The Obamas’ constant stream of television cameos has made them the most famous first couple in history—even topping the first Hollywood couple to reside in the White House.
Barack and Michelle Obama have made a combined 195 television and movie appearances since entering the national spotlight in 2004, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). That is 20 more appearances than the Reagans’ 175 self-credited media appearances over an 85-year span.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan were both Hollywood stars, amassing 99 movie and television roles from 1937 to 1996. Reagan continued to frequent the late night circuit during his political career, sitting down with Johnny Carson and roasting A-listers with Dean Martin.
Those lighthearted appearances stopped when he was elected president in 1980. Reagan’s television appearances dwindled to tribute appearances to legendary USO comedian Bob Hope and anti-communist documentaries such as Let Poland Be Poland.
The Obamas have ramped up their television appearances since moving in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, especially on the late night circuit. The first family has made multiple appearances with comedians Jay Leno, David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, and John Stewart since taking office in 2008. President Obama will appear on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday, two months after Michelle Obama played tug of war with the host.
Obama’s television schedule has intensified during the campaign season with many of the appearances aimed at capturing young voters, nearly half of whom are unemployed or underemployed.
President Obama also participated in entertainment shows, including delivering opening remarks for USA Network’s showing of To Kill a Mockingbird and WWE’s Wrestling Tribute to the Troops.
The first lady has also logged appearances on children’s shows, such as Nickelodeon’s Kid Choice Awards and iCarly and reality shows, such as NBC’s The Biggest Loser and ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Hollywood may bite Obama back at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner. Late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel will roast the president at the event. Obama last saw Kimmel on the campaign trail in 2008, when he appeared on the comedian’s ABC show.
The Obamas’s steady stream of appearances will allow the first family to easily surpass the media exposure of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who amassed 338 media appearances over 20 years and three presidential runs. The Clintons logged only 59 credits from 1988 to the end of Bill’s first term in 1996.