50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 21st-25th Most Insulting TV Shows

Bad meals, bad behavior and a bad trip fill reader's plates with indigestion in this entry.  And even one offender who was late to the party trashing the POTUS.  Networks and streamers we will binge and eat whatever they serve viewers, but fail to recognize they can smell a bad meal such as these entries and eat elsewhere.  Stay close to the toilet when reading these entries as they are sickening.

For those catching up, check out the prior 25 entries shamelessly called out which have been tossed into the fire after outraging viewers.

46th-50th: Overexposure and the Preposterous

41st-45th: Wasted Opportunities

36th-40th: Misfires and Assaults

31st-35th: Knockoffs, Imitators and the Unlikable

26th-30th: Shit for Sitcoms and Hell in Paradise

25. Emeril, NBC (2001)

A revered chef takes his knife and carves up some dialogue?  Not a shocker in the entertainment industry and quite possible.  But chef Emeril Lagasse was no actor, let alone a lead for a sitcom.  And his worthy costars struggled to prop the chef as well as working against tenuous scripting and plotting.  The series tanked after 10 episodes and as show in this list, NBC was starting to lose its touch after a long, respected run with sitcoms.  Leading Tuesday evenings with a 4.83 rating in 82nd Place showed this poorly prepared meal showed viewers were dining elsewhere.  

How could viewers pull up a chair and enjoy this undercooked meal leading off the weakened Tuesday night sitcom block and not be stuck in the bathroom vomiting by the time Frasier was on at 9:00?  NBC located its garbage disposal for the sake of being reported to the health inspector and learned a name is not enough to sustain a sitcom dinner party.

24. My Big Fat Greek Life, CBS (2003)

Speaking of bad meals...  Transitioning hit movies to television seldom works out in a network or franchise's favor.  Rare exceptions do exist like MASH, which enjoyed a healthy 11 season run.  But My Big Fat Greek Life?  CBS burnt the oregano by cooking the brilliance out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding's crisp dialogue with an expired laughtrack peppered in.  More insulting was the showrunners delivered predictable and stale dialogue.  Lainie Kazan has possessed scene stealing talents throughout her career due to her ability to read the room and deliver in proper doses.  My Big Fat Greek Life voided her skills and forced her into dated and stereotypical jokes, leaving viewers wishing Toula's family leave the room vs enjoy their over-the-top antics.

John Corbett wisely avoided this series as he was committed to FX's Lucky, missing a bad meal served to the remainder of the cast who showed up for indigestion.  If a series successfully wrangles the majority of its cast from a hit movie and tanks inside 7 episodes, one knows these cooks/showrunners need to order out and leave the cooking to the professionals.  Where numbers were concerned, My Big Fat Greek Life appeared to be a hit coming in at 29th Place with an 8.32 rating.  The trouble laid in it had 60 Minutes as a lead-in, which often delivered NFL-inflated overflow which should have had this series delivering higher.  More criminal, it damaged the reliable Becker, which degenerated to 44th place with a 7.06 rating.  High production values due to salaries were also cited as a contributing factor to why CBS slammed the cleaver down and cut losses early.

23. Lil' Bush, Comedy Central (2007-08)

Complaining about the POTUS is hardly groundbreaking on television.  Some do this artfully, which is why viewers have always enjoyed watching Saturday Night live for nearly 50 years.  Others, however, fail to recognize their viewers consist of both liberal and conservative preferences and all need to be catered ti.  The tone of Lil' Bush blatantly roasted President George Bush, hardly groundbreaking as it came late into its second term.  

Had the writers worked to balance the delivery with redeeming qualities, it could have catered to both liberal and conservative viewers.  Unlike SNL, Lil' Bush lacked sophistication and topical discussion.  Both the president and this embarrassing series were cancelled in 2008.  The president by the system which said his two terms were up, and this embarrassing series by Comedy Central who realized they had nothing left to talk about.

22. Anger Management, FX (2012-14)

Charlie Sheen, once one of the industry's strongest A-listers oozing with talent, drove his career off a cliff and was fired the prior year for tasteless tirades against Two and a Half Men's producer Chuck Lorre.  Sheen wore out his 24th chance and was fired after 8 seasons on the hit series, so FX made the grievous decision to jump into Sheen's bed and offered him Anger Management.  At the time they were testing out the 10/90 model, which dictated if a series was successful in its first 10 episodes it earned an additional 90.  A bold strategy, and Sheen tanked this generous idea by delivering the appalling Anger Management.

The trouble was Anger Management hardly discerned Charlie Sheen's strong acting skills but rather had him playing out his personal life on camera via character Charlie Goodson.  A former ballplayer with anger issues and womanizing, how could one distinguish between Goodson and Sheen outside Sheen was never a major league baseball player?  Sheen had formidable costars like Selma Blair, whom unfortunately exited in a scathing firing after a combative work relationship with Sheen.  Reports surfaced he repeatedly referred to her a a c-nt, and worsening the tone was at the time of her firing Blair privately was dealing with an aggressive multiple sclerosis battle.  That left viewers as scorned as one of Sheen's thousands of jilted bedfellows running to the free clinic for penicillin who realized he's an outright asshole, making it hard for one to enjoy reliving this vile series.

21. Disjointed, Netflix (2017-18)

Forging a relationship with heavyweight champion producer Chuck Lorre should have been a long-term arrangement for Netflix.  And the icing on the cake should have been revered legend Kathy Bates starring.  So what got viewer's noses out of joint with Disjointed?  The premise and writing could hardly spark a fire, and viewers had a hard time engaging in the weed-malaise premise.  Bates played a stereotype as a Jewish liberal fighting to legalize weed for a lifetime, which should have been comic gold.  But her caricature, Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, was a biting mean spirited harpy.  A couple stoners named Dank and Dabby did present comic gold, but the remainder of the cast was forgettable.  

The trouble was Lorre believed inserting his trademark laughtrack could work, but was fighting off extreme profanity which made viewers scratch their heads in confusion.  How can a laughtrack coexist with Bates' Ruth using crass name calling Dank and Dabby "those fucksticks."  Sound offensive in this article?  It was worse on screen.  Hopefully one day Lorre can try again with Netflix as CBS seems to be ending their longstanding marriage.  But he would be wise to figure out the tone and vibe viewers want or else Netflix will toss his joints out like a bad plant.

