Can we finally come to an agreement on what is A, B, C, and D List?
These are my thoughts, please feel free to make amendments as needed.
A List - An actor who only does movies and commands a significant fee per picture. As they say, his or her name will open the movie. Certain musicians a handful of primetime TV actors fall into this character.
B List - Supporting players and up and comers in movies and Primetime TV actors on hit or buzzworthy shows.
C List - Daytime TV and some reality TV stars.
D List - Comedians, radio personalities, some reality stars.
[quote]A List - ... a handful of primetime TV actors fall into this character.
No, dear. They do not.
C List also should contain people like talk show hosts and broadcast personalities.
Revise D List to say "fortunate reality stars."
In the UK, they also have a 'Z' list, for bottom of the barrel 'celebs'.
For me, A List is even more exclusive - with a handful of exceptions, you need to have an Oscar on your mantel.
Arnold Schwarzenegger fits your existing definition. However, talented or honorific he's most definitely NOT.
A-List: most people have heard of the person. Even someone who doesn't watch movies or TV.
Talent and awards don't necessarily make someone A-list, r5. Arnold is A-list emeritus. He was a megastar for a long-time and he's never going to be not famous.
I don't think the term A-list has much resonance anymore. I think it's the CDAN blog that uses the term "A-list name recognition" and that's about as accurate as it gets these days. Aside from Will Smith, there just isn't anyone who can open a film based mostly on name. The current media landscape is just so different from what it was 10-15 years ago.
I'd say A-List is a major, major star that projects are built around: Will Smith, Depp, Pitt, Jolie, etc. It's a very short list.
R7, in my opinion, Schwarzenegger's infamy now cancels out much of the fame he enjoyed, in the same way one would view Mel Gibson or OJ Simpson. They might technically meet your A-List definition, but I wouldn't have any interest personally in socializing with them.
No one has mentioned the former "hot ones".
Where would you put, for example, an Eddie Murphy? One who was once top of the heap (80s) and now only makes direct to video films?
An lead on a major TV show could be A list, especially if their character is iconic. John Hamm would be A list even though he has limited movie experience.
I wouldn't consider all commedians to be "D List". People like David Letterman, Carol Burnett, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, etc. become IMO "A List" in their genre.
Granted, Hollywood works on a "what have you done for me lately" criteria (for instance, Eddie Murphy was once A List, now perhaps B or C)
So where would Ellen be on the list? She has first name only recognition(A list), she's done some movies (flops- B list), tv shows (B list), tv host(C List) and she's a comedienne(D list)?