13 Favorite PBS Couples

Love is On the Air

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the aura of love it brings with it, we picked 13 favorite PBS “couples.” While not all the pairs we chose are couples in the traditional sense, much like Grant & Lee, Ali and Frazier, Batman and Robin or Homer and Marge, some folks just can’t be mentioned without the other. View our 13 favorite PBS couples, and suggest your own below!
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Maria & Luis

Sesame Street

Who doesn’t love a wedding episode? On an abundantly sunny day on Sesame Street in 1988, this couple thrilled kids nationwide when they said “I do.” Singing their way through the ceremony, the beautiful bride and dashing groom were surrounded by their friends and got help from best man Bob and ring-bearer Elmo, who was the only one more nervous than the bride. And to answer that burning question – yes – Luis and Maria (Emilio Delgado and Sonia Manzano) are really married! (Just not to each other.)

Luis and Maria decide to get hitched (with a little help from Big Bird)
Photo: Sesame Workshop
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Mimi and Rodolpho

Great Performances: La Boheme

One of the greatest love stories ever sung, Puccini’s tragic operatic tale premiered in 1896. Performed ever since by companies around the world, a dream team of opera stars brought a film adaptation to Great Performances (Aired 12/09) starring Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón as star-crossed lovers Mimi and Rodolpho. The heart-stirring production was truly something to adore, except for the ending – not so wonderful for Mimi.

> Watch an interview with Anna Netrebko
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Pale Male & Lola

Nature: Pale Male

It doesn’t get more clichéd than this: Love birds building a love nest. Pale Male has hosted numerous partners in his swingin’ Fifth Avenue pad, but none are more memorable than Lola. This New York City power couple hatched seven eyasses together, from 2002-2004. They resided in the nest they built together until January 2011, when, sadly, Lola went missing. No time for mourning though — barely a week after Lola flew the coop, a 4-year-old hawk swooped in to join the apparently unfazed Pale Male.

Watch the love birds in action (no, not that kind of action)
Photo: Palemale.com
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King Friday XIII and Queen Sara Saturday

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

We can’t think of a royal couple we like more (no offense to William and Kate) than these first citizens of the Neighborhood of Make Believe. While the King could be stubborn and egocentric (you’d be high-strung with that trolley clanging by all the time), he ultimately listens to reason and more often than not, it’s the rational and compassionate Queen Sara (named for Fred Rogers' wife) who gets through to him. Long live the King and Queen!

Watch Mister Rogers sing “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Photo: mrdestructicity via Flickr
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Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightly

Masterpiece Classic: Emma

Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse was always the matchmaker, but never quite part of the match. In a journey filled with secret admirers, mystery pianos, extravagant balls, proposals and rejections, Emma finally succumbs to the realization that it’s Mr. Knightly she fancies, leaving the many suitors in her wake crying “Bollocks!”

Watch behind-the-scenes video from the series
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Hacker and Wicked


Don’t you think that the two most villainous creatures in cyberspace would make the perfect couple? Wicked Witch thinks so, and often tries to convince fellow lover of evil Hacker, to join forces as a power couple. In The Wedding Scammer episode, Wicked finally convinces Hacker to walk down the aisle but much like Charlie Brown to a football-holding Lucy, it’s just not in the cards.

Watch the full Wedding Scammer episode
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Bill and Judith Davidson Moyers

Bill Moyers Journal

One half of this dynamic journalism duo has been a monumental success in front of the camera, while the other has been running the show from behind it. For more than 30 years, they’ve collaborated to produce memorable programs like Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, Faith and Reason and of course, Bill Moyers Journal. More impressively, despite being a couple in showbiz, they’ve been married for more than fifty years.

Bill and Judith talk with Charlie Rose about one of their collaborations
Photo: ©WNET
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Jacques Pepin and Julia Child

Cooking at Home with Jacques and Julia

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more passionate couple. Of course, for Jacques and Julia, food was on the receiving end of their love. Side-by-side, these two titans of French cuisine combined their culinary forces to delight the palates of countless food-savvy viewers. Nothing says love like strawberries sabayon, chocolate soufflé and cream roulade – bon appétit!

Julia & Jacques take on a stuffed turkey roulade
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John Lennon and Yoko Ono

American Masters: LENNONYC

Regardless of what you think about their music or their political views, there’s no denying these two were deeply in love with each other. As seen in American Masters: LENNONYC, their relationship was not without its rocky moments. But whether they were strolling through Central Park, staging one of their famed “bed-ins” or working late in the recording studio, they made the most out of their all too short time together.

