The 5 Defining TV Personalities of the Decade
After an intense double-elimination process that left Howie Mandel and Ann Coulter in tears, Movieline has selected the defining 5 television figures of the decade. Some dispensed jokes, others news, and still more gave us brilliant scripted television. And as for our #1 choice, he gave us the cruelest gems of all.
5. Tina Fey
She started off the decade as head writer and Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live and then became -- what, exactly? The star and writer of an underwatched show on NBC? No, more than that: Tina Fey has become the face of smart scripted television and the most titillating political parody of the new millennium. Through the most mainstream network on television, Tina Fey has found the cleverest of ways to go rogue.
4, James Gandolfini
A strange thing happened this decade: Television not only became a good place for dramatic actors to hone their monologuing abilities and sustained silences, but the best place. James Gandolfini, who won three Emmys in the '00s, led the pack of actors who turned away from the silver screen and towards the scene-chewy dramatics of serialized television. His complicated, shockingly varied performance as Tony Soprano is the very reason we have Glenn Close on Damages, Kiefer Sutherland on 24, Sally Field on Brothers and Sisters, and Toni Collette on United States of Tara. His HBO home also spurred this decade's rise in cable quality, and it's no coincidence that after helping to write Tony's family-man bravado, Matthew Weiner went on to create another TV phenomenon Mad Men.
3. Oprah Winfrey
The 2000s brought us Oprah's expansion into print publications, new forums for celebrity couch-bouncing, and her juggernaut Favorite Things episodes, all of which have had a Vesuvian effect on even casual voyeurs to television. She also shouted "JOHN TRAVOLTA" sometimes, and that alone brought tears to the nation's windblown cheeks.
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