Did you too sit through these bad meals and trips?  Sound off and share in the comments below.

Evaluating Chuck Lorre’s Biggest Hits and Misses on CBS

The Ratings Junkie Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thursday Cable Ratings 11/23/23: Catch Me If You Claus Strong for Hallmark, Christmas Cookie Challenge Rises, College Football Leads

Below are the top 50 programs on cable on Thursday, 11/23/23. Items of note include Catch Me If You Claus on Hallmark, NBA on TNT, and Christmas Cookie Challenge on Food.

(Note: Click the names of the shows written in purple or blue to be taken to their pages in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Database.)

Wednesday TV Ratings 11/29/23: Christmas in Rockefeller Center Barely Down from 2022, Survivor Slips But Stays First, Celebrity Jeopardy Falters (UPDATED w/Analysis)

Ratings Analysis: The 91st Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center (0.79) brought in massive ratings for NBC and was just a hundredth shy of 2022's broadcast (0.80). Following RockefellerChristmas at Graceland (0.48) put up a very strong rating by 10 p.m. standards. Survivor (0.80, -0.05) slipped on CBS and just barely managed to hold onto the top spot. The Amazing Race (0.42, -0.01) lost a single hundredth. The Masked Singer (0.41, -0.02) dipped on Fox, while Snake Oil (0.19, -0.07) plummeted to a new series low. Celebrity Jeopardy! (0.36, -0.15) collapsed to a new season low on ABC. Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (0.36, -0.04) and The $100,000 Pyramid (0.27, -0.02) had milder declines. On the CW, Sullivan's Crossing (0.04, 0.00) and The Spencer Sisters (0.03, 0.00) were stable once more.

Finals Update: Celebrity Jeopardy! (+0.1), Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (+0.1), and The $100,000 Pyramid (+0.1) adjusted up. Sullivan's Crossing (-0.1) and The Spencer Sisters (-0.1) adjusted down.

Wednesday Cable Ratings 11/22/23: The Naughty Nine Okay for Disney Channel, AEW: Dynamite Declines, The Five Tops Cable News

Below are the top 50 programs on cable on Wednesday, 11/22/23. Items of note include NBA on ESPN, AEW: Dynamite on TBS, and The Naughty Nine on Disney.

(Click the names of the shows written in teal or blue to be taken to their pages in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Database.)

50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 26th-30th Most Insulting TV Shows

Outside of one poorly executed drama, shitty sitcoms run rampant in this entry.  CBS deserves having tomatoes thrown at them for delivering three offenders in this section of the list.  All these entries lack creativity, plot development and a worthy premise for viewers to tolerate.

Check out the prior 20 shows deserving a roast before being prepared (not) to laugh

46th-50th: Overexposed and the Prepostrous

41st-45th: Wasted Opportunities

36th-40th Place: Misfires and Assaults

31st-35th: Knockoffs, Imitators and the Unlikable

 30. Hawaii (2004)

The 2000's were not kind to NBC.  Similar to a depressing era from 1976-84 which the peacock sat permanently in last among the major networks in 3rd place, 2004 brought a similar blow as it crashed into 4th place as ABC had a resurgence and FOX powered up with American Idol.  Having lost heavyweights Friends and Frasier, NBC had some rebuilding to do for their damaged lineup.  They sought the escapism of modest hit Vegas and ordered Hawaii and LAX.  The trouble with Hawaii was the premise was tenuous, relying heavily on the gorgeous backdrop overshadowing its ensemble.  Why would viewers travel to this dysfunctional series when directly scheduled on ABC was acclaimed Lost, which also delivered a beautiful backdrop and an element of a well-constructed mystery.

Viewers chose Lost over Hawaii with Lost taking a 5.8 rating in 15th place while Hawaii took in a fraction of that with a 2.3 rating in 98th place (read the complete list of 2004-05 shows HERE).  NBC realized they were losing ground on Wednesdays and clipped Hawaii after 7 episodes.

29. Tucker (2000)

When will folks learn not to copy off their neighbor's papers?  FOX hit paydirt and acclaim the prior season with Malcolm in the Middle, a preteen genius muddling through the senselessness he sees around him with his chaotic family.  The lead character Tucker, may not have been a super genius, but NBC borrowed shamelessly from the FOX hit, right down to having a temperamental middle aged woman (Katey Sagal) controlling his household even having the same hairdo as Malcolm's Jane Kazmarek.  Any series which cannot locate an audience while possessing Sagal is a dud, as nearly every production she touches turns to gold.  

NBC hoped to establish a comedy block on Mondays, pairing Tucker with struggling sophomore Daddio.  Both were railroaded by the other three networks' stronger programming and came in 4th, leading NBC to pull both inside one calendar month and 4 episodes aired.  Tucker registered a paltry 4.5 rating in 102nd place, ending as one of the lowest-rated scripted series that season (see the complete ratings list for 2000-01 HERE).  As predicted, Sagal eventually bounced back with a plethora of acclaimed roles and series.  And thankfully the majority forgot about this disastrous act of copycatting a hit.

28. S#*! My Dad Says (2010)

Explicit language is hardly a shocker in the 21st century, and the bleeped out title was about the only interesting thing going for this failed sitcom.  Any show blessed with the comic talents of William Shatner and tanking demonstrates a poor foundation.  Shatner played Dr. Ed Goodson, a 72-year old thrice divorced man known for his abrasive opinions.  After his struggling writer son Henry (Jonathan Sadowski) cannot make rent, he moves back in with Ed until he secures work.  After he lands a gig, he realizes in order to be inspired for materials he must continue residing with Ed, no matter how strained their relationship is.

