Editors' Picks: Best of 2017

B&C programming editor Michael Malone regularly drills down into what drives showrunners and how hits are made, while Washington Bureau Chief John Eggerton is among the most prolific of policy reporters. We asked them to name their favorite stories in a year marked by new faces, narratives and platforms in programming and perhaps one of the biggest regulatory overhauls ever undertaken by the FCC. Here are their picks, in chronological order, along with some perspective on why.

The Watchman: During Dog Days of TCA, ABC Comedy Is Downwardly Mobile
(Michael Malone, Jan. 16)

M.M.:I was particularly curious about the show Downward Dog, as ABC Entertainment Group president Channing Dungey basically said at ABC’s upfront that doing a show with a dog just does not work, yet she went ahead with it anyway. I also spent some time with various Downward Dog cast members during TCA, and appreciated their passion for the show. Yet the calculus of their TCA session—that a higher number of cast member laughs on stage means a shorter lifespan for the show—ultimately proved true.

Littlefield Boots Up New Batch of 'Fargo'
(Michael Malone, Jan. 23)

M.M.:I’m so curious about what goes into a hit show. A million things have to line up for a show to take off. How do you get them to line up? Littlefield is a legend in the industry, and had sought to bring Fargo to TV for decades. I was very interested to sit with him and dig into how he crafted a show that a lot of people really, truly love.

Sources: Pai Teeing Up Media Ownership Order
(John Eggerton, Aug. 11)

J.E.:I got a beat on FCC chair Ajit Pai's proposal to revamp broadcast ownership regulations and was able to be first with the news he was preparing the order for circulation and that it would eliminate crossownership rules and the absolute prohibition on owning two top-four stations in a market, the latter of which has implications for the Sinclair-Tribune merger proposal.

Peter Farrelly Says There’s Something About TV
(Michael Malone, Oct. 16)

M.M.:I’m a fan of Farrelly's films, and loved his book The Comedy Writer. He was so down on television when he came to Hollywood, yet ultimately found TV to be the place where you can take a complex character and go deep with him and explore some fun, offbeat storylines.