Watch a program excerpt
Photo: © Ben Ross
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Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy

Great Performances & Sesame Street

We know…they’re no PBS regulars, but with Kermit’s Sesame Street cred and Miss Piggy’s unforgettable collaboration with Andrea Bocelli and David Foster on Great Performances (Last aired 12/10), we couldn’t leave out one of the most beloved couples to ever grace the screen. Kermit knows it’s not easy being green, but you figure he’s got to love the mountains of affection thrown his way by the fabulous Miss Piggy. However, it’s safe to assume he doesn’t adore the occasional karate chops she throws his way.

Miss Piggy and “Kermie” on the dance floor – guess who’s leading?
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Ronald and Nancy Reagan

American Experience: Reagan

It was, quite literally, a love story born in Hollywood. The two film stars met in 1949 and three years later, they tied the knot and embarked on their now historic path from film studios to the California governor’s mansion, and finally into The White House. Their 52-year marriage, much of it under close media scrutiny, is the real American dream. Watch American Experience: Reagan tonight at 9pm on THIRTEEN.

Watch American Experience: Reagan
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The Hardcastles

As Time Goes By

Sometimes true love takes time to blossom. In the case of As Time Goes By’s Jean and Lionel – portrayed by Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer—its about 40 years. Since many Yanks are unfamiliar with this Britcom, we’ll fill you in: Boy meets girl…they fall in love…boy goes to war…boy sends girl a letter…she never receives it (Bloody Postman!)…both figure, “oh well.”…38 years later, boy and girl reunite and rekindle the romance – hilarity ensues.

Enjoy some most amusing outtakes
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Ernie and Rubber Duckie

Sesame Street

Who hasn’t professed their love for something inanimate? Thoreau had nature, Willy Wonka had chocolate, and Ernie has Rubber Duckie. RD, as we call him, has everything you could possibly want in a friend — he’s yellow, he’s cute, he squeaks, he’s a fantastic listener (when he’s not squeaking) and most of all, he makes bath time lots of fun. That’s why he’s “the one” - bo ho bo dee oh.

Ernie sings his classic bath time hit
Photo: © 2009 Sesame Workshop
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1  OF  14
  • Michael Susi

    You couldn’t find one same-sex couple! Don’t hit me up at pledge time.

  • Carol Blank

    Just LOVE this couple — and the program. The people are funny, charming and just wonderful to watch and enjoy their interaction and that with their respective children.

  • Wilma

    What happened to Hyacinth & Richard Bucket ?

  • Emma L

    Jean and Lionel of As Time Goes By are the Best Of the Best

  • Leah Koenig

    Andrea Bocelli and Miss Piggy

  • Joe Pisani

    Love the British comedies led by “As Time Goes By” and followed by “The Vicar of Dibley”, “To the Manor Born” and any of the rest that show periodically. Miss the Last of Summer Wine and would love to see Black Adder and

  • PaulaMarie Susi

    What about Bert and Ernie? They’re same sex, too.

  • Elisa K.

    The Time Goes By pair, Jean and Lionel are my favorites. Followed by Hyacinth and Richard!

  • Larry B

    Two paragons of wedded bliss:
    Horace Rumpole and Hilda “She Who Must Be Obeyed” Rumpole
    Basil Fawlty and Sybil “My little nest of vipers” Fawlty

  • pia and larry

    Jean and Lionel, by far. They are authentic characters who, with humor, expose our vulnerability. Consistently.

  • Martha Wagner

    Jean and Lionel, of course — and repeats are always welcome!!!

  • frederica l.

    jean and lionel of course

  • Inge H.

    My vote goes to the Love Birds Pale Male and Lola.
    If I can give a second placing it would be Jean and Lionel.

  • Matthew D

    John & Yoko. A great message, a great couple, a great love.

  • Victoria Tesch

    This is a difficult one as to who the best couple is. There are so many.
    I do like Jean and Lionel. But, Hyacinth and Richard are great as are Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

  • t. carlyle

    From Keeping Up Appearances…Rose and whomever she is sleeping with at the time or whomever she has a crush on like the “dishy” Vicar or Emmett!!!

  • Pat

    Jean and Lionel have come to seem like actual people, not just characters. I wish they were “real” and would love to have them as friends.

  • Wilma

    Daisy & Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances – now THAT is a match made in heaven !

  • Brenda Marston

    No same sex couples? Really? Could have at least included Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil; Shields and Gigot, or Shields and Brooks,…
    the family Buster visits in Hinesburg, VT for the “Sugartime” episode…. something from “In the Life,” …
    and you guys need some more visible LGBT staff!