The title alone could chase away stuffy viewers, while making others role their eyes as it delivered as gimmicky and a play for attention.  CBS wiped the shit off its floor and instead handed its timeslot to deserving veteran Rules of Engagement.  The controversial premise proved incompatible with family friendlier The Big Bang Theory, which was gaining momentum during its 4th season powering up to 9th place with a 4.4 rating.  S#*! My Dad Says, on the other hand, could only muster a 3.1 in 37th place (see the 2010-11 season's ratings HERE).  2010 also marked the season sitcoms made a comeback after few offerings the prior decade.  With great offerings such as How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, TBBT, Rules of Engagement and Mike & Molly, why would CBS give this smelly pile the time of day?

27. The Millers (2013-14)

Some shows take advantage of prime schedule spaces, especially when they are juxtaposed to mammoth series like The Big Bang Theory.  The Millers, despite having a strong cast with talents like Will Arnett, Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges, never distinguished itself as the predictable premise left viewers shopping for sitcoms elsewhere.  After Nathan Miller (Arnett) shares with his parents Carol and Tom (Martindale, Bridges) he has recently divorced, they are inspired to separate with each parent pushing their way into moving in with their kids.  The premise could not speak to viewers as it bordered on preposterous and outdated.

The Millers did hold high ratings in 23rd place with a 3.648 rating.  That may sound appealing, but that is less than half of The Big Bang Theory's 7.88 in 2nd place (check out the complete 2013-14 list HERE).  One could never demand a series retain 70% of that whopping figure, but retaining half demonstrates the series can stand on its own two feet.  The Millers enjoyed its cushy position and earned a renewal while fellow freshman series such as The Crazy Ones, We Are Men and Mom were forced to fend for themselves with less desired timeslots.  The following season, The Millers faced the music as CBS' demands intensified.  Given CBS acquired Thursday Night Football in 2014, they temporarily moved TBBT to Mondays, as well as The Millers.  

TBBT began to lose part of its colossal audience as it hit it's 8th season sliding to 4th place with a 5.6, but The Millers made bigger drops to a 2.0 in 69th place, demonstrating it had not established an audience (see the carnage of 2014-15 ratings HERE).  Like they did last season when We Are Men dragged down the Monday lineup, CBS took aggressive action and axed The Millers after 4 episodes, instead opting to nurse and develop Mom which narrowly escaped cancellation the prior year.  Mom took advantage of its limited window and pulled a 2.9 rating in 25th place, establishing a core audience and passing the bar with retaining more than 50% of its rich lead-in.

26. Rob, CBS (2012)

Do actors realize they've been played out?  Apparently, Rob Schneider didn't when he led a self-titled midseason replacement sitcom in January 2012.  The offensive part of this series was the fact that CBS ruled the sitcom front after other networks were recovering the brand after years of being eclipsed by reality TV.  The 2011-12 season delivered strong entries such as a reviving Two and a Half Men, veterans How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement, sophomore hit Mike & Molly and brash freshman 2 Broke Girls.  Their batting average was landmark in the ratings, and then...  Rob.

The premise was dated as lead Rob (whom the writers were too lazy to give a surname to) marries into a Mexican-American family.  Insert stereotypical jokes and awkward culture clash, and that's about all this series delivered to viewers.  While said stereotypical humor worked on 2 Broke Girls set against the trending crass humor, this did not work for Rob.  The ratings were proof in the pudding that Rob Schneider had his day, and CBS relieved viewers and banished him from their sitcom family after 8 episodes. 

Not laughing at these failed shows?  Share if you ever had the misfortune of accidentally watching these disasters.

Tuesday Cable Ratings 11/21/23: Fargo Ties Series Low in Premiere, NBA Leads, Gutfeld! Leads Cable News

Below are the top 50 programs on cable on Tuesday, 11/21/23. Items of note include the season premiere of Fargo on FX, WWE NXT on USA, and Gutfeld! on Fox News.

(Note: Click any show with its name in green or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

STREAM Season 1 Episode 4: Advertisers

The Irrational and Found Renewed by NBC

Both of NBC's newest scripted offerings will be back for sophomore seasons. The Irrational, which caps their Monday lineup, and Found, which airs Tuesday nights at 10, have both been renewed for second seasons. The two series are the only new scripted originals on broadcast this fall, after WGA and SAG strikes left networks unable to film new programming. Both have performed respectably for NBC in their linear performances, and the network praised both shows' performances on Peacock. With a 0.32 average, Found is the highest-rated scripted offering on NBC this season, while The Irrational's 0.29 average put it in third among NBC's scripted slate. While Found wrapped filming pre-strike, and thus was not in contention for an episode extension, The Irrational was given a show of confidence from NBC earlier in the month when they ordered an extra episode of the series, which is always a positive sign for a show's renewal chances. Both series are correct predictions for The TV Ratings Guide.

Bob Hearts Abishola Ending After Five Seasons

Another CBS veteran is on its way out, as the Tiffany Network has announced that the upcoming fifth season of Monday night sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola will be its swan song. The news comes just weeks after the network's other Chuck Lorre-created comedy, Young Sheldon, was also announced to be ending. Bob Hearts Abishola was nowhere near the ratings winner that Young Sheldon was, but, having boasted a 0.42 average last season, it was still a solid player for the network. Despite this, it was not owned by CBS in a time when network ownership has come to be an extremely important factor. The recent cast cuts for the show, which saw eleven of the show's thirteen series regulars, including Christine Ebersole, Barry Shabaka Henley, Shola Adewusi and series co-creator Gina Yashere, were a further sign that the show's end may be nearing. That end is now confirmed, and its thirteen-episode fifth season will be its final season, with its finale airing on May 13. Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku starred as the titular characters in the series.

Tuesday TV Ratings 11/28/23: The Voice and Dancing with the Stars Slide, NCIS: Sydney and Found Rise (UPDATED w/Analysis)

Ratings Analysis: ABC staple Dancing with the Stars (0.64, -0.23) came back down after last week's surge but remained #1 in the Adults 18-49 demographic. Press Your Luck (0.26, -0.04) had a much smaller decline in the 10 p.m. hour. The Voice (0.43, -0.13) crashed on NBC, but Found (0.32, +0.02) was on the rise. CBS's NCIS: Sydney (0.34, +0.02) also inched up and led into a rerun of FBI (0.20). The 10 p.m. FBI True (0.15) was a hundredth higher than last week. On the Fox network, Celebrity Name That Tune (0.21, -0.03) slipped enough that it almost got beaten by a Kitchen Nightmares repeat (0.20) that aired at 9. Inside the NFL (0.05, -0.01) and Whose Line Is It Anyway? (0.05, -0.04) were down on the CW, with Whose Line taking the bigger hit. 

