The Worst TV Shows of All Time
Whether you’re a TV series aficionado or just a casual viewer, deciding what to watch can be daunting. Do you binge-watch the latest drama or relax with a comedy? Should you explore the latest TV content or stick with an old classic?
While there is no way for us to answer those questions, this list of the worst television shows of all time, according to TV Guide, can tell you exactly which ones are not worth your time. Read on.
50. Barney & Friends
Barney & Friends is a children’s television show that featured the title character Barney, a purple anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex. Barney conveyed educational messages through small dance routines and songs, with an optimistic attitude.
While it was somewhat popular with its intended audience, the show drew sharp criticism from older generations. This anti-Barney phenomenon was, in fact, the basis of a 2022 documentary named I Love You, You Hate Me. Despite the negative reaction it got, the show surprisingly managed to last 14 full seasons!
49. The Ropers
The Ropers is an American sitcom television show that was launched as a spin-off of Three’s Company. The series focused on a middle-aged couple, Stanley and Helen Roper, who were landlords to Janet, Jack, and Chrissy on Three’s Company.
The show was canceled after just two seasons. Some people believe that the show didn’t do well because it was put in a bad time slot, but the fact is that the plot wasn’t interesting enough to pull in its target demographic.
48. Bless This House
Bless This House is a sitcom television series created by Bruce Helford, starring Cathy Moriarty and Andrew Dice Clay. The show takes viewers through the lives of postal worker Burt Clayton and his wife Alice, who raise two kids in Trenton, New Jersey.
The show garnered a lot of mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly gave the series a C rating and mentioned, “Bless has smart things to say about how hardworking parents manage family life, but the show is hobbled by its endless succession of squalid sex jokes.” Unsurprisingly, it was canceled after just one season.
If you hate overplayed stereotypes, you need to give the next show a miss!
Rango (1967) is an American Western comedy that starred Tim Conway, Norman Alden, and Guy Marks. The titular character, Rango, is an inept Texas Ranger who is assigned to the quietest post the Rangers have in order to keep him from landing himself in unnecessary trouble. He, however, brings trouble wherever he goes.
You can guess what was problematic about this show by just looking at the image above. Fortunately, the show was aired for just half a season, after which it was canceled.
46. Me and the Chimp
Me and the Chimp is an American sitcom that aired for only one season in 1972. The premise of the show revolved around a dentist and his wife, who live with their two children and a chimpanzee. Episodes take viewers through the doings and undoings of the chimp.
Unless you love watching the daily life and activities of a chimp, you’ll likely be bored with what this show has to offer.
45. a.k.a. Pablo
a.k.a. Pablo focuses on the struggles of a Hispanic stand-up comedian, Paul Rivera, and his Mexican-American family, who calls him Pablo. While his family is loving and supportive, Paul/Pablo’s traditionalist parents are often offended by his ethnic humor.
The show was not a success and was canceled after just six episodes. But some people believe that a.k.a. Pablo suffered the fate because it was ahead of its time. Either way, given that there is plenty of amazing content to watch on TV, you can certainly skip this show.
44. She’s the Sheriff
She’s the Sheriff is a sitcom series that aired between 1987 and 1989. Produced by Lorimar Television, the show marked the return of Suzanne Somers to television after she left Three’s Company.
In the show, Somers stars as Hildy Granger, a widow who is appointed the Sheriff of fictional Lakes County. The series focuses on her efforts to deal with the challenges of tourists and locals while learning to work with her deputies.
While the show was progressive, the plot wasn’t engaging enough, and it was canceled after just two seasons on air.
In the show, an innocent misunderstanding leads to a nuclear catastrophe. Only six people survive the Armageddon, and they make their way to a remote farm in the middle of nowhere. There, the group has a series of adventures, and the misfits learn to put aside their differences for the sake of survival.
While the plot was unique, Woops! didn’t have any big-name stars, and that eventually led to low ratings. It was finally canceled after just ten episodes!
The next show on our list has one of the most ridiculous premises. Find out what it is.
