What an action-packed final week for the 2010-11 TV season!
And to think: The “week” ended officially on Wednesday, which means the season’s final week was really only four days long. That’s how it always is: The “official” end of the network TV season — set long ago by the broadcast networks, along with Nielsen — is always that Wednesday night before Memorial Day weekend.
And of course, in recent years, that final night has meant the finale of “American Idol,” an annual tradition that allows the network TV season to end on a high note (no pun intended). That’s because “Idol” is the highest-rated series on network TV, and its finale on Fox is usually the highest-rated single show of the year (not counting special telecasts such as the Super Bowl or the Oscars).
Can you believe that the down-to-the-wire finish on “Idol” occurred just one night after Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward won “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC? ‘Tis true — and Hines’ victory over Kirstie Alley is our second highlight clip from this amazing week of television.
Of course, television history was made this past week. And prime-time television had nothing to do with it. It was the historic final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (actually, make that three historic episodes). On Wednesday, Oprah Winfrey gave a one-hour valedictory speech and said farewell to daytime, where she reigned supreme for 25 years. Those who saw the show will likely never forget it.
What a great finish! And you gotta love that other phenomenon that occurs in the last week of the TV season — that eerie quiet that descends on the world of television on the day after, on that Thursday, as the holiday weekend approaches.
Of course, nowadays the quiet is short-lived, since summer has become a much more important season for both broadcast and cable TV. And almost as soon as the sun sets on Memorial Day 2011, a new summer season will begin.