The London 2012 Summer Olympics have been huge for NBC in terms of ratings, but major sporting events generally are. One of the huge television stories of the summer was the fight between DirecTV and Viacom that resulted in Viacom blacking out cable channels like MTV and Comedy Central. According to NPR's On the Media, sports was at the heart of the problem.
For me, summer TV has always been about cable. I've been fascinated with the Olympics, so I've watched more of NBC in the first week of the games than I have all year probably. The other broadcast networks either air re-runs or reality shows like Big Brother. All of the new programming came by way of cable channels, programming you won't find on mainstream TV, and that's really what I wanted to focus.
Both Charlie Sheen and Aaron Sorkin returned to TV this summer. Both were delivered via cable wires. Magic Johnson also launched his own cable channel on June 27 to Comcast subscribers, which caters to an older, African-American audience. Other cable networks catered to the same. TBS gave us Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse. TV Land gave us Cedric the Entertainer and Niecy Nash in The Soul Man. VH1 brought back Single Ladies, a funny and sexy show that's just meant to be summer filler.
Honestly, most shows that air between May and September are nothing but filler, the equivalent of popcorn movies. Yet, there are some really grade-A shows that are on the TV wires that I would recommend people check out. Some of these shows are Emmy-nominated and are due for accolades. Others are just fun diversions but great in so many ways.
Best Summer TV Shows of 2012
1. INSIDE MEN (BBC America)
2. WEB THERAPY: SEASON 2 (Showtime)
3. BREAKING BAD: SEASON 5 (AMC)
4. TEEN WOLF: SEASON 2 (MTV)
5. TRUE BLOOD: SEASON 5 (HBO)
6. IN THE BIG HOUSE (LOGO)
7. 1 GIRL, 5 GAYS (LOGO)