Time’s Best: HBO’s “The Wire” was named the top TV show of the year in Time’s Person of the Year issue, capping a season in which its depiction of the drug trade and its impact on four inner-city schoolboys was interspersed with a cast of politicians and government officials seemingly stuck in inertia to do anything about it. Time’s columnist Joe Klein gave the show’s creator David Simon one of his Teddy Awards, given to people who made their mark in the year. Klein writes: “It is, quite simply, the smartest show I’ve seen about the drama of public life, the corrosive cynicism of bureaucracies, the creativity and futility of the inner-city poor. And next season Simon is taking on the Baltimore media. I cringe and can’t wait.” With his “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore also gets a Teddy.
Air America Sale: There’s a letter of intent to sell the liberal broadcaster, although details are sketchy. The New York Times covers the ups and downs of the network, and looks at the emergence of Ed Schultz as a new competitor to Al Franken. Franken is likely to run for the Minnesota Senate seat held by Norm Coleman, who faces reelection in 2008.
Buster is Back: Even though underwriters dried up, PBS’s children’s show “Postcards from Buster” has returned this season. The show, which stars and animated bunny and his friends, came under fire last year when Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings was offended by an episode featuring a Vermont family with two moms. With new backers including the Annenberg Foundation, the show only has enough money for 10 episodes but it is still tackling such issues as the war in Iraq and the U.S.-Mexican border. And next season Buster will go to China, Africa and the Middle East.
Damon Stirs the Pot: On his tour for the CIA history pic “The Good Shepherd” along with director Robert DeNiro and actress Angelina Jolie, actor Matt Damon suggests that maybe there should be a draft for the war in Iraq. He says on Chris Matthews’ “Hardball”: “If you’re gonna send people to war, ahh, if, if we all get together and decide we need to go to war then that needs to be shared by everybody. You know and if the President has daughters who are of age then maybe they should go too…” Damon, DeNiro and Jolie appear on Charlie Rose tonight.
FCC Vote: Bills to make it easier for Verizon and AT&T enter the TV business — and compete with cable operators — stalled in Congress this year, but the FCC will vote on Wednesday on a measure designed to make it easier. The telcos still have to go to each local government to get approval, but the FCC measure would limit City Halls to a 90-day review and would prohibit them from adding extra requirements like new playgrounds and parks as the cost of entry. Texas and California already have laws permitting statewide licenses. While the argument in favor is increased competition, there already has been skepticism that will happen. With statewide franchises, cable companies benefit in their own way, but it hasn’t appeased angry customers. And in California, there’s been much grumbling about Time Warner’s conversion of the former Adelphia systems having left many customers with service interruptions, forcing customers to complain at the state, not local, level.
Olbermann Seeks Raise: B&C’s Max Robins reports that MSNBC’s newly emboldened host Keith Olbermann is seeking a pay increase “north of $4 million a year.”
Warner in Race Again?: Former Virigina Gov. Mark Warner is said to be having second thoughts about running for President, after all.
“You” Reconsidered: NBC’s Brian Williams laments Time’s Person of the Year, which is “You.” He worries about the effect that it will have on democracy, because we’ll be so obsessed with posting our thoughts or looking at our Blackberrys. (Here: Guilty as charged). He writes in Time: “The danger just might be that we miss the next great book or the next great idea, or that we fail to meet the next great challenge … because we are too busy celebrating ourselves and listening to the same tune we already know by heart.”