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The Dramatist: How Aaron Sorkin Made Politics Entertaining

Aaron Sorkin

With The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin made it cool to care about politics. Sorkin's band of quippy White House staffers and a president who was hard not to love helped him walk the line between politics and entertainment and score repeated Emmy wins. We chatted with Sorkin, one of the influential television industry players interviewed for TVGuide.com's Best of the Decade section, about his beloved political drama, why it struck a chord with viewers, and how a similar approach to melding Hollywood and Washington hurt his follow-up, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. read more

The Groundbreaker: Shawn Ryan Searches for the Truth

Shawn Ryan

Who would have guessed the man who created Vic Mackey began his career on My Two Dads? Shawn Ryan went on to create CBS' The Unit, and is now the executive producer of Fox's Lie to Me. But his biggest gift to television has been The Shield, which set the standard for basic cable drama and proved cable dramas could be not just as good as network shows, but better. The Shield paved the way for Mad Men, Damages, and Battlestar Galactica's basic cable-success, but Ryan insists that if his show hadn't, another would have. "Cable TV was ready to explode like that," he says. Ryan, one of the influential television industry players interviewed for TVGuide.com's Best of the Decade section, talked with us about The Shield's influence, the cable-drama boom, and how TV audiences have changed forever. read more

The Reporter: David Simon Creates Commentary Disguised as a Cop Drama on The Wire

David Simon

 

David Simon started out as a reporter, not a screenwriter. His street's-eye view of Baltimore inspired two successful books, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and The Corner. Both became TV shows focused on cops and the violence of the drug world. Simon's HBO series The Wire was even more ambitious. A social critique disguised as a cop drama, it offered a bleak picture of the American city, and Simon's views on how to save it. He was still reporting, but in a different way than ever before. We talked with Simon, one of the influential television industry players interviewed for TVGuide.com's Best of the Decade section, about different ways of breaking stories — those that are true, those that are fiction, and those that are both. read more

The Perfectionist: Matthew Weiner Turns the World Mad

Matthew Weiner

Long before he was an awards show darling at the helm of one of the most obsessively consumed shows on television, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner was a bitter hater. "I think expressing myself changed [that], and realizing that it was all my problem, and that if I wanted my life to be different, it was up to me," Weiner says. His expression has become a smoke-filled, whiskey-soaked drama about capitalism, consumption, and careerism at their highest and lowest. It's an incisive look at American history, a titillating tale of sex and power, and a heartbreaking story of a doomed marriage. We chatted with Weiner, one of the influential television industry players interviewed for TVGuide.com's Best of the Decade section, about the enormous success of his show, what tips he took from his stint on The Sopranos, and TV becoming more powerful than movies.

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The Opinionators: Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann

Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann are engaged in one of the most visible rivalries of the decade — a conflict that may be rooted more in their similarities than differences. Both talk show hosts are former straight news reporters who share not only a formula for talk-show success, but a mutual respect for Tom Snyder, whose 1970s talk show Tomorrow set the bar for thoughtful, entertaining talk. Olbermann and O'Reilly make our Players list for best epitomizing the transformation of news in the 2000s. While CNN ruled the '90s with an emphasis on breaking, opinion-free reports, The O'Reilly Factor helped Fox News become the cable news leader with a show that mixes reporting, reflection, and rampant editorializing. It's the same formula adopted by Olbermann's Countdown, which has led MSNBC's increased emphasis on opinion. Critics paint O'Reilly and Olbermann as blustery, cartoonish bloviators of the right and left, respectively, and take them to task for not playing it straight. But both men — among the influential television industry players interviewed for TVGuide.com's Best of the Decade section — would just say they speak the truth. Click here for our interview with O'Reilly or read on for our talk with Olbermann. read more

The Opinionators: Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann are engaged in one of the most visible rivalries of the decade — a conflict that may be rooted more in their similarities than differences. Both talk show hosts are former straight news reporters who share not only a formula for talk-show success, but a mutual respect for Tom Snyder, whose 1970s talk show Tomorrow set the bar for thoughtful, entertaining talk. Olbermann and O'Reilly make our Players list for best epitomizing the transformation of news in the 2000s. While CNN ruled the '90s with an emphasis on breaking, opinion-free reports, The O'Reilly Factor helped Fox News become the cable news leader with a show that mixes reporting, reflection, and rampant editorializing. It's the same formula adopted by Olbermann's Countdown, which has led MSNBC's increased emphasis on opinion. Critics paint O'Reilly and Olbermann as blustery, cartoonish bloviators of the right and left, respectively, and take them to task for not playing it straight. But both men — among the influential television industry players interviewed for TVGuide.com's Best of the Decade section — would just say they speak the truth.  Click here for our interview with Olbermann or read on for our talk with O'Reilly. read more

Adam Lambert to Perform on So You Think You Can Dance Finale

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert has been tapped to perform during the So You Think You Can Dance finale.

Adam Lambert to perform on The View

The 27-year-old American Idol runner-up, who has been the center of controversy following an S&M-themed performance at the American Music Awards, will sing ... read more

Blind Side Tackles Twilight in Box Office

The Blind Side

The Blind Side took in $20.4 million over the weekend, overtaking the wildly popular The Twilight Saga: New Moon at the box office.

VIDEO: Go on the set of The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock

The Warner Bros. football-inspired drama has been the runner-up to the vampire romance for the ... read more

Monk Series Finale Ends With Record-High Ratings

Tony Shalhoub

USA's long-running series Monk exited with a recording-breaking 9.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched hourlong series ever on basic cable.

Watch free full episodes of Monk

The dramedy, which centers on a detective with a serious case of OCD, concluded its run Friday and topped The Closer's record of 9.2 million.

The show, which stars Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, came to a close after ... read more

Men of a Certain Age: Will Everybody Still Love Ray Romano?

Men of a Certain Age

Viewers who tune into TNT's Men of a Certain Age (Monday, 10/9c) won't find the next decade's version of Everybody Loves Raymond, and they certainly won't laugh as much as they're used to.

Ray Romano, who used his unique perspective on life to tell jokes, first as a stand-up comedian and later as a sitcom star, uses that same perspective to examine weightier issues. And even though Raymond depicted Romano's semi-autobiographical experiences as a son, brother, husband and father, he says his new character, golfer-turned-party-store-owner Joe Tranelli, is much closer to home.

Check out photos of the Men of a Certain Age cast

"That's the sad part. This is more in common [with] me than Ray Barone," Romano says... read more

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