Finals Update: Dancing with the Stars (+0.2) adjusted up.

50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 31st-35th Most Insulting TV Shows

Knockoffs, imitators and just plain unlikable people are on display in this entry.  Instead of handing them a golden globe, they are getting their asses handed to them for offending viewers with these 5 shows.  And given how much viewers LOVE commercials jammed down their throat, one network had the gall to turn a commercial into a sitcom.  Joke was on them as viewers changed the channel.

Catch up on the prior 15 offenders and be prepared as the bar continues to lower.

46th-50th: Overexposure and Preposterous

41st-45th: Wasted Opportunities

36th-40th: Misfires and Assaults

35. Monarch, FOX (2022)

Susan Sarandon on screen in an appealing soap?  The promos for this series read strong, making its broadcasting outright insulting.  Showrunners appeared to try and channel successful primetime soaps with country music superstars we enjoyed on Nashville, the mystery and suicidal launch of Desperate Housewives and a taste for blood like Revenge.  The trouble was Monarch lacked the charm the prior three mentions possessed.  The pilot's "twist?"  Susan Sarandon's character Dottie commits suicide, limiting her hook which drew in viewers.  Viewers could hardly weep as Dottie was established as a narcissistic diva which made us grateful Sarandon had a limited commitment.

Viewers who had the misfortune of continuing to watch had the appalling experience of Trace Atkins' brash and bullying Albie, hardly a lead to invest in.  Unlike Nashville, which held the draw of producing original music, Monarch's pallet consisted of covers, leaving viewers who joined hoping to relive that experience disappointed.  And the mystery?  It lacked the depth and cleverness of Desperate Housewives as well as beauty and subtlety of Revenge.  FOX's scheduling history has demonstrated they save the best for the new year, so fall scheduling of Monarch indicated FOX recognized the show was frail before debut.  11 episodes were burned off by December, and viewers were able to move on from this insulting soap.

34. The Real Wedding Crashers, NBC (2007)

Often if a show uses the word "real" in it, that means finish the sentence and say "really bad."  Ashton Kutcher produced this series hoping to replicate the success of his other series "Punk'd."  Inspired by the success of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson's 2005 film Wedding Crashers, the same fun and charm of the movie held was missing.  The trouble was everyone saw Wedding Crashers, so how could people pull the same stunt on unsuspecting people?

Reality TV shows are often accused of staging the "drama," which Real Wedding Crashers so obviously stooped to.  The people being "duped" couldn't manage acting surprised, which showed and had viewers tuning out insulted.  Real Wedding Crashers did rate moderately, coming in tied in 74th Place with veteran Law & Order in 74th Place for the 2006-07 season (read the complete list HERE).  However, it was pummeled against stronger entries such as American Idol and Dancing With the Stars and placing 4th, signaling NBC to pull from the schedule as realize the series was failing by even their weakened standards.  Next time, showrunners ought to remember it's called Reality TV as it's supposed to be REAL, not staged. 

33. Caveman, ABC (2007)

Viewers love commercials jammed into their programming.  They crave shows they love being shortened so networks can shamelessly jam more into programming.  As the digital age enabled viewers using Tivo and other DVR's to bypass these nuisances, National Insurance provider Geico decided since clever viewers were avoiding their prolific commercial count.  Their recourse was to confront them inside scripted programming on the sitcom front, enraging viewers and critics with an unrealistic premise and evident product placement.  

The majority avoided this poorly conceived series, so much so the series mustered a 2.5 rating in 78th place of the 139 shows despite choice scheduling (see the 2007-08 seasonal ratings list HERE).  Where Caveman also qualifies as one of the worst series is ABC delivered an impressive pilot season with stylish series such as fantasy-laden Pushing Daisies, comic gold Samantha Who? with Christina Applegate and scandalously delicious Dirty Sexy Money.  All reigned superior in conception, and all deserved renewals despite the 2007-08 WGA strike ravaged television schedules. 

Product placement has been present in programming since the 50's, but the art lies in writers and actors being able to weave the advertised product into a relevant part of a series.  This applies to sitcoms, soaps, reality TV and any genre (this hardly works for dramas though).  Had Geico wished to reach viewers via programming, a wiser approach may have been to do a sitcom on a Geico call center which the befuddled agents deal with bizarre insurance claims (there's a landmine of comic material these hard-working folks work with).  In addition to the mentioned grievances, Caveman included high production costs as makeup and prosthetic work was time consuming and costly.  ABC placed the series on hiatus during the strike, demonstrating its deplorable delivery as they could have burned off episodes while original programming was in scarcity.

32. Princes of Malibu, FOX (2005)

The rich behaving badly?  Hardly an innovative story on our television screens or in real life.  Somehow, FOX thought viewers would devour watching Brandon and Brody Jenner (sons of Linda Thompson and Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner) behaving poorly and being unproductive in this obviously-staged reality TV series.  The Jenner sons would have been wise to consult their former stepmother and stepsisters, who 2 years later would launch their lucrative Keeping Up With the Kardashians enterprise and prove worthy of being the Jedi's of public relations.  The Princes of Malibu appears to have been a test-run for this extended family as the two brothers were scorched and discarded.

Where Princes of Malibu failed rests not only on unrealistic and staged premise, but the Jenner's camera personas were unlikable.  Anyone who watches Keeping Up With the Kardashians agree that yes indeed the principle cast is vain and privileged, but they are nice, well meaning people sharing their adventures.  And therefore why so many tune in and enjoy.  In Princes of Malibu, we were delivered two party boys refusing to be a productive part of society, favoring hanging out with fellow waste of space, Spencer Pratt ("famous" for "starring" in The Hills).  These elements, along with predictable "drama" which was so-obviously manufactured, comprised the content of this show.

