“It never should have been a network show…From the first three minutes, I knew it wasn’t right.”
Creating a television series takes a lot of time and effort from its cast and crew — and it all culminates with a long-awaited debut on TV. But no matter how much work went into the show, sometimes it just doesn’t resonate with viewers. And when audiences aren’t interested, television networks are forced to make a tough decision about the show.
While these series are sometimes given the chance to redeem themselves after an unsuccessful first premiere episode, on a few rare occasions, they’re given the ax immediately. After only one episode, the network resolves that it’s just not worth moving forward and the series are unfortunately never aired again.
Read on to find out which shows weren’t given a second chance…
In 2014, Mark Wahlberg produced a reality show about blue-collar women in Boston trying to better their lives. “Breaking Boston” premiered on A&E but it didn’t last more than a week. Unfortunately, the network deemed the premiere’s 311,000 viewers not enough to keep things going. According to Variety, the show was canceled due to its “underperformance.”
Several years after the Osbourne family’s hit reality show wrapped up, Fox attempted to bring the family back to TV. “Osbournes Reloaded” was a variety show hosted by Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly, which was set to feature sketches, stunts and parody skits as well as a musical guest. Sadly, it didn’t have the same success as the original show and only aired one episode, which was edited down from an hour to just 35 minutes. After the first episode was panned by critics, it was ultimately canceled.
David Hasselhoff also gave reality TV a shot when “The Hasselhoffs” premiered back in 2010. The show was set to follow the family as David helped guide his daughters Taylor Ann and Hayley to pursue careers in entertainment. Less than a million people tuned in when the show debuted on A&E and it was canceled just a few days later. Even though eight episodes of the series had been taped, only the first two episodes shown on premiere night were ever aired.
When DC Comics premiered “Swamp Thing” in 2019, things didn’t quite work out for the program. The series was based on the DC Comics character Swamp Thing, who is half-human, half-plant, and featured “Teen Wolf” star Crystal Reed. During production, the first season’s number of episodes was reduced to 10 from 13 but it didn’t even make it that far. Just a week after debuting on DC’s streaming service, DC Universe, the show was canceled due to alleged budgeting issues.
5. “Secret Talents of the Stars”
In 2008, celebrities were given a chance to share their hidden talents with the world on “Secret Talents of the Stars.” The competition reality show featured George Takei, Clint Black, and Mya on the first episode, but viewers just weren’t interested. The premiere had 4.6 million viewers who continually tuned out as the hour progressed. Just a day later, CBS canceled the show and no further episodes were aired.
Following the premiere of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” another family was given their moment in the spotlight. Unfortunately, “The Bussey Bunch” didn’t capture viewers’ attention like the Kardashians. The TLC program about a family that promoted professional wrestling was taken off the network’s schedule just a week after its premiere. And not only was it removed from the schedule but it was also totally scrubbed from the website, which was reportedly a shock to everyone involved.
Back in the early 2000s, “Quarterlife” was a massively successful web series on MySpace. Eventually, the show about a group of artists in their twenties was acquired by NBC. At the time, the network aimed to turn the eight-minute episodes into a primetime show. But when it premiered in 2008, it didn’t attract the same kind of attention as it did online. The series flopped and pulled historically low ratings for the network. Soon after, it was canceled.
“It never should have been a network show. It’s too specific. From the first three minutes [of watching the show on TV] I knew it wasn’t right,” co-creator Marshall Herskovitz said.
In 2005, “The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss tried to branch out to another kind of reality show but it didn’t work out as planned. The show, called “The Will,” revolved around a multi-millionaire called “The Benefactor,” whose family and friends had to compete to inherit his beloved ranch in Kansas. The series only aired one episode before it was canceled by CBS. No further episodes made it to the small screen.
9. “Emily’s Reasons Why Not”
“Emily’s Reasons Why Not,” based on the book of the same name, premiered on ABC in 2006 but didn’t last more than a night. The series, which starred Heather Graham, followed a relationship self-help author who was ironically unlucky in love herself and decided to try a new method to find her match. Despite ABC putting big money into promoting the show, it received bad ratings and poor reviews, leading to its quick cancellation.
Lauren Jones may have been popular as a model on “The Price Is Right” and as a WWE Diva but she didn’t have the same success on reality TV. In 2007, “Anchorwoman” cameras followed Lauren on her path to becoming a news anchor in a small town in Texas. The partially scripted, partially improvised show didn’t resonate with viewers (or serious news anchors) and was canceled after one episode. While the rest of the episodes weren’t aired on TV, they became available to stream online.
Back in 2002, “Beware of Dog” premiered on Animal Planet but the sitcom didn’t get any further airtime. The show, which followed a border collie who was adopted after tricking a family into thinking he was injured, got mixed reviews from viewers before it was ultimately canceled by the network.
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