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The 2009 Programming Issue: Best + Next

I hear it regularly at social events of all kinds, big parties, small get-togethers, in casual conversations with friends and relatives. It would be nice to say I hear it mostly from a particular demographic and at a specific time of the year. In fact, I hear it from people of all ages, sexes and throughout the year: "There’s nothing to watch on television."

In a nation where 98.2% of households house at least one television set and TV viewing is higher than ever, this is a curious statement. It’s akin to what Yogi Berra apparently said about a popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded."

The variety of shows highlighted in this edition of CableFAX: The Magazine is vast. From Andrew Zimmern eating live bugs on Travel Channel to History’s excellent, narration-free pastiche of a documentary about 9/11 to dramas like AMC’s Mad Men. There’s plenty to see on TV.

My guess is that people who say there’s nothing on TV are bored with themselves. This seeps into their television-viewing habits. They likely are restricting themselves to a dozen channels, as studies indicate. The advice to them is obvious: Sample a channel or a show you’ve rarely visited. As the finalists on the pages of this edition demonstrate, you’re likely to be surprised.

Then there is the question of cable’s quality. A quick example will suffice. Every six months, the nation’s TV critics, reporters and TV bloggers gather in a Hollywood hotel for TCA, a preview of shows on cable and broadcast. As one who stays only for the days when cable is presenting, I am pelted with envy upon departure. "I wish I were leaving, too," or "You’ve stayed for the best part," are the popular refrains of TV scribes who will sit for another week enduring broadcast networks’ presentations.

It would be nice to say I hear this mostly from a particular demo of critic, but it’s not true. I hear it from critics of all ages and sexes.

You’ll notice a new element in our Program Awards issue. In addition to the Awards and our Programming Hall of Fame, we’ve added a Fall Program Guide. Another innovation is the recognition of Top Operators honorees during the Program Awards luncheon in New York on September 16.

See digital edition of Programming issue

CableFAX: The Magazine’s Guide to New Cable Programming: Fall 2009
CableFAX: The Magazine’s 2009 Programming Hall of Fame



2009 Cable Program Awards

Best Cable Program

Mad Men, AMC

Honorable Mentions

  • Battlestar Galactica, Syfy
  • Breaking Bad, AMC
  • Californication, Showtime
  • Hannah Montana, Disney Channel
  • In Treatment, HBO


Best Show/Drama

Britz, BBC America
Mad Men, AMC

Honorable Mentions

  • Lincoln Heights, ABC Family
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager, ABC Family
  • The Tudors, Showtime


Best Actress in Cable

Elisabeth Moss, Mad men, AMC

Honorable Mentions

  • Glenn Close, Damages, FX
  • Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad, AMC
  • Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica, Syfy
  • Anna Paquin, True Blood, HBO
  • Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy, FX


Best Actor in Cable

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, AMC

Honorable Mentions

  • Edward James Olmos, Battlestar Galactica, SyFy
  • Michael Chiklis, The Shield, FX
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men, AMC
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers, The Tudors, Showtime


Best New Cable Program

Sons of Anarchy, FX

Honorable Mentions

  • The Secret Life of the American Teenage, ABC Family
  • United States of Tara, Showtime
  • Party Down, Starz
  • Taking Chance, HBO
  • Dallas DNA, Investigation Discovery


Best Director

Clark Johnson, The Shield, FX

Honorable Mentions

  • Peter Tolan, Rescue Me, FX
  • Matt Weiner, Mad Men (Season 2 Finale), AMC
  • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (Season 2 Premiere), AMC
  • Andy Wolk, Lincoln Heights, ABC Family


Best Producer

Matthew Weiner and Scott Hornbacher, Mad Men, AMC

Honorable Mentions

  • Vince Gilligan and Mark Johnson, Breaking Bad, AMC
  • David Eick, Battlestar Galactica, Syfy


Best Opening Sequence

Dark Path Chronicles, Fearnet

Honorable Mentions

  • Phineas & Ferb, Disney Channel
  • Sonny With a Chance, Disney Channel
  • The Locator, WE tv


Best Writer

Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica, Syfy

Honorable Mentions

  • Brenda Hampton, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, ABC Family
  • Shawn Ryan, The Shield, FX
  • Matt Weiner, Mad Men, AMC
  • Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad, AMC


Best Show Online-Only/Mobile-Only

Great and Telling Tales with Timothy Dickinson: Rasputin, History
The Adventures of Mark & His Monkey, Travel Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Crash the Parties ’08, Si TV
  • E! News Now, E!


Best Online/Mobile Extras for a Linear Show

Sonny with a Chance, Disney Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods in the Kitchen), Travel Channel
  • Most Haunted Live: Gettysburg, Travel Channel
  • No LOL in HIV Text Message Campaign, Cable Positive
  • The Sunny Side Up Show Microsite and Dress Chica iPhone App, PBS Kids Sprout


Best Show Documentary

102 Minutes that Changed America, History

Honorable Mentions

  • Marijuana Inc: Inside America’s Pot Industry, CNBC
  • KKK: Inside American Terror, M2 Pictures
  • Let Freedom Sing: How Music Inspired the Civil Rights Movement, Brainstorm Media
  • Marathon Love, LMNO Productions


Best Actor/Comedy

Tony Shalhoub, Monk, USA Network

Honorable Mentions

  • Lizzy Caplan, Party Down, Starz
  • Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, Comedy Central


