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Top 10 television stories of 2012


It’s a lot harder than it seems, whittling down the big stories that rocked the TV industry this year. Do we ignore how DirecTV tortured its subscribers by yanking the Viacom channels? Do we overlook how Disney Channel finally overcame the juggernaut that is Nickelodeon?

Yup, we do. There were just too many, far more significant milestones/flub-ups/hot messes that we wanted to acknowledge. So after much deliberation, here are the top 10 stories that had us buzzing and/or shaking or heads in disbelief.

10. Arrivederci, Jersey Shore and friends

Cable bid farewell to some pretty major powerhouses this year, including MTV’s Jersey Shore and Discovery’s American Choppers and Dirty Jobs. We’re not too sure how Discovery plans to fill the void left behind by Mike Rowe’s labor of love and those motorcycle boys, but MTV has already turned its back on Snooki and Co. by setting its sights on a bunch of hell raisers in West Virginia. Get ready, America.

Angus T. Jones apologizes for 'Men' slam


And here it is. Angus T. Jones has issued a sweeping apology to all involved with his hit sitcom Two and a Half Men following his viral video sensation bashing the show. The actor’s publicist issued the following press statement via Deadline (plus there’s some analysis below): READ FULL STORY

Charlie Sheen on Angus T. Jones controversy: 'The show is cursed'


Charlie Sheen has weighed in on the Angus T. Jones controversy.

Speaking to People magazine, the Two and a Half Men veteran had something to say about his younger former co-star calling the CBS hit sitcom “filth” and urging viewers not to watch.

“With Angus’s Hale-Bopp-like meltdown, it is radically clear to me that the show is cursed,” says Sheen, who now stars on FX’s Anger Management after having been fired from Men for his own meltdown last year.

Sheen’s comment was almost disappointingly brief, especially compared to his epic rants last year. Though you have to like his Hale-Bopp reference (the Heaven’s Gate cult attached religious significance to Hale-Bopp comet and committed ritualistic suicide in 1997). Also: We couldn’t help but half-jokingly wonder if Jones’ religious fervor was despite spending years working with hedonistic Sheen or somehow because of it — it must have had some kind of impact to grow up working alongside such a dramatic personality. Of course, Sheen would probably say the show itself is to blame/credit for Jones’ religious intensity.

UPDATE: Angus T. Jones issues profuse apology for ‘Men’ slam

Rainn Wilson mocks Angus T. Jones ‘Men’ bashing
Did Angus T. Jones breach his ‘2.5 Men’ contract?

Rainn Wilson mocks Angus T. Jones 'Men' bashing

Who better to spoof Angus T. Jones’ stunning YouTube video than fellow sitcom star Rainn Wilson?

Yesterday Jones made headlines by bashing his own show, Two and a Half Men, as part of online religious testimonial. Below, Wilson offers his own spin on the viral hit. “Dwight from The Office is nothing, okay?” says Wilson, while sitting besides co-star Craig Robinson. “The Office is nothing, all right? If you watch The Office, please don’t watch The Office. I’m on The Office. It’s filth. And that filth will rot your brain.”

That Wilson’s The Office is part of NBC’s Thursday comedy block — a lineup that’s getting stomped in the ratings by CBS’ Men and Big Bang Theory on the same night — makes this shot even more interesting. (The shows are not in the exact same time period, mind you, but their networks’ comedy blocks overlap).

It would be even better if Wilson would have made this totally straight-faced and earnest, just like Jones, but we’ll take it. Check out the video below: READ FULL STORY

Angus T. Jones slams 'Two and a Half Men,' urges fans to stop watching 'filth'

Is Angus T. Jones the new Charlie Sheen?

The 19-year-old actor isn’t spewing nonsense about tiger blood and winning. But Jones is biting the hand that feeds him in a very public way by urging Two and a Half Men viewers to stop watching the CBS comedy hit that he’s appeared on for ten years — and calling the program “filth.”

A video in which Jones laments his involvement in the sitcom appeared on YouTube today. The clip is the second part of a religious testimony Jones gave to Chris “The Forerunner” Hudson, a conspiracy theorist who believes President Obama’s reelection is a sign that the End of Days is near. After describing his religious awakening, Jones takes aim at the series that made him famous.


'Two and a Half Men': Who's the grampa talking to Alan? -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

In Thursday’s episode of Two and a Half Men, Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) wanders into the local watering hole and picks up a conversation with a dude named Sid Olsen. So who’s the guy behind the old age makeup? Hint: It’s not Tom Skerritt or William H. Macy.


Chuck Lorre apologizes for 'Bachelor' criticism

Chuck Lorre is (sorta) trying to make good with Bachelor producers and fans after making a dig at the show last week.