After Thompson and then-husband and costar, revered music producer David Foster, announced their separation the day after the show premiered, the potential to invest vaporized.  This development confirmed the series was conceived as a publicity stunt not only to get Foster and Thompson back into the headlines, but catapult the Jenner sons into the spotlight.  When a reality TV series makes the Kardashian's product appear more realistic and heartwarming, viewers immediately smell a dud.  FOX yanked the series after two outings, only to have the remaining mock-worthy episodes air via lesser outlets.  

31. Knight Rider, NBC (2008-09)

The 2000's were not NBC's day.  Having drowned in 4th place for 4 consecutive seasons, the peacock was reaching for revival and looked into its history and attempted to revive Knight Rider.  Several prior mentions have been criticized for being copycats attempting to exploit history, but showrunners on this revival would have been better suited copying more elements which initially charmed its audience.  The plot indeed copied the original's premise of an injured man is rebuilt and works on behalf of secret intelligence agency Knight Industries Research and Development after his prior identity is wiped via an intelligence team faking his death.  

The trouble laid not only in the miscasting, but also the writing worked too hard to update to the 21st century and dissolved the simplicity and magic of the original.  In the original series, Hasselhoff's reinvented character survives a near-fatal bullet to the head, wiping his memory and leaving a prime candidate to assume a new identity as a secret intelligence agent.  The modernized "change" Michael goes through was too complex as it turns a dramatic superhero change being muddled by psychology.

Justin Bruening has proven he is a worthy and talented actor, but filling the shoes of David Hasselhoff was a mismatch.  Bruening has a wily, antagonistic energy prevalent in his acting which is appealing, where Hasselhoff was more grounded and level-energy.  Another inconsistent element is the naming of the prized Ford Mustang Shelby (which was an equal costar to Bruening and appeal of the show) did not match the acronym of NBC's original Knight Industries Two Thousand, which they felt was dated as the series passed the year 2000.  Their updated name should have had KITT titled "KIRD," hardly a slick and sexy moniker like the original series.

These elements which led to disconnect with viewers led NBC to do an overhaul to salvage this failing series.  A wise idea, but it came too late as they ordered an overhaul on November 10, 2008.  Unfortunately, these desired changes did not set in until January 2009, too little, too late as NBC rescinded their initial 22-episode season down to 17 episodes by December 3, 2008.  The Knight Rider reboot missed the mark not only to recoup viewers, but also the initial hook to attract an audience faded fast as the fall season moves fast.  NBC slashed the tires on its Knight Rider reboot after 17 episodes which show one should respect quality over trend.

Did anyone have the misfortunes of sitting through these shows?  Sound off in the comments and enjoy roasting.

Monday TV Ratings 11/27/23: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Sinks, Special Forces Rises for Finale, Weakest Link Modest For Christmas Special (UPDATED w/Analysis)

Ratings Analysis: The annual broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (0.39) took a serious hit on CBS as it dropped by over 40% when compared to its 2022 performance (0.66). Rudolph was followed by a steady Let's Make a Deal Primetime (0.23, 0.00) and a rerun of NCIS (0.18). On Fox, Special Forces: World's Toughest Test (0.24, +0.05) bounced back on finale night. Kitchen Nightmares (0.30, +0.07) grew even more in the 8 p.m. hour. The Bears v. Vikings NFL game (1.73) trailed last week's Eagles v. Chiefs (2.90) but still led ABC to a Monday-night win. NBC had the second highest-rated telecast of the night with The Voice (0.56). At 10, a Christmas-themed Weakest Link (0.29) was barely above 50% retention. The CW was up across the board with Masters of Illusion (0.05, +0.01) and World's Funniest Animals (0.05, +0.02)

Finals Update: NFL: Bears v. Vikings (+0.3) and The Voice (+0.1) adjusted up.

Paramount+ Renew/Cancel: Cancelations Continue as Special Ops: Lioness Awaits Word on a Second Season

The Ratings Junkie Tuesday, November 28, 2023


50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 36th-40th Most Insulting TV Shows

Poor showrunning, knockoffs and senseless violence leave these shows awash in a bloodbath.  Networks are always trying to get viewers' attention, but crossing some boundaries is morally wrong.  Whether delivering a crappy show copying something successful or showing a dismembered woman on screen, viewers do no enjoy this level of violation.

The prior 10 offenders are strung out in shame in the links below:

46th-50th: Overexposure and the Prepostrous

41st-45th: Wasted Opportunities

40. That 80's Show, FOX (2002)

That 70's Show generated worthy buzz as it featured an appealing cast which younger and older generations could appreciate.  Its pinpoint accuracy in dialogue, wardrobe, cultural references, music and settings made a believable backdrop the well-developed characters could flourish in, as well as the true star was side-player Debra Jo Rupp as Kitty Forman.  FOX attempted an unrelated spinoff, That 80's Show, hoping to replicate the magic of its predecessor.  They had the setting, cultural references and music perfected, but the cast failed to connect with viewers.  The problem was the timeline was viewed as too soon to be related to, as well as they were aged into their 20's and didn't attract the right demo for the older viewers.  It's debut episode generated an impressive 11.4 million overall viewers with a strong 6.2 demo.  Within 3 episodes, it hemorrhaged half of those strong ratings.

The ratings stood as proof That 80's Show did receive proper promotion from FOX before it premiered.  And viewers did tune in and initially possessed interest, but exited fast as it didn't click.  The setting was stylish in 1984's San Diego, California, but demonstrated the writing was plot driven as the setting outshined the cast.  After 13 episodes, That 80's Show finished with a 4.27 rating in 102nd place of 153, and on the lower end of FOX's rising 2002 ratings (see the complete 2001-02 ratings HERE).  It was no surprise FOX opted against a second season as viewers demonstrated they had little interest in this failed spinoff.

39. Cristela, ABC (2014-15)

While this failed ABC sitcom was not as bad as some of the prior mentions, Cristela disappointed as showrunners failed to establish the cast and the premise early on was uneven.  In order to be disappointed, expectations are at a higher bar, which we expected from a fresh talent like Cristela Alonzo and a promising premise.  In the show's fairness, ABC did saddle them with the Friday 8:30 timeslot, notorious for being eclipsed by the successful Last Man Standing.  Comedian Cristela Alonzo made history as the first Latina woman to produce, write and star in her own self-titled sitcom, which is where the disappoint settles in further as it would have been landmark if the show succeeded.

