For the past decade Simon Cowell's caustic put-downs to desperate singers drove an era of mean TV where it seemed the nastier the treatment the higher the ratings.
Every new talent show launched around the world needed its own version of Mr Nasty, from acid-tongued Aussie Jason Gardiner on Dancing On Ice to Cowell clone Piers Morgan on America's Got Talent.
But moods are changing and, according to senior industry figures, 2012 is likely to herald an era where TV finally turns nice. BBC1's highly anticipated new Saturday night talent show, The Voice, which launches in the spring, features friendly faces Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates as hosts.
The biggest contrast to its main rival, The X Factor, is that the judges - Tom Jones, Jesse J, Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am and Danny O'Donoghue (from rock band The Script, apparently) - have an agreement with producers that they will offer only positive encouragement to the singers who audition.
Soul-destroying feedback is being replaced by uplifting motivation, which Beeb bosses believe will be a ratings winner in the current climate and was behind its decision to splash out £22 million on the Dutch format.
In the U.S., The Voice, with the same positive approach, outperformed the recently launched American version of The X Factor. In fact, Cowell - the architect of mean TV - has been forced to significantly lighten his show by adding upbeat video packages featuring the contestants in church and with their families.
Back here, many in the industry have attributed the ratings fall suffered by The X Factor this year compared with main rival Strictly Come Dancing to the difference in tone between the two shows.
Viewers reacted against the constant rows between Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh on the ITV show. Meanwhile, over on Strictly, even resident villain Craig Revel Horwood lost some of his infamous bite, with his criticisms more pantomime than spiteful.
There are a number of factors behind the decision by TV executives to launch lighter, more inspirational shows and soften those they believe have become too negative.