In an online version of his weekly vanity card, the Two and a Half Men/Big Bang Theory executive producer made an off-hand remark about the ABC reality series while tackling a number of larger political issues in anticipation of the then-upcoming presidential election. “What does it say about us when we think the institution of marriage is threatened by gay people who love each other, but not by idiotic game shows like The Bachelor?” he wrote in part. (Read the full card here, which was censored when it aired after Big Bang Theory.)

After Bachelor Nation took offense (a producer, an ABC exec, and even host Chris Harrison tweeted responses), Lorre used Thursday night’s card to clear the air, saying he was “looking at the show through the tired old eyes of ’60’s feminism” and that “women are now free to do anything they want, and that includes going on a reality show and using all their female wiles to snag Mr. Right.”

His full comment, which were originally posted on his website, is below. READ FULL STORY

Miley Cyrus may have boosted 'Men' ratings


Two and a Half Men‘s ratings jumped to a season high Thursday night as guest star Miley Cyrus joined the boys’ club.

Men delivered 13.6 million viewers and a 4.0 rating in the adult demo, up 14 percent from last week (and, yes, you’re welcome for that photo). Guest stars normally don’t have much of an impact on a show’s viewership and there’s another factor at play here — or should I say, Factor, since Fox’s 8 p.m. singing competition was replaced by lower-rated baseball last night. Still, Men‘s lead-in Big Bang Theory (15.4 million, 4.7) was only up 4 percent compared to Men rising 14 percent, so Cyrus may very well have added to Men‘s bottom line.

Also of interest last night: The CW’s Beauty and the Beast (2 million, 0.7) dropped 42 percent in the adult demo for Week 2. Not really surprising considering the poor reviews the pilot received (averaging 34 out of 100 on Metacritic). Lead-in Vampire Diaries (2.7 million, 1.2) dipping 25 percent didn’t help. Both shows faced original series competition this week instead of the debates. READ FULL STORY

'Two and a Half Men' scoop: Welcome back, Rose! -- EXCLUSIVE

Charlie Harper may be gone, but his stalker isn’t!

EW has learned exclusively that Melanie Lynskey will reprise her role as awkward hanger on Rose for two episodes beginning Oct. 25. This time, she sets her sights on Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher).

“I suppose she is never really out of stalker mode,” says Lynskey, who has recurred on the comedy since its first year. “I don’t want her to grow up! I’ve spent most of my career doing independent movies and playing roles that are sort of naturalistic, real women who are struggling. What’s so fun about this job is that I do it a couple of times a year and I get to be this person who exists in a different reality. Just the way she looks at the world is so bizarre. I don’t ever want her to change.”

That said, it still surprises her that the character resonates so much with fans. “I started as a guest star in the pilot, then they asked me to come back because there was something about Rose that people responded to,” recalls Lynskey, who currently co-stars in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. “That always troubled me a little bit!”

Emmys 2012: 'Homeland,' 'Modern Family' dominate awards

Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Showtime’s freshman drama Homeland unseated Mad Men in the best drama series during the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday on ABC. Actors Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, along with drama’s writers, confirmed pundit predictions by winning the gold for starring in Showtime’s year-old thriller that (conveniently!) returns for its second season next Sunday. But the night’s biggest surprise occurred when the domestic terrorist drama triumphed over AMC’s perennial winner Mad Men as well as last year’s period favorite, Downton Abbey, in the series category.

Modern Family ruled in the comedy categories yet again, including repeat wins for stars Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet. “We feel so lucky to have jobs that we love with people we love,” said Co-Creator Steve Levitan, who also won a statue for directing.

Julianne Moore took the gold for playing Sarah Palin in the HBO movie Game Change. “I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down!” she said on stage. Kevin Costner won his first Emmy for starring in History’s Hatfields & McCoys, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus returned to TV with Veep this season on HBO and promptly won her third gold statue (previous wins occurred on The New Adventures of Old Christine and Seinfeld). Jon Cryer also grabbed another for co-starring on CBS’ Two and a Half Men – a prize he clearly did not expect to receive. (Backstage, he told reporters he thought the gold would go to Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory).

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart won its 10th consecutive Emmy for outstanding reality series. “We were told we get a free sandwich after 10,” he joked on stage. Longtime TV host Tom Bergeron finally scored for emceeing Dancing with the Stars, and The Amazing Race won its 1,345th for best reality show.

