Ranked! KFC’s Colonel Sanders Renditions (A Tastemaker Special) Ep. 89

We rank the various renditions of Colonel Sanders, examining the original first, then the imitators, good, bad, accurate, and illegitimate. Who will the next colonel be? Maybe our own Rod Budget?  A quick look at each of KFC’s Colonels discussed in this episode:

“Original Recipe” – The real guy. The standard by which the rest are measured.  Listen to Episode 73 for the story of how he may be Hugh Gallon’s father.



Animated (mentioned in jump the shark Episode 73) – Sort of nice animation and style, but they had the Colonel trying to be cool and a little “extreme” in that 1990s style – even a fluid hip motion “cabbage patch” dance… “Go colonel…Go colonel” … So lame. (trivia: voiced by Randy Quaid)


The Colonel of Two worlds/The Colonel Corps – Kitschy and in line with the broad “multiple colonel” vision. Good art. Not a good story.


Dolph Ziggler – During 2016 SummerSlam, a commercial showed wrestler Dolph Ziggler dressed up as Colonel Sanders beating up a giant chicken in a wrestling ring. Nice synergy and embedded content. Another play against the kindly old man archetype.



Rob Lowe – Smoldering good looks, distinguished charm, and sexy charisma. This might be the second best play against type for the ‘ole Colonel. Inspired choice and surprisingly A-list, even if a bit boring.



George Hamilton – Nice play on the crispy chicken bit with Hamilton’s deep tanned skin. But sort of hacky and a little gross to conflate the two images – crispy chicken skin and darkened human skin?



Rob Riggle –  Part of the success for any Colonel, is of course, being a fan of the person inside the white suit. I’ve seen a fair amount of Rob Riggle in stuff. I think he’s talented enough. Seems like a nice guy.  But I’ve never cared for his humor – not my style. But somehow his schtick as the Colonel cracked me up. Maybe the perfect role for him?

Billy Zane – The gold gimmick was lame. And why Billy Zane? If there is a clever connection between the two, let us know.



Norm McDonald – Perfect play against type and makes it clear that they are not trying to give us a viable Colonel Sanders. Got me excited about the “multiple colonels” campaign.


Jim Gaffigan – We predicted it! Good fit to type for the campaign (Gaffigan is irreverent loves food). This sort of kicked off Gaffigan as a bankable commercial personality.


Darrel Hammond – Hammond was the first in this new campaign of multiple colonels and his rendition was too earnest and quite creepy. Hated it at the time. I’ve softened on it though. We didn’t know the long term plan, and can forgive it some in retrospect.