TV’s Unfortunate Flops: TV Guide’s 25 All-Time Worst Shows

There's nothing like award-winning television. Unfortunately, this list covers the exact opposite. Here are the 25 worst TV shows of all time, straight from the unflinching judgment of TV Guide.

Brace yourselves for a wild ride through the land of televised disasters, where plots went awry and characters made viewers cringe. Welcome to the Hall of Shame.

1. Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire (2000 TV Special)

Winning contest money happy man
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

This spectacle ignited not one but TWO crazes! We're talking about the unholy union of reality TV and marriage mania. It's a dating game on steroids, where the stakes are high, and the honeymoon comes with a Caribbean cruise and an Isuzu Trooper.

But for most viewers, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion, complete with cringe-worthy moments that'll make your eyes pop out. Some say it had potential, but it crashed and burned hard.

2. The PTL Club (1974–1987)

PTL club
Image Credit: P.T.L. Cable Network.

Welcome to The PTL Club, where talk shows meet divine intervention… or at least that was the plan. Hosted by the dynamic duo Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, it aimed to blend religion and entertainment. Unfortunately, the viewers didn't quite buy into the “religious” part.

The younger crowd found it more hilarious than holy, while others deemed the hosts petty, thoughtless liars. Some say the show was the epitome of everything wrong with TV preachers, and it left viewers wondering if divine intervention could save it from its own holy mess.

3. The Chevy Chase Show (1993)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Our beloved American comedian, actor, and writer, Chevy Chase, tried his hand at hosting a talk show, and it didn't exactly go according to plan.

The reviews were sad, with one person declaring it as a late-night dud that even insomniacs wouldn't sit through, with lame jokes, lackluster structure, and a jittery host.

4. The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer (1998)

The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer
Image Credit: United Paramount Network (UPN).

This show promised scandal, wit, and a dash of controversy. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, apparently, not for the viewers. Some say it got the ax for being racially insensitive, irrelevant, and downright juvenile.

Others say it simply wasn't funny. We're talking jokes that hit the floor like a sack of potatoes and poor comedic timing.

5. Homeboys In Outer Space (1996–1997)

 Homeboys in Outer Space
Image Credit: Buena Vista Television, United Paramount Network (UPN)

The show is a wild ride where Morris Clay, the straight-laced wonder, and his partner-in-laughs, Tyberius Walker, roam the galaxy in a winged car-turned-starship. Add a sassy AI named Loquatia, and you've got a recipe for adventure, right?

Well, hold your rocket boosters because this show divided audiences fast. Some thought it was out-of-this-world amazing and had them rolling in the aisles, while others dismissed it as not good enough or just plain stupid.

6. The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (1976–1977)

The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
Image Credit: Geri Reischl.

America's favorite blended family is here to sing, dance, and unleash their comedic talents. But the response wasn't exactly sunshine and rainbows. This spinoff was a disastrous attempt at a variety show, leaving viewers scratching their heads and wondering if the Brady magic had run its course.

7. Me And The Chimp (1972)

Me and The Chimp
Image Credit:

Lights, camera, monkey madness! Me and the Chimp was the pinnacle of primate-based television… or so they thought. Even the star, Ted Bessell, who shone alongside Marlo Thomas on “That Girl,” despised this series.

The kids may have delivered their lines, but the chimp was more of a background character than a central force. Sorry, folks, but this monkey business missed the mark.

8. The Jerry Springer Show (1991–2018)

jerry springer
Image Credit': Justin Hoch/Wikimedia Commons.

Welcome to the wildest, most jaw-dropping talk show on the planet, The Jerry Springer Show. Jerry knows how to stir up passionate and sensational discussions, covering topics that spin your head. But things can get downright chaotic.

The show had more quality back in the '90s, leaving many to wonder if it contributes anything to society besides a shock factor.

9. Baby Bob (2003–2003)

Richard Burden in Baby Bob
Image Credit: Viacom Productions.

Imagine the shock when a couple realizes their six-month-old baby can talk. Cue the cute factor, right? Well, not quite. This show creeped out more viewers than expected.

Let's face it, talking babies aren't groundbreaking, but this series was devoid of humor and downright unsettling, especially when the baby started ogling his mom. Yikes!

10. Barney And Friends (1992–2010)

Barney and Friends
Image Credit: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Kids from all around loved Barney and his cheerful friends. The show soaked up knowledge for almost two decades. But let's be honest; Barney was one obnoxious, purple freak. Some older viewers in the audience found the characters annoying and seriously lacking in the personality department.

Hey, it's a kids' show, but even the friendliest purple dinosaur couldn't win over everyone.

11. She's The Sheriff (1986–1989)

She's the Sheriff
Image Credit: Lorimar-Telepictures.

After the sheriff of a small town near Lake Tahoe dies, his wife, Hildy Granger, becomes his successor. It's easy to see what's wrong with that story or why people didn't love it.

In an attempt to depict a strong, independent woman who balances her work with raising her two children, She's The Sheriff creates an awful show, thanks to bad writing and poor performances.

12. Pink Lady (1980)

Pink Lady
Image Credit: Krofft Productions.

This short-lived variety show attempted to introduce the Japanese duo Pink Lady to American audiences. The result? A cringe-worthy mix of awkward comedy sketches and cheesy musical performances.

Despite the duo's success in Japan, their charm failed to translate on American television. The show needed better writing, strong guest appearances, and more chemistry between the hosts and their guests.

13. Supertrain (1979)

Image Credit: Dan Curtis Productions.

