10. The CW was quite successful ridding itself of the “rich white girl” theme that had defined the network since its inception. Cult was part of that process, yet it went horribly wrong. Its’ debut in February 2013 was viewed by fewer than one million viewers (860,000) and a mere 0.3 A18-49 demo. After two episodes on Tuesday nights, the CW shifted the show to Friday nights, where it shed even more of its audience. Viewers who watched the show were intrigued, yet there was confusion over the theme (a show within a show) and it kept viewers away. Cult ended its run after 13 episodes with a measly 0.1 A18-49 demo.
9. Fox has been known for its out-of-the-box reality shows (see Joe Millionaire, The Swan, etc.) for over a decade now. In the summer of 2013, Fox tried to get people talking again with new reality series Does Someone Have to Go?. This time, the staff at failing businesses got to step in the shoes of their boss and make decisions, including who may be fired. Critics pounced on the series, saying it was too harsh, especially in a down-economy. Viewers agreed with the critics: the show debuted to a tiny 2.68 million viewers and 1.1 A18-49. In addition, the show recorded a 2.4/10 on IMDb, one of the lowest ratings on the website for any new show this season. It appears many Americans are finally tiring of trashy reality.
8. Siberia was described as a mockumentary series that followed 16 contestants on a reality show; think of it as a mix between Survivor and short-lived The River. Reviews were not too bad, with an okay 63% on Metacritic and 6.8/10 on IMDb. Despite a unique concept, Siberia bombed, premiering to 3.06 million viewers and 1.1 A18-49, last in its timeslot. NBC let the show air all eleven episodes in its timeslot before it ended its run. The network never officially cancelled the series, but with horribly low ratings (even by summer standards) its unlikely Siberia will ever see the light of day again.
7. NBC promoted The Million Second Quiz for weeks, offered the largest prize in game show history, and signed on well-known Ryan Seacrest as host. It seemed as if the show would hit, right? As with most of NBC’s attempts this past season, The Million Second Quiz was a bust. The game show debuted to an okay 6.52 million viewers and 1.7 A18-49, but fell as low as an 0.7 on September 14th (a Saturday). The show did rebound slightly by the time the finale rolled around, however, it was not enough. Critics and viewers alike slammed the show for being confusing and an app that was constantly crashing. Needless to say, Million Second Quiz is unlikely to return for a second season.
6. I did not want to place The Michael J. Fox Show on the list, but I had to do it. NBC snagged the show nearly a year before its debut after offering it a full 22 episode season in a competitive situation between the broadcast networks. The family comedy was supposed to reinvigorate the NBC ‘Must See TV’ block, and because of that, NBC put its advertising muscle behind the series. Unfortunately for NBC, The Michael J. Fox Show debuted to a middling 7.5 million viewers and 2.2 A18-49. Reviews were mostly negative, with the New York Times saying it was unfunny. Viewers agreed and by episode nine the show had fallen below a 1.0 A18-49. Michael J. Fox recently earned a Golden Globe nomination for the series, but lets be honest, everyone loves Michael J. Fox, not his show.
5. Joining The Michael J. Fox Show on the worst of the worst list is NBC’s Thursday night “anchor” Sean Saves the World. Critics quickly jumped on the series calling it one of the worst of the season and compared it to the NBC comedy failures of the 1990’s. Since its debut, Sean Saves the World has struggled in the ratings, and never once going above a 1.4 A18-49. Sean Hayes shtick may have worked on Will and Grace, but here it is terribly uncomfortable and unfunny.
4. Needing to give Undercover Boss a break, CBS ordered The Job, which gave people a chance to win a job at their dream company. It seemed like an easy timeslot win. The New York Times called it “awful”, The Washington Post described it as “exploitative”, and The New York Post said it was “offensive”. Viewers agreed: a mere 4 million viewers and 0.9 A18-49 tuned into the premiere, with the numbers falling even further in week two (3.3 million / 0.7 A18-49). After only two episodes (and a fourth place timeslot finish), CBS pulled The Job from its timeslot.
3. NBC had a new medical drama based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Do No Harm received a fair amount of promotion and went into a prime timeslot: Thursdays at 10/9c, where ER successfully ran for fourteen seasons. On premiere night, NBC gave the series the lead in of The Office, its strongest show on the night at that point. Once again for NBC, it was a total bust. Do No Harm kicked off its run with a minuscule 3.12 million viewers and 0.9 A18-49 demo – the lowest rated in-season scripted premiere ever on the four major broadcast networks. Despite the horrible premiere, NBC stuck with Do No Harm for another week, only to see it fall even further (0.7 A18-49). Less than a few days later, NBC pulled the drama from its timeslot and shipped in off to Saturdays…in the summer. For the (few) viewers of Do No Harm, NBC did actually air all 13 episodes.
2. ABC had a bad year, yet Lucky 7 is the only entry on the network to make my list, and for good reason. From the time it was announced in May, it was predicted to be the first cancellation of the season. Lottery dramas, like Lucky 7, have never been big hits (see Windfall, for example) so why would this one be any different? Lucky 7 premiered to 4.43 million viewers and 1.3 A18-49, the lowest fall drama premiere in ABC history. Week two was much worse, with the show losing nearly 50% of its already terrible premiere (2.6 million / 0.7 A18-49). Similar to most shows on the list, Lucky 7 aired only two episodes before being cancelled. In all likelihood, the show will never air its remaining episodes. Not so lucky, eh?
And finally, the worst new broadcast show of 2013 is…
Ready for Love! The reality show followed three eligible bachelors looking for the love of their life. NBC hoped Ready for Love would follow in the footsteps of The Bachelor and become a bit hit. NBC had such high hopes for the series that they gave it the lead in of their number one series, The Voice. The series debuted in April 2013 to only 3.7 million viewers and 1.5 A18-49, putting retention at a horrible 34%. Part of the reason? The contestants, who were described as “boring”, “evil”, and “despicable”. NBC stuck with the show for two more weeks, with ratings falling to a 1.1 on its final airing (out of a 4.1, retention of 27%). NBC let the series finish its run online, where it concluded in June.