At one time, watching television meant the whole family gathered in the living room or den and all watched their favorite shows together, even though we sometimes disagreed on our favorites. By the end of the 20th Century, most homes had 2, 3 or more tv sets in the house, and we did "our own thing." Today, people can even watch their favorite shows on their cell phones (aka smartfones), on computers, and even on a wrist watch.
In all respects, the various devices pull in thousands of viewers on a daily basis. With that in mind, there are countless books, magazines, newspapers, and other media, radio, internet, etc., that highlight (past and present) those folks who created a major stir in the world of television from the years 2000 to the present. If we omit some, please let us know.
So...what HAS changed? Some of the most popular of curremt tv shows revolve around what is known as REALITY TV, Reality television is a television programminggenre that presents purportedly unscripted melodramatic or "humorous" situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded. Reality television actually began in 1948 with Alan Funt's TV series Candid Camera. However, the genre exploded as a phenomenon around 1999–2000 with the success of such television series as Big Brother and Survivor and continued into the 21st Century in programs that often are produced in a television series. It offers viewers a glimpse into the lives of people that might otherwise not be seen. It can also be seen as a platform for the subjects of the programs, to clear up misconceptions, and show their story or struggle (losing weight on THE BIGGEST LOSER, finding a way out LOST, etc.).
Science Fiction, too, has a long been among the most popular of tv series in the past...think OUTER LIMITS. DR WHO, STAR TREK, TWILIGHT ZONE and others. In the past, however, monsters were just that. And viewers usually realized that science fiction was just that. No one believed THE MUNSTERS were a real family. In current tv shows, the so-called monsters of yesterday have become the heroes of today with Vampires leading the pack (VAMPIRE DIARIES, TRUE BLOOD) and such far-fetched ideas as time travel are portrayed as infinitely possible (STARGATE/STARGATE ATLANTIS) and thus the fantasy part of science fiction has become more like reality (MERLIN, SUPERNATURAL).
TV.COM has done an excellent job of synthesizing the top television shows of all time, including not only the top shows for the 2000's but also the shows that are the most popular of each of the past couple of years. In this synthesis, they have given the logo for the show, when it appeared on tv, its major stars and a synthesis of the plot. Rather than reiterate all that information here, check out this link to that site. (Also, be sure to check out the side bar navigation menu on that site where you can see a complete history of the most popular tv shows of all time.)
AS FOR THE PAST 12 YEARS OR SO, MOST RESEARCHERS AGREE THAT THESE HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE MOST WATCHED SHOWS IN TELEVISION HISTORY: (MORE TV SETS IN MOST HOUSEHOLDS OR TRULY GREAT TELEVISION SHOWS FOR THE FIRST TIME? YOUR THOUGHTS??) For detailed information on these and other popular shows, check out www.tv.com.(see link above).