The premise was 30-something Cristela Hernandez is a law-school graduate balancing an unpaid internship in a quirky law firm, then returns home to her judgmental family opining about her choices.  The office setting proved intriguing despite the awkward accidental prejudiced remarks by Cristela's boss.  But the homefront?  The majority of Cristela's family delivered one-dimensional and stereotypical humor dating to the 70's.  Midway through the series, Alonzo succeeded in attracting fellow self-titled sitcom star Roseanne Barr to play Veronica Culpepper, the ex-wife of Cristela's boss.  Barr's successful cameos shined a light on potential, as this would have been the perfect opportunity to overhaul the show as the office antics were sufficient to carry the show.  Another shining point was Alonzo's chemistry with costar Josh Leeds, which itself would have made an appealing romance had they invested in developing.

By the time the season ended, Cristela showed limited signs of growth, mustering a 1.2 rating in 120th place.  Contrast that to lead-in Last Man Standing, which harvested a 1.8 rating in 79th place (see the complete 2014-15 ratings HERE).  The show failed to retain more than 70% of its lead-in, and ABC cut their losses as Cristela delivered the weakest among ABC's sitcoms for the season.

38. Flirty Dancing, FOX (2019-20)

Single people going on dates and forced to do choreographed dancing?  That sounds as painful as one's mother joining them on a date and dictating the conversation tone.  Jenna Dewan was indeed an appealing host, but her talents could do little to bolster this clunky reality TV show entry which sat in a high-rated winter season.  The series assaulted FOX's usually strong Wednesdays with 0.6 ratings, coming in at 106th of the 133 series that season (the complete list of 2019-20 ratings is HERE).  By the time this embarrassing series concluded its brief run, viewers were ready to riot as they wanted their worthy and beloved Masked Singer back in its place.

37. Wicked City, ABC (2015)

ABC had a hard year this season as they slid back into 4th place after the prior season delivered a nice renaissance featuring some strong shows.  2015-16 failed to deliver the same acclaim as the prior season due to weaker freshman series such as the crass Wicked City.  Ed Westwick and Erika Christensen proved they had appealing chemistry as their characters crackled in the pilot episode.  The trouble was this sexiness was overshadowed by a gross, misogynistic premise of he was a serial killer in the early 80's targeting women, and she joins him in his devious plot.  Killers on screen are not the problem, but rather the vicious, vile and tasteless way it was on display with Wicked City.  Had the two taken more of a Bonnie and Clyde or Mr. and Ms. Smith angle of robbery or killing villains, viewers may have rooted for the felons and joined in. 

But the series took a vile angle with Westwick's character targeting innocent women, making it hard for the complicit characters to be worthy for viewers to invest in.  One such vile scene showed the lead opening a cabinet to display a dismembered murder victim's body parts in a creepy shrine like trophy display, violating to viewers.  ABC thankfully alerted authorities who tried and convicted Wicked City, handing it the death penalty after 3 horrid episodes.  The series delivered a 1.1 in 110th place, deserving to rot in the lower reaches of the seasonal ratings.  Read about the complete 2015-16 ratings list HERE.

36. Stalker, CBS (2014-15)

CBS has been known to rely heavily on procedural dramas in the 21st century, and often accused of boiler plate entries copying its prior hit shows.  Stalker did indeed update the procedural format but crossed the lines of vileness to the disgust of viewers.  Dylan McDermott proved he could handle playing both heroes and villains from his work in the first two seasons of American Horror Story, and playing morally questionable detective Jack Larsen seemed to be a perfect fit.  The trouble was Stalker's tone was too dark for lighthearted CBS, often with women being victimized in callousness.  One such instance featured a woman being lit on fire alive in her car, dark for even American Horror Story's standards.  Stalker hemorrhaged a third of its lead-in Criminal Mind's 3.6 rating in 16th place and could only muster coming in 46th place with a 2.3 rating, cuing CBS to alert authorities to Stalker life imprisonment in cancellation without the chance of parole/revival after 17 failed episodes.

Did you escape the violence and copycats TVRG shamed in this entry?  Sound off and hope the networks never stoop this low again.

Sunday TV Ratings 11/26/23: The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration Below 2022, Family Guy Drops to New Low (UPDATED w/Analysis)

Ratings Analysis: ABC's broadcast of The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration (0.29) was a touch below last year (0.35) in the Adults 18-49 demographic. The Great Christmas Light Fight (0.21) disappointed at 10 o'clock, while the 7 p.m. America's Funniest Home Videos (0.35, -0.01) dipped. Over on Fox, Bob's Burgers (0.23, -0.01) and Family Guy (0.23, -0.05) were the only original offerings. Bob's tied its previously-set low, but Family Guy dropped to a new series low. The Simpsons (0.22) and Krapopolis (0.16) were in repeat-mode. CBS's 60 Minutes (1.02, +0.22) took advantage of more NFL help, but Yellowstone (0.31/0.23) remained abysmal. The Ravens v. Chargers football game posted a 4.54 rating on NBC. The Chosen (0.04, -0.01) shed a hundredth on the CW. 

Finals Update: NFL Overrun (+1.9) and NFL: Ravens v. Chargers (+1.0) adjusted up. Football Night in America (-0.8), 60 Minutes (-1.1), Yellowstone at 9:30 PM (-0.2), and the repeat of LEGO Masters (-0.1) adjusted down.

50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 41st-45th Most Insulting TV Shows

Coattailing on trends or copying the past can lead to a dud.  These entries bored viewers to tears as they had poor dialogue, predictable characters and not enough attention being paid to details.  Saturating TV screens with concepts already played out turns fascination to an eyeroll, and later a cancellation.  ABC ought to be embarrassed they have delivered 3 losers on this list and thus far are leading the tally for the most shows called out as the worst.  Unlike many failed series, all of the mentions in this list were handed excellent lead-ins and had proper conditions to grow.  But viewers rejected and tuned out.

