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October 2, 2014

TV's Most Un-Fascinating People of 2009

by Gary Susman, posted Dec 9th 2009 3:53PM
As Barbara Walters prepares to show viewers her annual list of the 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year (pictured, featuring Lady Gaga and Walters) in a special airing tonight, we realized that TV gives far too much airtime to people at the other end of the spectrum. With that thought, here are the year's 10 least fascinating people on TV. Let's all try to make it a New Year's resolution that we won't be talking about these people's overexposure again a year from now.As Barbara Walters prepares to show viewers her annual list of the 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year (pictured, featuring Lady Gaga and Walters) in a special airing tonight, we realized that TV gives far too much airtime to people at the other end of the spectrum. With that thought, here are the year's 10 least fascinating people on TV. Let's all try to make it a New Year's resolution that we won't be talking about these people's overexposure again a year from now.



10. Kelsey Grammer: This was not a good year to make a comedy about a poor, struggling CEO. Though we're not sure 'Hank' would ever have been all that funny. Chalk the show's early cancellation up to Grammer's inability to come across as a regular guy or a family man. Or maybe it's just that we're only interested in him when he plays Frasier Crane.


9. Jimmy Fallon: We thought about putting Jay Leno on the list; not only is his new show just as formulaic as 'The Tonight Show' was under his tenure, but moving him to 10 PM is the catalyst for what may be the end of NBC and broadcast TV as we know it. But it's not really Leno's fault. He just does what his bosses tell him to do; if they told him to move back to 11:35, he'd cheerfully do it. The person we feel bad for is Fallon, the ultimate victim of Leno's ratings slide. No one's talking about 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,' nobody seems to know it's on, or that its host is busy nervously laughing at his own jokes, hoping his giggles will prove contagious. So far, they have not.

8. MIscha Barton: The former 'O.C.' star resurfaced just long enough to let us know that she's still alive, that she does eat occasionally, and that she was starring in a new series on the CW, 'The Beautiful Life,' a show about models that became the fall season's first casualty when its anorexic ratings led to cancellation after just two episodes. Bye, Mischa. See you again in about five years.


7. The Fox Business Channel lineup: Just how not-fascinating is Fox Business? For most of its two-year history, the Fox News sibling has drawn audiences so low (often, under 10,000 viewers) that Nielsen couldn't accurately measure them. Guess it hasn't been a good time to offer business programming created by people who think CNBC doesn't do enough uncritical cheering for Wall Street. This year, ratings finally picked up when the channel started airing cranky old-timer Don Imus, drawing a couple hundred thousand viewers who apparently thought the Fox Business was too politically correct, or too relevant, or too business-oriented.

6. The cast of 'Project Runway': Lifetime wrested the popular reality competition away from Bravo, and for what? This was, by all accounts, a strikingly lackluster season for the former watercooler show. Blame it on the new location, the inconsistent panels of rotating judges, the challenges, the clothes, but especially the contestants, as dull a bunch of tunnel-vision careerists as has ever clawed and scissored their way past each other on a reality competition. Even Tim Gunn seemed to find them irritating and forgettable; as they were eliminated, he stopped saying, "We'll miss you."

5. January Jones: Is 'Mad Men''s Betty Draper such a blank void because she's a pre-'Feminist Mystique' suburban housewife forced by her milieu to stifle all her creativity, independence, intelligence, and sexuality? Or is it because she's played by Jones? Whether she was sleepwalking through 'Mad Men,' losing at beer pong to Jimmy Fallon on 'Late Night,' or farting her way through her 'Saturday Night Live' hosting gig while struggling to read the cue cards, Jones not only proved un-fascinating, she also made whatever show she was on less fascinating as well.

4. The Salahis
: The White House party-crashing stunt they pulled makes them no more special than Howard Stern fans who slip past Larry King's screeners to shout "Baba Booey!" on live TV; they're just better dressed. Sure, they may be targets of a Congressional investigation, but there's no crime in being a fame junkie (just an all-too-depressing familiarity). Still, the aspiring Bravo reality stars did accomplish one rare feat. They made conservatives and liberals agree on one thing: that Michaele and Tareq Salahi were capital douchebags.

3. The Heenes: Okay, we're sort of growing to like the idea of prosecuting reality show wannabes for pulling outrageous, possibly dangerous stunts in order to land TV gigs (see the Salahis). Of course, the Heenes aren't being investigated for being fame junkies but for fraud; still, whatever works. (Note to the Heenes: We weren't that interested in you on 'Wife Swap,' so why do you think we'd want to see you on your own show?) The "balloon boy" clan gets extra points, however, for possibly endangering a child, for jerking the nation's heartstrings (if only for a few hours), and for the now-classic sight gag of that Jiffypop-shaped balloon. Popcorn for everyone!

2. Carrie Prejean: The breast implants, the topless photos, the sex videos -- none of these things made Prejean more interesting; they only made her more ordinary. After all, what blonde, Californian aspiring starlet doesn't have these things on her CV? As for her incoherent answer on gay marriage -- well, who expects a beauty queen to have anything intelligent to say about bitterly fought political issues? There's nothing remarkable about her except maybe her massive sense of entitlement. Well, that and what she did for Perez Hilton; for a moment, she made him seem like something other than the Internet's most shameless gossip hound. Thanks a lot, Carrie.

1. The Gosselins. Andy Warhol might have rethought his famous dictum about everyone becoming famous for 15 minutes if he'd known it would lead to Jon and Kate. (And to the Octomom, who tried to horn in on their face time.) We're still not sure why we were supposed to care so much about the Gosselins just because they had a lot of kids, or why we were more interested in them when their marriage was collapsing in public than we ever were when they seemed happy. All we know is, they won't go away. We hear the kids cried when the camera crews left, but we'll cry if they ever come back to shoot spinoffs.


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