There’s nothing worse than finding out that your newfound favorite television show expels after only airing for one season. A few examples immediately come to mind. There’s the early 1990s teen drama My So-Called Life starring Claire Danes. She plays Juliet in that weird 1996 modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Then, shows like Freaks and Geeks and Firefly develops strong cult followings but are never renewed for unknown reasons.
But then there are shows that never even made it that far. Join us as we discuss some television series that never actually became series at all. Each shows that we’ll be discussing cancelation after airing just one measly episode. Can you imagine being a television producer or actor and investing so much time and effort into a project only for it grounds almost immediately after takeoff? That is devastating, but for us at home, we’re lucky enough to continue our lives as if it never happens.
It’s rare for a show to cancel, and there are circumstances that lead to such abrupt and decisive action. Shows can get the boot so early on in their run because of factors such as receiving extremely negative critical responses, poor ratings, controversial subject material, or sometimes even offset scandals. For clarity’s sake, however, were not going to include shows that never progressed past a pilot. We could devote a whole other episode just to that topic alone.
Anyway, let’s get down to business and learn what are the series that were canceled.
Who’s Whose – 1951
Here we have a panel quiz game show that hosts by Phil Baker and airs on CBS. Four panelists try to figure out which of the three male contestants marry their respective corresponding female contestants.
The show drops by its sponsor, General Foods, after just one airing because of dismally poor ratings.
You’re In The Picture – 1961
This CBS game show aired for only one episode on January 20, 1961, the same evening that John F. Kennedy inaugurates.
The show is the creation of Don Lipp and Bob Synes. They attempt to prove that its host, Jackie Gleason, can demonstrate versatility after his successful run with The Honeymooners.
The game show series that were canceled after receiving extremely horrible reviews by critics and audience members alike. The show is, in fact, so bad. Jackie Gleason releases a public apology the following week on a stripped-down bare-bones sound-stage which can call its second episode.
In his apology, Gleason asks how it is possible for such a group of people issues such a big flop.
Turn-On – 1969
This spin-off of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was a lot racier than its parent show. It’s a comedy show that airs for just one episode on ABC back in February of 1969. It considers being one of the most notorious TV flops in history.
The reason why the series that were canceled so abruptly s that numerous broadcast officials and network sponsors are too offensive and raunchy. Seeing as how it leans heavily on sexual and political humor.
It reports that at least one local station. The WEWS in Cleveland, Ohio, refuses to even air the rest of the show after the first commercial break. Instead opting to air 15 minutes of ads. ABC ended up canceling the program halfway through its initial airing. While two episodes are technically films, only one shows to the public.
The Melting Pot – 1975
This BBC ridiculously offensive sitcom, which writes by Spike Milligan, who plays its lead Mr. Van Gogh, a Pakistani immigrant who Milligan plays in brownface, is not canceled after airing just one episode. Four other episodes film but they have since become lost media.
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Co-Ed Fever – 1979
This 1979 CBS sitcom tries – and fails – to advance the National Lampoon film Animal House which hit theaters. It is actually the third ‘frat house’ that aired on television in 1979. CBS clearly isn’t the only one to think that a college comedy will be en vogue.
The first episode of Co-Ed Fever airs as a ‘special preview’ on February 4, 1978. It receives a low rating and negative responses that it ends before the remaining five episodes that can shoot and play.
Melba – 1986
Melba was a sitcom that briefly aired on CBS in 1986. The series starred singer-songwriter and actress Melba Moore as Melba Patterson, a divorced mother who was a director of New York’s Manhattan Visitor Center. While the show wasn’t particularly awful, it premiered on January 28, 1986, the day that the Space Shuttle Challenger tragically exploded after its launch killing everyone on board. People were likely too busy watching news coverage of the disaster to even bother checking out a new comedy.
As such, it’s premiere ranked as one of the lowest-rated programs on the network that week and CBS immediately canceled it after airing only one episode. The remaining 5 episodes were eventually aired later that summer, and curious viewers can now stream the whole series on the Crackle streaming service.
Heil Honey I’m Home! – 1990
We’re not even sure how this horrible mess of a show ever even got greenlit in the first place. It was a British sitcom that hit the air in September 1930 and spoofed classic 1950s and 60s American sitcoms but with a pretty terrible twist. The two leads of the show were caricatures Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, who live-out pretty mundane stereotypical married lives until they become neighbors to a Jewish couple. Needless to say, the series was given the ax because of the controversy that it stirred up. Seven other episodes were filmed but never aired.
Public Morals – 1996
This CBS sitcom was about a group of mismatched detectives and their acquaintances from New York City’s vice squad. Technically it was a spin-off of the popular drama procedural NYPD Blue, and it was led by Bill Brochtrup’s character, John Irvin, from that series.
The pilot had previously been scrapped because critics and CBS officials alike felt as if the language was too vulgar and offensive, but the episode that eventually made it to air was also poorly reviewed. Critics especially felt like the show suffered from having characters that were far too one-dimensional, and they also took issue with how much of it’s humor revolved around racial stereotypes.
Lawless – 1997
This Fox detective series starred former NFL player Brian Bosworth as a private investigator named John Lawless in Miami’s South Beach. The network canceled the show for performing extremely poorly after just one episode.
Dot Comedy – 2000
While internet humor is routinely incorporated into modern television shows these days, back at the turn of the millennium, the web was still a relatively unexplored realm for network television. The show was hosted by Annabelle Gurwitch and the Sklar Brothers and aired as part of the network’s TGIF block of programming. After only 4.1 million viewers tuned in for it’s premiere, it was swiftly canceled, never to be aired again.
Comedians Unleashed – 2002
The early 2000s were a time of experimentation for many television networks. This extremely short-lived show was Animal Planets’ attempt to copy Comedy Central’s stand-up comedy shows with animal-themed humor. While the show was officially canceled after airing just one episode, that first installment was rerun a few times, presumably to see if it would fair better in different time slots.
The Will – 2005
This laughably bad reality show which ran on CBS, involved a group of family members and friends that competed in a series of challenges in the hopes of coming out on top and being named as the sole beneficiary of a will. CBS canceled it after just one episode, but FOX Reality Channel picked it up and proceeded to air the rest of the series in full.
Emily’s Reasons Why Not – 2009
This failed sitcom which aired on ABC starred Heather Graham as a single, independent, career woman who writes up a checklist to help her figure out when it’s time to stop trying to find love and move on. The series was canceled after only airing it’s first episode with ABC’s chief of programming Steve McPherson saying that he knew the show wasn’t going to get any better and that they needed to cut their losses and swap it out as soon as possible. Reportedly the show was greenlit without the ABC brass even seeing its pilot.
The Rich List – 2006
This miserable game show was the dirty work of the producers of the British game shows The Weakest Link and Dog Eat Dog. Even though it was heavily promoted by FOX during the MLB World Series, the show was sent to the chopping block after airing just one episode. Oddly enough, the show was later revived by the Game Show Network in 2009, renamed as The Money List. But that incarnation also was canceled after airing just nine episodes.
Well, that pretty much wraps up this video. Do you remember any of these quickly canceled, one-off television shows? Yeah, neither do we. But if you can think of any other series that were promptly canceled after premiering on network TV, let us know down below in the comments.
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