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July 24, 2014

bestof2009

Top TV stories of 2009: Paula is out at Idol, and Ellen is in

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 29th 2009 1:02PM
american idol2009 was a big year for American Idol. After airing for seven wildly successful seasons with three judges, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, producers decided to throw a fourth judge into the mix, bringing songwriter Kara DioGuardi on board for season eight. It was a controversial move, and to the surprise of very few people, it went ... poorly.

The judges, who had spent seven seasons learning the rhythm of the show, were suddenly forced to contend with a fourth voice. As none of these folks were exactly shrinking violets to begin with, this led to a lot of jockeying for the mic, which in turn wasted a lot of time. It wasted so much time, in fact, that critiques would get cut off, the show would run long, and at times, judges wouldn't be allowed to speak at all.

So at the end of this harried season, it was no surprise that someone would be shown the door. Many thought that it would be newbie judge Kara DioGuardi. Instead, it was Paula Abdul who was given the boot, and replaced by music legend ... Ellen DeGeneres?

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Top TV Stories of 2009: Jon & Kate

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Dec 28th 2009 11:01AM
Jon and Kate
It's too easy to call Jon and Kate Plus 8 a train wreck and leave it at that.

If ever there was a cautionary tale about the perils of easy fame, this is it. In the course of a year, we watched Jon and Kate
go from a benignly dysfunctional reality TV family to a textbook case of what happens to "normal" people under the glare of TV lights. The Gosselins seemed to lose themselves completely in the glare of the spotlight and jettisoned their values and morals for more camera time. Calling their story a "train wreck" doesn't even begin to surmise the dissolution of a family and the viewing public's fascination with its implosion.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: The Jay Leno Experiment

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 25th 2009 10:02AM
The Jay Leno ShowFor better or worse, 2009 was inevitably going to go down as the season that NBC changed the game. If not the face of television, they certainly changed their own face. And this was before they got bought out by Comcast. The jury's still out on whether or not it was a good move, with early returns mixed.

It looks like NBC had three problems kicking around their heads. First up was what to do about Jay Leno. They'd already promised his gig on The Tonight Show to Late Night host Conan O'Brien back in 2004, and yet Leno remained doggedly at number one in the late night ratings war. "What if he defects to ABC and takes his sizable audience with him?" they worried.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: TV coverage of Michael Jackson's death

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Dec 24th 2009 3:18PM
Michael JacksonAs a fan of music from the 80's and the early 90's, I didn't believe it at first when one of my friends told me that Michael Jackson died. Since TVs were rare where I was at the time, my first instinct was to check CNN.com. As soon as I got confirmation, I found a TV and was glued to one of the news-only channels to get all the latest updates on the death of one of my music idols.

TV coverage of Michael Jackson's death was worldwide and every source of media. The news of his death, the coroner's investigation, the rumors that his death may have been faked (see the video after the jump), the news of where he would be buried, the details of the various tributes, as well as coverage of the special funeral ceremony, etc., made Michael Jackson's death one of the 2009 events that got the most air time around the world. Even as huge an MJ fan I am -- I do have about 30 of his hits on my MP3 -- I can admit that this event got too much air time.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: The continued rise of online video

by Annie Wu, posted Dec 23rd 2009 2:05PM
alec baldwin for hulu
When Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Emmys, Dr. Horrible conveniently invaded for a moment, spreading webseries fear throughout the TV industry audience. It was a funny bit, serving mainly as a vehicle for some jokes about buffering and tiny screen sizes. Hopefully that made the TV people feel better, if only for a little while, because online video is showing no signs of stopping.

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Top Stories of 2009: Reality scandals

by Michael Pascua, posted Dec 22nd 2009 10:01AM
The Salahis greet president Obama
It's interesting when one takes the time to look back back at 2009, several scandals that occurred this year were related to television. There were four big reality scandals that occurred in 2009, most of them happening in the second half of the year. They have stayed fresh in pop culture buzz.

This list doesn't count Jon & Kate's drama, all the injuries on Survivor, So You Think You Can Dance, and Dancing with the Stars, Chima's explosion on Big Brother, or Adam Lambert's sexual preferences. Those events pale in comparison to the five scandals listed.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: The Real Housewives were everywhere

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 21st 2009 1:02PM
bravo_the_real_housewives_of_new_jersey
The Bravo network has had a lot of success with reality TV, especially the Real Housewives of Orange County, which begat the Real Housewives of New York City, which begat the Real Housewives of Atlanta ... and in 2009, the Real Housewives of New Jersey. It's been quite a year for the women, and believe me, they all made news.

There were hit songs, wigs being pulled, economic strife, dueling fashion shows, potential husbands dying suddenly ... and that was just on one installment. Let's take a look back, show by show, shall we, starting with the newest bunch of merry wives, the Jersey girls. Their specialty was table flipping.

