2006 in Review: Television

There were lots of changes in television in 2006. Meredith Viera left The View to co-host the Today show after CBS picked Katie Couric to anchor the CBS Evening News. Ratings for Today remained unchanged with Meredith, but Couric's new newscast quickly faded to third place. Meantime, Rosie O'Donnell took Meredith's spot on The View. Ratings went up with The View scoring its highest November sweeps ratings ever.

Another change that made the networks scramble came when the WB and UPN merged to become the CW. The merger meant stations across the country would have to rebrand as the CW, while others would become independent. But FOX came up with MyNetworkTV so stations would have something original to air in primetime. MyNetworkTV airs nothing but soaps and no one is watching (see below). The CW is doing okay, broadcasting programs that once aired on the WB and UPN.

-- Isaac Hayes quit South Park after years of doing the voice of Chef.
-- Survivor caused a controversy by segregating contestants in the beginning of the season.
-- The Miss America pageant was banished to CMT since it's been getting horrible ratings on network TV.
-- Dateline scored big ratings with their "To Catch A Predator" specials.
-- Charles Gibson became the anchor of ABC World News Tonight after Bob Woodruff was hurt in Iraq and Elizabeth Vargas left for maternity leave. The show has since been renamed World News with Charles Gibson.
-- The MTV VMA's were as tame as ever with unfunny host Jack Black.
-- Judge Mablean Ephriam was given the boot on Divorce Court after seven seasons and replaced with judge Lynn Toler.
-- John O'Hurley replaced Richard Karn as host of The Family Feud.
-- Kelly Ripa gets angry with guest co-host Clay Aiken on Regis & Kelly after he covers her mouth with his hand.
-- Despite poor ratings in 2006, The Apprentice returns in January 2007. The show has been moved from New York City to California.

Off the air: Will & Grace, That 70's Show, Malcolm In the Middle, Alias, Hope & Faith, The Tony Danza Show, Starting Over

Best TV Shows...

"My Boys"
This end of the year hit for TBS is based on a single sportswriter living in Chicago whose best friends are all sports-loving men. If you like Sex and the City, you'll love this show.

"Deal or No Deal"
This NBC game show became a bona fide hit in 2006, setting the stage for Howie Mandel to make one of the biggest celebrity comebacks of the year. Deal or No Deal spawned all sorts of primetime game shows including, The Rich List and William Shatner's Show Me The Money, which have both been cancelled. Other NBC/Endemol game shows, 1 vs. 100 and Identity did well in the ratings.

"Little People Big World"
This feel-good TLC reality show follows the Roloff family, which is headed up by a mother and father who both have dwarfism. They have four children, but only one of them has dwarfism. The show follows the Roloffs on their huge farm in Oregon as they prove they can do anything that a person of average height can.

"Rescue Me"
Denis Leary did not disappoint in the third season of his gritty FX series. The show did not hide from controversy this year, as it featured a scene where it appeared Leary's character raped his estranged wife.

Other hits: Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, The Office, 24, Lost, House, Grey's Anatomy, Project Runway

BEST LIVE TV MOMENT: When Star Jones shocked her co-hosts on live television, saying she's leaving The View. She knew for months that Barbara Walters was firing her and decided to leave her own way. The day after the announcement, Barbara Walters announced that Star was kicked off the show. The search goes on for her replacement.

Worst TV Shows...

"Celebrity Duets"
Proof that the celebrity talent show can only be stretched too far. This Simon Cowell produced summer show was horrible in every sense of the word. Watching D-list celebrities sing karaoke every week is not exactly entertaining week after week. The rambling Little Richard, who was one of the judges, was amusing at first but after several weeks he became like the drunken uncle who everyone wants to avoid at a party.

"House of Carters"
Nick Carter and his four siblings were put up in a house for this reality show. The E! show proved more of a dysfunctional screamfest than anything else. The only thing this horrible show gave its viewers was a headache.

"The Megan Mullally Show"
The most annoying character from Will & Grace should not have been given a daily daytime talk show. She's a very awkward host and the guests are pretty bad. Ratings are terrible, so the ax should swing soon.

"Celebrity Cooking Showdown"
NBC was hoping this C-list celebrity cooking show would bring in big ratings, so they attempted to air it every night for a week. No one watched and it was pulled off the air after three episodes. What works for the Food network, won't necessarily work in network television.

This horrible and hurried spin-off of Friends barely lasted two seasons and was finally cancelled in May of 2006.

"My Games Fever"
A live game show that airs without commercials for two hours. The show's annoying hosts, tiny prizes and super long waits between callers make it unwatchable.

MyNetwork TV

Perhaps the biggest television failure of the year, MyNetWork TV was formed for stations left without an affiliate after UPN and the WB merged to form the CW. MyNetWork TV airs nothing but poorly acted telenovelas in English. Ratings are as low as it gets, since no one wants to watch the same thing every night, especially when it's poorly done.

Other horrible shows: My Super Sweet 16, The Greg Behrendt Show, Til Death, Nancy Grace, Saturday Night Live, Skating With Celebrities

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