Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People
Vladimir Putin with Barbara Walters-2.jpg
Walters meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2001
Presented byBarbara Walters
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes21
Running time60 minutes to 2 hours (including commercials)
Production companyABC News
Original networkABC
Original release1993 (1993) –
2015 (2015)

Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People was a televised compilation of ten public figures who are prominent names in the fields of entertainment, sports, politics, and popular culture. Hosted by Barbara Walters, the list was broadcast annually on the second Thursday of December on ABC from 1993 to 2015. Though produced by ABC News, the specials are not presented under the 20/20 banner, the network's flagship newsmagazine.


After becoming the first woman to co-anchor an evening network newscast in 1976, Barbara Walters left the ABC Evening News in 1978 to concentrate on The Barbara Walters Specials,[citation needed] an occasional series of interviews with heads of state, newsmakers, sports stars, and other public figures. During the early years of the primetime 'specials', Walters secured the first joint interview with Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The specials continued to air sporadically throughout the year and saw Walters conduct interviews with a plethora of public and political figures including former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

In a 1993 special, Walters compiled a list of twelve figures who defined that year. The top person for the year was Hillary Clinton. The program proved popular and led to it returning with ten figures every year except 2000 and 2001. Initially, 2013 was to be Walters' final installment of the special, which happened to end with the same person as in the debut year;[1] however, Barbara continued the program in both 2014 and 2015.[2]


The format of the broadcast consists of ten short-form biographical profiles, often interspersed with a recently recorded interview with the subject. The profiles are introduced by Walters from a set which has a computerized backdrop and she often commentates on why the figure has been chosen to qualify for inclusion in the program.

Similar to other end-of-year annual lists like the Time 100, the ten profiles are not ranked in any order. However, since 2002, Walters has ended each show with her "Most Fascinating Person". In 2007, this honor went to author JK Rowling, who was the only one of the ten not to be interviewed for the show. In 2011, this honor was awarded posthumously to Apple founder Steve Jobs, the only person who was deceased at the time.

Most Fascinating Persons of the Year


Most Fascinating People per year




















While previews of the show listed swimmer Diana Nyad,[4] she was not included in the final broadcast.


Broadcast date: December 14, 2014


Broadcast date: December 17, 2015 (third Thursday of December)


  • First Person to be featured on two lists: Tom Hanks in 1994 and 1998
  • First Person to be featured on three lists and four lists: Hillary Clinton in 1993, 2003, 2012 and 2013
  • First Person to be featured consecutively on the Most Fascinating list: Sarah Palin in 2008, 2009 and 2010
  • First Person to be named Most Fascinating twice: Tom Hanks in 1994 and 1998
  • First Person to be named Most Fascinating three times: Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1993, 2003 and 2013