Sunday, January 2, 2011

The TV Year Of 2010: The Sorrow And The Pity

Look, I know I'm late but here is my Top 10 list of what made news in TV terns for 2010:
1. CONAN O'BRIEN: The red head was dumped from his 11:35 p.m. time slot by NBC and told he'd now start at 12:05 to make way for Jay Leno (see below). So what did he do? He sulked and finally left the peacock proud network with some $45 million as severance. But now he's ensconced at teeny weeny cable outlet TBS and we in Canada are watching him at --get this --1 a.m. His ratings have tanked and I can find few of my friends who watch him anymore.
2. JAY LENO: NBC gave Jay Leno its coveted 10 p.m. slot in prime time and he just wasn't up for it. The ratings were infinitesimal and NBC affiliates hollered their 11 p.m. local newscasts were suffering. So it was back to the future with the Tonight show at 11:35 and Leno has been losing in the ratings race to Letterman.
3. CBC: The publicly funded CBC went on a binge of turning into just another commercial network. American imports like Wheel Of Fortune and reruns of Ghost Whisperer certainly jacked up the ratings. But arts programming disappeared and CBC's drama series had an odd American tone. So CBC dumped its English services head Richard Stursberg and began searching for a successor.
4. CTV: The biggest of the commercial webs went on a buying spree, lapping up the Citytv cable weblets but something called The Recession ate into profits and the forced merger with The Globe And Mail was finally uncoupled. And then president Ivan Fecan, Canada's most talented TV programmer valiantly rode off into the sunset.
5. MAD MEN: Still the best drama series on either side of the border, this one got ever stranger. Canadians keep asking me why can't we make a TV series up here half as good. But we did with CBC's Intelligence --and not enough Canadians tuned out their diet of U.S. shows to watch.
6. LLOYD ROBERTSON: The Iron Man of Canadian TV News was finally prepared to semi-retire but only after another year of helping his successor Lisa LaFlamme edge very gingerly into the avuncular role. CTV picked her over veteran Tom Clark in a widely discussed switch that industry prognosticators still buzz about.
7.GLEE: THe high school saga was a wild hit although better shows about high school like Popular and Freaks And Greeks have fallen by the way. But some critics think it may be just a little too popular. Episodes careen wildly from great to nearly boring. The highlight surely was Gwyneth Paltrow, the lowest ebb was John Stamos.
8. LOST: Did anybody out there understand the grand finale of this much watched hit. Oh, I get it, we were supposed to be confused. Conservative Emmy voters largely shut it out as per usual but for the final season the writing and acting were as good as it gets for network TV.
9.@:&#% MY DAD SAYS: It started horribly with Bill Shatner doing a made male imitation of Betty White. But sheltered behind Big Bang Theory it has kept going and sometimes is even passable these nights. By the end of the season it could be a hit on its own, stranger things have happened.
10. MORDECAI RICHLER: Sure, I know, he's dead. But the great Canadian novelist provided some of the year's best TV in the marvelous TV biography made with tender, loving care by Francine Pelletier. Watching it gave me renewed hope for the future of Canadian TV.

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