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NBC's disasters of the past 75 years (According to USA Today)

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NBC's disasters of the past 75 years (According to USA Today)

Old 05-06-02, 07:26 PM
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NBC's disasters of the past 75 years (According to USA Today)

The Dirty Dozen: Honoring NBC's 75th anniversary

Twenty-One (1956). The game that launched the quiz-show scandals and purged prime time of big-money games for almost 50 years. In the wake of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's success, NBC revived Twenty-One in 2000; there was no scandal this time, but no audience, either.

My Mother the Car (1965). Even for a TV decade that embraced genies and flying nuns, a show about a dead mom reincarnated as a car was a step too far.

Supertrain (1979). If you're going to fail, fail big. Sort of a Love Boat on the rails, the hugely expensive and elaborately produced Supertrain shed viewers and money in historic amounts.

Pink Lady and Jeff (1980). A variety show hosted by Japanese singing duo Pink Lady, who didn't speak English, and American comic Jeff Altman, who didn't speak Japanese. It flopped. Go figure.

Mr. Smith (1983). What is it with NBC and monkeys? The network had J. Fred Muggs on Today, the hated Marcel on Friends and a truck-riding chimp on B.J. and the Bear (which spawned one of TV's worst spinoffs, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo). And then there was the talking orangutan Mr. Smith, who should have told his agent "No."

Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground (1988). When this Geraldo Rivera special was over, NBC head Brandon Tartikoff apologized to critics and promised never to do anything similar again. At the time, people thought TV had gone temporarily insane. Now we know it was just warming up.

A Family for Joe (1990). Seeking a successor for such treacly family hits as Punky Brewster and Silver Spoons, NBC cast Robert Mitchum as a homeless man adopted by four orphans (including Juliette Lewis). Unfortunately, no one told Mitchum he was doing a sitcom and not a series version of Night of the Hunter.

The Single Guy (1995). This singularly obnoxious sitcom created the template for every failed show NBC has force-fed viewers in the post-Friends slot, from Union Square to Inside Schwartz. Left on their own, viewers have found the ideal Friends companion: the last half of CBS' Survivor.

Caroline in the City (1995). The first, and worst, in NBC's string of "single girl in the city sitcoms" (a sad-sack class that includes Suddenly Susan, Just Shoot Me and Veronica's Closet). As a bonus, Caroline also represents the network's odd proclivity for building comedies around people who have no perceivable comic talents.

Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? (1996). Make one or two B-level women-in-danger flicks, like this fabulously titled camp groaner starring the glorious Tori Spelling, and you can rule the ratings. Make one every week, and you destroy an entire movie department, as NBC did.

The XFL (2001). The high cost of sour grapes. Upset at losing the NFL, NBC teamed with the WWF to create a football league a venture that made Supertrain look fiscally sound. Viewers punted.

Fear Factor (2001). Not all terrible shows fail, and not all critical failures are amusing. Some are just reprehensible, such as Fear Factor, the signature success of the current NBC administration. Why are they celebrating?



Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground
I completely forgot about this piece of quality tv history, it ranks right up there with Al Capone's empty vault !
Also, I'm surprised to see Caroline make the list. I didn't like the show, but in no way did I think it was that bad. Oh, well...what do you expect, it's USA Today.
Old 05-06-02, 07:41 PM
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Re: NBC's disasters of the past 75 years (According to USA Today)

Originally posted by Pac-Rat
The Dirty Dozen: Honoring NBC's 75th anniversary

Caroline in the City (1995). The first, and worst, in NBC's string of "single girl in the city sitcoms" (a sad-sack class that includes Suddenly Susan, Just Shoot Me and Veronica's Closet). As a bonus, Caroline also represents the network's odd proclivity for building comedies around people who have no perceivable comic talents.

Also, I'm surprised to see Caroline make the list. I didn't like the show, but in no way did I think it was that bad. Oh, well...what do you expect, it's USA Today.
USA Today can kiss my ...

I really liked Caroline in the City (Lea Thompson & Amy Pietz ). How can they compare it to such things as Suddenly Susan and Veronica's Closet? Granted I watched both of those also, but Caroline was way better. Not to mention Just Shoot Me is still on the air and always in the top 20 in the ratings.

Looks like others liked Caroline also, since she is last in votes for NBC's biggest mistake on their site:

Which show was NBC's biggest mistake?

60.93%
The XFL
15.28%
The Michael Richards Show
8.48%
Fear Factor
6.29%
Veronica's Closet
4.55%
Weakest Link
2.44%
The Single Guy
2.03%
Caroline in the City

Total Votes:6217
Old 05-06-02, 11:32 PM
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Hiring Jay Leno was NBC's biggest mistake.
Old 05-07-02, 12:24 AM
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I feel like I'm one of the only people who liked the Single Guy! I thought it was pretty funny, excluding Ernest Borgnine.

