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First to Be Canceled: The Least-Memorable TV Series of the Decade

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Friday, Nov 16, 2012
Old Television Set on Road. Image via Shutterstock.
What were the worst TV series of the past 12 years?

The fall season of new TV series is officially over, and two shows have already gotten the axe. CBS’ Made in Jersey and NBC’s Animal Practice have now joined a not-so-illustrious group of TV shows that were quickly canceled. While most canceled series could have just been saddled with a bad time slot, let’s take a look at the complete ratings disasters of the past 12 years. Shows that didn’t stay on the air for an entire season, or in some cases, a whole month. These are the series that were too weird, too stupid, or just too boring to stay on the air.
  
The fall season of new TV series is officially over, and two shows have already gotten the axe. CBS’ Made in Jersey and NBC’s Animal Practice have now joined a not-so-illustrious group of TV shows that were quickly canceled. While most canceled series could have just been saddled with a bad time slot, let’s take a look at the complete ratings disasters of the past 12 years. Shows that didn’t stay on the air for an entire season, or in some cases, a whole month. These are the series that were too weird, too stupid, or just too boring to stay on the air.


 

2011: The Playboy Club—September 19th to October 3rd.


Due to the success of Mad Men, NBC thought any source of 1960s kitsch possible would be a hit. So they focused an entire hour around the dramas of a bunch of bunny-bathing-suited waitresses, one of which was blackmailed for accidentally killing a man. Thankfully, this series was canceled after three episodes.


 

2010: Lone Star—September 20th to 28th.


FOX had high hopes for this critically adored drama about a conflicted conman who took barking orders from his corrupt father. The twist was that their scheme involved the son’s marriages to two different women. One was a blonde, the other was a brunette oil heiress, and he claimed to love them both. Typical. The other twist was that viewers didn’t care.


 

2009: Hank—September 30th to November 4th.


During an economic downturn, what do people want to watch? Certainly not a sitcom about a millionaire businessman who loses his fortune and has to move back to his hometown, that’s for sure. Regardless, Hank was painfully unfunny (most of the jokes in the pilot dealt with a fire-alarm bell that was mounted to his bedroom headboard) and implausible (his new house was huge!).


 

2008: Quarterlife—February 26th.


One of the first web series to be turned into a TV series, this was described as aspiring artists “coming of age” during their mid-20s. It actually consisted of people whining about their love lives in front of blurry, video chat-inspired screens. It only lasted for one very low-rated episode.


 

2007: Viva Laughlin—October 18th to 22nd.


Being compared to Cop Rock was not a good sign, but CBS still aired this musical about a man building a Nevada casino. It wasn’t a serious drama, and it wasn’t a comedy either. Whatever it was, it featured Ray Liotta singing Bachman-Turner Overdrive‘s “Let It Ride” in the first ten minutes.


 

2006: Emily’s Reasons Why Not—January 9th.


The powers that be at ABC freely admitted that they added this to their schedule without seeing a single episode. Based on a popular book, it was infamous for only airing one (highly offensive) episode before getting the boot.


 

2005: Who’s Your Daddy?—January 2nd


In what was perhaps the worst idea in the history of television, FOX gave the greenlight to a reality show in which a woman tried to select her biological father from a group of paid actors in order to win $100,000. This tastelessly tacky series was canceled after a single episode and some controversy. (The network eventually announced that the woman guessed correctly and won the cash prize.)


 

2004: Father of the Pride—August 31st to December 28th.


NBC teamed up with DreamWorks animation and Siegfried & Roy for this raunchy sitcom about performing animals in Las Vegas. Parents were outraged to see family-friendly characters like Shrek’s Donkey appearing in a show that featured cursing and “adult situations”, and critics argued that the show relied on stereotypes and was nothing but a corporate shill for NBC/DreamWorks projects. Still, the show managed to last half a season despite being expensive and receiving low ratings.


 

2003: Karen Sisco—October 1st to December 11th.


The year must have been a good year for fall TV pilots. This drama about a female US marshal was the first to fail, but it ended up having quite the afterlife. Airing for only a few episodes before ABC announced cancellation plans, it later aired on the USA network as rumor spread that a movie was in the works. In recent years, the character was spun-off into a re-occurring role on FX’s Justified as well.


 

2002: Push, Nevada—September 17th to October 24th.


Ben Affleck served as a co-writer on this mystery about an IRS agent looking for $1 million hidden in a Bible. The gimmick was that viewers could look for “clues” and win the same amount of money. Despite having a highly rated debut, audiences soon bored of the series. After its cancellation, the remaining clues were given away during a Monday Night Football game. Someone dialed the correct secret phone number and won over a million dollars.


 

2001: Bob Patterson—Oct 2nd to 31st.


ABC took a chance on a Seinfeld star starring as an arrogant, pessimistic self-help guru. Described by critics as the “biggest disappointment of the season”, ratings showed that people preferred to watch Frasier instead.


 

2000: The Michael Richards Show—Oct. 24th to December 19th.


NBC believed they could cash in on Seinfeld nostalgia by giving one of its stars a lead role as a bumbling but lucky detective. The network later tried to save its sagging ratings by making the character more “Kramer”-like, but it didn’t work.


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