WINNER: SUZE ORMAN, THE SUZE ORMAN SHOW, CNBC
No one pulls out a can of verbal whoop-ass like Suze Orman. And no one does it with more love, care or empathy. The great thing about this show is that it doesn’t pull punches but uses that tough-love approach to actually help people rather than tear folks down for entertainment. When someone calls Orman with big debts and no way out, she calmly gives them options — even if they aren’t pleasant. And viewers can always glean something from her advice. Meanwhile, her on-camera banter is always fresh and funny while also exhibiting a keen knowledge of financial instruments and the latest tax laws. It’s as if every caller gets a window into Orman’s mind. Never boring, this show offers perhaps CNBC’s most accessible advice to people not versed in the ways of Wall Street or its complicated mechanisms. Orman’s show feels real. And that’s enough. As Suze would say, "You go, girlfriend!"
Chelsea Handler, Chelsea Lately, E!: Chelsea Handler’s talent is obvious, but her eclectic choice of guests can sometimes be downright genius. Her show is unpredictable on so many levels. The mix of guests. The subject matter. And, of course, Handler’s disposition over the latest celebrity gossip. Guilty fun always.
William Shatner, William Shatner’s Raw Nerve, Biography Channel: Who knew that Captain Kirk…T.J. Hooker…the Priceline negotiator…was also a darned good interviewer? Now everyone knows. Shatner knows how to draw out a good story — even from Star Trek colleague Leonard Nimoy. We’re impressed.
Elvis Costello, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…, Sundance Channel: It turns out William Shatner isn’t the only showbiz artist who can put on the interviewer hat and get away with it. Costello’s show, in which the legendary recording artist interviews musicians about their process and other aspects of their lives, is always compelling.