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Accusations of sexual misconduct by prominent men figured prominently in the list of most-searched-for people. Lauer, whom NBC News fired on Nov. 30, was No. 1 on that list, which also included the disgraced movie executive Harvey Weinstein and the actor Kevin Spacey at fourth and fifth, respectively.
The sports list knocks a hole in Americans' view of themselves as the center of the universe. The Super Bowl wasn't even the most-searched-for sporting event of the year — that was the Wimbledon tennis championships. And the Tour de France ranked higher than the World Series.
As for the most-searched-for meme of the year, well, that was "Cash Me Outside," the memorable statement made on "The Dr. Phil Show" by a 13-year-old girl in September 2016.
The girl, Danielle Bregoli, whose mother wanted Phil McGraw's help with stopping her daughter's bad behavior, responded to ridicule from the audience by blurting out: "Catch me outside, how about that?" in a nearly indecipherable accent. (Her mom had to translate what came across as "Cash me ousside, how bah dah?" for the audience.)
The video quickly morphed into a meme that blanketed the world for the first half of 2017. But Danielle got the last laugh — she became so famous that, in August, she released a rap single, "These Heaux" (i.e., "these hoes"), which hit Billboard's Top 100 and won her a recording contract under the stage name Bhad Babie.
Top 10 searches on Google worldwide in 2017:
13 Reasons Why
India National Cricket Team
Top 10 searches on Google in the United States in 2017:
Las Vegas shooting
Mayweather vs McGregor fight
Alex Johnson is a reporter and editor for NBC News based in Los Angeles.