BEST TV STATION - 2002
The medium of television has so much promise, such great potential--yet here we are watching Judge Judy. Consumers, it seems, are sending a message, and that message is: "I read the paper or have Internet sources for news. High art is best left to film, stage, and canvas. The box in my living room should be there for me when I have no energy for any of those other things, and want to be lulled into a glazed-eyed state of complacency." That's why the award this year goes to the greatest purveyor of small-screen-style guilty pleasure, the network that is Fox. The local affiliate's current weeknight reruns include probably the highest concentration of non-juvenile (wait, not aimed at juveniles) animated series found anywhere, including the sometimes-funny trio of King of the Hill, Futurama, and The Family Guy, and of course the show that sustained the very network for a while, The Simpsons. Fox's daytime offerings leave something to be desired, with family-friendly dreck-fest 7th Heaven currently segueing to scandalmonger Jenny Jones in the midafternoon. But in the morning we'll take the feel-good schlock of Little House on the Prairie and the Cosby Show over the sycophantic big-broadcast morning-show hosts and the endless parade of "real court" dramas droning on elsewhere. Fox's prime-time offerings cater to the lowest of the lowbrow, culminating in the recent ratings-grabber Celebrity Boxing. (An informal day-after poll also revealed an alarming rate of Glutton Bowl viewership among City Pages staffers.) Add in Vikings football, Timberwolves basketball, creative new sitcoms (the current crop of which suck, but we hold out hope for another Malcolm in the Middle), midnight MAD TV airings, and sometimes-decent movies on weekends, and we have a winner.