Even more so than movies arguably, TV is an extremely fickle business. Every year, the countless networks that air programming green light a variety of pilots in the hope that the show will become a staple of their channel's lineup for years to come. Sometimes, the new show will go down in pop culture lore, having an extremely successful run that goes multiple seasons. Other times, the fresh program will fail to establish a connection with the viewers, leading to its cancelation after a short period of time.
Whenever a TV show is axed before its creators' intent, things have obviously gone bad. But sometimes, the network executives are willing to give the show runners a season or two to iron out any kinks and find their footing. Then there are the cases where a show is so awful, the people behind it have no choice but to pull the plug as soon as it's released to the public. Here is our list of 10 TV Shows Canceled After One Episode.
In the late 1970s, frat house comedies were all the craze thanks to the hit movie Animal House, and the television networks tried to capitalize on the craze. All of the attempts to replicate the Animal House formula failed, perhaps most notoriously with the CBS sitcom Co-Ed Fever. Revolving around an all-girls college that makes the decision to go co-ed, the show was plagued by an uninspired premise that tried to feature the comedy of college guys and gals trying to get along. Things took such a wrong turn that the show never even made its regularly scheduled time slot.
At the turn of the 21st century, people were just beginning to discover the wonders of the Internet. It was becoming obvious that the world wide web was going to have a large presence in mass media as we became more technologically advanced, and the TV networks wanted in on the party. In prophetic fashion, ABC foresaw the Internet as a breeding ground for hysterical hijinks and produced a clip show called Dot Comedy. It would feature a series of funny Internet videos with regular people looking to go viral with their 15 minutes of fame.
It honestly isn't the worst idea for a program, and in the years since, other channels have had success running a similar kind of show. However, ABC couldn't become a successful pioneer. Executives pulled the show after the first episode due to what they considered low ratings. The 4.1 million viewers Dot Comedy scored was actually a lower figure than the show it replaced in ABC's lineup, so there was a realistic cause for concern. If only ABC had waited a few more years, they might have had a real winner.
Hollywood is no stranger to portraying the fears people have when going through a midlife crisis. But the period before that can be just as terrifying, as youngsters are forced to confront the realities of growing up and settling down. That was the idea behind NBC's Quarterlife, a show that was based on a very successful web series that featured a twenty-something transitioning to the next phase in real time. The hope was for the network TV version to attract a similar following as its inspiration, but the audience size couldn't have been more different when it was all said and done.
In a shocking twist of failure for NBC, the premiere episode of Quarterlife actually generated lower ratings than the Democratic Presidential debate happening at the same time on MSNBC. With viewers clearly uninterested in seeing someone else attempt to deal with their "problems," the network swiftly canceled the show before further damage could be done. To ensure their investment was not a total loss, NBC sent the remaining episodes produced to their sister station Bravo, but that clearly was not enough to save it from being a catastrophe.
Legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his family were at the center of one of MTV's most famous reality programs, The Osbournes, so Fox thought they had a winning formula when they brought the clan in for a new show. Titled Osbournes Reloaded, it was a variety program that even had the backing of the American Idol producers. It sounded entertaining enough on paper, but when viewers got to see it on the screen, the results were pretty ugly.
Labeled by critics as "Must-Flee TV," Osbournes Reloaded struggled to draw in viewers and failed miserably with critics. It turns out, seeing the Osbournes work "real jobs" in a fast food drive-thru and Ozzy acting out comedy skits in drag didn't have much appeal, and the show was mercifully short-lived. Another factor that played into its early cancelation was concern about the content, as Fox executives weren't sure what would be shown was appropriate for network TV.