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THE BEST ØF TELEVISION

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THE MOST BRILLIANT piece of television in 2016 was ESPN's ambitious and exhaustive 30 for 30 documentary on O.J. Simpson—O.J.: Made in America. Thrilling and uncompromising, it clocks in at seven hours and 43 minutes. Director Ezra Edelman succeeded wildly in examining the dual narrative of Simpson's rise and fall amid the racial climate in Los Angeles. The principal filmmakers conducted interviews with 72 people. Nothing that appeared this year was better.

HONORABLE MENTION:

• Fox's MLB postseason studio show produced a six-minute video of Pete Rose giving hitting instructions (and telling batting stories) to fellow analysts Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas. Eavesdropping on a conversation between hitters with a combined 9,839 hits made for great TV, and Fox was rewarded with unheard of social metrics for a studio show clip: The video attracted 12 million Facebook views.

• When ESPN marshals its immense resources to educate, entertain and report, it is an unmatched sports media organization. Such was the network's comprehensive coverage of the death of Muhammad Ali. To wit: The announcement of it was made by Los Angeles--based SportsCenter anchors Neil Everett and Stan Verrett at 12:28 a.m. EDT on June 4. The network then produced commercial-free coverage from 12:28 a.m. until 4:14 a.m. EDT and resumed live coverage from 6 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

• Working for Westwood One as the radio voice of Monday Night Football, Kevin Harlan described in epic fashion a drunken man running onto the field during a dreadful Niners-Rams game on Sept. 12. Speaking for many, LeBron James—who was immortalized by the Harlan call "LeBron James with no regard for human life!"—tweeted, "I thought when u said 'He has no regard for human life!!' was the best ever but this [takes] the cake."