Hot List 2012: Television Winners
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Hottest Network for Drama
Five years after beguiling critics with the gin-soaked Mad Men, the net that once offered an endless loop of Jaws IV: The Revenge has reinvented itself as a mirror held up to the zeitgeist. If there’s a smarter indictment of our healthcare system and insatiable appetites than Breaking Bad, we haven’t seen it. (Since Walter White first started cooking up meth in 2008, the show has snagged five Emmys.) Then, of course, there’s the phenom that is The Walking Dead, TV’s highest-rated scripted show, which boasts an average unit cost of $275,000 per spot.
Show that keeps us on the edge of our seat;
Biggest social butterfly
The Walking Dead
It’s blind-sided viewers with some of the most shocking TV moments since The Sopranos faded to black. In recent episodes, a major character died in childbirth only to be shot by her son before she could reanimate, while the central villain ministered to the ambulatory corpse that is his 7-year-old daughter. Forget “edge of your seat”—this is TV to watch from behind the screen of your fingers. Plus, the season-two finale scared up more than 217,000 social-media comments—second only in tweet bait to the final episode of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.
The Walking Dead
Creative of the Year
executive producer, The Walking Dead
Fanboys geeked out when AMC replaced original exec producer and showrunner Frank Darabont with the lesser-known Mazzara, but The Walking Dead is now a far superior program. Season 3 has had more WTF moments than any five broadcast series combined, as Mazzara has displayed an almost giddy willingness to kill off any character that can still be classified as human. While still awaiting official word on renewal, AMC essentially let the zombified cat out of the bag in September when it hosted a sweepstakes offering a Season 4 on-set visit.