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Here are my Top 10 TV stories of the year

Here are my Top 10 TV stories of 2009. Let the debating and alternate nominations begin.

1. Jay Leno moves to 10 o'clock. Prime time is cheapened and NBC affiliates take a big, bad hit. Get used to it -- this is the downsized future of network TV.

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2. The Gosselin family comes unglued on TV. The sociology of the implosion of the TLC series "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is remarkable as the excesses of reality are exposed.

3. TV covers the inauguration of Barack Obama for a record audience. Once again, the medium takes centerstage in a ritual of American life and involves tens of millions in a national civics lesson.

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4. TV goes wall-to-wall days on end in covering Michael Jackson's death as television takes centerstage in another great ritual -- this one global.

5. The TV press gives President Obama a free pass for the first four months, and the Team Obama embarks on a huge campaign to expand government with almost no TV press scrutiny.

6. Team Obama goes after Fox News, trying to discredit the highest-rated news source on cable TV. Not since Richard Nixon, has the executive branch so tried to bully the press in hopes of scaring it off its watchdog function. A sidebar here is Fox News coming to dominate the cable news landscape in ratings.

7. C-SPAN turned 30 in March, and cable TV's public service channel was needed more than ever as Team Obama expanded government at a pace not seen since Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s or Franklin Roosevelt in the '30s. And C-SPAN came through in shining colors up to including its Christmas Eve coverage of Senate passage of healthcare legislation.

8. David Letterman announces a blackmail attempt against him and marital infidelity committed by him with staffers during a monologue on his CBS show.

9. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart rips CNBC's Jim Cramer in a face-to-face on-air critique of Cramer's reckless coverage of the nation's economic meltdown.

10. Diane Sawyer takes over as anchor of ABC's "World News." First, it means ABC is still committed to first-rate journalism as long as she stays in the job. Second, it is the most recognition yet for all the baby-boomer-age women who fought for equality in the newsroom often at the price of their own careers.

Hold on, I am taking an eleventh. Come on, it is Christmas Eve. Don't make me drop one of my picks.

11. Comcast takes over NBC-Universal, placing a value of almost nothing on the NBC entertainment network compared to the company's various cable channels. This, too, is the future for network TV, and it means more Jay Leno in prime time.

Okay, what are your Top 10 (or 11)? And what do you like or hate about mine?

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