42. The Flying Nun
The Flying Nun is a sitcom about a community of nuns, one of whom had the ability to fly. The show was based on the 1965 book The Fifteenth Pelican and starred Sally Field as the title character, Sister Bertrille.
While the show had its noteworthy moments, and Field was, of course, an amazing performer, the absurd premise of the show led to its cancellation. In fact, we’re surprised it even lasted three full seasons!
41. The Tom Green Show
The Tom Green Show aired in September 1994 in Ottawa, Ontario, and starred Canadian comedian Tom Green. Production later moved to the United States, and the show began to air on MTV.
While the show had its funny moments, Green’s humor was pretty crass and not for everyone. The silliness of the show did not resonate with its target audience, causing the network to cancel it. Green, however, launched subsequent spin-off shows that were more successful than this series.
40. Makin’ It
Makin’ It was set in Passaic, New Jersey, and centered on the daily life of Billy Manucci, a young gentleman who frequented a nearby disco club every night. Ellen Travolta, John Travolta’s sister, played Manucci’s mother.
This show didn’t work because it was aired during a time when backlash against the disco culture was starting to rise in the US. As such, Makin’ It lasted just eight weeks on air before the network unceremoniously canceled it.
The next show is proof that old classics should not be remade!
39. The New Leave it to Beaver
The New Leave It to Beaver was a sequel to the popular hit sitcom Leave It to Beaver. The series focused on Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow) and his younger brother Beaver (Jerry Mathers) as adults.
While the show tried hard to recreate what made the original series special, it, unfortunately, failed to leave a mark. Despite being on air for around six years, the show received mostly mixed reviews. It was finally canceled in 1989.
38. Hell Town
Hell Town is a drama show that aired on NBC in 1985. The show featured Robert Blake as Noah Rivers, a hard-living Catholic priest in a crime-ridden LA neighborhood. Rivers is a former criminal but was still picked to lead his church and help people choose a life away from crime.
The plot is somewhat interesting. However, NBC canceled it after just 15 episodes. With a better supporting star cast, this show may have worked in the present day.
37. Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell
ABC hired Howard Cosell, a premier sports broadcaster, to host this comedy hour variety show. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work.
The show was received poorly by both audiences and critics alike. Alan King, the executive in charge of comedy, even admitted that it was pretty challenging to turn Cosell into a comedy variety show host and stated that he “made Ed Sullivan look like Buster Keaton.”
Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell was canceled on January 17, 1976, after just 18 episodes.
The next show’s lackluster focus and shoddy plot caused its quick demise.
36. The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo
The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo is an action comedy that starred Claude Akins, Brian Kervin, Mills Watson, and Ben Cooper. This show had a lot of similarities to CBS’s hit series The Dukes of Hazzard, right down to the shiftiness of the lead character and the rural setting.
Although the series performed well in rural areas, it received low viewership from urban regions. This caused the studio to shift the show from its rural setting to urban Atlanta. But the new format did not work, and the show was eventually canceled.
35. Pink Lady
Pink Lady is a variety show that aired for five weeks in 1980. It starred the Japanese pop duo of the same name. The show was quickly taken off air, given that it was riddled with complications over its name and had scriptwriting disagreements and touring conflicts.
But the most important factor that led to the downfall of Pink Lady was that Mie and Kei, the hosts and members of the music group, did not speak English fluently. Although the show did very well in Japan, it performed poorly in the US.
34. Alexander the Great
This one-off episode produced by ABC starred Adam West and William Shatner. The premise followed Alexander the Great as he prepared for battle against his rival, King Darius III, while having to deal with internal rivals and his own weary army.
The plot had potential, but the weak script and uninspiring acting caused this pilot to never be picked up. Fortunately, Shatner and West both received far more lucrative offers after this disappointing episode.
The next show has an unreal plot that completely misses the mark. Click ‘Next’ to find out what it is.
33. Holmes and Yoyo
Holmes and Yoyo focused on Detective Alexander Holmes, a down-on-his-luck police officer who injures all his partners. The department finally pairs him up with an android crime-fighting machine named Gregory “Yoyo” Yoyonovich.
