The Year in TV: December 2010

Holiday specials and special events took over the airwaves.

Of the major networks, ABC aired the most holiday specials, including Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, Disney’s Prep & Landing, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas To You, I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Shrek the Halls, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, Happy New Year, Charlie Brown and Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest. Next up was CBS, with Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns, The Flight Before Christmas, Yes, Virginia, and The 12th Annual a Home for the Holidays special. NBC, meanwhile held the rights to the classic It’s a Wonderful Life and the annual Saturday Night Live clipshow.


Meanwhile cable viewers could tune into ABC Family’s “25 days of Christmas” specials. Alongside traditional holiday specials like Mickey’s Christmas Special and Nestor The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey and movies like Jack Frost and The Polar Express, non-seasonal fare like Winnie-the-Pooh shorts, Dr. Seuss specials, and a America’s Funniest Home Videos marathon aired.


The season also brought a slew of made-for-TV movies to cable. A small sampling: The Santa Suit, The Christmas Blessing, Christmas Cupid, Holiday Switch, Farewell, Mr. Kringle, 12 Men Of Christmas, An Old Fashioned Christmas, The Santa Incident, and A Diva’s Christmas Carol.


Many TV series put out special Christmas-themed episodes, but FOX’s Glee turned theirs into an album that topped the Billboard Soundtracks chart. Its most popular track was a cover of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” performed by stars Chris Colfer and Darren Criss.


With most shows on hiatus, the major networks often turned to major motion pictures to fill up their schedules. ABC led the pack with Wild Hogs, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Sound of Music, Transformers, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Meanwhile, NBC had Madagascar and CBS aired Evan Almighty.


Two successful TV spinoffs mark milestones, as CBS’ CSI: New York airs its 150th episode and CSI: Miami hits its 200th.


Larry King Live ended its 25-year run on CNN with its last episode, which featured various celebrities, journalists, and even a former President or two. The show was eventually taken over by former America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan.


American Idol turned out to be America’s most watched TV series of the year 2010. After Sunday Night Football and Dancing With the Stars, NCIS proved to be the highest-rated scripted show.


On the other hand, the following shows were some of the least-watched series on America’s major networks (that weren’t later canceled): One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210, School Pride, Minute to Win It, Cops, and 48 Hours Mystery.


Some of the notable television personalities who left us this month included Barney Miller’s Steve Landesberg, producer/director/screenwriter Blake Edwards, V: The Original Miniseries’s Neva Patterson, football commentator Don Meredith, and documentary maker/screenwriter/sports reporter Bud Greenspan.