This show failed to find its footing and derailed spectacularly. The concept was intriguing, but the execution left much to be desired.

Supertrain was a massive undertaking that proved too ambitious for its own good. It quickly became known as one of the costliest failures in television history.

14. Cop Rock (1990)

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Despite its cast's talent and creators' vision, Cop Rock failed to strike the right chord with viewers. Integrating musical numbers into a gritty police procedural didn't resonate well, and the show became a laughing stock rather than a critically acclaimed hit.

15. Celebrity Boxing (2002 TV Special)

Bleed for This
Bleed for This. Photo Credit: Open Road Films.

Celebrity Boxing pitted famous personalities against each other in the boxing ring. Unfortunately, the concept proved more gimmicky than entertaining.

The spectacle of watching actors, musicians, and reality stars clumsily throw punches at each other lost its appeal as the lack of genuine competition became evident. Celebrity Boxing quickly faded into obscurity, leaving audiences questioning why they had tuned in to watch the chaotic display in the first place.

16. Turn-On (1969)

The Sonny Comedy Review
The Sonny Comedy Review. Image Credit: George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions.

Turn-On was touted as a revolutionary comedy series that would push the boundaries of television. However, this experimental show ended up pushing viewers away instead. Its rapid-fire, sketch-based format bombarded audiences with a barrage of jokes and absurd humor that left many scratching their heads.

Turn-On was a cautionary tale about the risks of pushing the envelope too far without ensuring genuine comedic value.

17. My Mother the Car (1965–1966)

My Mother the Car
Image Credit: United Artists Television.

My Mother the Car revolves around a man named Dave who discovers his deceased mother has been reincarnated as a talking car. Yes, you read that correctly. Despite its imaginative concept, the execution of My Mother the Car left much to be desired.

The writer struggled to find a balance between comedy and genuine emotional connection. Ultimately, the show became a bizarre footnote in television history, remembered more for its outlandish concept than its entertainment value.

18. XFL Football League (2001)

xfl football
Image Credit: XFL Football.

Professional wrestling mogul Vince McMahon decided to venture into the world of football with the XFL Football League. However, the league's grand promises fell flat on the field.

The XFL's over-the-top production elements, including cheerleaders and WWE-style player introductions, failed to compensate for the subpar gameplay. Despite an initial surge in curiosity, the XFL quickly lost viewership and folded after just one season.

19. The Ugliest Girl in Town (1968–1969)

Ugliest Girl in Town
Image Credit: Screen Gems.

With a cringe-inducing title by today's standards, The Ugliest Girl in Town attempted to find humor in a superficial and insensitive premise. The show follows a photographer disguising himself as a woman to secure a modeling job.

The problematic nature of the central concept was not lost on viewers. Its reliance on shallow stereotypes and offensive jokes undermined any potential for genuine comedy.

20. Co-Ed Fever (1979)

co ed fever
Image Credit: CBS.

Set in a fictional all-girls college gone co-ed, Co-ed Fever aimed to capture college life's raucous and carefree spirit. However, this attempt at a comedic portrayal of campus shenanigans bit the dust. The show relied heavily on shallow characterizations, sexual innuendos, and predictable plotlines that failed to generate genuine laughs.

Despite its intentions, Co-ed Fever lacked the wit and substance to stand out in the crowded landscape of college-themed movies and shows.

21. Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell (1975–1976)

SNL with Howard Cosell
Image Credit: ABC.

When sports broadcaster Howard Cosell's version of the iconic comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live was created, expectations were high. However, the marriage of sports commentary and sketch comedy proved to be a mismatch.

Cosell's presence failed to create the comedic chemistry and timing necessary for a successful variety show. Despite Cosell's expertise in sports, his version of Saturday Night Live didn't translate into the comedic realm.

22. Hee Haw Honeys (1978–1979)

Hee Haw Honeys
Image Credit: Gylord Entertainment.

Hee Haw Honeys attempted to capitalize on the success of the popular variety show Hee Haw by spinning off a series centered around female cast members. However, this attempt couldn't capture the magic that made the original show a hit.

The spinoff lacked the wit, humor, and charm that had endeared viewers to Hee Haw. It failed to recapture the essence of its predecessor, quickly fading into obscurity.

23. Baywatch (1989–2001)

Image Credit: GTG Entertainment

While Baywatch enjoyed a long run and international popularity, it earned its place on this list due to its often criticized and shallow storytelling.

Critics argue that Baywatch relied heavily on sensationalism, over-the-top melodrama, and gratuitous scenes of beach-bound beauties. Despite its cultural impact and devoted fan base, Baywatch is often cited as an example of a show that prioritized eye candy over compelling storytelling.

24. Casablanca (1983)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

Casablanca is a timeless classic film beloved by many, so fans had great expectations for this. Unfortunately, this version failed to capture the magic and sophistication of the original.

The Casablanca TV series lacked the cinematic grandeur and nuanced performances that made the film a masterpiece. The attempt to translate the intricate web of love, sacrifice, and political intrigue into a weekly format failed.

25. Life with Lucy (1986)

Life with Lucy Lucille Ball, Philip Amelio, Gale Gordon, Jenny Lewis
Image Credit: Lucille Ball Productions.

The writing and comedic timing of Life with Lucy was widely criticized, with many feeling that the jokes were outdated and forced. The show struggled to find a cohesive tone, leaving viewers confused and disappointed.

Despite Ball's undeniable talent, Life with Lucy suffered from a lack of fresh and engaging material, ultimately leading to ABC canceling the show.

Boloere Divine Seibidor, fondly called B.S., is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She's been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sights. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.