The history of television is filled with shows that were canceled after only one season or even one episode. The reason these quick cancellations happen can usually be attributed to some unexpected occurrence that forced a network to realize that a particular show just wasn’t going to work. Most of the time, these quick cancellations can be attributed to bad ratings or a specific controversy. Sometimes, internal productions issues force a series to call off production. Regardless, it’s rarely easy for a network to order the cancellation of a program that they invested time and money into after only a brief on-air run.
So imagine how hard it must be for a network to order the cancellation of a produced show before it ever even airs. There are very few shows in the history of television that were approved, shot (or partially shot), and canceled before a single episode could be broadcast. As you might imagine, most of the shows that suffer this fate are canned because they are the kind of awful programs that should have never been greenlit in the first place. In the case of some other shows, the story of their pre-debut cancellation is even more fascinating than the show itself could have ever been.
These are the 15 TV Shows That Were Canceled Before They Even Premiered.
15. Welcome to the Neighborhood
Back in 2005, someone at ABC greenlit a reality show/contest called Welcome to the Neighborhood. The premise of the show was that seven families would temporarily move into a very posh neighborhood and had the chance to win a house in said neighborhood. There were two catches. The winner would be determined by the residents of the neighborhood and the families who were competing for the house were all…non-traditional residents for this type of suburb. The Eckhardts, for instance, were a Native American Pagan family. The matriarch of the Morgans was a stripper. The Lees….well, the Lees were just a normal Korean family.
Oddly enough, organizations such as GLAAD actually gave the show their moral blessing. The groups most offended by the highly-offensive premise were conservatives who felt that the judges were portrayed as racists and the housing commission who deemed that the concept of the show violated certain housing laws. The full season was shot – the contest was won by a homosexual couple – but ABC never aired a single episode.
14. Manchester Prep
Back in the ‘90s, the WB network established a niche for themselves on the airwaves by broadcasting a series of shows starring teenage characters (usually played by 30-year old actors). In any case, the movement was popular enough that executives as Fox decided that they wanted to produce their own Dawson’s Creek. So, they greenlit a television prequel to the 1999 film Cruel Intentions called Manchester Prep. This show would have followed a group of students at a prestigious school and emphasized their various sexual relationships and other racy escapades.
At the time, it was reported that two episodes were filmed before Fox canceled the project due to “creative differences.” In subsequent years, it was revealed that the show was simply too raunchy, even for a network that made its name on the back of scandalous content. It’s not entirely clear just how explicit the show was, but murmurs of a steamy shower scene and a suggestive horse riding sequence have emerged since the cancellation.