TVRG posted 5 previous entries HERE so catch up on which previous 5 insulted America in the 21st Century

45. Pan Am, ABC (2011-12)

ABC sought a replacement after cancelling Brothers and Sisters, and Desperate Housewives was on its final season.  They prioritized locating suitable Sunday replacements as they monopolized the Sunday lineup for 8 seasons.  The network was in trouble as they again dropped to 4th Place among the major players as they had from 2002-04.

Pan Am on paper seemed like an appealing, lighthearted drama which could fill the void.  Set in the early 60's when air travel was elite and neat, the premise seemed like a win.  The cast was strong and featured Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie, the sets were beautiful and promotions were plentiful.  What went wrong?  Attention to details was not a priority for showrunners, and period pieces need that element to not only make the backdrop realistic, but also the dialogue to be accurate for the era.  Pan Am did not succeed in either, with phrases like "be a superhero" or "he's a douchebag" punctuated the scripts.  

The trouble is no one used phrases like that in the early 60's and people exhibited greater discipline in using coarse and profane language.  Younger viewers couldn't invest in this flimsy story, and older viewers who lived through that era noticed glaring inconsistencies in dialogue and settings.  Most criminal of all, it underused the talents of Ricci and Robbie who found themselves adrift in plot driven twists.  The ratings showed there was no growth as Pan Am delivered a 2.42 18-49 demo rating in 75th place out of an ailing Desperate Housewives' 3.57 rating in 27th place (see the complete list of 2011-12 ratings HERE).  By springtime, ABC recognized Pan Am failed to take off and tested out pilot GCB.  Lessons to be learned if one wants to do a period piece, they best pay attention to details or history or one will land with a dud on their schedule.

44. Connecting..., NBC (2020)

The ugliest year in the new century left production delays and problems leaving scheduled programming lean.  NBC, almost always superior in creativity among its competitors, attempted to make the best of it and did episodes featuring friends video calling to cope with the stay at home orders.  While innovative, this series did not connect with viewers.  Perhaps it was too close to home for saddened viewers missing life as they knew it, or perhaps the cast couldn't find viewers willing to invest in the one-dimensional characters.  Connecting... delivered a paltry 0.308 rating in 145th Place, the lowest rated sitcom on the board and NBC's lowest scripted series (read about the complete 2020-21 seasonal ratings HERE).  After 8 dismal outings, NBC recognized viewers wanted their beloved returning shows instead and ended the call with Connecting....

43. Dr. Ken (2015-17)

ABC was the place to be for sitcoms in the 2010's, with 8 timeslots offered on three evenings.  The network garnered critical acclaim for displaying the first complete Asian cast on display in 2015.  That honor was reserved for Fresh Off The Boat, not Dr. Ken.  Dr. Ken indeed had the same Asian prominent cast, but far inferior than FOTB due to a flimsy premise and jarring laughtrack.  Had this tired sitcom trend not been added to the mix, Dr. Ken could have channeled the vibes of prior hit Scrubs.  It also followed ABC's recent sitcom trend with a crazy mother, dopey father and household full of random children, a formula they still exploit to this day despite viewers say "no thanks."

Dr. Ken had more leniency with ratings as it was lodged on Friday night at 8:30, a cursed timeslot following hit Last Man Standing which dispensed three sitcoms since 2012.  Ratings for its 1st season were respectable, pulling a 1.4 in 88th place out of Last Man Standing's 1.6 in 76th place and outrating prior occupant Cristela, earning a renewal (see the complete 2015-16 seasonal ratings HERE).

This respectable retention placed Dr. Ken on high priority as ABC sought to increase their sitcom offerings from 8 to 10 timeslots.  Dr. Ken's second season featured a 21% drop in the ratings down to a 1.1, coming in 110th place (see the complete 2016-17 ratings HERE).  While most shows historically lose ratings over time, the belt at ABC grew tighter as Last Man Standing held steady in the 2016-17 season and climbed in rank to 60th Place.  Dr. Ken proved it was not stable enough to anchor a night or develop a new series, and ABC president Channing Dugney eyed an overhaul to the schedule to update.  Few realized LMS was eyed for elimination as it was produced by 20th Century Fox, then an outsourced show prior to the Disney/FOX merger.  With its companion taken out, ABC opted to end the awkward premise and revoke Dr. Ken's medical license for ratings malpractice.

42. The Kids are Alright (2018-19)

Another ABC series which misused ample growth opportunities was The Kids Are Alright, a 70's period piece nestled on Tuesdays after highly rated The Conners.  Gaining initial recognition for its flashy energy and similarity to 80's-themed Goldbergs, The Kids Are Alright appeared to have a solid start.  However, the novelty wore off fast when viewers realized they had another knockoff delivered to them with a crazy mother, dopey father and a house full of kids, and the ratings faltered fast.  The Conners delivered a 1.55 rating in 13th place, and The Kids Are Alright embarrassingly shed nearly half of that rich lead-in with a 0.82 rating in 69th Place (see the complete list of shows by ratings for 2018-19 HERE).

The problem with The Kids Are Alright was the showrunners dropped the ball again by not paying attention to details.  With 7 kids in the mix, how could the writers properly develop the characters as the bloated cast was fighting for screen time?  Worsening this element was the dialogue attempted to reach current viewers by incorporating phrases like "That's phony news," playing off of President Donald Trump's notorious catchphrase "That's fake news."  The show bored younger viewers, and the viewers old enough to remember the 70's would say "give me a break!" as people did not speak like this in the past.  Another example of details being overlooked was despite the wardrobe was accurate, the cast did not possess hairdos from the early 70's.

The Kids Are Alright is a great example of having ideal conditions to develop a winning product, but viewers lost attention soon after a strong debut and failing to recapture viewer's interest.  It was no surprised ABC evicted The Kids Are Alright as it gave them ample opportunities to develop an audience  and failed.