What was Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground about? Sure, the title pretty much answers my question, but can someone, if they don't mind, go into a little detail about it? thanks
Old 05-07-02, 12:56 AM
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Originally posted by Snake Plissken
Hiring Jay Leno was NBC's biggest mistake.
I was so pissed when he got the spot over Dave. Luckily, NBC made up for it by taking a chance with Conan...although he hasn't been the same since Andy left either.
Old 05-07-02, 06:31 AM
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Re: Re: NBC's disasters of the past 75 years (According to USA Today)

Originally posted by Eternia
Granted I watched both of those also
As I've said before, you'd watch a test pattern if it aired on NBC. In any case, I don't see their comparison either. Caroline, while sporting lots of leg and Amy Pietz, was a decidedly average show that provided little difference between episodes. It was one of the most formulaic sit-coms of the last decade. I can see comparing the other three shows they listed with each other, but Caroline doesn't fit these. And for not being anything special, I always enjoyed both Veronica's Closet and Just Shoot Me.

I too liked The Single Guy.

Hiring Jay Leno was NBC's biggest mistake.
While not their biggest mistake, I think this decision more than anything signalled the changing tide of NBC programming and stands as an example of all that is wrong with the network.

das
Old 05-07-02, 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by PaperStreetSoapCo
I feel like I'm one of the only people who liked the Single Guy! I thought it was pretty funny, excluding Ernest Borgnine.
Big surprise here, I also enjoyed the Single Guy.

I think the only NBC sitcoms I didn't like were Jessie and Union Square heh. Was Hudson Street on NBC? Didn't like that one either. There are probably a few others, but for the most part I enjoy their sitcoms.

Oh, and I wasn't saying that Veronica's Closet was bad (and of course I watched Suddenly Susan also, and I think there was another show on with that , The Naked Truth or something), just thought that Caroline was better. I watch Just Shoot Me also.

Last edited by Eternia; 05-07-02 at 11:03 AM.
Old 05-07-02, 11:06 AM
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Originally posted by Snake Plissken
Hiring Jay Leno was NBC's biggest mistake.
Can't people get over this? Its been 10 years. Dave is still on the air. Dave fans watch Dave, Leno fans watch Leno. What's the big deal? Leno gets more ratings but everyone says that Dave's programming is so much better, so why complain?
Old 05-07-02, 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by Eternia
Can't people get over this? Its been 10 years. Dave is still on the air. Dave fans watch Dave, Leno fans watch Leno. What's the big deal? Leno gets more ratings but everyone says that Dave's programming is so much better, so why complain?
Because they pissed on legends. Allen, Parr, Carson ... brilliant comedians ... daring innovators ... legends. Letterman was next. In the shadow of Carson, he redefined late night television. When they tried to put the squeeze on Letterman and ultimately dicked him over, they weren't just screwing a man who faithfully worked for the network for over a decade, but they pissed in the face of one of television's true legends. Instead of honoring Letterman for his devotion, they tried to muscle him into taking a secondary job, and then they hired a staff of writers to copy his style and a puppet to deliver the lines. It was unfair to Letterman and an insult to the trailblazers who created late night television and signalled the overall watering down of the NBC network. Steve Allen ... Jack Parr ... Johnny Carson ... Jay Leno? What's the big deal? Some will never care, and more power to them. But for those of us who love television, some sins cannot be forgiven. This thread is for disasters, and for many of us, this was their largest.

das

P.S. Leno's ratings are in large part due to massive NBC ratings and better guest selection being in L.A. His show has become little more than a carbon copy of what's worked for Letterman over the years. Where Letterman is constantly trying new things to see what works, The Tonight Show just waits to see what sticks and then "borrows" it.
Old 05-07-02, 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by PaperStreetSoapCo

What was Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground about? Sure, the title pretty much answers my question, but can someone, if they don't mind, go into a little detail about it? thanks
From a fuzzy, then 15 year old, memory, but here goes:
Geraldo had a prime -time special that had a few "experts" on the subject of cults, and Satanism. I don't remember there being anyone credible to rebut anything said. Geraldo and the experts painted a picture of millions of people out there in small but powerful groups killing babies and raping women for sacrifice, or whatever. They had you believing the cults were hiding behind trees, just waiting for their next victim. Basically trying to cause paranoia. Regardless of how you feel about Satanism (or any other religion), it was presented like a circus side-show. At any minute you expected Jo-Jo the dog faced boy to enter stage right.


I can't remember if it was this special, or an episode of his regular show, but they also tried to make a correlation between Wiccans & Pagans and Satan, along with the usual heavy metal/satan relationship. Best part was the former cult members who had undergone hypnosis and revealed their stories of torture (drinking dogs blood, forced into orgies, you know- the stuff you see in really bad b-movies).
Anyways, I went to a Catholic HS, and it was even ridiculed in my religion class for months afterwards.
Old 05-07-02, 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey


