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 Who's in the headlines in '09 YEAR IN REVIEW

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PostSubject: Who's in the headlines in '09 YEAR IN REVIEW   26.12.09 20:54

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MICHAEL RECHTSHAFFEN For QMI Agency

HOLLYWOOD -- The world of entertainment took a major hit in 2009. Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, Bea Arthur, John Hughes, Natasha Richardson all died. But obviously nothing carried quite the same global impact as Michael Jackson's death on June 25.

There has been no shortage of analysis devoted to Jackson the artist's contribution to pop culture, but even though he was finally laid to rest on Sept. 3, Jackson-related drama won't be going away anytime soon.

What with that ongoing manslaughter investigation and assorted family members contesting MJ's will, controversy continues to swirl around Jackson in death just as it had in life.

This Is It? Highly unlikely.

Athlete of the Decade, Player of the Year. In the days following the events of Nov. 27, Tiger Woods' fender-bender emerged as the crash heard 'round the world.

And with each day bringing yet another mistress crawling out of the Woods-work or another dropped endorsement, this is one story that's far from running its course.

Woods should have taken a cue from David Letterman, who dealt with his own indiscretions by launching a preemptive strike against the tabloids in a monologue/apology that made for riveting, if at times uncomfortable, viewing.

Coming from a notoriously private person, Letterman's very public confession didn't seem to hurt his ratings any. It may have actually had a humanizing effect on a man who had previously come across as cold and aloof.

Jay Leno should have been so lucky. The former king of late night learned he wasn't so invincible after all when NBC seriously miscalculated what a difference an hour-and-a-half can make.

His shift to prime time came at a serious cost to the network, which thought it would be saving big bucks by replacing expensive dramas with a much cheaper proven commodity.

But NBC didn't count on viewers not liking its pre-bedtime routines being messed with, and after a promising start Leno's ratings went into a freefall, dragging NBC's pre-10:00 programming and affiliates' 11:00 newscasts down with them.

Can we say New Coke?

The New Math: Jon + Kate + Eight (-Jon) + OctoMom = Warhol's 15 Minutes to the Power of Infinity.

Britain's got talent, but, more significantly, they had Susan Boyle, and boy did we need her in 2009. The frumpy, never-been-kissed church volunteer with the voice of an angel captured the imagination of a society in need of a good Cinderella story, and the fact that she began to crack under all that pressure only made her more endearing. Nothing says redemption better than selling something like five million CD's in your first three weeks.

Meanwhile, on Simon Cowell's other little show, Adam Lambert convincingly demonstrated why coming in second is the new first place. After eight seasons, TV's top reality show has produced its first threatening American Idol. Love him or hate him, there's nothing vanilla (sorry Chris) about the unapologetically theatrical Lambert. And even though he crossed the bad taste line at the AMAs, fearlessness hasn't been a trait shared by Idol's sanitized-for-public-consumption past winners. Now, if he'd just ease up on that wailing.

A year ago at this time, Chris Brown had almost made the year-end cut for an entirely different reason. At the tender age of 19, Brown had just been crowned Billboard's Top Artist of 2008. We all know what happened since that time.

Given recent Twitter attacks on retailers he blamed for disappointing sales of his latest CD, it would appear Rihanna's abusive ex didn't learn much from taking Remorse 101.

And, as for big bully Kanye West? Yo, Kanye! Hate to interrupt, but we're out of space.

Michael Rechtshaffen, a Canadian entertainment writer based in Los Angeles, writes Wednesdays and Sundays.

TOP 10 MOST NEWSWORTHY CELEBRITIES

1. Michael Jackson

2. Tiger Woods

3. Susan Boyle

4. Jon and Kate

5. OctoMom

6. Chris Brown

7. David Letterman

8. Jay Leno

9. Adam Lambert

10. Kanye West/Taylor Swift




http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2237696
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