Really, Baio is the perfect celebrity to kick off the 2016 Republican convention. Baio's celebrity is rooted in playing Chachi Arcola on "Happy Days" and then the spin-off, "Joanie Loves Chachi," which aired briefly in the early 1980s. Later that decade, he began playing the eponymous Charles on "Charles in Charge." He was an '80s celeb with '80s hair. He was a Ronald Reagan celebrity. And so it's fitting that he should be tapped by Donald Trump — a candidate himself thoroughly rooted in the '80s and Reagan — to offer his thoughts on the convention's first night.
But, interestingly, Baio isn't the most popular person who will speak Monday night.
Granted, this isn't easy to determine. There are metrics to measure the popularity of celebrities, like the Q Score, which assesses how well-known people are by the population on the whole. We don't have access to those scores, which are proprietary, but we do have the next best thing: Google search interest. Google is a good approximator of popularity, given that it's simply a calculation of how much people in the United States want to learn more about someone.
So we can plug in all of the names of the people speaking on Monday night, and see who has captured the nation's attention the most. And the answer is ... Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
Well, sort of. Google offers data over various timeframes, all of which is presented relative to whatever search term got the most interest. So between June 2015 and June 2016, Sessions got the most interest, spiking at the end of February when he endorsed Trump during a rally in Alabama.
But he wasn't the person who was most consistently searched. If we take the weekly averages of how often people were searched, we see a different ranking. Setting aside former Texas governor Rick Perry, who was running for president and isn't really a celebrity as such, the most consistently searched speakers were Willie Robertson and Marcus Luttrell.
In case you needed to Google it, Luttrell is a former Navy SEAL whose life story was turned into the movie "Lone Survivor."
Then comes Baio — followed closely by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
All of this, though, skips over someone who got more search interest than any of them. The most popular speaker on Monday night as evaluated by Google traffic will be none other than the wife of the presumptive nominee, Melania Trump.
As always, celebrity is a relative term.