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November 4, 2017  | By David Bianculli  | 15 comments


TV Worth Watching turns 10 years old this weekend – a proper time for a fond look back, and, if you’d like, a chance for you to share your opinions and memories as well…

The year was 2007. At that point, I had already clocked 32 years as a TV critic for various daily newspapers, from Florida’s The Gainesville Sun in 1975 to my then-current employer, the New York Daily News, where I’d worked for 14 years. But that arrangement was to end that November, so it was on to Plan B. And C. And D.

I still had, and have, my treasured gig as TV critic and guest host for NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, but my Plan B was to shift to becoming a full-time professor. That would take a year before I could be hired, so I got a contract and wrote my long-dormant book on the Smothers Brothers (Plan C).

And planning a website that would launch just as the Daily News and I were parting ways – that was Plan D. And on Nov. 5, 2007, TV Worth Watching was born. Chris Spurgeon, a long-time friend from the early days of Fresh Air, was the behind-the-scenes web guy who put that initial iteration together. And that 2007 version was based on designs and guidance from Eric Gould, an even longer-time friend, going all the way back to Nova High School in Davie, FL, who ran an architectural firm in Boston, but loved to play at photography and design.

I spoke to Eric as I was planning the website, and sent him a mockup I’d put together, limited by my own pathetic design skills. Published for the first time anywhere, here is that really sad first draft of TVWW history: Eric took one look at it, and said, don’t hand that to a designer. Before you go shopping for a web designer, why not let me clean it up a bit? So I did, and he did, and he sent me something that looked like this, one of the first home pages we published:


And when I saw that, I just said, who needs another designer? Eric’s been with the site from the start, and ever since, which he probably regrets daily. But this is a long, genuine expression of gratitude – because TVWW, very quickly, became a safe haven, and friendly island, for other TV critics interested in quality TV to come write and play. And, most important, a place for like-minded readers to come and visit, and interact with us, and each other, about the best TV ever made.

Along the way, TVWW has had some invaluable co-conspirators. Diane Werts, as both a columnist and an editor. Christy Slewinsky, who succeeded Diane and helmed this site beautifully until her untimely death in 2013. And Linda Donovan, who, with Eric, has been editing the site for years now, as more and more writers keep contributing more and more wonderful articles.

Over the past decade, we’ve had 15 columnists for TVWW, including Diane and Christy, who have come and gone, and whose work is preserved in our archives. But we also have an equal number still on our active roster, including Ed Bark, who has been there almost from the beginning, and Tom Brinkmoeller, who writes on occasion, but each occasion is welcome.

Currently, our biggest workhorses are TV critics Bark, David Hinckley and Alex Strachan. If you’re a regular reader of TVWW, doubtless, by now, you’re a fan of all three. And our other folks all deserve mention, and thanks, as well: TV critics Bill Brioux, Ed Martin, and Roger Catlin. Former TV critics Brinkmoeller, Gerald Jordan, Noel Holston, and Jonathan Storm. And media academics – full-time professors, like me (or, professor, is it I?) – including Gary Edgerton, Candace Kelley, Kim Akass and Janet McCabe. And our own online media guru, Karle Dunbar, who inherited the job performed so well, for so long, by Gabriela Tamariz. And Monique Nazareth, who doesn’t quite fall into any of those categories, but contributes valuable perspectives and interviews regardless.

Just listing those names, to thank them, makes me realize how many people have helped make TVWW a success, or at least kept it running, for a decade now. And the other names I’d like to add are those of you, the readers – many of whom we at TVWW all know by name, because you chime in so frequently and so passionately.  But a general, all-encompassing thank you will have to do, because here at TVWW, I don’t get paid by the word.

But the hope, moving forward, is that very soon, TVWW will join hands with a like-minded partner, to help the site grow and thrive. If so, we’ll have you to thank, for keeping us alive, and inspired, since 2007. And if not, we’ll have you to thank anyway.