ABC’s latenight host Jimmy Kimmel served up some of the night’s biggest yuks as host. His opening monologue included a few political potshots (“Being Republican in Hollywood is like being a Chick-fil-A sandwich on the snack table at Glee”) and a prophetic quip about Mad Men’s Jon Hamm (“I, for one, am shocked you did not win tonight.”). He would turn out to be right: Lewis won in that category. Other gut-busting moments included Melissa McCarthy lusting for the nominees in the male comedy actor category, a video clip of the Modern Family cast that depicted Lily – aka Aubry Anderson-Emmons — as the set’s biggest diva, and Kimmel asking viewers to tweet that 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan had passed out stage. (He then got Morgan to lay down on stage through an award presentation and a commercial break).

Later, Ron Howard took the stage to pay tribute to his TV dad, the late Andy Griffith, and the many actors and execs who passed over the last year. (Farewell, Davy Jones, Richard Dawson, Sherman Hemsley, Phyllis Diller, Michael Clarke Duncan, Chad Everett, Don Cornelius, Andy Rooney, Ben Gazzara, Kathryn Joosten, Harry Morgan, and Dick Clark, among others).

And the winners are:

Outstanding comedy series: Modern Family
Outstanding drama series:
Outstanding miniseries or movie:
Game Change
Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie:
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding directing for a miniseries or movie: Jay Roach, Game Change
Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie:
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Outstanding writing for a miniseries or movie:
Danny Strong, Game Change
Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie:
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie:
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Outstanding variety series:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding directing for a variety special: Glenn Weiss, 65th Annual Tony Awards
Outstanding writing for a variety special:
Louis C.K., Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series:
Claire Danes, Homeland
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Damian Lewis, Homeland
Outstanding directing for a drama series: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Outstanding writing for a drama series: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Outstanding host for a reality show: Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Outstanding reality-competition program: The Amazing Race
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Outstanding directing in a comedy series: Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Outstanding writing for a comedy series: Louis C.K., Louie
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Jon Stewart drops Emmy f-bomb
Emmy night: Biggest snubs and shocks
Jimmy Kimmel’s best Emmy jokes

Miley Cyrus to guest on 'Two and a Half Men'

Miley Cyrus and her new haircut are joining Two and a Half Men.

CBS made the long-rumored guest spot official with an announcement yesterday and also revealed that Cyrus, who is currently engaged to Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth, will play a love interest for Jake (Angus T. Jones).

Cyrus will appear in two episodes, playing Missi, an old family friend of Walden’s (Ashton Kutcher) who develops a relationship with Jake when he returns from the Army.

Charlie Sheen says FX show is his 'swan song'

Is Charlie Sheen preparing to leave television after his FX show Anger Management succeeds (or fails)?

That’s what the former star of Two and a Half Men told the New York Times on Sunday. Sheen, whose comedy premieres on June 28, said he’s been acting for 30 years and “there’s a lot more out there to do than make-believe, you know?”

“I mean, I’m grateful,” he told the newspaper. “I’ve got a dream life as a direct result of television, you know? But at some point you just get tired of wearing somebody else’s clothes, saying somebody else’s words and working in somebody else’s space. I’m also aware of the fact that you don’t get these kinds of shots in the same lifetime. You’re only supposed to have one hit show, unless you’re Kelsey Grammer.

“When I’m done with this business it’s just going to be about soccer games and amusement parks,” he added, in reference to his children with ex-wives Denise Richards Brooke Mueller. “And when this ends, I’m done. This is my swan song.” READ FULL STORY

TV's top time-period battles this fall

With the fall TV schedule now complete (below), we get to step back and take a look at the hellish battleground that broadcast hath wrought. There’s some very tough-to-predict match-ups this fall:*

Tim Allen vs. Whitney Cummings (Fridays, 8-9): “No, my show’s lamer!” ABC and NBC have their low-expectations comedies airing on Fridays this fall, and they might run head-to-head depending on when NBC launches (ABC’s comedies premiere in November). NBC has Whitney and Community and ABC has Last Man Standing and new comedy Malibu Country. (Community fans, if your ass beat by Reba McEntire and Lily Tomlin, we have no words for you). At least 9 p.m. shows Shark Tank and Grimm will have half-way decent lead-ins for once. Our prediction: Edge goes to ABC.

Britney Spears vs. Christina ‪Aguilera‬: OK, so one this is kind of a cheat. The Voice and X Factor won’t air on the same nights, let along in the same time period. But if you think their lack of head-to-head scheduling will matter to the media, you deserve to be hit, baby, one more time. Everybody will obsess over how these two compare. NBC’s The Voice has the wind at its back, averaging 6.2 in the adult demo this season compared to X Factor‘s 4.4. We all want to see how Spears handles the reality show spotlight, but many wonder if she can pull off being entertaining and analytical. Mark Burnett cast The Voice with big names who are charismatic and have the cojones to criticize a singer. Simon Cowell seems to like big names — who are just big names. Prediction: You can’t hold down Xtina. READ FULL STORY


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