"Warning, spoiler alert." So reads the opening line of a dizzying count of blogs and sites dedicated to chronicling, recycling and predicting this most unlikely of hit TV series. With all the drama of Desperate Housewives and attitude of Entourage, season four revved up this summer with a family divided over politics and the revelation of an unforeseen pregnancy. New characters entered the scene, babies were born into an uncertain world and an outcast formed a threatening posse on the outskirts. Bloggers were vehemently divided over the replacement of longtime narrator Sean Astin with Stockard Channing. But we gave Meerkat Manor our top vote not in spite of the backlash but because of it. That some fans tried to shutter Web sites that revealed too much about a series starring animals in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert is a testament to cable at its best.

Fast Facts

  • Meerkat Manor is Animal Planet’s most-watched show on linear and VOD.

  • The series spawned its first feature-length TV movie in May.

Honorable Mentions:
Adventures In Doggie Daycare, WE tv: An ornery beagle and domineering Weimaraner are just a few of the pooches at Seattle’s Downtown Dog Lounge who have a way of grabbing onto the remote and not letting go.

Sunrise Earth, HD Theater: Long a destination show for the early-HD crowd, Sunrise Earth has been gaining additional converts seeking more substantive viewing than the typically sound-bite-infused TV fodder.

The Best and Worst of Tred Barta, Versus: Ah, the great outdoors. Or maybe not quite. Often-controversial, always-testosterone-saturated sportsman Tred Barta shatters our image of peace and quiet on a regular basis in a series that brings us up close and sometimes too personal into the world of obsessive blue water fishing and hunting.

Return to 2008 CableFAX Program Awards table of contents.

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