Saturday, March 22, 2008

T Dog's Think Tank: The TV Hall of Shame

What happens when you move a late-night show into prime-time? Disaster. This was happened to NBC when those geniuses at the Peacock gave Jay Leno a weeknight prime-time show - a move panned by critics and audiences alike.

(Editor's Note: This was updated on 2011-04-20.)

Oh, hi. Didn't see you come in. Welcome to The T Dog Media Blog Hall of Shame. I'm Terence, your master of ceremonies, and I am here to welcome you to the horror! The stench! The horrible stale smell of bad TV!

You've heard of Me-TV? Welcome to Flee-TV.

Ted McGinley, our newest usher, is here to present you with a complimentary gift basket just for stopping by. In it, you'll receive a copy of Windows Vista; a gift certificate from Family Dollar, good toward a purchase of a HD-DVD player; a 20 ounce bottle of Diet Coke Plus; a red wig from the Wendy's "That's Right" ad campaign; and a DVD collection of wonderful video properties, featuring the movies Strange Wilderness and Meet the Spartans and the complete first season of Joey.

All right, let me show you around. Here in our hollowed halls of horrible, you'll find the bombs. The clunkers. The shows that just didn't make it, ideas that were ill-conceived, or programs that just basically stunk.

Questions? Yes, you in the back... Why only shows featured since 1979 are in the Hall of Shame? Because... well, if we included pre-1979 shows, it would be too much for all of you to handle! You don't want to pass out in here, now do you? (Besides, yours truly doesn't remember a lot of TV before then, since he was only 7 back then. Plus, think of the liability we would encounter...)

Besides, other places can handle that era better than I can, so if you want to see what Turn-On or You're in the Picture was all about, then you have to go somewhere else (pssst... or click this link.)

So, let's take a tour of terrible TV from the dumps of the Disco era to the terrible trud of today. Let's go!

These are ranked in no particular order...

The T Dog Media Blog TV Show Hall of Shame (post-1979 edition)

- Fred & Barney Meet the Schmoo (NBC, 1979) They didn't really meet. It was Flintstones cartoons paired up with Schmoo ones - before that, it was Fred & Barney Meet the Thing

- Makin' It
(ABC, 1979) An obsolete-the-day-it-came-out sitcom about a person who works at an ice cream shop by day, and becomes a disco dancer at night. And no, this show did not make it

- Hour Magazine (syndicated, 1980-89) Infotainment at its worst, hosted by personality repellent Gary Collins

- Thicke of the Night (syndicated, 1983-84) Alan Thicke hosted this supposed late night talk show

- Just Our Luck (ABC, 1983) This featured a genie who was black

- Rubik The Amazing Cube (ABC, 1983) Thank God the FCC stepped in to stop producers from basing Saturday morning cartoons on toys. One of the few things the agency has ever done right

- We Got It Made (NBC, 1983-84; syndicated 1987-88) Ironically, the syndicated version was somewhat better than the NBC one

- Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour (NBC, 1983-84) What happens when you pair two, two, two great game shows in one? One huge, unwatchable mess on the screen - and off (co-hosts Jon Bauman and Gene Rayburn did not get along)

- Brothers (Showtime, 1984-89) A groundbreaking show- it was the first sitcom made for pay cable and the first one to feature a major character who was homosexual. But groundbreaking doesn't necessarily equal a good show

- America (syndication, 1985) Daytime talk show featuring Sarah Purcell, McLean Stevenson, and Stuart Damon. Three months and $22 million down the drain later, this show was gone

- The Colbys (ABC, 1985-87) Dynasty spin-off, with the all-time soap opera clincher - Fallon abducted by a UFO

- Life With Lucy (ABC, 1986) Lucille Ball's short-lived comeback attempt

- She's the Sheriff (syndicated, 1987-89) The Sun-Times' Daniel Ruth once wrote about this show, "Suzanne Sommers returns to television. Who cares?"

- Geraldo (syndicated, 1987-98) Geraldo Rivera brings daytime TV into the sleazy era

- The Morton Downey Jr. Show (Syndicated, 1987-89) Mort shouted, screamed, and yelled into viewers' living rooms only to usher himself out when he fabricated a story about being attacked by skinheads in a restroom at a San Francisco airport.

