Phil Rosenthal - 2010 in review

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Posted by Team Coco @ Ysabel's on January 03, 2011 at 12:39:59:

A media year of bad news, bad moves and things ended badly
Can Piers Morgan save 2011?
Phil Rosenthal
January 1, 2011

Looking at 2010 with 20/20 hindsight, it wasn't so bad.

Unless you were Little Orphan Annie, Conan O'Brien's dream of hosting "The Tonight Show" or Jay Mariotti's career.

No, really, it was swell.

It was out with the old and in with the new.

Except for WBBM-Ch. 2, where it was in with Walter Jacobson, 73, and Bill Kurtis, 70 its anchor team, circa 1973 on the 6 p.m. news. The duo brought with them the aura of long-ago better days and something today's journalism school graduates simply can't: AARP cards.

If their return didn't cause longtime leader WLS-Ch. 7 to fret, stumble or even look back, it's because what Bill and Walter lacked most this time around was a deep roster of producers, writers, photographers, editors and reporters.

At its best, the revered Channel 2 news of the late '70s and early '80s was far more than just its anchors. But that was then. We now live in an era of media outlets trying to do more with less, or at least not less with less.

Can't really blame Channel 2 for going retro. It tried to do something really new with an early-morning roundtable program, "Monsters & Money in the Morning." Turns out there wasn't nearly enough money, or viewers, and the monsters were put down in seven months.

Even with that, it was a good year for early risers and insomniacs, who now have a variety of 4:30 a.m. Chicago newscasts from which to choose. The most useful information most mornings? The time, so you knew if you were running late.

CNN signed former British newspaperman Piers Morgan, best known in the States as a judge from the NBC amateur hour "America's Got Talent," to replace Larry King. Maybe they can call Morgan's new show "Maybe America's Got Talent, But CNN Hired Me."

Watching Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer each night, a better question might be whether CNN recognizes talent.

That's rhetorical, of course. You're not watching Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer.

Anderson Cooper, one of the top three former hosts of ABC's "The Mole," announced he will host a syndicated daytime talk show beginning this fall in addition to his nightly CNN show. It might be the next "Oprah Winfrey Show." It also might be the next "Living It Up! With Ali & Jack."

Being the next Oprah seems a lot to ask. The next Gayle King, on the other hand, would be a good gig.

ABC and Disney turned up the lights and sent everyone home from Chicago-based "At the Movies," its long-running iteration of the syndicated movie-review program launched 35 years ago by the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert and Chicago Tribune's Gene Siskel. Ebert is producing his own successor out of WTTW-Ch. 11, set to launch this month, but we'll wait for the reviews.

Those "Lost" people on Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 finally got wherever it was they were going. Think of the travails of the previous six years as the price they had to pay for all the baggage they brought with them.

Counterterrorism expert Jack Bauer of "24" finally walked away from his days job in TV. Must be torture for him to relax.

NBC canceled the original version of "Law & Order" after a popular 20-year run. Unlike Jay Leno, it hasn't been able to maneuver its way back into its old place on the network's schedule.

Unable to shake the impression that he had cultivated a "frat house" atmosphere at Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co., Randy Michaels resigned as chief executive, followed out the door by several of the longtime radio colleagues he brought to the company.

They all seemed to go quietly, but it might not be a bad idea to increase security for the homecoming parade in 2011.

That's something to look forward to, but 2010 wasn't a bad year. Except when it was. Honest.

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