Because they pissed on legends. Allen, Parr, Carson ... brilliant comedians ... daring innovators ... legends. Letterman was next. In the shadow of Carson, he redefined late night television. When they tried to put the squeeze on Letterman and ultimately dicked him over, they weren't just screwing a man who faithfully worked for the network for over a decade, but they pissed in the face of one of television's true legends. Instead of honoring Letterman for his devotion, they tried to muscle him into taking a secondary job, and then they hired a staff of writers to copy his style and a puppet to deliver the lines. It was unfair to Letterman and an insult to the trailblazers who created late night television and signalled the overall watering down of the NBC network. Steve Allen ... Jack Parr ... Johnny Carson ... Jay Leno? What's the big deal? Some will never care, and more power to them. But for those of us who love television, some sins cannot be forgiven. This thread is for disasters, and for many of us, this was their largest.

das

P.S. Leno's ratings are in large part due to massive NBC ratings and better guest selection being in L.A. His show has become little more than a carbon copy of what's worked for Letterman over the years. Where Letterman is constantly trying new things to see what works, The Tonight Show just waits to see what sticks and then "borrows" it.
Brilliantly stated.

And you're giving Jay too much credit in saying that it's a carbon copy of what has worked for Letterman over the years. Iron Jay, Beyondo, Jaywalking, that stupid-ass "trivia" game where they either have a) three idiots or b) Gilbert Gottfried and two other losers posing as "celebrities".

Leno destroyed The Tonight Show legacy. That's a disaster in my book.
Old 05-07-02, 01:53 PM
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I liked The Single Guy, too! What is up with all The Single Guy hate?! I really liked the "ensemble" cast... Jonathan Silberman and the two married couples. Ah, well.
Old 05-07-02, 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by Static Cling
I liked The Single Guy, too! What is up with all The Single Guy hate?! I really liked the "ensemble" cast... Jonathan Silberman and the two married couples. Ah, well.
It did have a great cast. As a fan of cheesy 80's flicks, I welcomed anything with Jonathan Silverman. And it had Ming-Na Wen (before she got all hoity-toity with the Ming-Na stuff) fresh off The Joy Luck Club and the soon-to-be-omnipresent Joey Slotnick. Hell, it even had Ernest Borgnine as the silly doorman and the very "do-able" Olivia d'Abo.

It was certainly nothing special, more like USA Laughternoon caliber, but it always made me laugh.

das
Old 05-07-02, 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey

It was certainly nothing special, more like USA Laughternoon caliber, but it always made me laugh.

das
I found a lot of NBC's failures to be more enjoyable on USA Laughternoon's or during late night sydnicated runs.
Old 05-07-02, 05:56 PM
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Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground (1988). When this Geraldo Rivera special was over, NBC head Brandon Tartikoff apologized to critics and promised never to do anything similar again. At the time, people thought TV had gone temporarily insane. Now we know it was just warming up.
It's a shame Tartikoff died. The network's been in a continual downward spiral since then.

Also, I agree with das & djmonkey's comments about Leno. Couldn't have said it better myself. [no, really. ]
Old 05-07-02, 06:56 PM
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how about when they put on heidi instead of the end of a football game.
Old 05-07-02, 06:58 PM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
how about when they put on heidi instead of the end of a football game.
They actually showed that mistake on the tv special and said it was a mistake, along with showing a lot of failed tv show openings.
Old 05-07-02, 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey


It did have a great cast. As a fan of cheesy 80's flicks, I welcomed anything with Jonathan Silverman. And it had Ming-Na Wen (before she got all hoity-toity with the Ming-Na stuff) fresh off The Joy Luck Club and the soon-to-be-omnipresent Joey Slotnick. Hell, it even had Ernest Borgnine as the silly doorman and the very "do-able" Olivia d'Abo.

It was certainly nothing special, more like USA Laughternoon caliber, but it always made me laugh.
I enjoyed it also. The episode that sicks in my mind is when Ming-Na is off to another country and Silverman thinks Ming-Na's husband on the show is having an affair with Paula Abdul heh I think it did rerun on USA actually, or maybe I am wrong.

I also liked Stark Raving Mad, another one that was canceled after one season.
Old 05-08-02, 06:27 PM
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Wheres Supertrain and Manimal????!????!
Old 05-08-02, 06:42 PM
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Originally posted by cooper2000
Wheres Supertrain and Manimal????!????!
USA Today seemed to list other things NBC failed at that NBC did not admit to failing at during the special.

During the special, NBC mocked stuff they failed at and I believe those two were listed.
Old 05-08-02, 07:17 PM
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Wheres Supertrain and Manimal????!????!

USA Today seemed to list other things NBC failed at that NBC did not admit to failing at during the special.

During the special, NBC mocked stuff they failed at and I believe those two were listed.
They were, but the USA Today article mentioned Supertrain and Pink Lady & Jeff, two shows that were mentioned during the NBC special. I can't believe the article didn't mention Manimal.

Rob
Old 05-08-02, 08:33 PM
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Originally posted by RobCA
They were, but the USA Today article mentioned Supertrain and Pink Lady & Jeff, two shows that were mentioned during the NBC special. I can't believe the article didn't mention Manimal.
Ah, very true.

Then the logical thing for USA today to do is remove Caroline off the list and add Manimal. That sounds good to me.

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