Over the course of the show, Holmes tries to teach his new partner how to act more human while attempting to keep Yoyo’s identity a secret. The series performed poorly and was canceled by the network after 11 episodes.
The next show on our list was so bad that it got canceled after just one episode — imagine that!
32. Co-Ed Fever
This show tried to capitalize on the success of similar “frat house” comedies like National Lampoon’s Animal House. However, after CBS aired the first episode as a special preview, the show received so many viewer complaints and had such low ratings that the network canceled it immediately.
Although six episodes were already filmed by that time, CBS only aired one episode of Co-Ed Fever in the US. The other episodes were aired in Canada, though, in a late-afternoon weekend time slot.
31. Homeboys in Outer Space
Homeboys in Outer Space is a fantasy-science fiction sitcom that starred Darryl Bell and Flex Alexander. The plot revolved around two astronauts who flew around the universe in the 23rd century in a winged car.
The show was severely criticized by critics. The Progressive’s Fredrick L. McKissack, Jr. described the series as “Star Trek meets Amos’ n’ Andy.” The Daily News’s Keith Marder panned the show’s predictable jokes and sexual humor and gave it a “C-” rating. Homeboys was canceled after its first season.
30. Unhappily Ever After
Unhappily Ever After followed the daily lives of the atypical Malloy family. The first two seasons, which focused on the storyline of the pill-popping mother, were the best. After that, this series quickly went downhill.
Although there wasn’t a lack of acting talent, the strange plot and controversial humor caused it to receive mixed reviews and low ratings. It lasted for a total of five seasons, after which it was canned.
You’ll never guess what’s next on our list!
29. Howard Stern
Some people love this show, while others absolutely hate it! The show featured sketches, raunchy interviews, and social commentary from, as you may have guessed, Howard Stern. One of the key issues that several audiences had with the show is that Stern focused more on the private lives of guest artists as opposed to their careers.
It was finally taken off the air. Still, many people to this day are fans of Howard Stern, despite his humor not being well received by everyone.
Supertrain is an adventure-drama television show that aired on NBC for nine episodes. The series focused on the social lives of people who traveled aboard the Supertrain. The series was the most expensive to air in the United States at the time.
But the production faced numerous challenges, and even the elaborate sets and intertwining storylines weren’t enough to save this show. Supertrain received largely negative criticism and was taken off the air. NBC tried to recoup some of its losses by selling the show to international markets, but it never aired anywhere else.
Turn-On is a sketch comedy that aired on ABC for just one episode. The show is widely regarded as one of the most infamous flops in the history of television. In fact, Cleveland, Ohio’s WEWS-TV didn’t return to the telecast of the show after its first commercial break.
A WEWS-TV spokesperson said the station received numerous protest calls and general manager Perris stated that Turn-On was “in excessively poor taste.” After seeing the first episode, a number of stations in the later time zones decided against broadcasting this show.
26. Life with Lucy
Life with Lucy, starring Lucille Ball, was received poorly by viewers and critics alike. In the show, Ball plays a widowed grandmother, who inherits her husband’s half stake in a store. Although she had no interest in the store while her husband was alive, her character insists on helping her deceased husband’s business partner run the store.
Fourteen episodes of this show were written, but only eight aired. The premiere episode even made it to Nielsen’s Top 25 for the week. But viewership of subsequent episodes dropped steadily.
25. Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?
Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire aired on Fox as a two-hour broadcast in 2000 and was hosted by Jay Thomas. In this reality show, 50 women competed in a pageant-style contest. The winner was to marry a wealthy man whom they’d never met.
As you may have guessed, the show ran into numerous controversies, with several feminist organizations condemning the program. After the show aired, it was alleged that Rick Rockwell, the supposed multi-millionaire, had embellished claims about his financial and professional success.
24. One of the Boys
This sitcom television series starred Mickey Rooney, Dana Carvey, Scatman Crothers, and Nathan Lane. In the show, Rooney and Crothers are spry senior citizens who leave their nursing home and move in with Rooney’s young grandson.