  • Carolyn & Lonnie

    We look forwarde to greeting both Jean & Lionel and Richard and Hyacinth into our home each week – we agree, it’s a tie.

  • Robyn Delfin

    Jean and Lionel as an older couple rarely depicted

  • David A.

    Bloody hell, what about Lewis and Hathaway? or Shields and Brooks? (or Jim and Judy for that matter?) Or, yeah, Bridges and Bates?


    got it…it was Mr. Hudson…Angus Hudson…….the butler…loved loved loved the show !!!!

  • Dot Frank

    Love Emma and Mr. Knightly

  • Lynda Cury

    Yeah! How about some human same sex couples from In the Life.

    Jill & Lynda

  • Rosemary

    What about Daisy and Onslow?

  • Renate

    Jean and Lionel of “As Time Goes By”. I have watched every season since the show first began on Ch. 13 and I never get tired of it. It is exceptionally well written and the cast is superb.

  • nedda casei

    Jean and Lionel are most welcome guests in this household. delightful, warm, witty, real, a pleasure to watch, and, re-watch. thank you.

  • helen

    As time goes by is my all time favorite. Jean and Lionel are fabulous – could watch again and again!

  • Gloria

    Jean and Lionel are the best………..never miss a segment. Even watch it on WLIW on Friday Nites

  • mike soule

    Jean & Li as my wife & I refer to them have been our regular Saturday night after church/dinner companions for many years. A nice respite from the wasteland of doing whatever with the stars , real housewives……., bachelors, etc

  • Annette Bergins

    John and Yoko this year were a grand couple as were Mimi and Rodolpho .
    For olden times I pick three, Jean and Lionel. Used to be loverly to watch, but the reruns got tiresome.
    Then Jaques and Julia and Pale Male and whoever shares the nest.
    All those old favorites are forever in the running of favorite PBS couples

  • Stephanie Brown

    What about “Sherlock & Dr. Watson” or “Rosemary & Thyme” or “Miss Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy”

  • Joyce Hays

    Our favorite PBS couple?

    This is a no-brainer: Bill Moyers and Judith Moyers, which reminds me, why don’t you bring them back. PBS will never be the same without the probing Bill Moyers, produced by Judith Moyers.

  • Kay

    without a doubt Lionel & Jean As Time Goes By!

  • Teri

    Jeeves & Wooster – Of Course!
    Bring them back – Please!

  • Gina

    Hard to choose but Jean and Lionel are probably the winners for me. Please play more British Comedy!

  • Anne M. Dougherty

    Jean and Lional are the best with Hyacinth second

  • Chuck

    Jean and Lionel, along with their entire cast. Judy/Alistair, Sandy/Harry, Rocky/Madge, Penny/Steven, and the delightful Mrs. Bale/Lowell, (though not the same type couple). We watch over and over, and still laugh at the lines we know so well. Also catch the the series on WLIW

  • MaryAnn Baer

    For me it’s The Moyers AND Gwen Ifill. They are my news source for my week; a couple of dynamic shows so smart and eloquent — and they don’t have to shout to be heard.

  • Lee Kimmel

    My vote is for Hyacinth and her beleagured husband, Richard.

  • Helen

    What happened to Ross Poldark and Demelza?

  • Marie A.

    Jean and Lionel. I never get tired of watching them. The whole cast is fantastic and funny. I even have the whole DVD set and watch on WLIW on Friday night here in Long Island, NY.

  • karen

    Jean and Ly but missing are Irene and Jolyn from the original Forsyte Saga, and how about Nellie Forbush and Emile deBeque (Kelli O’Hara and Paolo Szot) from South Pacific.

  • Zolatan

    Robert MacNeill & Jim Lehrer!

  • Arlene

    Jean and Ly without a doubt. They ar so good, just a roll of the eye tells it all. Remind me of a long-married couple. Relaxing entertainment. The supporting cast is also excellent. Thank you.

  • Rhoda Helman

    Jean and Lionel of As Time Goes By. Nowhere on TV do facial expressions say as much! It’s a delight to watch.

  • Joan Joakim

    no contest – Jean and Lionel – Keep those British comedies coming our way

  • Kitty S.

    Jean and Lionel, for sure. They are weekly guests in our home. The repetitions are not at all boring. And the full set of DVD’s resides in a media cabinet, for emergencies!

