The biggest TV stories of 2017
There was so much drama in the world of television this year — but not the kind the industry would prefer. Here, we look back at 10 positive and negative stories that generated the biggest headlines in 2017.
10. Shonda Rhimes leaves ABC
She singlehandedly redefined the network, but the mastermind behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder decided to leave it all behind to join Netflix. Under the terms of her multi-year deal, Rhimes will produce new series and other projects alongside longtime producing partner Betsy Beers, who’s going with her. Maybe she’ll put all those MerDer fans out of their misery and create a show for Patrick Dempsey?
9. The Bachelor in Paradise scandal
Production on the fourth season of the ABC reality show was delayed over the summer after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced involving contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. It garnered widespread attention but the incident ended up being “nothing really out of the ordinary,” executive producer Martin Hilton told EW. “It seemed like summer fun that we would normally have in Paradise. And so it was fairly clear to me watching it that this was not going to be a long-term issue.” Oops.
8. Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer
Saturday Night Live mined comedy gold when it cast Melissa McCarthy as the embattled Press Secretary. Though Spicer once claimed he slept through the sketches, he finally admitted after he left the White House that the skits were “kind of funny.” Ya think?
7. Late night's commander in chief
Thank you Donald Trump! If it wasn’t for all that swell material you provided to Stephen Colbert, The Late Show wouldn’t have logged such terrific gains in 2017. The nightly program on CBS attracted 20 percent more viewers (3.32 million from 2.76 million) and was the only 11:35 p.m. broadcast to post year-to-year growth this year.
6. Home (Box Office) invasion
After the premium network was hacked over the summer, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in November that an Iranian named Behzad Mesri is wanted for “stealing proprietary data, including information about then-unreleased episodes of the popular television series, Game of Thrones, and then allegedly seeking to extort HBO.” No Thrones video was compromised, but Mesri allegedly posted unaired episodes of Ballers, Room 104, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
5. Jimmy Kimmel goes to battle
After his newborn son underwent open heart surgery, the ABC late-night host made a tearful, moving plea for universal healthcare — and most recently, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is in danger of elimination. “I don’t know what could be more disgusting than putting a tax cut that mostly goes to the rich ahead of the lives of children,” he said. “Why hasn’t CHIP been funded already? If these were potato chips they were taking away from us we would be marching on Washington with pitchforks and spears right now.”
4. CNN v. Trump
All of the mainstream media managed to get under President Trump’s skin this year, but no outlet irked him more than CNN, the original purveyor of what he termed “fake news.” And in a random outburst, he directed a good deal of ire toward Don Lemon, whom he referred to in a tweet as “the dumbest man on television.” Mean people are mean!
3. Revival mania
The idea of two broadcast networks remaking a pair of classic sitcoms may have seemed depressing at first, but Will & Grace beautifully demonstrated that you can go home again and have a swell time doing it. And if rumors of good times from the set of Roseanne are true, ABC is about to have a true hit on its hands that doesn’t involve the words “good” and “doctor.”
2. USA cable TV star announces engagement to local Englishman
If you weren’t aware of a certain beauty from Suits, we bet you are now.
1. The #MeToo Movement hits the small screen
After a tsunami of sexual assault allegations brought down Bill O’Reilly and Harvey Weinstein (which they deny), scores of women and men went public with accusations of inappropriate and harassing behavior against Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, and Louis C.K. (who all apologized). The response was swift: Lauer and Rose were fired from Today and CBS This Morning, Spacey lost his career-remaking role in House of Cards, and FX removed Louis C.K. from all of his shows on the network.