The new fall TV season is about to start, and while there will probably be some big hits in the bunch, there will also be some duds that will be quickly canceled. But will they be as swiftly canceled as these shows were?
Do No Harm
In 2013, NBC heavily promoted this modern retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was about an important neurosurgeon named Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale) who had an evil split personality named Ian who took over his body and brain at night, wreaking havoc everywhere he went. A simple premise, but one viewers didn’t care for—the premiere scored the lowest ratings for a midseason drama in TV history. The second episode did even worse, and NBC replaced it with reruns of Law and Order: SVU. Do No Harm didn’t even get a chance to start a planned season-long plot arc featuring future Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda as another doctor who gets murdered.
In 2017, Katherine Heigl returned to series television since quitting the ABC hit Grey’s Anatomy in 2010 in pursuit of a movie career that ultimately fizzled out. This classy legal drama surrounded Heigl with an all-star cast, including Elliott Gould, Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Dule Hill (The West Wing)…and Steven Pasquale from Do No Harm. And yet, viewers had doubts about Doubt. It pulled in only about five million watchers, and CBS canceled the show after two airings.
Knock Knock Live
Ryan Seacrest has his own media empire. He parlayed a hosting gig on American Idol into producing shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, co-hosting Live alongside Kelly Ripa each morning, a talk show called On Air based on his radio show, and creating and hosting a Fox game show/reality hybrid called Knock Knock Live. Seacrest and celebrities would head out to real people’s homes, knock on their doors, and give them prizes. After the second episode, in which Seacrest and pop star Justin Bieber arrived at a stranger’s house was watched by just two million people, Fox shut the door on Knock Knock Live.
National Lampoon’s Animal House was a pop culture phenomenon in 1978. The lewd and wacky frat house comedy made a movie star out of Saturday Night Live star John Belushi, and made the college humor magazine National Lampoon a force in film (it would later brand the Vacation movies, for example). It also made $141 million (adjusted for inflation, that’s $532 million in 2017 dollars), and the TV networks wanted to cash in. By early 1979, three different Animal House sitcom knock-offs had hit the airwaves: ABC’s officially Lampoon-sanctioned Delta House (which starred Michelle Pfeiffer), NBC’s Brothers and Sisters (which debuted right after the Super Bowl), and CBS’s Co-Ed Fever. Delta House and Brothers and Sisters did well at first, but ratings steadily dropped and the shows were pulled after 13 and 12 episodes, respectively. Co-Ed Fever starred David Keith and Heather Thomas as students at a women’s-only college that decided to start admitting male students. Despite America having Animal House fever, very few contracted Co-Ed Fever. The show debuted as a “special preview” to fill time after the TV premiere of Rocky. Ratings were so bad CBS never aired Co-Ed Fever in its regular timeslot.