'Golden' Year: The Top TV News Stories In 2023

The year’s TV news was characterized by high-profile exits, two strikes that disrupted TV’s continuous content pipeline, and a “Golden” bachelor.

And as the year draws to a close, a new mega-merger of media giants could be in the offing. 

Whatever ends up happening, the news that Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global are talking about a deal is all over the place and no one is denying it.

The news that Paramount Global was exploring sale options had already emerged as one of the year’s top TV stories when it broke earlier this month.

But at this point, the possible sale of Paramount is a story-in-waiting. But it is also part of the continuing evolution of streaming TV -- which was a story that ran in some way or another through the entire year.



The big streamers are said to be struggling for profitability. Subscriptions have tailed off. Production costs have increased. The business model is cracking.

The twin strikes by Hollywood writers (May 2 to September 27) and actors (July 14 to November 9) for six months effectively halted production of all scripted TV shows, which are the lifeblood of all of TV, from legacy networks to subscription streaming.

Among other consequences, the strikes canceled the traditional fall season that -- for better or worse -- is still one of the things that distinguishes network television from the rest of the TV universe.

But the strikes did not halt the one show that could be classified as a “talker” in 2023 -- “The Golden Bachelor” on ABC.

The network added some new wrinkles to the “Bachelor” franchise with a show that had a 71-year-old widower Gerry Turner (above photo) finding a mate among a group of comely senior ladies.

“The Golden Bachelor” was the year’s most prominent show, reality or otherwise, mainly because new scripted content was in such short supply.

Elsewhere in the TV world, some of our best-known TV personalities made their exits -- by coincidence, four of them last April.

Two were sudden -- Tucker Carlson from Fox News and Don Lemon from CNN. 

Carlson was reportedly canned in April because he harshly criticized Fox News management in a series of private messages. Lemon was let go in April reportedly because of on-air gaffes, but also because his popularity appeared to be in decline. 

His exit may have been symbolic of problems generally at CNN -- problems and tumult that likely led to the resignation (or firing) of CNN CEO Chris Licht last June.

But other high-profile exits were not acrimonious. James Corden announced that he was moving on from his “Late Late Show” on CBS after nine seasons. His final last show was last April.

Ryan Seacrest announced he was leaving “Live! With Kelly and Ryan” after six years. He also left in April, and was replaced by Kelly Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos.

Two months later, Seacrest, 48, announced his next move. He will replace Pat Sajak as host of “Wheel of Fortune” in fall 2024.

Rounding out this year’s exits, daytime syndication star Phil McGraw stepped away from “Dr. Phil” after 21 seasons. 

The world of scripted content saw various comings and goings too. CBS announced that three of its established series -- “Young Sheldon,” “Blue Bloods” and “Bob [Hearts] Abishola” -- will all end their runs next year.

And the reboot of “Frasier” finally happened as production started last February and the show premiered on Paramount+ in October.

Speaking of reality TV -- or unreality TV in this case -- the Republican presidential debates started up in 2023 to kick off the long campaign season and give us all something entertaining and exasperating to watch. 

The TV Blog’s annual summary of the year in TV news would not be complete without identifying the shattering of another TV taboo.

The new farm- and ranch-based reality romance show, “Farmer Wants A Wife” on Fox, crossed into formerly unexplored TV territory when calves were neutered in one of its episodes.

This was hard for me to watch when I previewed the show for a TV Blog last April, but then I realized: It was worse for the calves!

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