• Top 10 TV moments of this decade 2000 to 2009
  • Top 10 TV moments of this decade 2000 to 2009
    Written by battye
    Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:54 pm

    These are a countdown of the top 10 moments from the past 10 years that will go down in TV history. In some cases it will be because of the sheer magnitude of the event, the impact it has had on television, or the entertainment value it has given us.

    Not all of the events are good moments, but they are moments that we will remember forever.

    10) 2004: Ashlee Simpson lip-syncing on SNL

    A technical glitch saw Ashlee Simpson embarrass herself on national television, but worse for her it hit international headlines. The incident was spoofed many times, not only be SNL themselves, but also on Mad TV and Family Guy.

    Jude Law was the host of the third episode of the season with pop singer Ashlee Simpson as the musical guest. Simpson performed her first song "Pieces of Me" without hitch, but disaster struck the second time around when a backing track for "Pieces of Me" started playing while the band was playing "Autobiography". After an awkward dance she left the stage, and at the end of the show blamed her band; "My band started playing the wrong song, and I didn't know what to do, so I thought I'd do a ho-down."

    9) 2002: Kelly Clarkson wins American Idol

    When Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol, the network television landscape would change forever. Her success and the success of the show has changed TV, with a greater focus on reality TV - a trend that strengthened with the success of reality TV shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race.

    The finale of the first season of American Idol peaked at 22.77 million, up from the series premiere of 9.90 million. While American Idol's popularity is now diminishing - don't panic, it won't be going anywhere for a while - its impact will continue to be felt for a long time after it leaves our screens.

    Equal 8th) 2008: Beijing 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony

    A capacity crowd of 91,000 packed the Beijing National Stadium - affectionately known as the Bird's Nest - on August 8th, 2008. NBC dubbed it the "TV event of the year", with their delayed broadcast attracting 69.9 million viewers, the largest audience for an opening ceremony to be held outside of the USA.

    There were some controversies, such as the television coverage of the fireworks being simulated by a computer and one young singer lip-synching to the voice of another young girl. But overall it was a spectacular ceremony which will go down in history as one of the greatest.

    Equal 8th) 2000: Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony

    The opening ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Olympics is regarded by many as the best in history. The opening ceremony featured many famous Australians, starting with a rousing rendition of the Australian national anthem (Advance Australia Fair) by Human Nature and Julie Anthony, and later performances by James Morrison, John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John.

    The Olympic flame was brought into the stadium at Homebush (then called Stadium Australia) by Olympic champions such as Herb Elliot, Betty Cuthbert, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland, Shane Gould, with the cauldron being lit by Cathy Freeman who will forever be associated with her win in the 400m sprint during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

    The opening ceremony was covered around the globe, including the USA (by NBC), the UK (by BBC) and New Zealand (by TVNZ). It was covered by Channel 7 in Australia, where audience figures of well over 6 million were recorded. It is fondly remembered for featuring things that are quintessentially Australian, like lawn mowers, the "Man From Snowy River" and clothes lines.

    7) 2008: Tina Fey's impression of Sarah Palin on SNL

    Saturday Night Live celebrated the premiere of its 34th season on September 13, 2008 and what kicked it off would become a hughly successful viral campaign on the internet, receiving millions of views on sites like YouTube.

    Tina Fey played the role of Sarah Palin on a total of five occasions:

    - September 13, 2008: A Nonpartisan Message from Governor Sarah Palin & Senator Hilary Clinton in the cold opening for the season premiere (Amy Poehler played Hilary Clinton)
    - September 27, 2008: Sarah Palin interviewed by Katie Couric (Amy Poehler played Katie Couric)
    - October 18, 2008: Sarah Palin walked alongside Tina Fey (playing Sarah Palin) in what made a very funny cold open
    - October 23, 2008: For Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday (or as I liked to call it, Thursday Night Live), Tina Fey as Sarah Palin appeared with George Bush (Will Ferrell) and John McCain (Darrell Hammond)
    - November 1, 2008: Tina Fey as Sarah Palin appeared with the real John McCain in a sketch about home shopping network QVC.

