While streaming finally overtook cable TV in 2022 in terms of viewership, terrestrial TV still had a big year. Viewers said goodbye to long-running shows like black-ish and Better Call Saul, and saw new shows like Abbott Elementary win Emmy gold. Here are some of the highlights:
Like Kevin Costner‘s John Dutton himself, Taylor Sheridan‘s drama fiercely protected its turf as the biggest show on television. The fifth season premiere of the Paramount Network show drew more than 12 million viewers on both TV and streaming, and the show’s earlier seasons on Peacock routinely jumped into streaming weekly top 10 lists. What’s more, Sheridan’s prequel series 1883 wrapped up to strong ratings and reviews on Paramount+, and 1923, another prequel series following the Dutton clan, this one starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, just kicked off on the same streamer.
And in case Sheridan needed more to do, his acclaimed Mayor of Kingstown, starring Jeremy Renner, returned for its second season in January of this year on Paramount+, and he brought Sylvester Stallone to the small screen with his just-renewed Tulsa King on the same streamer.
Quinta Brunson‘s beloved series returned for its second season in September, after storming the Emmy Awards for its freshman season days before. Brunson took home an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, but it was winner Sheryl Lee Ralph‘s musical acceptance speech for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series that brought people to their feet and fans to social media to celebrate. Afterward, presenter Jimmy Kimmel got flak online for a bit that saw Will Arnett dragging him across the stage, which many hissed was a distraction to Quinta’s win. Kimmel later apologized to her on his late-night show.
The Apple TV+ show continued its winning ways in 2022, and while star Jason Sudeikis has been coy about its future, the show still scooped up four more Emmy trophies in September.
The White Lotus
HBO’s buzzy drama snagged three trophies on Emmy night, including one for beloved star Jennifer Coolidge, but the series — which recently got re-upped for a third season — also managed to spawn a boom on travel to Sicily, where the second season was shot.
Better Call Saul
AMC’s acclaimed and Emmy-winning series wrapped up after six seasons. Lead Bob Odenkirk survived a real-life heart attack while filming the show’s swan song, which drew some 2.7 million viewers on both AMC and its streaming arm, AMC+. The show was nominated for three Emmys in 2022, but because of its bifurcated season, it could still come to TV’s big dance in 2023.
The Walking Dead
After 11 seasons, and untold numbers of decapitated walkers under its belt, AMC’s post-apocalyptic series ended in November. While the show’s final seasons never touched the ratings of its blockbuster heyday, the series’ finale still attracted a respectable 3.1 million total viewers and became AMC+’s most-watched episode since the platform began in 2020.
After eight seasons, viewers said goodbye to the Johnson family in 2022. The final episode of the acclaimed show that starred Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross drew 2.4 million total viewers and closed with the cast — and crew — giving the Emmy-nominated series a New Orleans-style jazz funeral.
FX’s Emmy-winning series had its long-awaited return for its fourth and final season in 2022. The show wrapped up in November. Donald Glover‘s series left fans wondering if its four seasons were just a dream, following a sushi restaurant rescue of Glover’s Earn and Zazie Beetz‘s Van at the hands of Lakeith Stanfield‘s Al.
ABC’s long-running drama returned with five new interns at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, and the dramatic final episodes with star and executive producer Ellen Pompeo‘s Meredith Grey. Her final appearance will be on February 23.
After six seasons on CBS, the plug was pulled on the legal drama Bull in 2022. The hit show, starring Michael Weatherly and co-produced by Dr. Phil, weathered a sexual harassment scandal centering on star and producer Weatherly that was leveled against him by early cast member Eliza Dushku. The actress won a multimillion settlement from CBS, and despite the controversy — which led one-time producer Steven Spielberg to head for the hills — the show ran for another two seasons before Weatherly said he wanted to move on.
The star power of Susan Sarandon and Trace Adkins couldn’t save this Fox drama about country music from a one-and-done debut season.
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