- USA Today on TV (syndicated 1988-90) The most expensive flop in syndication history - all style, no substance

- Everyday With Joan Lunden (Syndicated, 1989-90) Joan Lunden was perky on Good Morning America, but audiences couldn't take no more than two hours of such nausea a day. Of note is this monstrosity was produced and even syndicated by Lunden's talentless ex-husband, Michael Krauss.

- Chicken Soup (ABC, 1989) Jackie Mason and Lynn Redgrave fall flat on this sitcom devoid of laughs

- New Kids on the Block (ABC, 1990), The Guys Next Door (NBC, 1990) and any other Saturday morning program based on a fictional or non-fictional music group (except The Banana Splits)

- Joker's Wild, Tic Tac Dough (syndicated, 1990-91) Two very horrid remakes of great game shows

- Cop Rock (ABC, 1990) A musical that didn't quite work out. Never, ever should be tried again. Will it?

- Into the Night with Rick Dees (ABC, 1990-91) Into the night and right into the trash can for this turkey of a late night talk show, hosted by L.A. disc jockey Rick Dees

- Johnny B. On the Loose (syndicated, 1991) Jonathan Brandmeier: Good disc jockey, bad TV show. Lasted just five weeks

- The Jerry Springer Show (syndication, 1991-) A given.

- Rhythm & Blues (NBC, 1992) Sitcom that was set at a radio station in Detroit. WKRP it wasn't.

- On the Air (ABC, 1992) A single-camera sitcom summer burn-off, it was off the air in three weeks

- The Jackie Thomas Show (ABC, 1992) with Tom Arnold

- The Chevy Chase Show (Fox, 1993) 29 episodes was more than enough for this clumsy late-night talk show

- South of Sunset (CBS, 1993) After one airing, this Glenn Frey crime drama went south quick

- The Drew Carey Show (ABC, 1995-2004) Like Drew, but not this show

- Suddenly Susan (NBC 1996-2000) Amazingly not to be confused with She's the Sheriff

- The Magic Hour (syndicated, 1998) Magic Johnson's talk show

- Maury (syndicated, 1998-) The crowd shouts, "Who's Your Daddy?" "Who's Your Daddy?" (not to be confused with his earlier effort, The Maury Povich Show)

- The Mike O'Malley Show (NBC, 1999) The dude from Nick's Get the Picture and GUTS and CBS' Yes, Dear - yes, it's the same guy

- XFL (NBC, TNN, UPN, 2001) From the infertile mind of Vince McMahon

- According to Jim (ABC, 2001-09) Disposable sitcom trash

- Around the Horn (ESPN, 2004-) Stars Jay Mariotti - enough said

- Life & Style (syndicated, 2004) This View rip-off featured four ladies (one of whom was Kimora Lee) who practically had no chemistry whatsoever on-screen and reportedly clashed with each other off-screen. What's amazing is with an average rating of 0.4, this clunker lasted a half a season before getting canceled

- The Larry Elder Show (syndicated, 2004) Or anything with this guy in it, and that includes Moral Court

- The Tony Danza Show
(syndicated, 2004-06) One word: Why?

- The War At Home (Fox, 2005-07) See According to Jim above

- Emily Reasons Why Not? (ABC, 2006) A sitcom dead after one airing. Yeah, why not?

- Show Me the Money (ABC, 2006) Insipid game show

- Dr. Keith Ablow (syndication, 2006) Another in the line of useless talk shows

- Flavor of Love (VH-1, 2006) Reality TV meets Jerry Springer

- Any "soap opera" that aired on My Network TV

- Anchorwoman (Fox, 2007) Two episodes + one airing+ zero ratings = quick cancellation

- Pirate Master (CBS, 2007) Survivor rip-off (and not a good one at that)

- Cavemen (ABC, 2007) An idea. How about a sitcom based on a TV commercial? Hey, it just might work!

- Kid Nation (CBS, 2007)
A reality show featuring kids. Where's social services when you need them?

