Last night, NBC's new drama series Do No Harm debuted to the lowest ratings ever. As in, ever. It was the lowest-rated, in-season premiere of any scripted series ever on the big four networks Not exactly the type of record you want to set.
But hey, Do No Harm is certainly not alone when it comes to terrible debuts on television. From shows based on commercials to cross-dressing, here are six other shows that absolutely bombed in the ratings, in content, and sometimes in both:
1. Work It, ABC: Last year's controversial cross-dressing sitcom was critically destroyed. It premiered to fairly good ratings (why, America?), but the numbers fell so quickly and the reviews were so awful that it was canceled after episode two, just 10 days after the premiere.
2. Lone Star, Fox: Showrunner Kyle Killen cannot catch a break. Both of his well-written high-concept shows (Lone Star and NBC's Awake) never found an audience. In 2010, the Fox drama about a Texas con man living a double life was canned after two low-rated episodes. Viewers and critics were a bit miffed, insisting that Fox never gave it a chance. At least Killen had a sense of humor about it, writing on his blog after the premiere: "Statistically, new shows tend to lose viewers in their second week. We're aiming to gain them. In fact, screw it, let's just double our audience. The good news is, our audience was so small that if my Mom AND my Dad watch it we'll pretty much be there." So, we blame his parents for the cancellation.
3. Emily's Reasons Why Not, ABC: Heather Graham starred in this 2006 series based on the novel of the same name. The show asked "Why Not?"; viewers and critics asked: "Why?" It was canceled after the pilot episode.
4. H8R, the CW: Hey, everybody! Stop picking on the rich and famous! That was basically the premise for this CW reality show hosted by Mario Lopez. It showcased celebrities confronting regular people who were "haters" of their career, personality, or both in an attempt to win them over. The likes of Snooki, Eva Longoria and Jake Pavelka were featured, but turns out, nobody felt sorry for them. The network canceled H8R after four low-rated episodes. We did not hate that decision.
5. The Paul Reiser Show, NBC: The semi-autobiographical sitcom about the Mad About You star was dead before it premiered. The network barely promoted it, and the reviews were dreadful. It premiered to lower ratings than the show it replaced (Perfect Couples), earning the award for NBC's lowest ratings ever for an in-season comedy premiere. It was mercifully canceled after just two episodes.
6. Cavemen, ABC: This is the type of show that really makes us wonder what really happens in TV pitch meetings. Does it go something like this? "Hey, you know those 30-second Geico commercial that people kind of like and/or tolerate? Let's turn that into a full-fledged sitcom!" Nope. Critics destroyed it, and ABC pulled it off the air after six episodes. We happen to believe that the 2007 writers' strike was caused by this show.