41. We Are Men (2013)

Like ABC later that decade, CBS invested heavily in having sitcoms on display in the early 2010's.  We Are Men debuted on Monday night at 8:30, sandwiched between successful How I Met Your Mother's final season and trending 2 Broke Girls.  The premise was, typical.  Jerry O'Connell played a jilted groom who starts his life over at an apartment complex and befriends three older divorcees.  The trouble was the entire Monday lineup consisted of hangout comedies such as this one.  Why would anyone want to park here when they had the slick, sophisticated How I Met Your Mother and ultra hip/biting 2 Broke Girls as offerings instead?  We Are Men hemorrhaged more than half of HIMYM's rich ratings and was eyed as the culprit dragging 2 Broke Girls down by the ankles.  

CBS acted quick and ripped the show off the schedule after two painful outings despite having 9 more episodes ordered, returning the rightful space to successful Mike & Molly.  To show how disastrous We Are Men's ratings were, let's examine how all the Monday sitcoms fared (and see the complete list of the 2013-14 season HERE):

How I Met Your Mother: 5.49, 6th Place (8:00)

2 Broke Girls: 3.813, 21st Place (9:00, then 8:30 after We Are Men was pulled)

Mike & Molly: 3.368, 30th Place (9:00)

Mom: 3.064, 40th Place (9:30)

We Are Men: 2.764, 58th Place (8:30) 

Agree to disagree...  if you happened to have enjoyed one of these series, discuss in the comment section

Evergreen Aimee Season 3 Episode 7 - Always Be My Aimee

Evergreen Aimee Season 3 Episode 7
Always Be My Aimee

50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 46th-50th Most Insulting TV Shows

Welcome to Worst Shows of the 21st Century, where we expose and count down the shows which networks and streamers violated viewers.  Almost all genres are present as misguided networks believed viewers would devour garbage.  And they wonder why people are tuning out yearly.  Starting this list are terrible reality TV series featuring oversharing and a couple horrid sitcoms.  This is the first of 10 articles counting down to the worst so grab your pitchforks and torches and be ready to hack and burn these awful shows to pieces.

50. Sex Box, WE tv (2015)

They say sex sells, but who's brilliant idea was it to broadcast one's naked ass on television?  The series was a copy of the famous British series, but America's version lacks sexiness.  And some things are best not shared as they lose their specialty.  WE tv believed they could score easy ratings like a virgin scoring in a whorehouse.  The problem lies in everyone was to do the nasty in the box, and other contestants make comments.  Sorry folks, but this is, uninvited.

Celebrities such as Pamela Anderson, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton gained notoriety for sex tapes being released, so the dunderheads at WE tv believed this was an easy sell.  The problem is exposing this act on TV was dated to the 1990's and 2000's which at the time was shocking.  Flash forward to 2015, and viewers smelled a bad sexual episode, which most people try to move on and forget.  In the future WE tv, tell your "stars" to keep their pants on as anyone can get laid.

49. True Tori, Lifetime (2014)

Speaking of overexposed...

Tori Spelling's marriage to Dean McDermott hit the skids.  Her solution?  Air out their troubles on television.  Sitting through these episodes was as painful as sitting through a dinner party as another couple holds the room hostage with their arguing.  Tori should have gotten the memo it is called REALITY TV.  The problem is Tori hardly lives in a reality most viewers know.

The privileged daughter of TV pioneer Aaron Spelling, she's always been accustomed to a pricy lifestyle, even when she has no money and bleeds her marriage into debt.  Instead of continuing to act which she had connections and knew the craft, Tori believes she can sell herself and her dirty laundry out for the public to stay relevant.  So much so she wrote a tell-all called Stori Telling.  While indeed a best-seller, she wrote it at the tender age of 36 and slammed former friend and costar Shannen Doherty.  The public sided with Doherty's priceless putdown as she remarked tell-all's are something one writes when the are old and their careers are over.  Viewers must have felt the same and avoided this trainwreck, instead just waiting for the divorce.  But just like this series, no one cared when that eventually happened.  And if one wishes to watch oversharing, they'll dial direct to the queen of it, Kelly Ripa, and watch her expose her marriage on Live With Kelly and Mark.

48. Raising Dad, WB (2001-02)

Bob Saget playing yet another widower with daughters?  Sorry but we already saw that from 1987-95 on Full House.  Unlike that wholesome mention, Raising Dad was the antithesis.  Saget desired to incorporate his crass humor into this series, right down to a tasteless twist as his late wife died sky diving.  Kat Dennings proved indeed she could act, but her character was hardly as likable as Saget's former TV daughters on Full House.  The series rated low for even jack knifing WB's standards and got thrown out of the same plane they killed the mother in.  Raising Dad could only muster 1.99M overall viewers, coming in 134th out of the 153 shows that season.  The full 2001-02 season's ratings can be viewed HERE.

47. Hidden Hills, NBC (2002)

If one cannot figure out what a sitcom is about, it's a safe presumption it was never a good one.  That is Hidden Hills, which sadly showed NBC was losing its touch with sitcoms as veteran heavyweights Friends, Frasier and Will & Grace began to age out.  Unlike fellow NBC hangout show Friends, no one could quite figure out why these couples were hanging out.  Or even if they had a breakout star to invest in.  The 2000's were not NBC's finest day, and irony would have it the 2002-03 season would be the one that resurging CBS snatched its 1st place title as it began a decade-long freefall.  Hidden Hills came in 55th Place with 6.54M viewers, disappointing for the ideal scheduling it had.  The full 2002-03 season ratings can be viewed HERE.

46. Being Bobby Brown, Bravo (2005)

As if witnessing Tori Spelling's failing marriage wasn't painful enough, washed up singer Bobby Brown and fading wife Whitney Houston pre-dated them on an embarrassing reality TV show which painted their worst.  Whitney Houston was a revered superstar in the 1980's and 1990's, but her career had faded by the 21st century due to personal turmoil.  Being Bobby Brown showed just how hard she was falling as it painted an unflattering portrait of how she was losing her grip on her career and sobriety.  Frequent fights and disjointed episodes left viewers wishing they'd remember both singers on a better day when their careers were prolific.  And once again, celebrities need to knock it off with the oversharing or viewers tune out and resent networks for airing garbage programming.

Have a few shows to suggest or offer up?  Sound off in the comments