The show was hoping to bank on the stars’ comedic performances and generational humor. However, the plot just didn’t work, and the show was off the air after just 13 episodes.
The next one on our list is another variety show that completely misses the mark. Find out what it is!
23. Sammy and Company
Sammy and Company was a talk-show program that was hosted by American dancer, singer, and comedian Sammy Davis Jr. The variety show featured songs and dances and plenty of conversation and comedy. The regulars on the show included Johnny Brown and Avery Schreiber.
Sammy and Company lasted for a total of 53 episodes over the course of three seasons. While Davis excelled as a musician, he wasn’t the best host for a variety show, which eventually led to its cancellation.
22. The Powers of Matthew Star
This American sci-fi comedy show, starring Peter Barton as the title character, aired on NBC between September 17, 1982, and April 8, 1983. In the show, Barton played an alien prince who used his powers to fight crime.
The show was originally slated to debut in 1981 but was delayed when Barton suffered an on-set accident, which caused him to endure severe burns. The lackluster plot and the unsuccessful meshing of comedy and sci-fi affected its ratings, and it was called off after one season.
This long-running show followed the adventures of a team of lifeguards. The show was pretty popular, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out why people tuned in to watch it.
Baywatch had a straightforward premise and a great-looking star cast. That said, the inconsequential plot and disappointing acting meant no one took this show seriously. While it isn’t the worst show on television, there are definitely better options if you’re looking for something to binge-watch.
20. The Phyllis Diller Show
The plot of The Phyllis Diller Show revolves around the Pruitt family, who reside in Long Island in a huge mansion. They live like royalty, but they’re, in fact, flat-broke and live off the state. Each episode of this show focused on Phyllis trying a new scheme to raise money without disclosing it to the IRS.
Although some people found the show funny, many were unimpressed with the humor and plot. It received poor ratings and was canceled after 1 season that spanned 30 episodes.
19. The P.T.L Club
The P.T.L. Club, also called The Jim and Tammy Show, was a Christian television program that was hosted by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.
The show ran for fourteen seasons. However, it became widely infamous for Jim Bakker’s involvement in financial and sexual scandals. Bakker eventually had to resign, and the show continued for a considerable duration after the incident. But The P.T.L. Club got into trouble again after one of the subsequent hosts faced problems with the IRS.
18. The Ugliest Girl in Town
This sitcom revolves around the life of Timothy Blair, a Hollywood talent agent, who falls in love with a British actress visiting the United States. When she returns back home, Timothy takes on a modeling job in England so he can be with her. The only problem is that the talent manager who hires Timothy thinks he is a woman.
While this show had potential, the numerous plot holes led to it being canceled during the first season.
The next show on our list is a spin-off of one of the best movies ever made. Sadly, it disappointed both viewers and critics alike.
When you have an iconic movie like Casablanca, a spin-off doesn’t usually make sense. This series, set in 1955 during the Cold War period, was full of intrigue and spies. Unfortunately, it couldn’t compete against the original movie.
The stories in the show were molded to fit the style of standard television drama of the time, omitting themes that were considered inappropriate for viewers. This eventually led to its failure. Casablanca was canceled after ten episodes.
16. The Chevy Chase Show
The Chevy Chase Show was a late-night television talk show hosted by actor and comedian Chevy Chase. The show was canceled after just five weeks on air due to low ratings.
The talk show received negative reviews from critics. Time panned it, saying, “Nervous and totally at sea, Chase tried everything, succeeded at nothing.” The magazine claimed that Chase “recycled old material shamelessly.”
The next show on our list was far ahead of its time, and that may have caused its failure.
This superhero television series stars Simon MacCorkindale as the protagonist. Simon plays Johnathan Chase, a man who can shape-shift into any animal of his choosing. He uses this unique ability to help the police solve crimes.
The series ran for just eight episodes before its cancellation. At the time, it was not well received by many television show reviewers and was considered one of the worst series on air. That said, over time, it has become somewhat of a minor cult classic.
