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2013 TV season: Winners and losers

Published 9:35 AM ET, Tue December 17, 2013
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Winner: "Breaking Bad" - Former chemistry teacher Walter White went out on his own terms -- and so did "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan, who proved that endings can be both sad, gratifying and timely. Frank Ockenfels/AMC
Winner: Netflix - That little service with the red DVD envelopes is all grown up. After emphasizing the streaming portion of its business, Netflix got into the original programming market and hit on all cylinders, topped by "House of Cards" and its nine Emmy nominations. Get ready for more. Netflix
Winner: "The Voice" - That OTHER singing talent show now has more buzz than the "Idol" whatchamacallit. "The Voice's" audience numbers have been consistently strong and its judging group of Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Cee-Lo Green have an easy camaraderie. What's not to like? Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Winner: "The Walking Dead" - The hit AMC series had more than 16 million viewers for its season 4 premiere in mid-October and averaged 13 million for season 4's first half overall. That's cemented its status as the top-rated scripted series on television, period. (Only "Sunday Night Football" does better.) The second half of season 4 starts February 9. Frank Ockenfels/AMC
Winner: Shonda Rhimes - The creator of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" is really riding a rocket with "Scandal," now in its third season. By shrewdly using social media, the show has become water cooler fare for its rabid audience and is one of the highest-rated dramas on TV. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly
Winner: James Spader - More than a quarter century after "Pretty in Pink," James Spader still give his projects a jolt. The latest is "The Blacklist," an NBC show that's gotten mixed reviews -- too violent or too predictable, say some critics -- but the opinion on Spader's Red Reddington is full of praise. He'll be back in the multiplex soon as well, joining the cast of the next Avengers movie as the villainous Ultron. Barbara Nitke/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Winner: James Wolk - "Mad Men" had an uneven year, but that Bob Benson character had everybody talking. And "The Crazy Ones" is still finding its footing, but art director Zach Cropper knows how to mix it up with Robin Williams' Simon Roberts. Wolk plays both Benson and Cropper. Expect to see a lot more of him. Sonja Flemming/CBS/Gety Images
Loser: "American Idol" - There was a time when "American Idol" was can't-miss TV. Now it's frequently missed, with ratings for the season 12 finale down 40% from the previous year. And who does watch? Folks over 50. "It's become your grandparents' 'American Idol,'" one analyst told the Hollywood Reporter. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Loser: AMC - On the surface, the former American Movie Classics is doing well -- just look at "The Walking Dead." But with the demise of "Breaking Bad" and the slow fade out of "Mad Men," which should have ended next year but is now being extended to 2015, the network is at a turning point. "Low Winter Sun" failed, and "The Killing" couldn't come back. Can it have both ratings and high quality? "Better Call Saul," right? Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for AMC
Loser: Thursday nights on NBC - Remember when Thursday nights on NBC meant "Must See TV?" Well with this season's lineup of the disappointingly performing "Sean Saves the World," "The Michael J. Fox Show," "Parenthood" and "Parks & Recreation" those days are long gone. Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Loser: Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Commercially, ABC's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." started out well. But it hasn't broken out despite the fanboy buzz, and critics are hoping for improvement. It better hope there aren't more Victoria's Secret fashion shows in the future. Justin Lubin/ABC
Loser: Network television - Let's be honest, who is paying much attention to network TV when there is so much richness now available on demand? Sure there are some good shows, but the networks probably wish that you were watching them live along with the commercials. But you aren't, are you? Photo Illustration/Shutterstock
Loser: "Dads" -- If you're Fox, you want to keep Seth MacFarlane happy. But does that mean airing "a cynical cash-grab" of "poorly executed hatefulness" in the words of the Onion A.V. Club? Perhaps it depends on how much cash you're grabbing. "Dads" didn't quite get a full-season pickup, but it did survive so someone must be happy. Seth Green, right, and Giovanni Ribisi star. Fox
Loser: Patience - Binge-watching. Live tweeting. Instant reviews. Hair-trigger cancellations. Whether it's the broadcasters or the viewers, almost nobody lets TV simmer anymore. What would Paddy Chayefsky say? Jessica Hromas/Getty Images