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News anchors: Entertainers of the year

Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, and Jon Stewart all helped make sense of the 2008 presidential election

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For cable-news junkies, they became like family. Blustery Uncle Chris on MSNBC. Sharp-tongued Aunt Campbell on CNN. Even Fox News’ Sean Hannity felt like a member of the clan — an overeager ex-brother-in-law, perhaps. And over the last year, lots of viewers have spent more time with these folks than with their own blood relatives. So, below, EW spotlights just a few of the many reporters, commentators, comedians, pundits, and other eggheads who helped explain the presidential election of 2008. Or at least made it a little more entertaining.

Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
Here’s your moment of Zen: For lots of voters — the kind who live in dorms — he was the most trusted name in election news.

Katie Couric, CBS Evening News
The Palin Slayer. Her interview with the VP nominee was so shocking, Tina Fey barely changed a word for the parody.

Keith Olbermann, Countdown
His ”Special Comments” are catnip to the liberal elite, who think he’s the best political pundit in the worrrrld!

Sean Hannity, Hannity & Colmes
Suggesting debate questions to George Stephanopoulos was sneaky, but he’s still the right’s most affable attack dog.

The Women of ‘The View’, The View
Between Joy Behar grilling McCain and Elisabeth Hasselbeck stumping for Palin, they helped millions make up their minds.

Chris Matthews, Hardball
He’s not just an interviewer. He’s a gladiator. And not everyone survives crossing swords with him (right, Rep. Bachmann?).

Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show
Olbermann’s ideological little sister — her show is a spin-off of Countdown — except she may be even smarter and funnier.

Campbell Brown, No Bias, No Bull
She went from cohost of Weekend Today to star anchor on CNN, where her editorial rants have energized the network.

Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
He’s not a real conservative — he just plays one on TV. But he still pulls in top political guests (like some guy named Obama).