The 2021 TV Hot List: The Year’s Most Talked About Shows, Networks and People

Honorees include Bridgerton, The Crown and Ted Lasso

As the pandemic headed into its second year, television continued to provide the escape and connection to the outside world that we so desperately craved. Production shutdowns caused by Covid-19 sidelined some of our favorite shows, but exciting new series like Bridgerton (our Show of the Year) stepped in to fill the void and capture our hearts. The pandemic has also accelerated viewers’ shifts from linear to streaming—whether it’s stalwarts like Netflix, upstarts like Discovery+ and Paramount+ or connected TV platforms like Roku. And while companies loaded up on franchises to keep people hooked (like Starz’s three Power spinoffs from TV Creator of the Year Courtney A. Kemp), there were also breakout originals from fresh new voices (like FX on Hulu’s Reservation Dogs from Game Changer of the Year Sterlin Harjo). And the most successful players figured out how to marry traditional and new approaches, including HBO and HBO Max’s content chief Casey Bloys, our TV Executive of the Year. From Disney+ to Squid Game to Stephen Colbert, this year’s TV Hot List honors 2021’s most talked about shows, networks and people. —Jason Lynch

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This story first appeared in the Oct. 25, 2021, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.