For now, though, happy 10th anniversary, TVWW. If you’ve read all the way through this, and would like to reply by posting your own thoughts or memories about the site, or maybe a specific show we alerted you to along the way, all of us here at TVWW would appreciate it.

Just like we appreciate quality TV. And you.

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While surfing the web, this blog has been led.
There are many very fresh posts. Enough to get my attention. I'll come to check often.

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Feb 6, 2023   |  Reply
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Apr 28, 2022   |  Reply
E. Lomke
You are the Voice Of The Baby Boom Generation, the first to grow up with & on TV. Your ingenious site captures both the seriousness & funk of TV (as we knew it, now ever-changing) at its best. Congratulations...a month late: I never miss a deadline!
Dec 4, 2017   |  Reply
TV worth celebrating is right! Congratulations on 10 years, David and Co.! I'm grateful for my time here and all the gifted writers who keep me up to speed on what's good and what's not. Oh, and I couldn't list less than 100 shows you've alerted me too so I'll spare you. Here's to 10 more years. Cheers!
Nov 13, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Angela: You're one of our favorites here at TVWW... amazingly loyal, smartly opinionated, unfailingly friendly. So, so glad to count you among our readership. And, as a valued and prolific poster, our writership. -DB
Nov 15, 2017
Amy H
I've been reading your work since the New York Daily News. Thanks for all you and your team do and for highlighting shows I would not otherwise know about. Keep up the great work and Happy Anniversary!!
Nov 9, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Amy: Thanks a lot... because you've been reading me for a lot of years now. I appreciate it, and you. And yes, my team. What a great group of criminally undercompensated, impressively overtalented writers. -DB
Nov 15, 2017
Margaret Wermer
The majority of my friends don't even watch or have tv so I have been very grateful to have my love of television supported by someone who can help me find the best shows, and not feel so alone in my tv watching.
Nov 8, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Margaret: You can always imagine one of us here at TVWW watching TV with you, virtually. Thanks for being here. -DB
Nov 9, 2017
Kathy Wilson
I have followed your impressive career since your early days at the Gainsville Sun. It is clear how passionate you are about the quality of your work. TVWW is a perfect example.
Congratulations for 10 great years. My continued wishes for your success. Happy upcoming birthday!
Nov 7, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Kathy: Very, very funny, and very dry, comment. Much appreciated. As I recall, when I was in my early days at the Gainesville Sun, that's when we got married. So thanks for 25 (mostly great) years, and two totally great kids. I'm glad we're still friends more than 15 years post-divorce... and glad you're a TVWW reader, too. We texted yesterday. Let's talk tonight. Call me. -DB
Nov 9, 2017
Kathy Muisiner
Congratulations TVWW from someone who has followed you for most of your 10 years, and will continue to do so. Christy introduced her mother to you at the Daily News many years ago, David and to TVWW when she worked along side you at this site along with many others. I have continued to follow TVWW and enjoyed the wonderful contributors. I'm sure, my daughter would be the first one in line with a smile, and the biggest CONGRATULATIONS to all. Since, she can't be here to do that...I will, say it for her. With love, Kathy
Nov 7, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Kathy: Your daughter, Christy, was not only our star editor, she was our guiding star - and, to be honest, we're still a little directionless without her, and miss her and think of her almost daily. But I'm sure you can see me and raise me on both those scores. I hope it helps, a little, to know that you raised a truly remarkable and lovely young woman. Her spirit continues here at TVWW - and, on the This Day in TV History feature, so does a lot of her journalism. I hope you're well, and thank you so much for both reading, and writing, to check in. -DB
Nov 8, 2017
Mark N
A serious congrats to my most important daily visit. I have loved talking to you Dave and you put us thru hell wondering how you were...but all is forgiven...and I have to say that when you continued Extras, you made me a happy man. Thanks to all contributors for their considered and thoughtful coverage and recommendations. I remain a follower for life and grateful TV watcher with your assistance. Thanks Dave