- Viva Laughlin (CBS, 2007) See Cop Rock

- Merv Griffin's Crosswords (Syndicated, 2007-08) Yours truly liked this show, but poor production values, canned applause, and one episode where the day's champion won only -$250, lost the bonus round, and wound up going home with only a cheap watch qualifies this program to land here

- Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants (CW, 2007-08) And as if the real beauty pageants aren't bad enough

- Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 2008) These "celebrities" are vying with each other in Donald Trump's dog-and-pony show for charity (what charity wants to be associated with this garbage?) to see who can make the biggest ass out of themselves.

- The Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious (CW, 2008) Remember when The Pussycat Dolls were hot? It seemed like a long time ago, doesn't it?

- Secret Talents of the Stars (CBS, 2008) Huh? One and done

- I Survived a Japanese Game Show (ABC, 2008-09) Is it a game show? Is it a documentary? What the hell is it? Do you care what the contestants go through to be on a Japanese game show and hear them talk about it for fifteen minutes? Hell, no! We want to watch them compete, not sit around all day and whine about it... How about a show based on someone surviving watching this for an hour?

- Do Not Disturb (Fox, 2008) Shhh!! Do not disturb. If you do, this unfunny comedy might wake up and torture us. It was the first official cancellation of the 2008 fall season

- Momma's Boys (NBC, 2008) Three guys choose from 32 women with one catch - their mothers get involved in the decision! And one of them is prejudiced! Wow, television just doesn't get any better than this. Hey Seacrest, stick to six of your day jobs.

- Osbournes: Reloaded (Fox, 2009) A "preview" of a new TV series (which was pre-empted or delayed in 16 markets) featuring... kids dressed up as Ozzy and Sharon swearing; the Osbournes working a drive-thru; and an ambush wedding, all in 35 minutes. It's so outrageous, so bold, so daring... so who cares? Nobody else did.

- Sit Down, Shut Up (Fox, 2009) Who knew an animated series could suck so badly? Should've renamed it Capitol Critters II: The Awakening. The producer of Arrested Development struck out on this one.

- I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! (ABC, 2003; NBC, 2009) Should be retitled I'm A Viewer, Get Me Out Of Here! Another in a long line of useless reality shows.

- Brothers (Fox, 2009) This sitcom with Carl Weathers and Michael Strahan is unrelated to the 1984 Showtime series of the same name - except for the fact that they both suck.

- The Beautiful Life (CW, 2009). Not so beautiful given this drama lasted only two episodes

- Secret Girlfriend (Comedy Central, 2009) Here's the premise: "you" are the main character of this insipid sitcom where he/she follows two aerosol can-sniffing morons all day where he/she ends up at parties, watching women make out with each other, and listen to their female friends whine about everything. Makes "you" want to grab a shotgun and put these people out of misery. This show - hands down, is the worst television program of all time, even worse than According to Jim and My Mother The Car. Girlfriend lasted just six episodes, five more than necessary. 

- The Jay Leno Show (NBC, 2009-10)  History was made when NBC decided to move Jay Leno to primetime at 9 p.m. (CT), making his show the first network program to be stripped in the daypart in more than 50 years. History was also made when this show completely bombed in the ratings, thus rendering Leno's move to prime-time one of network television's biggest blunders. Leno has since returned to late night.

- Sons of Tucson (Fox, 2010) Three kids who live in Tuscon pay a complete stranger to be their father. Let the laughs begin.

- Monsters and Money in the Morning (WBBM-TV, 2010). A failure you can see a mile away, former radio stars and Comcast SportsNet morning show rejects Mike North and Dan Jiggetts come to CBS 2 with the same show - but adding Terry Savage and Mike Hedegus, making for really bad morning TV. The first local Chicago show to ever make the Shame.

- The Cape. (NBC, 2011) Dopey tripe about a guy who adapts the identity of his son's favorite superhero, The Cape.

- Perfect Couples
(NBC, 2011). The rom-com comes to TV. Can we send this back to the theater?

- The Paul Reiser Show (NBC, 2011) Oh, Paul. Did you really think you were funny, talented, and charming enough to headline your own sitcom, let alone a concert in the parking lot of the local Blain's Farm & Fleet? 

Well, that's it for the tour! For now. But hey, it doesn't end here. We here at the T Dog Media Blog TV Hall of Shame are always adding new items, so come back and visit... Remember our slogan: "The T Dog Media Blog TV Hall Of Shame. Where you will always find the worst crap from yesterday... and today." Thanks for coming!

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