It's been a big year in television, and we still have 82 days to go. To mark the date -- 10/10/10 -- here are the biggest moments of the first 10 months of 2010:
There was no holiday lull this new year. 2010 began with two departures that are still resonating across the TV landscape. Simon Cowell announced that he would leave "American Idol" in May. Cowell traded in the Fox talent show he helped shape into a juggernaut for his own British talent competition, "The X Factor," which will debut on Fox next fall.
That would have qualified for the month's top moment if it hadn't been for NBC's late-night debacle and its controversial treatment of Conan O'Brien, who hosted "The Tonight Show" for seven months before NBC's mishandling of the failed "Jay Leno Show" forced him to resign. On Jan. 22, the redheaded comic known affectionately to his fans as Coco gave up the job of his dreams in a very classy way.
"Despite this sense of loss, I really feel that this should be a happy moment," he said. "Every comedian dreams of hosting 'The Tonight Show,' and for seven months I got to do it." Addressing his viewers, and especially "young people," he said, "Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism -- for the record, it's my least favorite quality, and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
O'Brien, who rebounded on Twitter and a live tour, has a new show, "Conan," which premieres on TBS on Nov. 8.
Reality TV became really real on Feb. 9 when beloved Capt. Phil Harris of "Deadliest Catch" died from complications of a massive stroke that he suffered while off loading crab in Alaska and filming the Discovery Channel series' sixth season. The episode, which covered the Cornelia Marie captain's death, aired in July and drew 8.5 million viewers, a record for the series.
Known for his volatile but caring relationship with his two sons, Harris began fishing with his father as a boy and was one of the youngest captains of a crab fishing boat on the Bering Sea. He had been in charge of the Cornelia Marie for more than two decades when he died. His sons, Jake and Josh Harris, are at its helm now.
The clock stopped ticking for Jack Bauer on a sad spring day when Fox announced that "24" would end its groundbreaking stint on television at the end of the season. The Kiefer Sutherland-led drama concluded at the end of its eighth day with an emotional but hopeful ending that let viewers know that someday we'll see Jack Bauer again. (Nice and big on a movie screen!) The finale aired in May, but our mourning began in March.
"Come on! Vogue!"
Fox's Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning "Glee" has been making news all year, with its chart-topping music, eye-opening guest stars (Britney Spears, hello!), but the musical comedy made its mark in April when it delved into the world of Madonna and delivered a memorable hour of television. Mashup of "Borderline" and "Open Your Heart" -- check. "Like a Prayer" -- good, even though it was performed by the enemy. Sue Sylvester voguing -- marvelous.
No more "Law & Order" ching-ching on the mother ship. No more Jack Bauer saving our day, "24"/7. No more Simon Cowell "If I'm being honest with you" scary moments on "American Idol."
But the winner on this sad, sad month of goodbyes is "Lost," simply because we waited six years to know what the smoke monster, time-jumping island was all about and living without this ABC series is harder than deciphering what the sideways flashes meant. Always hoping to see you in another life, "Lost" bruthas.
Larry King announced he was retiring from his nightly CNN talk show, but is he also giving up his suspenders? For 25 years, King asked (questionable) questions of politicians, celebrities and everyone in between, and held the record for being the host of the longest-running show in the same time slot. King's last show will air in December. British tabloid editor Piers Morgan ("America's Got Talent") will take over sometime next year.
"Jersey Shore" returned for its second season, set in Miami, to chart-topping ratings. Seems like MTV viewers can't get enough of "The Situation's" abs, Snooki's drinking, Pauly D's "It's T-shirt tiiiime!" and Jenny's brawling.
But this month belonged to the behind-the-scenes chaos of "American Idol." When Simon Cowell left the show in May, no one expected the No. 1 show on television to be thrown into "utter and "complete" turmoil (to borrow a favorite phrase from the British judge). Ellen DeGeneres announced she was leaving after one year on the judge's panel. And rumors --which proved true last month -- that Kara DioGuardi would also leave to make room for Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler drove the entertainment media crazy for most of the summer.
ABC's freshman comedy "Modern Family" won the Emmy for outstanding comedy, making modern families everywhere very happy. The single-camera comedy not only made family sitcoms cool again but also gave CBS' competitors a reason to believe that they, too, could be in the comedy business. Five of the series' actors were also nominated, and Eric Stonestreet, who plays the lovable Cameron, took home his own trophy.
The TV critics were oh-so-wrong. The critical favorite among the fall season's newbies was the Fox drama "Lone Star," which also had the dubious distinction of being the first show to be canceled. Starring newcomer James Wolk, the show about a con man living two lives in Texas and loving two women, aired only twice before Fox had to throw in its white flag.
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez imploded while promoting his new book, "Conventional Idiocy." The boisterous newsman may have been one of the first to embrace Tweeting while broadcasting, but that didn't help him when he called comic Jon Stewart a "bigot" and then insinuated that his CNN bosses are part of a Jewish group controlling the media. CNN promptly fired him, and on Friday Sanchez made his first attempt at atonement on "Good Morning America." "I screwed up," he said. Duh.
--Maria Elena Fernandez
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Photos, from top to bottom:
Conan O Brien behind his "Tonight Show" desk when he took over the late-night show. Credit: Paul Drinkwater / NBC
Capt. Phil Harris of "Deadliest Catch" who died on Feb. 9. Credit: Blair Bunting / Discovery Channel
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in the "24" series finale. Credit: Ray Mickshaw / Fox
Chris Colfer and Amber Riley in "The Power of Madonna" episode of "Glee." Credit: Michael Yarish / Fox
One of the final scenes of "Lost." Credit: ABC
Larry King on June 29. Credit: CNN
Simon Cowell says goodbye to "American Idol" during the May season finale. Credit: Vince Bucci / Fox / PictureGroup
The cast and producer of "Modern Family" accept the Emmy for outstanding comedy on Aug. 29. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
James Wok and Jon Voight in "Lone Star." Credit: Bill Matlock / Fox
Former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez. Credit: CNN