If viewers chose shows based solely on stars they like, “Madam Secretary” would be doomed.
On the other hand, “NCIS” would still be in good shape going into Season 12, thanks in large part to the beloved Pauley Perrette. She topped our list with a whopping 31.
Here’s how the marketing company arrives at its results for its clients, which include television networks, among others: President Henry Schafer and his Q Scores team provide a celebrity’s name and a brief description to more than 1,800 study participants. The viewers are asked if they recognize the person and how they feel about him or her.
The outcome of that study is a Recognition score, a Positive Q Score — meaning the individual in question is the respondent’s favorites — and a Negative Q Score, which is the exact opposite of what one hopes to be associated with.
The complete list at the bottom of this report is ranked by a candidate’s Positive Q Score.
“TV personality Q Score metrics provide unique insight into the momentum that primetime casts bring to the opening of the fall television season,” Schafer told TheWrap.
“For returning shows, personality-driven appeal is extremely important for determining how strong or polarizing the cast is for maintaining viewer commitment,” he added. “For new shows, the strength of the personality driven-factor is very important for enticing viewer sampling prior to exposure to the quality of the storylines.”
The women in this ranking averaged a 23 recognition number and an 18 Positive Q Score. Across all actresses the company has compiled, the average familiarity number is a much higher 41 and slightly lower 16 Q Score.
Back to the specifics of our list: Just one point behind Perrette is A.J. Cook of “Criminal Minds,” scoring a very strong 30. Beneath her is Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: SVU,” who pulled a 29.
Hargitay is more familiar to those polled than the previous two actresses, with 37 percent of respondents recognizing her. The most-recognized on our list is actually Tyra Banks — though she is nowhere near the top, per her weak 12 Q Score.
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While Banks has three other women tied with her towards the tail-end of the embedded list, there are still five fall broadcast TV actresses who fall beneath her.
Up one point from the dead-last Leoni is Katharine McPhee (with an eight score) of “Scorpion,” Rachel Bilson (10) of “Hart of Dixie,” Octavia Spencer (11) of “Red Band Society” and Debra Messing (11) of “The Mysteries of Laura.”
Some actresses who would have otherwise been included either did not have Q Scores, or their last rating was earlier than 2012, which we felt was too old to use.
Read TheWrap’s Fall TV Actress Q Score complete list:
Read more of TheWrap’s Q Score series coverage: