Time To Pull The Plug! TV Shows That Fell Off
These shows started off with a bang — and great ratings — but over time they fizzled out and for some reason, unbeknownst to us, remained on the air.
Former basketball wife Shaunie O’Neal had a hit on her hands when she introduced the world to Jennifer Williams, Evelyn Lozado, Royce Reed and Gloria Govan, better known collectively as the “Basketball Wives.” While some of the men in the NBA were upset the women in their lives were given a show, fans tuned in each week to see how the rich, yet slightly ratchet, lived. The show was so successful, it spawned a spinoff version in Los Angeles. But as the cast members changed each season, the show’s fights became more insane. By the time Evelyn jumped over a table barefoot to go after her former friend and fellow cast mate Jennifer, there was a public outcry against the show and a petition was started to end the violence. While the fights have now died down, so did everyone’s interest in the show.
Before “Scandal” became one of the hottest shows on television, creator Shonda Rimes had another hit show on her hands. “Grey’s Anatomy” started in 2005 as a mid-season replacement. One of the most racially diverse shows on TV, the hour-long drama became a hit seemingly overnight. Though there was some drama on the set (actor Isaiah Washington was fired after calling fellow actor T.R. Knight a homophobic slur) and a couple actors left to pursue other projects (Katherine Heigl and Knight), the show continued as the doctors were faced with hurricanes, plane crashes, power outages and gunmen on the loose. Now in its tenth season, the show struggles to find interesting and believable story lines.
Tasha Mack, her son Malik, Jason Pitts, Derwin, and his wife Melanie entertained America for three seasons on CW’s hit show “The Game.” Despite its popularity, the show ended up on the chopping block and the entire cast was out of work until BET swooped down to save the show. Cast mates Tia Mowry and Pooch Hall left the show after two seasons on their new cable network home and executive producers added a little star power when singer Brandy and then Lauren London signed on to join the cast, but the additions weren’t enough to spark too much of an interest for the show.
“106 & Park”
When “106 & Park” debuted in 2000 with hosts Free and AJ, it easily became the BET’s number one show. Urban teens and hip-hop heads everywhere tuned in each weekday afternoon to see their favorite artists stop by or to watch the music video countdown. After a successful run on the show, the old hosts were out and Terrence J and Rocsi Diaz stepped in. While some of the biggest names in hip-hop have stopped by the studio at 106th and Park (and later to midtown Manhattan when the show moved) to promote their albums, the show lost its appeal as it went along. And its hosts. Terrence J and Rocsi signed off for good last year. Rapper Bow Wow was joined by three other hosts but only for a season. Toronto native Keshia Chante has been tapped to co-host with Bow Wow for the 2013 season.
For a time there was nothing steamier on cable television than the interspecies love triangle on HBO’s “True Blood.” Each season fans tuned in to see vampires Bill Compton and Eric Northman battle for fairy Sookie Stackhouse’s love – and loving. Each season also brought along a new twist and a new breed of animal/human hybrid making the show even more unbelievable than it already was. Not one to discriminate against any creature, Sookie was also romantically linked to Alcide, the tall, very muscular but very full-blooded werewolf. As the show showed more sex, flesh and gore, the storyline bordered on the absurd, even for a show about a telepathic waitress living among vampires. “True Blood’s” seventh and finale season is set to air next summer.
If it weren’t for “American Idol,” the world probably wouldn’t know who Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks or Ruben Studdard were. The singing reality competition show debuted in 2002 after the show became a big hit across the pond. Simon Cowell’s not-so-nice criticism of contestants made him one of the most hated/loved personalities on television. After Cowell and Paula Abdul left, the show struggled to find a consistent panel of judges. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Ellen DeGeneres and Harry Connick, Jr. have all sat at the judge’s table. Hot on its heels for viewers is Cowell’s singing competition “The Voice,” along with “America’s Got Talent” and other singing shows that have saturated the market. We think it’s time to bow out gracefully.
“Dancing with the Stars”
When other networks were enjoying success with reality competition shows, ABC decided to get into the fray by combining a dance competition and celebrities. The premise was a novel idea and the show took off. Each week, America tuned in to see their favorite movie star, television actress or athlete fox trot, rumba or ballroom dance their behinds off to stay another week. As each season went on, the stars on “Dancing with the Stars” became less notable names. The show is currently in its 17th season with Leah Remini, Amber Riley and Corbin Bleu still in the running for the crown.
