Classic TV Guide covers
Sadly, there's no central archive of the entire run of TV Guide covers. But there is this wonderful Flickr page, run by fan and collector Jim Ellwanger, that collects over 350 of the greatest covers from the 1950s-2004. And there's also TV Guide: The Official Collectors Guide, a book that collects every cover from 1953 to 2005, when the magazine abandoned its digest size to become a full-size magazine.
(Above): November 29, 1975, Tony Curtis of McCoy, illustration by Bernard Fuchs.
(Left to right): July 6, 1974, illustration by Richard Amsel; September 27, 1975, illustration by Al Hirschfeld; June 8, 1968, illustration of Hugh Downs by Salvador Dali.
TV Guide was launched in 1953, with a cover featuring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's newborn son, Desi Arnaz Jr (Visit here for a full gallery of Lucy TV Guide covers, almost 50 issues). For the first decade the magazine featured mainly photographs on its covers, but by the mid-60s there were frequent illustrations. By 1970 TV Guide had a weekly circulation of 20 million copies, and almost every other issue featured an illustration on the cover of a TV notable.
Richard Amsel illustrated 37 TV Guide covers from 1972-85. He's also known for his many movie poster illustrations. Al Hirschfeld's first TV Guide cover was of $64,000 Question host Hal March, in 1956, and he did dozens more for the magazine into the late 70s.
(Left to right): March 5, 1966, illustration by Andy Warhol; August 21, 1971; June 21, 1969, illustration by Ronard Searle.
Ronald Searle's first TV Guide cover was an illustration of Bob Hope, in 1965; his last was in 1990. In-between he illustrated dozens of covers and was also a mainstay for inside illustrations.
(Left to right): May 23, 1964, illustration by Jon Whitcomb; February 13, 1982, illustration by Bob Peak; July 10, 1971, illustration by Jack Davis.
Bob Peak is another well-known movie poster illustrator who did numerous TV Guide covers in the 70s and 80s, often with a sports theme. Jack Davis illustrated dozens of TV Guide covers in the 70s and 80s, usually with multiple characters.
(Left to right): November 4, 1978, illustration by Richard Amsel; September 14, 1974; August 10, 1974, illustration by Talone and La Brasca.
Longtime TV Guide art director Jerry Alten has a book on illustration in the magazine during his tenure, which started in 1967 and ran until the 90s. It's called The Art of TV Guide and has a lot of good examples of cover and interior illustration, plus some fun background.