10. Talk about milking a show for all its worth. A year after the conclusion of Jersey Shore, MTV graced us with yet another spinoff, this time The Show with Vinny. Unlike the other shows in the franchise, ‘Vinny’ was a talk show. Entertainment Weekly said it was the best of the spinoffs, although they used the term very loosely. Despite a solid start following the MTV Movie Awards (1.85 million), the official premiere nabbed only 1.19 million viewers. By the time the finale rolled around, a mere 25% of the viewers stuck around (470,000 viewers). Let’s hope this is officially the end of the Jersey Shore franchise (with the exception of still-running Snooki and JWoww).
9. The number nine spot on the list goes to yet another talk show: The Jenny McCarthy Show. From the beginning it seemed as if there was no clear direction on where the show was headed. Numerous aspects were tested, none of which stuck with viewers. The biggest “grab” for viewers was that the show would be a party. On a Friday night, however, would viewers really want to watch a party instead of attending one? That question was answered when The Jenny McCarthy Show premiere scored a terrible 200,000 viewers and fell as low as 120,000 viewers in May 2013. Reviews were mostly negative with The A.V. Club calling the show “unfunny, pointless, and kind of offensive.” Even with the abysmal numbers, Jenny was offered a co-host seat on The View, effectively cancelling her VH1 series.
8. E! is known for putting some bad shows on television, so it should come as no surprise to see one of their shows on the list (with another below). Hoping to strike it big with a popular band, E! debuted a new series focusing on The Wanted, appropriately titled, The Wanted Life. Though widely popular, viewers were not interested in a series following the everyday life of the band. Even with the lead in of Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Wanted Life debuted to only 600,000 viewers, holding a tiny 20% of the Kardashian audience. The show held onto that audience for most of the season, but still it is not hard to lose 600,000 viewers. After seven episodes, the show silently left the airwaves. E! has never officially cancelled the series, but it will likely never see the light of day again.
7. Hoping to duplicate the success of Dance Moms, Lifetime ordered Pretty Wicked Moms. The series followed the lives of six mothers, who were, go figure, considered wicked. Critics instantly slammed the series, with Hitfix saying “Somehow you’ve found women more vile, more petulant, and possibly more dumber than most women in The Real Housewives franchise.” The A.V. Club gave Pretty Wicked Moms an ‘F’ grade, saying it “makes the entire gender a dispiriting, hateful laughingstock.” Viewers agreed with the critics, and a mere 800,000 tuned into the debut in June 2013. Ratings continued to fall, with the series slumping to 440,000 viewers for the July 9th airing. Lifetime has never officially cancelled the series, but it can be assumed Pretty Wicked Moms will never grace our television screens again.
6. In July 2013, ABC Family debuted new docudrama, Te Vineyard, which followed eleven young adults in Martha’s Vineyard. Call it a rip-off of The Hills, or Jersey Shore, or The Real World. Whatever you want to call The Vineyard, it was still horrible. The New York Daily News called the show generic, and The Boston Globe was shocked ABC Family was able to find characters who were so fake. Similar to most reality series on the network, The Vineyard was a bust. The debut episode notched 730,000 viewers, an okay performance, but that would be its best performance of the series. By episode three, only 410,000 viewers were left and when the finale aired five weeks later, a tiny 420,000 viewers tuned in.
5. ABC Family’s second entry on the list is another reality bomb: Spell-Mageddon. The show featured contestants trying to spell fairly easy words while being put through different obstacles. The Los Angeles Times said Spell-Mageddon “doesn’t look fun at all” and that the distractions endured by the contestants were “more annoying than compelling.” The premiere episode bombed with a mere 333,000 viewers and 0.1 A18-49, and that was the third highest rating for the show. Things got ugly for the airing on August 28th, when a measly 190,000 viewers tuned in. After eight episodes, Spell-Mageddon left the airwaves.
4. MSNBC has been in the shadows of Fox News for years. The network thought they could get a spark in ratings with a non-news personality: Alec Baldwin. On Friday nights, they debuted his new late-night talk show, Up Late with Alec Baldwin. The new show gained little interest for the network, although it was a slight improvement over the previous timeslot occupant (654,000 viewers, up 53% / 172,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo, down 7%). By episode five, the show shed a majority of its audience, slipping to 395,000 viewers. Up Late with Alec Baldwin also had trouble booking guests, with the majority of the guests coming from MSNBC. In mid-November, Alec Baldwin was suspended for two weeks after using an anti-gay slur. Less than two weeks after the suspension, MSNBC fired Alec Baldwin, and cancelled Up Late with Alec Baldwin.
3. E! thought they struck gold with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte signing on to a new series, What Would Ryan Lochte Do?. The docu-series followed the Olympian preparing for the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as his personal life. Reviews were harsh. The New York Daily News gave the show 1 out of 5 stars, saying “one can only wonder how it will be possible for enough materiel for an entire series”, and its score on Metacritic was a pitiful 33. The series premiere of What Would Ryan Lochte Do? nabbed a minuscule 807,000 viewers and 0.4 A18-49 in April 2013. One week later, the audience collapsed to 392,000 viewers and 0.2 A18-49. Surprisingly, the show lost even more viewers: 300,000 viewers for a May 27th airing. In September 2013, E! cancelled the series after eight episodes.
2. To compile this list, throughout the year I keep track of shows I believe are “the worst”. Somehow, number two on the list, Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs, got on the air without me noticing. Through some digging, I discovered this reality dud. The docu-series followed former baseball player Pete Rose and his fiancee Kiana, along with her two children. The San Francisco Chronicle dubbed the show “painful”, and the Metacritic score was an embarrassing 36. The premiere of Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs. scored 783,000 viewers, with the second episode directly after falling to 524,000 viewers. One week later, the two episodes averaged 626,000 viewers. After only four episodes, TLC pulled the series from its lineup. The remaining two episodes were burned off a month later on TLC’s sister network, Destination America.
And finally, the worst new cable show of 2013 is…
Low Winter Sun. Okay, so reviews were not all too harsh for the series (it earned an average 59 on Metacritic), but compared to other AMC series, it was not good. Low Winter Sun got off to what looked like a strong start: 2.51 million viewers and 1.1 A18-49. However, the premiere aired behind the final season debut of Breaking Bad, putting retention at a horrible 42% among total viewers (5.92 million) and 38% in the demo (2.9). In week two, Low Winter Sun experienced one of the worst drops of the season for any show, falling to 1.47 million viewers and 0.5 demo (retention of 30% / 21% from Breaking Bad). Ratings fell each week, before finally recovering a bit in episode seven (to 1.33 million viewers and 0.5 A18-49), but retention was even worse: 20% among total viewers and 15% in the demo. The last two episodes of Low Winter Sun recorded a horrible 630,000 viewers and 0.2 A18-49. In December 2013, two months after its last new episode aired, AMC cancelled Low Winter Sun, joining Rubicon as one of the two series never to get to a second season on the network.
Which series do YOU consider the worst of 2013? Sound off in the comments below!