  • Jerry C

    My vote is for Mimi and Rodopho

  • Ed

    Jean and Lionel and all the cast of As Time Goes By. I watch every Saturday night I am able to; rarely miss. I think I am in love with Jean and wish I had someone like her to replace my beloved lost wife.

  • Barbara Bhan

    “Keeping Up Appearances”-Hyacinth and Richard Bucket (Pronounced “Bouquet”)

  • mconnelly

    Without a doubt Jean and Ly have to be “top-bananas”. mac

  • Mari

    Jean and Lionel – true love in a story that never grows old – that touches every generation

  • Catherine Crook

    Yup, just had to add my own…one more for Jean and Lionel…the best, the most real, the truest…

  • Karen Vernon

    Of course – Jean & Lionel, from my favorite BritCom! Its so lovely to think that romance can still blossom in middle age. But I must agree with Chuck who said that all of the couples from “As Time Goes By” deserve mention – especially Penny & Steven!

  • JC Lav

    Best show!!

  • Davida

    James and Georgina on “Upstairs, Downstairs” will always be my favorite couple, and all the other couples on that show, Hudson and Mrs. Bridges, Daisy and the driver, etc.; the couple in “She Loves Me,” Polldark and Demelza, Faulty Towers–John Cleese and his (ex) wife, Sybil, and all the Masterpiece Theater couples!

  • Robin S

    Nobody mentioned Doc Martin and Louisa???While it isn’t on 13, it is on 21… Best British dramedy around.
    Love Jean and Ly too. Gwen Ifil and McNeill are also top notch.

  • Gale Britton

    What happened to Doc Martin and Louisa?

  • Leyla Perkins

    “Michael Susi says:
    You couldn’t find one same-sex couple! Don’t hit me up at pledge time.”

    Ernie is gay, and they included him. He does seem to spend more quality time with Duckie than Burt…maybe they need to spice things up. They have been together for a long time.

  • Mary Rhodes

    Nature inanimate? Thoreau knew better, and so should PBS (do you not have an incredible show by that name?). Better choices might have been Linus and his blanket, or Calvin & Hobbes, or Marilyn Monroe and her diamonds, off the top of my head.

  • Veronica Feinstein

    No doubt about it – Pale Male and Lola1

  • Patricia Pavlak

    How could you omit Hyacinth and Richard Bucket, and Lord and Lady Bellamy?

  • Joyce

    I love ALL those mentioned, but one that you should bring back, if you can, is “THE MOUSEHOLE CAT” and her fisherman.
    Also, I saw no mention of Sherlock Holmes and Whatson, Christopher Foyle and Samantha. The list of loveable couples goes on and on.

  • Joyce

    I love ALL those couples mentioned, but one you should bring back, if you can, is “THE MOUSEHOLE CAT” and her fisherman.
    Also, not mentioned were Sherlock Holmes and Whatson, Clhristipher Foyle and Samantha, Bert and Ernie. The list of PBS most beloved couples goes on and on.

  • Judith

    We loved sharing Jean and Lionel’s life for so many years; now I love it alone and wish a Lionel would cross my path

  • Ellen Landi

    Remember these two?? Emperor Claudius & Messalina from ” I,Claudius”. A memorable couple!
    Bring back the series, PBS!

  • Honour

    Mr. Hardcastle Sr. and Madge, Judy and Alistair, Jean and Lionel, Sandy and Harry, Loll and his mother, are all GREAT characters. I adored Morse and Lewis and now Lewis and his side kick (?) “To the Manor Born”
    was superb, with Audrey and Margery and Audrey and Richard.

  • Michael Outwater

    Just want to add my sentiments to others such as michael Susi. What happened to the same-sex couples, PBS? I’m very disappointed.

  • Mayka

    Miss Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth (Sally & Rupert) , Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy (Jennifer & Colin), Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester (Ruth & Toby), Basil & Sybil, Moll Flanders (Alex & Daniel) and so many great couples from Masterpiece and all the fantastic programs from Thirteen.

  • Harriet Sandmeier

    Anslo and Daisy!

  • Pearl Altman

    IF I could go back awhile it was Inspector Morse and Lewis. Of course it is now Lewis and his partner.

  • Pauline Hahn


  • Eileen

    Judy & Lionel, Hyacinth and Richard. Met Hyacinth back stage when in London a few years ago. A lovely experience!

  • Marie

    I liked Inspectors Morse and Lewis and now that Morse has passed on, I like Lewis’ new partner, Hathaway.

  • MermaidD

    Edith and Archie Bunker!