Thursday, December 31, 2009

Worst TV of 2009

I reviewed my 2008 list to make sure I didn't repeat anything.

1. BEN LYONS on AT THE MOVIES (Synd.) - Ben Lyons, E! host, and Ben Mankewicz, TCM host, were horrible choices to fill the balcony chairs once occupied by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. "Mank" actually might have been acceptable if he sat across from A.O. Scott, but Ben Lyons had zero credibility. I'm grateful the producers came to their senses and put real critics back into those seats.

2. SPENCER PRATT on I'M A CELEBRITY... GET ME OUT OF HERE (NBC) - There are plenty of people out there who think they can have it made if they could just become a villain on a reality show. This vain rich-boy was a jerk to everyone just so he could make headlines, and then he tried to quit the show repeatedly until an actual medical condition made him and wife Heidi leave. In two years, I predict him showing up on Celebrity Rehab, just trying to get the other contestants to fall off the wagon.

3. ARTIE LANGE on JOE BUCK LIVE (HBO) - Never has a talk-show debuted with a more boorish, energy-sucking guest. Buck didn't even have a commercial break to bail him out so he could kick him off the set.

4. LEVI JOHNSTON on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW (HLN) - Oy. Even people who hate Sarah Palin have to feel sorry for her that this is the guy who knocked up her daughter. You can tell he's just auditioning for his own reality show. It didn't help that Joy's line of questioning made Larry King look probing and skeptical. Of course, if Todd & Sarah get divorced next year (as Levi kept saying how bad their marriage is) or if Sarah really isn't Trig's mother, I take it all back.

5. MICHAEL JORDAN on NBA HALL OF FAME INDUCTION (ESPN) - Everyone knows MJ is the best, but instead of being gracious or humble, he kicked sand in the face of anyone who's ever entered his life so he could get in one last "I'm better than you." It certainly shed some light into why he's not been a good front-office guy.

6. SHREK THE HALLS (ABC) - I saw it for the first time this year and was appalled. Apparently we're going to get this lump of mucus-covered coal every winter.

7. BROTHERS (FOX) - Good supporting cast stuck with a non-actor lead and punchlines that make it sound like the live audiences is laughing under physical duress. 'Twas a bust from the get-go.

8. HANK (ABC) - Unfunny Kelsey Grammer vehicle wisely avoided by Nielsen families despite the other-wise strong line-up ABC has on Wednesdays. Grammer deserves better.

9. THE PRISONER (AMC) - I only watched the first half-hour, but everyone I've talked to assures me it never got any better. Pity to waste Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen like that.

10. NBC EXECUTIVES - Their mistake was forcing out Jay Leno to keep Conan O'Brien, but that was a mistake announced in 2004. But by giving The Jay Leno Show five hours of primetime, they've killed their already-bad ratings for years to come. They say they're saving money this way, but they're killing everyone. Sunday Night Football and The Office are their only ratings bright spots. They should just let Conan go and move Jay back to The Tonight Show, then get Law & Order: SVU back to one of the 10/9 spots and probably pick up whatever dramas CBS decides to cancel to fill the other four. What's sad is that there are good shows on their line-up, but if nobody watches them, do they exist?

Dishonorable Mentions:

FIXED CELEBRITY REALITY SHOWS - From Donald Trump picking his pal Joan Rivers as the winner of Celebrity Apprentice even though she walked off the show and kept calling her opponent Hitler, to Hulk Hogan picking his old tag-team partner Dennis Rodman as the winner of Celebrity Championship Wrestling even though two or three other celebs were clearly better, celebrity contestants on shows with celebrity judges need to understand that whoever deserves to win probably won't.

DISNEY/NICK TWEEN SHOWS - I am so not the audience they're aiming for, but while in a waiting room I once endured two episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place in a row, and I felt like I'd just sat through a marathon of Small Wonder and Saved by the Bell: The Next Class.

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