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Despite a strike, it was a banner year for TV watching.

Despite a strike, it was a banner year for TV watching.

It’s been a busy 12 months in the world of television, because even in a strike-hampered year, there were still plenty of big winners via reality dating and competition shows, along with some major series coming to an end and a few other memorable highlights.

While game shows and late night continued to provide all kinds of unforgettable moments, from a lovable 92-year-old Wheel of Fortune contestant to Barbra Streisand spilling the beans with Stephen Colbert, it was popular shows like The Golden Bachelor and The Masked Singer that made the biggest splashes. And don’t forget a few others like Stars on Mars (remember that one?) and Project Runway that brought plenty of buzz, along with a handful of long-running series that called it quits.

So here’s a look at the shows that crowned the biggest winners in 2023, some favorite series that fans said goodbye to and a few other random winners, aka the pūteketeke.

Reality dating shows, aka The Bachelor franchise

There was plenty of pressure on the much-hyped new show, The Golden Bachelor, heading into its debut season, and it did not disappoint. After America fell in love with the show’s centerpiece, Gerry Turner, he ended up falling in love with two different women.

He inevitably had to break some hearts during his process, losing a few fans along the way, but he ultimately found happiness and love and American found a new reality dating show obsession.

Elsewhere in the franchise, Charity Lawson was proposed to on The Bachelorette by 30-year-old integrative medicine specialist Dotun Olubeko, and the two are happily engaged to married. One of her other love interests from the show, 28-year-old tennis pro Joey Graziadei, was announced as the next Bachelor.

Meanwhile, the Bachelor in Paradise finale included two successful proposals between John Henry and Kat and Aaron and Eliza, and one set of nuptials between season 7 lovebirds Kenny Braasch and Mari Pepin.

Reality competition shows

In the world of competing for fame and money, aka reality competition shows, The Masked Singer made major headlines after revealing a Grammy-winning artist, Ne-Yo, as the season 10 winner.

On The Voice it was Huntley, a soulful and rock-centric vocalist, who emerged as the winner of $100,000 in prize money and a record deal with Universal Music Group. His victory marked back-to-back wins for coach Niall Horan.

Season 32 of Dancing With the Stars saw Marvel star Xochitl Gomez emerge with the mirror ball trophy. Gomez is perhaps best known for playing America Chavez in 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Moving on from singing and dancing, after crowning an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy as winner of season 15 a week prior, American Ninja Warrior held its first-ever couples championship with Kyle Soderman and Megan Johnson from Austin taking home the title.

On season 18 of America’s Got Talent, it was Adrian Stoica and canine Hurricane who became the first dog act to win in more than a decade.

The 20th season of Project Runway came to an emotional close when Bishme Cromartie was announced as the winner, based on his evening wear collection that was inspired by his process of grieving his sister.

On the show Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, it was Erin Jackson, Nick Viall and Tyler Cameron who managed to survive with passing grades, while JoJo Siwa and Tom Sandoval exited the show in the 11th hour, or in this case during the 8th episode.

And on the first season of Fox’s celebrity reality show Stars on Mars, retired figure skater Adam Rippon and former DWTS champ took home the title as “the brightest star in the galaxy.”

Other winners

There were a couple big winners on TV this year who don’t quite fall into the above categories. One was Patrick Dempsey, who was announced as People’s Sexiest Man Alive during an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The other was a bird that John Oliver decided to endorse for New Zealand’s Bird of the Century competition on his show, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. And after an exciting two weeks of campaigning that was filled with all kinds of highs and lows, the pūteketeke now wears the crown.

Series finales

Some notable shows bid farewell in 2023 including Riverdale, which ended after seven seasons with a head-turning series finale that covered plenty of bases before wrapping things up nicely.

Plus the Showtime series Billions came to an end after seven seasons with pretty much an overall consensus that the finale was, well, money. And the fifth and final season of FX’s Mayans M.C. came to a dramatic and somewhat shocking end as well.

And, sadly, the season two finale of Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty felt an awful lot like a series finale, and sure enough news dropped shortly after the show aired that it would indeed be canceled.

The year ahead

There’s not much to predict when it comes to the year ahead in television. But a few things you can count on: game shows will still move the needle, late night talk shows will keep rolling out the A-list guests and the Bachelor franchise will keep bringing the drama.

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