14. Baby Bob
Baby Bob centered around first-time parents Walter and Lizzy Spencer and their six-month-old infant Bob. Strangely enough, his parents discover that baby Bob can converse like an adult. His father wants to keep Bob’s ability a secret, but his mother wants to brag about it to her parents.
Although this series premiered to strong ratings, it was panned by critics. The first season lasted just six episodes, and the second season was shortened since the network only wanted eight episodes. It was eventually dropped by CBS.
Twenty-One was a popular game show hosted by Jack Barry. It aired from 1956 to 1958 on NBC. In the show, two contestants would compete against each other, answering general-knowledge questions to win a grand prize.
The show became infamous when it was found to be rigged. Investigations found that the contestants were cast like actors, and they were willing partners in the deceptions. NBC brought the show back on air in 2000 with Maury Povich as the host.
12. Hello, Larry
Hello, Larry was a sitcom series that starred McLean Stevenson. It aired on NBC and ran for 38 episodes over two full seasons. The show was widely anticipated and was greeted positively by viewers, given McLean Stevenson’s association with M*A*S*H.
But almost immediately, the show gained a reputation for being unfunny and poorly written. It was negatively compared to other shows that were aired during the time.
The next show on our list proves that all attention is not good attention!
11. The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer
This show set off a wave of controversy before it was even released because it appeared to be taking a light-hearted stance on the issue of American slavery. The story revolves around a Black English nobleman who was chased out of the UK. He eventually makes his way to the US and serves as President Lincoln’s valet.
The first episode of the show received poor rankings. After a few more episodes, The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer was canceled by the network.
10. Hee Haw Honeys
Hee Haw created a short-lived spin-off series called Hee Haw Honeys, which starred Kathie Lee Johnson along with regulars Gailard Sartain, Misty Rowe, Kenny Price, and Lulu Roman. In the show, the family owns a truck stop restaurant, which includes a bandstand where country artists perform.
Cast members would also occasionally perform songs. Notable guest artists who performed on Honeys included Loretta Lynn, Dave & Sugar, The Oak Ridge Boys, and the Kendalls, among others. Some stations would air an episode of Honeys just before Hee Haw. That said, the show ultimately did not work.
The next show on our list was a success until it was not! Click ‘Next’ to find out more.
9. The Jackie Gleason Show
The Jackie Gleason Show ran for nearly 20 years, from 1952 to 1970. The show usually opened with a monologue, which was followed by a comedic sketch featuring Gleason and other regular performers.
The show was a hit until 1969. However, Gleason made a radical change to the series for the next year: He went on a stringent diet and lost almost 60 pounds. When the series returned, Gleason’s weight loss was not well received and was one of the factors that led to the show’s cancellation in 1970.
8. Cop Rock
Cop Rock was a police procedural musical series created by William M. Finkelstein and Steven Bochco for ABC. The show followed a cast of detectives and police officers as they solved crimes across the city. The series also had plenty of musical numbers mixed in.
Ultimately, though, the show was a critical and commercial failure. While the concept was unique, the contrast of unmemorable music and serious police drama proved too jarring. ABC canceled it after just 11 episodes.
You won’t believe what’s next on our list.
AfterMASH was produced as a spin-off and continuation of M*A*S*H. The show chronicled the post-war adventures of three primary characters from the original series: Maxwell Klinger (played by Jamie Farr), Colonel Sherman T. Potter (played by Harry Morgan), and Father John Mulcahy (played by William Christopher).
Although the original series did well, AfterMASH received mostly negative reviews from critics and casual viewers. Time magazine even listed it as one of the 100 worst ideas of the century.
6. Celebrity Boxing
Celebrity Boxing is a series in which celebrities and athletes whose careers had diminished were pitted against one another in exhibition boxing matches.
The first episode featured three fights: Danny Bonaduce vs. Barry Williams, Paula Jones vs. Tonya Harding, and Todd Bridges vs. Vanilla Ice. The second episode featured four fights: Conger vs. Korbut, Diamond vs. Palillo, Bol vs. Perry, and Buttafuoco vs. Laurer.
Fortunately, FOX only aired two episodes of this disastrous show.