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How Ted Danson Became a King of Television

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Jul 13, 2011 | 11:56am EDT

We know him best as Sam Malone. We love him as George Christopher. We furrowed our brows over Arthur Frobisher. And now we're about to play sleuth with whoever his character will be on CSI. With roles on a slew of iconic shows, television miniseries, and a whole mess of not-so-noteworthy TV projects, Ted Danson is probably one of the most consistently successful actors on television, and we like it that way.

Seeing as one of his former shows, Damages, hits the small screen tonight and he just announced yet another TV show he's adding his name to, it seems only fitting that we chronicle the items that make Danson a king of television.

Sam and Diane

Cheers (1982-1993)

You can't talk about television history without talking about Sam Malone and Diane Chambers. Before there was Ross and Rachel or Jim and Pam or Charlie and The Waitress, there was Sam and Diane. Sure, Shelley Long was great as Diane, but the real reason we couldn't resist this twosome was because of Danson. He was a man's man, a former major league pitcher, a grog slinging bar keep, a scoundrel, and a total hunk. Men wanted to learn his ways and women hoped they could be the victim of those practices. But who knew Danson had a few more iconic TV characters up his sleeve?

Dr. John Becker

Becker (1998-2004)

Before Hugh Laurie's mean Dr. House took over the television waves, we found a more comedic mean doctor in Danson's Becker. Sure, he was basically a lonely, old, well-educated version of Sam Malone, but he was a funny, lonely, old, well-educated version of Sam Malone. Hell, he barely even speaks in this scene from the late 1990s sitcom and he's still hilarious.

Ted Danson

Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-2009)

What's better than Sam Malone or Dr. Becker? How about Danson playing a fictionalized version of himself terrorizing the easily angered Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm? Yep, that'll do it.

Arthur Frobisher

Damages (2007-2010)

When Danson became a recurring character on the critically acclaimed drama, television viewers saw a side of the actor we hadn't seen very often: a seriously good dramatic side. His character may be no match for Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), but he's great on that show.

George Christopher

Bored to Death (2009-Present)

Now, let's take Ted Danson, put him in a role as a media mogul and give him weed. Hilarious right? Now give him a sidekick -- Zach Galifianakis to be exact. Okay, this equation just became irresistible.

Little Danson Man

Tim and Eric Awesome Show (2010)

Alright, this probably didn't contribute to his small screen success, but this sketch from the Adult Swim show does make me love Danson just a wee bit more. Adult Swim doesn't think this video should be embeddable, so enjoy this screen shot and hop over here to watch the actual (magical) clip.

Little Danson Man Donut Box

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