Best Video on Demand

Legends of Wrestling Presents Soul of Wrestling, WWE

Honorable Mentions

  • Carolina on Demand, High School Sports, Time Warner Cable
  • NCAA VOD, The Best of March Madness, CBS College Sports


Best Host Educational/Instructional

Paul Lisnek, Political Update with Paul Lisnek, Comcast CN100, Chicago

Honorable Mentions

  • Lisa Aprati, Inside Comcast, Comcast CN100 Chicago
  • Lynn Doyle, It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle, Comcast CN8, Philadelphia
  • Pat and Linda Parelli, Parelli Natural Horsemanship, RFD-TV


Best Host/Food

Adam Richman, Man v. Food, Travel Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Guy Fieri, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Food Network
  • Pat and Gina Neely, Road Tasted with the Neelys, Food Network


Best Host/Animals

Victoria Stilwell, It’s Me or the Dog, Animal Planet

Honorable Mentions

  • Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer, National Geographic Channel
  • Jai Rodriguez, Groomer Has It, Animal Planet


Best Host/News

Dan Rather, Dan Rather Reports, HDNET

Honorable Mentions

  • Jim Cramer, Mad Money with Jim Cramer, CBNC
  • Melissa Lee, Fast Money and Options Action, CNBC


Best Host/Other

Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations, Travel Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Whoopi Goldberg, Stream, FEARnet
  • Mark Zona, World’s Greatest Fishing Show, ESPN


Best Host/Regional

Virginia Johnson, On the Town Reporter, Bay News 9/Tampa Bay on Demand, Bright House Networks

Honorable Mentions

  • Scott Fais, Florida on a Tankful, Bright House Networks/Central Florida News 13
  • Russ Thaler, Washington Post Live, Comcast SportsNet


Best Host/Talk Show

Suze Orman, The Suze Orman Show, CNBC

Honorable Mentions

  • Chelsea Handler, Chelsea Lately, E!
  • William Shatner, William Shatner’s Raw Nerve, Biography Channel
  • Elvis Costello, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..., Sundance Channel


Best Show or Series/Animal/Nature

Wild China, Travel Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Evolve: Eyes, History
  • River Monsters, Animal Planet


Best Show or Series/Children

The Sprout Sharing Show, PBS Kids Sprout

Honorable Mentions

  • Camp Rock, Disney Channel
  • Handy Manny, Disney Channel
  • Hannah Montana, Disney Channel
  • SpongeBob Squarepants, Nickelodeon


Best Show or Series/Animated

Handy Manny, Disney Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Phineas & Ferb, Disney Channel
  • Great and Telling Tales with Timothy Dickinson: Rasputin, History Channel


Best Show or Series/Comedy

The Soup, E!

Honorable Mentions

  • Gavin & Stacey, BBC America
  • Greek, ABC Family
  • Monk, USA
  • Psych, USA


Best Show or Series/Educational/Instructional

Parelli Natural Horsemanship, RFD-TV

Honorable Mentions

  • What Happens Next 101, Veria TV
  • Inside Comcast, Comcast CN100 Chicago


Best Show or Series/Food

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Travel Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Fed Up!, Veria TV
  • Iron Chef America, Food Network
  • Man v. Food, Travel Channel


Best Show or Series/Music

Live From Abbey Road, Sundance Channel

Honorable Mentions

  • Fall Out Boy: Live from the Chicago Theatre, fuse
  • Concert Series, HDNet
  • Revealed: Third Day, Gospel Music Channel
  • Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..., Sundance Channel


Best Show or Series/Other

Attack of the Show, G4
Whale Wars, Animal Planet

Honorable Mentions

  • Brink, Science Channel
  • HDNet World Report, HDNet


Best Show or Series/News

BBC World News America, BBC America

Honorable Mentions

  • Dan Rather Reports, HDNet
  • E! News, E!
  • Who’s Protecting Our Money? CNBC


Best Show or Series/Public Affairs

It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle: Voluntary Breast Removal, CN8: The Comcast Network

Honorable Mentions

  • Botswana: The President’s Tour, Travel Channel
  • No LOL in HIV, Cable Positive
  • Political Update with Paul Lisnek, Comcast CN100 Chicago


Best Show or Series/Reality/Game Show

My Fair Wedding, WE tv

Honorable Mentions

  • Groomer Has It, Animal Planet
  • Jammin’, Si TV
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians, E! Entertainment


Best Show or Series/Regional

“O,” What a Night! Washington Post Live! Comcast Sportsnet

Honorable Mentions

  • CenterStage, YES Network
  • Florida on a Tankful Holiday Roadtrip, Bright House Networks
  • Prime Time Chicago, Comcast CN 100


Best Show or Series/Religious

The World Over Live, EWTN

Honorable Mentions

  • Every Day with Marcus & Lisa, FamilyNet
  • Judie Byrd’s Kitchen, FamilyNet


Best Show or Series/Sci Fi

Battlestar Galactica, Syfy

Honorable Mentions

  • Primeval, BBC America
  • Sanctuary, Syfy
  • Torchwood, BBC America


Best Show or Series/Sports

Yankeeography, YES Network

Honorable Mentions

  • 2009 Bassmaster Classic, ESPN
  • Dhani Tackles the Globe, Travel Channel
  • Waukegan Sectional Prep Basketball, Comcast CN100 Chicago
  • Yankees Baseball, YES Network


Best Show or Series/Talk Show

Chelsea Lately, E!

Honorable Mentions

  • The Suze Orman Show, CNBC
  • Idol Tonight, TV Guide Network




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