Terry Morrow: Looking at 2012, Knoxville celebrity news

Dolly Parton

©2011 Alcon Film Fund, LLC

Dolly Parton

A look at what happened around here in 2012:

January: Production on "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" started for the Watson family of West Knoxville. Jenny McCarthy substituted for the missing Ty Pennington. Hundreds of volunteers fought snow and frigid temperatures to get the job done.

February: Two Knoxville-area natives earned Academy Awards. Rich Middlemas, a University of Tennessee graduate, earned his Oscar in the Best Documentary category for "Undefeated," the story of an underdog football team who want to change its fortunes with coach Bill Courtney. Gore Verbinski, who grew up in Oak Ridge, won his statue for directing and co-writing "Rango," the animated hit that stars his long-time friend Johnny Depp.

March: At the Women Today Expo, Giuliana Rancic talked of her life of woes. Following in the tradition of insufferable Expo guests like Patricia Heaton, Rancic was remembered more for her complaining backstage than anything else.

Knoxville teenager Birke Baehr, who's 13 and already a budding organic farmer and author, visited ABC's short-lived "The Revolution."

April: '90s sitcom star Park Overall (from NBC's "Empty Nest") declared herself a candidate for U.S. Senate, opposing Sen. Bob Corker.

May: Reality singing competition "Duets" featured Knoxville native Alexis Foster, who was eliminated early.

Dolly Parton hosted a date night for "The Bachelorette" at Dollywood.

June: Cheryl Burchett of Knoxville was a competitor on the premiere episode of reality competition "Craft Wars." Stars Dax Shepherd and Kristin Bell hosted a screening of their first film together, "Hit and Run."

July: Knoxville brothers Greg and Jim Mason were contestants on the "American Pickers" spin-off "Picked Off."

ESPY honored Pat Summitt for her courage on and off the court. Peyton Manning and Reese Witherspoon contributed to the evening.

August: The Bates family of Lake City got their own TLC series, "United Bates of America."

September: Katie Couric's "Katie" debuted and under performed on WATE, Channel 6.

October: Fourth-hour "Today" broadcast from The Hill at the University of Tennessee, with hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. The ratings were four times the norm on WBIR, Channel 10.

November: Knoxville native Jimmy Haslam premiered his new Travel Channel reality show about working with the Cleveland Browns.

Dolly Parton released a book "Dream More," based on her UT speech from three years ago. The cast of "Finding Bigfoot" went on a search of the creature around Knoxville.

"Extreme Makeover" aired its Knoxville episode, but the episode did not take the night on WATE.

December: "Django Unchained" premiered, the latest film from Knoxville native Quentin Tarantino and co-starring East Tennessee native Samuel L. Jackson. New comedy "This Is 40" featured Knoxville-area native Megan Fox.

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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