(Why Was This) Seen on TV? - Cavemen

Welcome to a new series on the TV Ratings Guide titled, (Why Was This) Seen on TV?. Each installment, we highlight one of the biggest flops of television history. A little background: I highlighted flops in TV Flops Worse Than… a few seasons ago. This is just a revamped version, except that this highlights one show. In this installment, I’ll discuss the ABC series Cavemen which aired in the fall 2007 season. I actually saw the premiere of Cavemen and remembered my entire family going: "These are not the real Geico Cavemen!"

But in all seriousness, remember the Geico commercials with the tag, “So easy, even a caveman can do it.”? The show is basically based on the Geico commercials written by Joe Lawson [1]. Except for Jeff Daniel Phillips, none of the original actors from the Cavemen commercials appeared on the show, which also starred Bill English, Nick Kroll, Sam Huntington, and Kaitlin Doubleday.  

The show premiered on October 2, 2007, and it actually started out okay, with a 3.3 in the key adults 18-49 demographic and around nine million viewers, but the show slipped further and further each week as it left a bad taste in the mouths of viewers. It got as low as a 1.6 in the demo before ABC decided to pull the show from the schedule after six episodes. It was also critically panned, with the Chicago Tribune calling it one of the top 25 worst TV shows ever. This important quote from the paper says it all: “We'll take this insurance commercial, see, only we'll make it 30 times as long! No, not the one with the lizard.” [2]. 

As Cavemen illustrated, if you want to make a show based on another medium, don’t make it based on a commercial. And that does it for this installment of (Why Was This) Seen on TV?. 

What do you think about this installment? Sound off in the comments below! 

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