The Year in TV: January 2010

Because so many noteworthy things happened in the history of American television this year, it’s best to look at it all one month at a time. So let’s take a look at the biggest events on TV in January 2010.

Most daytime soaps are headed towards cancellation due to low ratings, but ABC’s All My Children marks its 40th year by converting to a high definition format and moving their production to Los Angeles.

Animation pioneer Art Clokey dies at the age of 88. A developer of the stop-motion “claymation” technique, he created The Adventures of Gumby and Davey & Goliath.

Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief airs worldwide and on all American major networks simultaneously, with an estimated 83 million viewers watching. It raises over $61 million for Haitian earthquake relief in one month, with live performances from the show becoming best-sellers on iTunes.

FOX celebrates 20 years of The Simpsons with a Krusty-centered episode featuring the voices of Anne Hathaway and Eartha Kitt. After the 450th episode debuted, a look at the series hosted by documentary-maker Morgan Spurlock was aired.

Pernell Roberts, star of Bonanza and Trapper John, M.D. dies from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. He also recorded music, appeared in Broadway plays, acted in TV movies, and guest-starred on many other TV series.

A bad month for cable viewers: Cablevision temporarily dropped the Food Network and HGTV from their schedules due to a dispute with Scripps Networks Interactive. Also, Time Warner Cable subscribers waited for the company to reach a deal with News Corporation that averted a blackout on FOX and various other channels.

Due to low ratings, NBC plans to move The Jay Leno Show to the same time as The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien, pushing O’Brien ahead by a half hour. Conan’s fans balk at the idea, launching protests and the “I’m With CoCo” campaign. O’Brien would eventually receive $45 million to leave NBC, airing his last show on January 22.

In addition to NBC’s The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, ABC’s Better Off Ted and FOX’s Dollhouse are cancelled.

FOX’s Human Target, The CW’s Life Unexpected, Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush, Starz’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand, SyFy’s Caprica and ABC’s The Deep End all make their series debut. Out of all these, The Deep End is the least successful, with only six low-rated and critically-panned episodes airing before its cancellation.

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