Nov 7, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Mark: Thanks so much! "Extras" was a great idea for its time - but its time, I'm afraid, was pre-Internet. Now there's no thrill for readers seeing their name published... all they have to do is post a comment. That said, I love tat you have, and do... and when readers are as polite and smart as the ones at TVWW, this more democratic process is indeed a pleasure. - DB
Nov 8, 2017
Diane Werts
Congrats, Dave, on achieving 10 years here. I know it's harder than it looks. (So to speak.)
Nov 6, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Hey, Diane!!!! You sure do know how hard it is -- more than almost anyone. Half of them, at least, are largely due to you as well, so thanks again. This reminds me we haven't caught up in a while. Call when you can, and fill me in... I have the same top-secret phone number. The one that rings like the presidential hot line phone in "In Like Flint." Hi to Rich! - DB
Nov 7, 2017
My claim to reading Bianculli goes back to the Philly Inkwire(aka Inky)golden era- the short period when it was a Newspaper Worth Reading. Teleliteracy was a gift from a friend who knew my interest in mass media. David's time on Fresh Air made perfect sense,which is why it is Must Hear Radio. Daily online reading of local,national and world news,sports during baseball season,comics and entertainment reading that is gossip-free. AFAIC,the more voices here,the better. Hopefully,the next stage of TVWW has an easy-access comment page for even more voices. That means constant monitoring. One forum I frequent uses volunteers,named Gorts (after The Day The Earth Stood Still), to monitor the sandbox. When implemented properly, it can be quite rewarding. In this age of many thoughtful choices,many thoughtful voices should be heard.
Nov 6, 2017   |  Reply
David-I certainly would like to be considered. It is not an honor,it is a responsibility. I suspect a drawback would be that I'm not tech savvy-no smartphone,no Twitter-but I certainly make up for that in time,energy and advocating all voices,especially folks yearning to further explore the magic box. Imagine when you were a kid writing your TV diaries if you had a place to share with others. Many of the shows and topics explored on TV are adult in content but this site can be a porthole to understanding what is available and finding the good stuff. To moderate I know I have to set an example of fairness and encouraging everyone to think before they write and think about who will read it. Communications 101.
Nov 9, 2017
David Bianculli
Dear Mac: You are, indeed, a very familiar, welcome, and often funny voice here at TVWW, and any improvements we make - if we find a way to make them - will indeed include finding easier ways to have readers be an even stronger part of the conversation. Just asking: If we go that way, are you volunteering to be a TVWW Gort? -DB
Nov 7, 2017
Jonathan Storm
Congratulations, David. From a minimal contributor but a big fan.
Nov 5, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Jon -- As either Groucho or Woody use to say, if it gets any hotter in here, I could use a big fan. You're always welcome here... and we should catch up in person soon. Have your people call my people. -DB
Nov 6, 2017
Scott Atkinson
Thanks, David and contributors! I visit every day and have bought the book, which I will read on vacation. I think I learned about The Detectorists here. What a tremendous show.
Nov 5, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Scott: Thanks so much. I hope you enjoy reading the book on vacation. After writing it, I needed one - but ended up in the hospital for a month instead. -DB
Nov 5, 2017
Jay Gold
I was aware of David's work from Teleliteracy, and I shared his admiration for The Singing Detective. But I didn't discover TVWW until about six years ago. Reading it soon became part of my morning routine. I can't tell you how many fine shows I've seen that I wouldn't have watched - or perhaps even known about - had TVWW not cited them as "worth watching". I've also found the TVWW Seal of Approval a reliable guide to older shows. May the site go on forever!
Nov 4, 2017   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Dear Jay: Anyone who remembers Teleliteracy is an old and valued reader and friend indeed. TVWW is celebrating 10 years, but that book, my first, is now celebrating 25. How time flies, whether you're having fun or not. Thanks for the good wishes, nice comments, and continued loyalty! -DB
Nov 5, 2017
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