It’s been a strange decade in television. Moving at the speed of light, who knew where it would go when 2000 began?
In 1999, Matthew McConaughey starred in Ed TV, a movie about a guy whose life becomes a reality television show. We laughed at the stupidity of the television execs on the screen who believed it was a gold mine. Today, it’s the vehicle of choice for many unemployed actors and untalented wannabes.
So popular was the reality show that it became its own genre and then extended into others. Like game shows. Survivor joined the network line-up in 2000, bringing greed to a new level and humanity to a new low.
Sensing the beginning of the end that year, Kathie Lee Gifford left her on-air television husband. A year later, Regis hooked up with the much-younger and blonder Kelly, whose perpetual perkiness and nine-year smile proves what a talented actress she is.
September 11 had much of the world glued to their sets as they watched and re-watched planes crashing and buildings collapsing. Television refused to let us forget one moment of the terror and opened our eyes to the world around us.
You’d think the broadening television content would create a more informed, more aware public. Instead, it confused us.
Supported by the information superhighway, competing TV networks and channels have bombarded viewers with minimal facts artfully dressed to entice.
In a competing market, rules and limits are continuously pushed, with lawsuits, fines, and public apologies becoming the norm. We were all officially offended at the time, but Janet Jackson’s flash of nipple at the 2004 Super Bowl became the most searched for news item in Internet history.
Technological innovation became a part of our TV experience. High definition and digital broadcast signals have changed the appearance of the images we watch. Not to mention the size of the TV sets. But technology went even further with the creation of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter – sites that inspired expanded viewership, not to mention a new language.
And with the dawn of downloaded TV programs, some feared that television would become obsolete.
However, it continues to bring incredible moments: Tom Cruise couch-jumping on Oprah; Ashley Simpson lip-syncing the wrong song on Saturday Night Live; the devastation of Hurricane Katrina; Lady Gaga’s exploding breasts at the Much Music Awards; Susan Boyle dreaming her dream; Captain Sully landing a powerless jet in the Hudson River.
And I’m sure the next decade will bring us even more. Of course, many argue this decade isn’t over yet. Since we began at year one, not year zero, the argument is that the decade isn’t over until 2011.
So what kind of trouble can television get into between now and December 31?
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