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TV 2011 year in review: Oprah, Paul Ossmann, ‘The Voice,’ Nancy Grace

Oprah Winfrey moved from syndicated talk-show world to cable TV network life. CREDIT: AP

Oprah Winfrey moved from syndicated talk-show world to cable TV network life. CREDIT: AP

TV in 2011 brought America a fair share of idiocy, often attached to a Kardashian or Sheen. There was no shortage of laughs, from Jimmy Fallon to Louis C.K. to Zooey Deschanel.

And Atlanta was the home to more zombies, werewolves and vampires than you could fend off with a battalion of “Real Housewives.”

Cable continued to feed viewers complex, character-driven programs, engaging and confounding them, often at the same time. Two notable examples: AMC’s “The Killing” and Showtime’s “Homeland.” Successful new broadcast dramas veered more on the soapy, whimsical side, with ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” and “Revenge” capturing the most buzz.

Reality programming didn’t break much new ground, generating even more variations of “Pawn Stars” and “Real Housewives.” And two singing competition shows (”The X Factor” and “The Voice”) tried to one-up “American Idol” with mixed results.

Here are some highlights of TV in 2011 following the 140 characters or less constraints of Twitter, which is increasingly used as a home for viewers to feed real-time commentary of TV shows, from the MTV Video Music Awards to the finale of “Breaking Bad.”

- Oprah Winfrey left her millions of die-hard syndicated talk-show fans for her OWN cable network. Most haven’t followed her – yet.

CREDIT: Richard Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) had to do some shooting in the fall finale of "The Walking Dead." CREDIT: AMC

CREDIT: Richard Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) had to do some shooting in the fall finale of "The Walking Dead." CREDIT: AMC

- Viewers ate up AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” shot in metro Atlanta, even after creator Frank Darabont leaves under mysterious circumstances.

- Clueless move? Atlanta-based VH1 drama “Single Ladies” dropped Stacey Dash after one season. She’s replaced by lesser-known soap star.

- Atlanta scored another hit show in “Necessary Roughness,” a USA drama about a psychiatrist who treats athletes.

- BET brought old CW sitcom “The Game” back from the dead, shot it in Atlanta and hauled in network record ratings.

- Oscar winner Mo’Nique lost her Atlanta-based talk show. Why? BET and Mo’Nique won’t say.

- Atlanta’s Alton Brown voluntarily retired his Food Network show “Good Eats” after 12 years and 249 episodes. It’s been a yummy ride!

- From Tebow to Rodgers to Brees, NFL is more popular than ever. Result: networks pay billions more to air the games.

- Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” refused to go away, remaining as popular as ever in its fourth season.

- Most popular YouTube video: Rebecca Black’s inane and insanely catchy “Friday.” Now we know what day comes after Thursday!

Ricky Gervais will be back at the Golden Globes in 2012 after an amusing, yet controversial sting in 2011. CREDIT: AP

Ricky Gervais will be back at the Golden Globes in 2012 after an amusing, yet controversial sting in 2011. CREDIT: AP

- Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes and annoys mainstream Hollywood with nasty barbs. Results? Golden Globes invites him back in 2012.

- E! reality star Kim Kardashian’s $10 million “marriage” lasted 72 days. She doesn’t even deserve 140 characters.

- Paul Ossmann lost his 11 Alive weatherman job, his home and his wife in the same month. The eternal optimist is now selling real estate.

- Fox 5’s “Good Day Atlanta” revamped lineup, brought back Gurvir Dhindsa, added Buck Lanford, dropped Stacey Elgin, improved ratings.

- “American Idol” revamped, revived itself with better talent and a new and improved judges panel featuring Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.

- Hyped to high heaven, Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” suffered from a robotic host and over production but still generated possible stars.

- NBC surprised with “The Voice,” a refreshing “Idol” variant, featuring lively current acts as judges e.g. Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine.

- Ageless wonder Regis Philbin, unhappy with his next contract, left his talk show after 28 years but at age 80 has no plans to retire.

- Andy Rooney, at age 92, stepped down as “60 Minutes” resident curmudgeon. Retirement was short lived. He died a month later.

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Atlanta's Richard Blais won "Top Chef: All Stars" in 2011. CREDIT: AP

- Atlanta’s Richard Blais took home the “Top Chef: All Stars” crown with determination, good humor and creative, delicious food.

- Marietta’s Melanie Moore danced away with the “So You Think You Can Dance” victory. Her formula: grace, emotion and technical prowess.

- Georgia double victory on “Dancing With the Stars” thanks to football star Hines Ward in the spring and war hero J.R. Martinez in the fall.

- Atlanta’s Nancy Grace rode the Casey Anthony trial to new ratings heights, then boogied to the final five on “Dancing With the Stars.”

- Best reality show of the year: the series of Republican candidate debates, lifting some (New Gingrich) and sinking others (Rick Perry)

- And thanks, Charlie Sheen, for feeding us a raft of now tiresome catchphrases after a most public meltdown. Come 2012, no more tiger blood!

