Over the next week, we will be reviewing the year in television and other things – the best and worst – as well as the events and issues that helped define the decade.
We’ll start at the absolute bottom – with the worst shows and other items in the annual year-end lineup of the Toilet 10 – with a few programs inducted into The T Dog Media Blog TV Hall Of Shame – and some extra special dishonors as well:
The Toilet 10
1. Secret Girlfriend (Comedy Central) No suspense here on who’s number one. Hands down, the worst television show of all time. This steaming pile of crap makes My Mother The Car look like The Dick Van Dyke Show (Mr. Van Dyke’s brother Jerry was in My Mother The Car.)
2. Chicago Sports (excluding the Blackhawks). Watching Jay Cutler and the Bears were worse than watching anything on NBC and The CW. Both came up as huge disappointments in 2009, even bigger than Jay Leno’s show. And the same could be said for the Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox. When it comes to bad TV, our town’s sports teams have the market cornered.
3. The Jay Leno Show (NBC). Speaking of bad TV, I guess stripping this five nights a week – in prime-time – wasn’t such a good idea after all…
4. Osbournes: Reloaded (Fox). A six-episode tryout turned out to be a very forgettable 35-minute special.
5. Brothers (Fox). What’s worse? The 1984-89 Showtime cable series? Or this unrelated show with the same title from 2009? And yes, there’s a stinker of a movie with the same title. Enough, Hollywood, Enough.
6. Heroes (NBC). Is this still on the air?
7. WNUA-FM flipping to Spanish Pop. As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working out for ya?” (he would say it Spanish, but he doesn’t know how.) In May, this station flipped to a Spanish format and it has yet to pay dividends.
8. I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! (NBC) With Patti Blagoveich in the mix, the program’s ratings were highest in guess where? That’s right, Chicago. It’s no surprise, we’re used to watching crap (see #2.)
9. Kris Allen’s signing career. He won American Idol last spring, remember? Apparently you don’t as his new CD sold less than 80,000 copies. His runner-up? He sold more than 200,000. As for Idol itself, the show lost Paula Abdul but added Ellen DeGeneres (debit), and Simon Cowell may be leaving next year. It really doesn’t matter – Chicago viewers have already tuned out Idol before the rest of the nation apparently does.
10. Sit Down, Shut Up (Fox). Hey, you thought this animated show was funny? Sit down and shut up.
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Jon & Kate, Plus Eight (TLC) – and their tabloid antics; Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), FlashForward (ABC), The Beautiful Life (CW), Melrose Place (CW), Parks & Recreation (NBC), The Real Housewives of…any city, county, state, or province – especially Atlanta (Bravo).
And now, the items that made media in 2009 quite unbearable:
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE NIGHT CHICAGO DIED… Boy, that song was played a lot this year… Not a good year for Chicago… Aside from most of our sports teams stinking up the joint, there was … President Obama took office – and fell on his face… Chicago did likewise with its Olympic bid… The city’s public image took a beating with Governor Rod Blagoveich being impeached and a viral video of a major fight between teenagers in Roseland resulting in the death of Derrion Albert… Jennifer Hudson’s Christmas special bombed in the ratings, while she, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Wilkos, and Jerry Springer all fled the Windy City… while our own Kanye West made a jackass out of himself by interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the Video Music Awards…. Whew! 2009 is a year to forget if you’re a Chicagoan. And yours truly sums it all up here… and here.
CHICAGO MEDIA. Meanwhile, Chicago journalism continues to be a laughingstock with this inane editorial from The Tribune – and this one, while Tera Williams of WFLD-TV showed her journalism skills are lacking when she ambushed Mayor Daley with an inappropriate question at a news conference. Meanwhile, technical snaufs were the norm at that station and WMAQ-TV. In other news Mike Barz of WFLD’s Good Day Chicago was shown the door while unfortunately, the grating Jan Jeffcoat was not. Meanwhile, viewers continue to tune out the 10 p.m. newscasts. Gee, I wonder why?
NOT A BEAUTIFUL THING: Chicago Sports Webio’s internet radio station and website went under in June after investor David Hernandez was discovered to be involved in a ponzi scheme. Mike North (who was also an investor in the venue) and his on-air partner (Dan Jiggetts) had their Monsters in the Morning show canceled and now head to WBBM-Channel 2 in the sure-to-fail Monsters And Money In The Morning Show.
CHAPTER 11 FOLLIES: Citadel (owners of WLS-AM and FM) and NextMedia (owners of several suburban radio stations) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But don’t worry – it literally means nothing, given the crowd screwing up the Tribune Company (lead by uber-morons Sam Zell and Randy Michaels) are keeping their jobs.
IT”S JUST AS BITTERSWEET THE SECOND TIME AROUND: Jonathan Brandmeier leaves WLUP-FM for the second time – and takes a shot (or a dump) at his former employer in this funny video.
STILL IRRELEVANT EVEN AFTER ACQUIRING THE BIGGEST NAME IN URBAN RADIO: Crawford seemed headed for a huge boost after WSRB-FM (Soul 106.3) acquired The Tom Joyner Morning Show after it left its longtime WVAZ-FM home, and WPWX-FM (Power 92) was closing the gap on its Urban rival (WGCI-FM), which it would actually live up to its slogan (“#1 in the streets”) for the first time. At year’s end however, Soul 106.3 continued to struggle and after a ratings drop, Power 92 returned to “obscurity in the streets”.
CHEAP CHANNEL DOES IT AGAIN: Adult Contemporary WLIT-FM fired morning personality Melissa Forman (for a second time – notice a theme here?) replaced by Sean Valentine’s voice-tracked show.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR: A tie been the Bears’ Jay Cutler and ABC’s much hyped FlashForward. Both were clearly huge letdowns.
YOU’VE BEEN SCREWED: Mya Harrison from Dancing With The Stars and Russell Hantz from Survivor: Samoa were the best contestants on their respective shows this season – but were screwed over and lost at the end, thanks to a system we know all too well in Chicago.
ARE THESE GUYS STILL RELEVANT? NATPE suffered a 14 percent drop in attendance this year in Las Vegas, which executives avoided like the plague. Instead of moving the convention to Los Angeles so they can be near the Hollywood community, NATPE decided to move it to Miami for 2011. Just great. But give them credit – an even worst move would’ve been to Chicago.
ARE THESE GUYS STILL RELEVANT, PART 2: My Network TV ceases to be a network to become a “programming service”. Were they even a network to begin with?
TWO BECOMES ONE AND WE’RE ALL BETTER FOR IT: The first full year of Sirius/XM was beget with narrower playlists, a price increase, shuttering of music channels (all from the XM side), canceling the 1980’s version of American Top 40 and replacing it with a lame countdown hosted by former MTV VJs, and now Howard Stern may be walking out the door. Once again, Mel Karmazin proved he couldn’t find a medium he can single-handily destroy.
NBC. Limo-for-a-Lam-O finally drives away from the fourth-place network, but Jeff Zucker gets a contract extension. NBC’s new owner (Comcast) probably would’ve been better off if it gave Lovie Smith the job. Meanwhile, the local O&O fared no better, with its now-retired longtime news anchor proving himself to be a major douchebag (and the situation provided this blog with one of the best posts I have ever written) and canceling long-time political news show City Desk for something called The Talk.
Let’s hope 2010 is much better than this.