There are only 620,000 doctors in America. Walmart’s employee base in the U.S. is two times that size. But there are not any TV shows about people who work at Walmart. Over time, there have been dozens of TV series about doctors. Perhaps it is because they save lives, and make people better. Who hasn’t relied on a doctor for something over the course of their lives, or been among the millions who have been to an emergency room? Or, been born without the assistance of a doctor?
As television sets became widely available in homes, doctor-based shows were among the earliest content, next to news, talk shows, and westerns. Dr. Kildare was among the first such shows and ran from 1961 until 1966. Over the course of that time, it was among the most popular shows on television. Memorable doctors from medical dramas to comedies, sci-fi shows, and thrillers have graced the small screen over the past 50 years.
Shows about doctors have remained remarkably successful and durable over the last two decades. To pick the most popular TV doctors, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on Wikipedia search activity and audience reviews from the Internet Movie Database.
TV doctors have evolved just as the types of shows they are part of have. Popular doctors from earlier shows are compassionate, competent, and funny. Though in many cases doctor’s characters still have these attributes, they also often have more complex personalities, such as the drug-addicted but highly intelligent Dr. House.
The doctors on this list are part of different show genres from dramas, like “ER,” that have had a cultural impact to comedies, like “Scrubs,” which have provided relief in tough times.
The most popular TV doctor of all time is Meredith Grey. Here are the details:
> Show: Grey’s Anatomy (2005-Present)
> Daily avg. Wikipedia pageviews: 3,126
> IMDb user rating for show: 7.5/10 (280,793 votes)
> Portrayed by: Ellen Pompeo
Methodology: To determine the most popular TV doctor, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on Wikipedia search activity and audience reviews from the Internet Movie Database. Daily average Wikipedia pageviews from Dec. 29, 2018 to Dec. 29, 2021 for each television doctor were included in the index at double weight. Data on the average IMDb user rating for the show each television doctor is primarily featured in was gathered December 2021 and was included in the index at full weight. Data on the number of audience votes, dates of series runs, and cast information also came from IMDb.
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