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

22 comments Add your comment

jd

December 28th, 2011
5:39 am

I haven’t watched 11 alive one day since they fired Paul Ossman, and never will again, I promise

[...] more: TV 2011 year in review: Oprah, Paul Ossmann, ‘The Voice,’ Nancy Grace – Atlanta Journal Co… Related Posts:TV best bets with return of Tim Allen, ‘Psych,’ ‘The Walking [...]

[...] more TV 2011 year in review: Oprah, Paul Ossmann, ‘The Voice,’ Nancy Grace at Radio & TV Talk… /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR [...]

Allison Wonderland

December 28th, 2011
8:02 am

@jd I am with you! I have not watched 11Dead News since Paul left and never will again. That bald headed guy is weird!! When he turns his head, the back of his neck creases and looks like he is wearing one of those fake bald head skins. My 7 year old noticed that one!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

MatthewH

December 28th, 2011
9:12 am

Rodney, what about the Atlanta connection to “The Amazing Race”? (Atlanta couple in the top 3, finale shot in Atlanta!)

Rodney Ho

December 28th, 2011
9:14 am

@MatthewH Never had the intention to make this comprehensive!

Scott

December 28th, 2011
9:31 am

It’s “Rodgers” not “Rogers”

Mercedes S.

December 28th, 2011
10:03 am

I’ve discovered the CBS morning show! Don’t understand why it’s always last in the ratings – it has less banter, less dumb-cute stores, less rushed interviews with stars selling their wares (book/movies/TV-show) , less audience-waiting-in-the cold interaction. Long, wonderful interview with Meryl Streep yesterday, whih lead me to watch the Kennedy honorees last night.

Mercedes S.

December 28th, 2011
10:04 am

‘…should be “less dumb-cute stories”

MatthewH

December 28th, 2011
10:32 am

Rodney,
Fair enough. I just enjoyed seeing Atlanta on the show and of course the whole “Swan House is the most popular attraction in Atlanta” comment. :)

bigjakeice

December 28th, 2011
10:45 am

No need to get so huffy there, Scott – he got it right “- From Tebow to Rodgers to Brees, NFL is more popular than ever. Result: networks pay billions more to air the games.”

Dri Guerra

December 28th, 2011
11:08 am

Liked your article, but I was hoping for more Jimmy Fallon in it …you only mention his name and nothing else :D still Iiked it :D Happy New Year

Jan Rabinowitz

December 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

I still miss Paul Ossman on Channel 11. They’ve gone downhill…

RuthH

December 28th, 2011
3:18 pm

I miss Paull Ossman also and now change the channel when the ‘new’ guy comes on. Very poor decision on the part of the 11Alive management team.

Eric

December 28th, 2011
7:22 pm

I too miss Paul Ossmann. I miss Jill Becker too. Gannett needs to clean house at 11Alive (and My-ATL)… starting with management. Wish 11 would bring back 5PM news… and bring back the 11-Minute Advantage promise to the newscasts. Also wish that 11 would get new set and new graphics on the newscasts.

ABC making the terrible mistake of cancelling its long-running soaps… ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’… right on the heels of the CBS/P&G cancellations… and worries that ‘General Hospital’ may be next to go. Oprah ending her daily talk show after 25 years… Regis leaving his morning talk show after 28 years.

CBS will be retiring ‘The Early Show’, and bringing back ‘CBS This Morning’ in 2012. CBS Atlanta making the terrible mistake of cancelling its Noon newscast… and wish they’d bring it back. CBS Atlanta hiring Guy Rawlings to co-anchor evening news… looking forward to seeing him in 2012.

corrine

December 29th, 2011
9:46 am

I miss Paul Ossmann too! 11 Alive sucks now….I switched to Channel 2. WTF, somebody needs to hire him! He’s the most calming to watch when there is severe weather. This new bald guy they have sounds like he has marbles in his mouth…He is from Little Rock for crying out loud! He has no clue about GA. My kids and I call him marble mouth. LOL

john gury

December 29th, 2011
12:59 pm

When Nancy Grace was on DWTS, she campaign on her nightly HLN show urging her followers to pick up the phone and vote, in fact vote multiple times so she could stay on the show.
Her mantra was “I am giving ALL the money I earn from the show to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.”
Well, she earned over $250,000+ and they have yet to see a penny of it.
Shame on you Ms.Nancy!

wilh

December 30th, 2011
9:51 am

Guess she has been toooooo busy with her pro-dance instructor Tristan. Too touchy-feely for me. She is old enough to be his mother. She is married and has made a fool of herself both on DWTS and on
her “dancing special” in NY where she acted like a 12 year old. Who wanted to see HER dance.??

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Eric

January 2nd, 2012
7:26 pm

Almost forgot about Gurvir Dhindsa’s return to FOX 5… Stacey Elgin’s departure… Buck Lanford leaving weekend sports anchor position for Good Day co-anchor position.

As for 11Alive… I’d be open to Gannett rehiring Bob Walker to the GM position… the only 11Alive on-air talent that I don’t particularly care for is Chesley McNeal.

wilha

January 4th, 2012
10:42 am

Does anyone know if Nancy Grace turned over her earnings on DWTS that she PROMISED to the “National Center for Missing & Exploited Children”.