Pop Culture

Top 5 TV stories of 2011

EPA, Getty Images (2) / Today
Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed, Giuliana Rancic and Russell Armstrong all caught Clicker readers' attention in 2011.

Television -- both scripted and reality -- gave people plenty to talk about in 2011. From Kim Kardashian's four-hour wedding extravaganza in October (and the subsequent unraveling of that marriage, airing now on "Kourtney & Kim Take New York") to ballroom fights on "Dancing With the Stars" and the shocking season and midseason finales and beyond, the action never let up.

But with so many big stories, which ones reigned supreme with Clicker readers?

Surprisingly, it was real life, and not exactly reality TV.

Giuliana Rancic's reveal during her Oct. 17 appearance on TODAY that she was in the early stages of breast cancer shocked readers and became our most popular story of the year. Many were inspired by her tale and her urging for all women to get mammograms, and chimed in on our Facebook page to share their support and stories: "I'm glad she came forward," wrote Tiffany Sanders. "She's encouraging women without a family history of breast cancer to get tested. And as a breast cancer survivor, I'm sure you can understand." Since revealing her diagnosis, Rancic has undergone a double mastectomy, and two weeks later, was back at work.

More real-life bad news took the No. 2 spot: the suicide of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" husband Russell Armstrong in mid August, just weeks before the second season was set to premiere. The first season of the Bravo reality show had depicted the marital issues between Russell and wife Taylor, who filed for divorce in July. Season two, which is currently airing, continues to reveal the pair's marriage problems -- but on a much more serious note, with allegations of physical abuse arising.

Next up? More real life caught on tape for reality TV, but this one has a happy ending. (So far.) One day before "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" premiered its sixth season, the KISS rocker and longtime love Shannon Tweed appeared on "Kathie Lee and Hoda" to promote their A&E show, but things did not go smoothly. Instead, a chilly Tweed slammed the father of her children and lover of 28 years every chance she got, calling their lengthy relationship "a b----" and noting that unlike Simmons, "other men are good." The rocker apparently worked some amazing magic after that appearance, as the couple finally tied the knot in October.

Will they or won't they? Mysteries are often good reads, and in this case, good TV news too. After actor Charlie Sheen's public tirade against "Two and a Half Men" boss Chuck Lorre, production on the show was ultimately shut down for the rest of the eighth season and the star fired. As juicy as all of that was, it was the first rumors that the show would not just write off, but kill off Charlie Harper that really caught readers' attention. Yes, the actor's playboy bachelor character was laid to rest in the season nine premiere, thanks to a nutty girlfriend and an on-coming train.

Seems the blame game may have been pretty popular with reality TV too, and "American Idol" hopeful Jacob Lusk's alleged version of it rounds out our top 5 list of most popular stories in The Clicker. The gospel crooner was booted from the singing competition and finished in fifth place in May after his iffy song choice of the Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown duet "No Air." In a conference call with reporters, Lusk said that though it was tough to get criticized by "Idol" mentor Jimmy Iovine, he had no complaints about the record honcho. Off the record and to those close to him, the singer seemingly told another story. A source close to the crooner told TMZ that Lusk said he took bad song advice from the man who had a big role in Eminem and Lady Gaga's rise to megafame.

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