“Law & Order: SVU”
Dick Wolf had a hit drama on his hands with NBC’s long-running show “Law & Order.” So much so that there were several spin-offs, none of which was more successful than “Law & Order: SVU.” Premiering in 1999, the show followed detectives in the Special Victims Unit department as they solved sex crimes often “ripped from the headlines.” Partners Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler worked side by side for 12 years until Stabler, played by Christopher Meloni, abruptly resigned at the start of the 13th season. Benson continues on solving sex-related crimes with new partners, but it’s just not the same.
“Bad Girls Club”
When “Bad Girls Club” originally aired in 2006, the premise was to help seven “bad” girls with tempers and various issues who wanted to better themselves. As the show progressed, producers quickly learned that audience members didn’t care about rehabilitation; they loved the “bad girls” just the way they were. Each group of temperamental girls was put up in a lavish household filled with booze and the cameras (and the rest of us) watched the fists fly. As the fights got crazier and more contrived (a brawl broke out at the Dallas auditions), the show lost any and all of it’s redeeming qualities.
For 13 years, Jeff Probst has watched “Survivor” competitors try to outwit, outplay and outlast each other on deserted regions in the far corners of the world. The show, which was derived from a Swedish show with a similar premise, was such a hit in the U.S., the first 11 seasons were among the ten most watched shows on television and fans couldn’t get enough of watching the contestants battle for basic food, fishing gear and shelter each week. As the show labored on, producers changed the rules and added twists to keep the contestants on their toes and the viewers interested but the Fall 2013 season premiere provided the show’s lowest ratings ever — even at 9.5 million viewers.
Before the show was whittled down to just three letters, “Saturday Night Live” was a great reason so stay in on a Saturday night – or at least not hit the clubs so early. In its heyday, some of the best comics of our time got their start on the late-night sketch comedy show. Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph are just some of the many, many SNL alums. Critics and fans alike have panned the show due to the lack of star power on the cast and the bottom line is most people just aren’t checking for it.
Dating games have always been popular on television. ABC introduced the ultimate dating game in 2002 with “The Bachelor” hoping to help one very lucky man navigate his way through a sea of eligible women waiting to win a rose, his heart and hopefully a ring. America tuned in to watch the women vie for the bachelor’s attention and watch him as he trotted off with each woman one by one to “get to know her better.” The show was such a hit, “The Bachelorette” was born and the roles were reversed with the men competing against each other to win a lady’s heart. It’s interesting to note, out of 17 bachelors, not one of them married the woman he presented the final rose to.
Holding the title of the longest-running sitcom on television, “The Simpsons” got its start as a cartoon sketch on “The Tracy Ullman Show.” Twenty-five years, a movie, videogame, Bart Simpson dance and millions of dollars in merchandise sold later, the show is still on the air. Every major (and many minor) celebrity from Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga has voiced a character on the animation show. While other shows have come and gone, “The Simpsons” has been the only constant on Sunday night television. But we’re not sure who’s still watching.
For years, Bravo struggled to find its footing but the network struck gold when it started featuring reality television shows. Supermodel Heidi Klum found a home for her new show “Project Runway” on Bravo, which pitted aspiring designers against each other to create outfits in a short period of time each week. For five seasons, Klum’s hit show lived on Bravo until it was moved to Lifetime. Although a lawsuit delayed the show’s debut, it finally aired on its new home in 2009 to much less fanfare. Its 12th season recently wrapped up over the summer.
“America’s Next Top Model”
Tyra Banks conquered the world of modeling before trying to help give aspiring models a start. “America’s Next Top Model” debuted in 2006 and Banks, along with her other judges and mentors, tried to teach the contestants to smile with their eyes. While the show was a smash hit when it first debuted and has spawned numerous spin-off in other countries, the ratings and audience interest has dropped as each season goes by. Last season, the ratings averaged around 1.7 million viewers. Amazingly, the show was renewed for a 21st cycle just a few weeks ago.