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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Michael P.'s list

by Michael Pascua, posted Dec 20th 2009 3:08PM
Kelly and Isaac host The Fashion Show
A year has passed and there has been a lot of best and worst lists here at TV Squad. I know tons of reality television shows have grazed my TV so I've compiled a list of the best and worst reality shows of 2009.

Finding the best shows are easy, but it's hard to pare down the worst list. I define "worst" as shows that had potential and never did anything with it. While shows like I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and anything involving the words "Real Housewives" aren't mentioned, they aren't the worst because they started at rock bottom and had nowhere to go. Several of the worst shows I've mentioned could just go through some tweaking and it could have been amazing.

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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Allison's list

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 20th 2009 9:24AM

glee_fox_cast
What a year! Once we got over the WGA strike, the networks kicked it into high gear and got busy making TV. Except for NBC. Even Jeff Zucker has admitted that NBCU has failed to respond to the need for new programming.

Fortunately, the other channels have been busy and there's been a lot of great television... and some that's just plain awful. But I'm a half-glass full kind of person and I have good feelings about 2009. However, since I don't want to repeat my list from last year, I'll just mention that I could put these 2008 best choices -- Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory and Mad Men -- on my list again. But I'm going to go for an all new list and, thankfully, I had plenty of 'bests' to choose from.

Best
1. Glee. If there was ever a show that was made just for my personal taste, this is probably it. I love the singing and dancing. I get the characters. It even tickles me that I had just as much angst with bullies in high school as these kids. Every episode hasn't been perfect, but it's perfectly fine that they keep striving.

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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Joel's list

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 19th 2009 2:04PM
Breaking Bad
I don't think I did one of these lists last year, and I have no idea why. The election all by itself would have generated a pretty fun best/worst list. Maybe we were all suffering from information overload, and were just exhausted. Not sure.

But 2009 had a lot of interesting TV, too, just not all in one category. As I've done in the past, I'll dispense with the usual "best show" and "worst show" lists and just make up categories:

GOODNESS

Best comeback from a shaky first season: Parks and Recreation. As I mentioned in my "return of the sitcom" story, Parks and Rec has made the biggest improvement from first season to second since... well, since The Office. It's no coincidence; Greg Daniels and Mike Schur's Office experience taught them that patience would be rewarded, both on the part of the writers and the viewers.

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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Bob's list

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 18th 2009 5:02PM
Mad Men
What is a best and worst list anyway? Is it truly a list of the best shows of the year and the worst shows of the year based on quality alone or do we have personal "favorites" in there too? Even if you watch 10 hours of TV a day there's no way that any TV critic can watch every single show, so there might be some gaps in what one person considers the "best and worst" and what another person has on their list.

Here are my picks.

The Best

1. Mad Men. There was no other drama this year that did so many things in so many ways. It's funny how a lot of people kept saying that "nothing ever happens" on this show. Actually, everything happened on this show, and it's all acted, written, and filmed in such a gorgeous way. This is a beautiful television series.

Here's one of the more talked about scenes from this season:

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Top TV Stories of 2009: The return of the sitcom

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 18th 2009 2:09PM
Community
I'm always amazed at how people haven't learned from TV history. Back in the early eighties, everyone and his mother was saying that comedy was dead, mainly because of then-cutting-edge dramas like Hill Street Blues were dominating the air, while the best in comedy that the networks could come up was crap like Pink Lady and Jeff. Then The Cosby Show, Cheers, Family Ties, and Night Court came around, and all of a sudden comedy was back.

So it's not a big surprise that comedy is making a big comeback a quarter-century later. Times are tough, and people want to laugh. It also helps that on a few networks (NBC, of course), low ratings and little inventory have given shows like The Office and 30 Rock a chance to find and grow an audience. The seeds sewn by those shows have grown in a major way, as three of the four networks now have successful comedy lineups.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: Comcast buys NBC Universal

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Dec 15th 2009 10:02AM
When Comcast bought NBC, the media map changed.As 2009 draws to a close, the world has exactly what it needs -- another massive media conglomerate.

On Dec. 3, cable giant Comcast justified a long-standing industry rumor and completed an $8 billion deal to acquire a controlling 51% of NBC Universal stock from former owner General Electric.

Huge companies gobbling up big (but not as huge) companies is nothing new in any business, especially broadcasting. All of the major networks are owned by parent companies. Disney owns ABC. Newscorp owns Fox. Westinghouse owns CBS. Now, Comcast possesses NBC -- as Conan O'Brien celebrates in this clip.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: People we lost

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 13th 2009 4:03PM
So we come to that time of year when we list all of the TV celebrities that have died over the past year. We hear about these people passing away at various points of the year (sometimes a few the same week), but it's really odd to see them all listed together at once like you'll see after the jump.

It's like 40% of pop culture dies every year.

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