Friday Night Lights': What the Stars Are Doing Now

  • Star Trek (No. 35)

    (1966-1969) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    "Maybe the special effects weren't great, or they had to make certain costuming decisions, but when you heard that music, you knew you were going to get something wonderful," says screenwriter Robert Gordon, whose love of Trek led him to write the 1999 feature film Galaxy Quest. "Every show was a big idea. An allegory about Vietnam or man's nature in the universe or how power can corrupt."

    Read more THR's 'Star Trek' First Episode Review in 1966

    Read more Star Trek: 10 Spock Quotes to Remember Leonard Nimoy

  • Parks and Recreation (No. 32)

    (2009-2015) NBC


    Chris Pratt came back for the sixth season with a new career as a movie star, and now Aziz Ansari has a show on Netflix while Amy Poehler has become the embodiment of Joy (in Inside Out). "In 50 years, it's going to be mind-blowing that this cast was all on the same TV program," says showrunner Mike Schur, 39.

    Read more THR's 'Parks and Recreation' Season 1 Review in 2009

  • The Office (U.S.) (No. 31)

    (2005-2013) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Adapting Ricky Gervais' workplace sitcom for American TV was "nerve-racking," says EP Greg Daniels, 52. Especially because all of Daniels' friends were huge fans of the British version. "It was every single intelligent comedy person I respected," he says. "I had dreams that I would be brought up in front of comedy court and they would say, 'What have you done?!'"

    Read more THR's 'Office' First Episode Review in 2005

    Photos 'The Office': Behind the Scenes

  • ER (No. 28)

    (1994-2009) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    The smash hit medical drama made household names out of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies. But at first, NBC hated it. "They were very vocal about that fact," says EP John Wells, 59. "We were telling 10, 12, 13 stories in an hour — it was too much. But we tested it, and NBC put it on the air. By November, we were the No. 1 show in America and on the cover of Newsweek."

    Read more THR's 'ER' First Episode Review in 1994

  • Cheers (No. 23)

    (1982-1993) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    NBC's first choice to play Sam Malone? "Bill Cosby," remembers co-creator Les Charles, 72. "We declined because it would have meant doing the Bill Cosby Show." Cosby, of course, did get his own show, which turned NBC's Thursday nights into a ratings juggernaut. "We were worried because the ratings were so dismal," says George Wendt, who played Norm. "But The Cosby Show premiered, and it lifted the whole night."

    Read more THR's 'Cheers' First Episode Review in 1982

    Photos 'Modern Family' Cast Re-Creates 'Cheers' Ensemble

    Photos 'Cheers' 30th Anniversary Party Reunites the Iconic Series' Stars

  • Will & Grace (No. 22)

    (1998-2006) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Vice President Biden credited this sitcom about a single woman and her gay best friend with paving the way for same-sex marriage. But not everyone was thrilled with the idea of openly gay characters. "The run-through went well," recalls co-creator Max Mutchnick, 49. "But that night, our agent asked me if I would consider making the Will character straight. I have a new agent now."

    Read more THR's 'Will & Grace' First Episode Review in 1998

  • 30 Rock (No. 18)

    (2006-2013) NBC


    Tina Fey's backstage sitcom — based on her years writing for SNL — never was a ratings bonanza. But it struck a chord with the industry. "I remember the first year [at the Emmys]," Fey, 45, told THR. "It was one of the years the Emmys were in the round, and we were seated behind the stage — we just saw people's butts all night. We lost everything, but we won best series. Alec Baldwin was so sure we weren't going to win that he was in the bathroom. He missed it the first time. We're lucky [it was] repeated."

    Read more THR's '30 Rock' First Episode Review in 2006

    Photos '30 Rock': Behind the Scenes

  • The West Wing (No. 11)

    (1999-2006) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Sidney Poitier was the first star approached to play President Bartlet in the political drama, but "those talks didn't get far," recalls creator Aaron Sorkin, 54. "Next was Jason Robards, but he was in bad health. We read some other actors — Hal Holbrook and John Cullum — but then one day [producer] John Wells called and said, 'What about Martin Sheen?'"

    Read more THR's 'West Wing' First Episode Review in 1999

    Photos A Look Back at 'The West Wing'

  • Saturday Night Live (No. 7)

    (1975-Present) NBC


    It's been good and not so good, but SNL has remained a reliable comedy fix for 40 years. "My tombstone should say 'uneven' because [the show] has never been described any other way," says creator Lorne Michaels, 70. "You can't possibly be perfect for 90 minutes. But you can have a certain other kind of magic."

    Read more THR's 'Saturday Night Live' First Episode Review in 1975

    Photos 'Saturday Night Live': 10 Most Controversial Moments

  • Seinfeld (No. 5)

    (1989-1998) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    "Milton Berle once told me that if you can't make a character funny, make him interesting," says Michael Richards, 66, who turned Kramer, Jerry's screwball next-door neighbor, into the quintessential sidekick on the decade-defining sitcom that was famously "about nothing."

    Read more THR's 'Seinfeld' First Episode Review in 1990

    Photos 'Seinfeld': The Edgiest Topics the Gang Tackled

  • Friends (No. 1)

    (1994-2004) NBC

    Courtesy of Photofest

    On May 6, 2004, more than 52 million people tuned in to the final episode of Friends, making it the fourth-most-watched finale in U.S. history when it aired. But it's the show's lingering hold on the zeitgeist that creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman find so gratifying — and a little baffling. "It's completely surreal," says Crane, 58. "From the way the show got on the air, to the fact that we had 10 amazing years, and that kids today are embracing it. You'd think they'd be like, 'This is tired, old TV.' "

    On the contrary. Even Taylor Swift is a fan; she recently performed "Smelly Cat" with Lisa Kudrow onstage in Los Angeles. Crane and Kauffman laugh today when they reflect on some of the notes that preceded the series' 1994 premiere. Former NBC chief Don Ohlmeyer thought viewers would think Monica was "a slut" for sleeping with a guy on the first date, and others felt the gang's coffeehouse couch was too "fleshlike" (it was swapped for something less "downmarket"). "But overall, there were very few notes by today's standards," says Kauffman, 59. "Our own personal mantra was, 'Let's do a show we would actually watch.' And we stuck to it."

    Read more THR's 'Friends' First Episode Review in 1994

    Photos The 'Friends' Stars and Their Greatest TV Comebacks

    Read more Hollywood's 100 Favorite TV Shows: 10 Shows That Surprising Didn’t Make the Cut