    What made Tina Fey's impression so memorable was that it kick started several months worth of top quality political material by SNL and gave the comedy program its best ratings of the decade. In fact, not since 1994 had SNL hit over 17 million viewers.

    6) 2004: Janet Jackson superbowl incident

    At the half time show for the Super Bowl XXXVIII, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake peformed a "Rock Your Body" - as part of the act Timberlake tore Jackson's top off and exposed her breasts. At the time it was the "most replayed moment in TiVo history" and also took out the world records for "Most Searched in Internet History" and "Most Searched for News Item". Even now it is regularly talked about, so well and truly deserves a place in the top TV moments of this decade.

    Timberlake later issued an apology to the CBS network, but Jackson refused to.

    5) 2003: Statue of Saddam Hussein falling

    Terrorism was a large part of this decade, with the world on high alert ever since the September 11 2001 attacks. The subsequent war in Iraq typies this, and one of the most iconic images of the Iraq war was the Iraqi's pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

    Saddam's statue falling signified the end of his rule over the last few hundred metres of Baghdad. More information can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3611869.stm

    4) 2009: Death of Michael Jackson

    Michael Jackson's death on June 25, 2009 dominated television news throughout the world. Perhaps as a sign of changing times, it was the reaction on the internet which will be remembered more than the traditional press coverage. Google, Twitter, AOL and Wikipedia all suffered outages as a result of the high traffic at the time.

    ABC, CBS and NBC all devoted over a third of their total news coverage towards Michael Jackson's death at the time - it was a headline story throughout the world, and the coverage continued for weeks.

    His death is probably the highest profile individual death of the decade and draws parallels to the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, a level of stardom in the music industry which Jackson emulated.

    3) 2009: Barack Obama inauguration

    In Australia it took place in the early hours of the morning, but like many Australians I was also up to watch it. Obama's inauguration attracted 37.8 million viewers in America - thanks to its strong track record with news and documentary, NBC News was the major beneficiary with 11.5 million - to become the second most watched inaugration in American history. Ronald Reagan in 1981 tops the list with 41.8 million viewers.

    However, with the sheer number of people that actually went to Washington DC in person (in the millions) and the historical importance of America's first black president - this inauguration could well go down in history in a league of its own.

    In the UK the live broadcast attracted 5.1 million viewers.

    2) 2004: Friends finale

    The finale of Friends was the highest rated non-sports program of the decade, with a record 52.5 million viewers tuning in. Only three series finales have ever had more views; MASH (105 million), Cheers (80 million) and Seinfeld (76 million) - but it is worth remembering that television trends in the 21st century are not all the same as the 20th century, so the fact that Friends received so many viewers is an amazing feat and it is unlikely a scripted prime-time audience of 50+ million will ever be achieved again.

    Friends started in 1994 and like the other sitcoms of the era (Seinfeld, Frasier, etc) found a devoted following on Thursday night's "must see TV" lineup. It's finale in 2004 was effectively the end, in the broader sense, of the golden era of television, and NBC has since struggled to cope with the series departure. Even now, in 2009, the networks Thursday night line-up is a far cry from the successful formula of the 1990's and early 2000's. While shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock are very good, they do not subscribe to the traditional sitcom format (such as the absense of a laugh track) and have struggled to gain high ratings.

    While the Friends finale was in itself a top television moment of this decade, it will also be remembered in television history as the end of an era.

    1) 2001: September 11 attacks

    There are many events which, for good or bad, become a part of history. The moon landing, the Kennedy assassination, Tiananmen Square, the Berlin Wall. September 11 is one such event.

    The terrorist attacks shook the world, with TV stations the world over breaking normal transmission and reverting to feeds of Fox News, CNN, Sky or BBC to cover the tragedy. The plane hitting the second World Trade Center tower is one of the most striking pieces of footage in history which evokes strong emotions every time it is viewed. Over the past 8 years it has become one of the most broadcast clips of all time.

    As terrible as the 9/11 attacks were, it stands alone as the most remembered event of this decade.
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