Television networks always take a risk when they air new shows. There’s no sure way of knowing whether anybody will actually like the show. That’s just part of the business. All you can do is put it out there and hope for the best. Most shows never make it past their first episode, which is referred to as a pilot. This episode is pitched to different networks, with the goal of it getting picked up by one of them. But most of the time, these shows are brutally shot down and rejected. Other times, shows go on for many years before they are cancelled. Sometimes, these cancellations can come out of nowhere, prompting many of us to ask, “What really happened there?”
Reasons for cancellation can vary greatly. Some get cancelled after the lead actor gets injured or sick. Some get cancelled because the host goes to jail. Some even get cancelled because someone important dies. If you can think of a reason why a show was cancelled, it probably happened at some point. Taking a look behind the scenes of your favorite show is often interesting, but sometimes you can find out more than you really wanted to know. Some of these shows will be missed. Others probably should have never seen the light of day. But each and every one of them was cancelled for crazy, shocking reasons…
15. Proving Ground – Cancelled After One Episode When Ryan Dunn Passed Away In A Car Crash
Proving Ground was an American TV show that aired on G4. It starred Ryan Dunn and Jessica Chobot, and focused on replicating pop culture and video game phenomenon in real life. Kind of like Myth Busters, but with video game stuff. In the first episode, they tried to recreate a real life game of Mario Kart, complete with shells, banana peels, and much more. The show looked like it would be pretty good, especially with the star power and appeal of Ryan Dunn, who had previously appeared in the Jacka*s films.
Unfortunately, Ryan Dunn died in a horrific car accident not long after the very first episode of Proving Ground was aired. In one of the most shocking celebrity deaths imaginable, Ryan Dunn crashed his car after a night drinking, which threw many of his friends, especially Bam Margera, into serious depression. G4 had no choice but to cancel the show, seeing as their main host was now deceased.
14. Martha Stewart Living – She Went To Jail
Another show that had to be cancelled was Martha Stewart Living. This show began in 1993, and continued for many years, eventually getting expanded into a one-hour slot due to its immense success. The show actually won tons of different awards, and was one of the most-watched television series at the time. Martha Stewart Living showcased all kinds of different skills and techniques that Martha Stewart uses, but it focused primarily on cooking. The show did more than any other form of media to help people all over the world fall in love with Martha Stewart.
But in the fall of 2004, the show had to be cancelled. This was because Martha Stewart was in serious legal trouble, and had to serve jail time. Obviously there was no way she was going to host this show from the inside of a jail cell. She was charged with a number of crimes, although the majority of it was due to insider trading. When she was released, she claimed that her prison nickname was “M. Diddy,” and she served as an informal messenger between inmates and guards.
13. Boss – Allegedly Cancelled Because The Lead Actor Was A Republican
Another show that didn’t survive too long was Boss. This show featured Kelsey Grammer as the Mayor of Chicago, and received incredibly good reviews. He was actually awarded a Golden Globe for his work, but that still didn’t save the series from cancellation after just one season. No one was really sure why the show was cancelled, although the lead actor had some pretty interesting theories. The star of Frasier believed that the show was cancelled because he had made it clear that he was a Republican. As many of you might know, Hollywood is completely dominated by Democrats and Liberals.
Speaking about the show’s cancellation, Grammer said: “Yeah, its hard to figure. It may have to do with several things, honestly, but I think it’s possible, I mean, I am a, I’m a declared out of the closet Republican in Hollywood. Do I believe it’s possible that some young person, young voting actor, or even older voting member for the Emmys, would sit there and go, ‘Yeah, that’s a great performance, but oooooh, I just hate everything he stands for?’ I don’t believe that’s possible.”
12. Border Security: Canada’s Front Line – Cancelled Because They Filmed An Illegal Immigrant Without Consent
Another show that was incredibly popular was Border Patrol: Canada’s Front Line. Although this show focused on Canada’s borders, it was shown all across the world, even in places like New Zealand and other countries. The show was a spin-off of the American version of Border Patrol, and it was just as successful. Taking inspiration from the show Cops, this show followed Border Patrol Agents as they caught people doing all kinds of illegal things. The turning point came when the show illegally filmed an illegal Mexican immigrant during a crackdown at a construction site. He was not informed of the filming and did not give his consent. This led to a huge movement from concerned Canadians who wanted to get the show cancelled, and in the end they were successful.
The organizers made the following statement: “The CBSA and the government should be held accountable for their participation in this disgusting reality TV show, which is profiting from the violation of privacy of migrant workers and the suffering of families. The last few years have seen the demonization of various groups – environmentalists, activists and Indigenous communities, by the federal government. Now this TV show is singling out refugees and migrants for public amusement – it’s wrong.”
11. Ellen – Cancelled Because Ellen Degeneres Came Out As Lesbian
Everyone knows Ellen Degeneres, and she’s one of the most successful talk show hosts of all time. And for some of the younger generations, they don’t even remember the time before her talk show, when she was an actress and the star of her own sitcom, called Ellen. She show was very popular and one of the most watched sitcoms of all time. But everything came crashing down when Ellen came out as a lesbian. The show’s direction and subject matter began to change after that, becoming more gay-friendly. And the higher ups in Hollywood didn’t like it. The show was cancelled after pressure from religious groups, and because the studio execs were growing “concerned about its subject matter.” This was all the way back in 1998, but something like that happening today would almost be unthinkable.
Ellen revealed: “It destroyed me. For somebody who makes a living trying to make people happy and trying to please everybody and wanting so desperately to be loved. That’s why anybody gets into this business. You know and, to all of a sudden feel like you’re not only not loved — you’re hated.”
10. Grace Under Fire – The Lead Actress Was Addicted To Drugs And Misbehaving
Grace Under Fire was an American sitcom that ran from 1993 to 1995. The show focused on a single mother who was raising three children after finally divorcing her abusive husband. It was one of the most popular and most-watched television shows at the time, and received a number of awards and extremely high ratings. This didn’t save the show from cancellation however, and the show ended unexpectedly and very abruptly. Those on the inside knew exactly why this happened, however…
The show’s star actress, Brett Butler, was infamously hard to work with. She was addicted to painkillers, and was in and out of rehab for the duration of the show’s shooting. But her behavior was also the problem. She demanded that she be treated differently than the other cast members, including private planes. By the fourth season, many other actors left the show because of Butler’s behavior. There were also allegations that she flashed her chest and hiked up her skirt to a child actor on the show.
9. Luck – Three Horses Died On Set
Luck was a brand new series on HBO about horse racing. Starring none other than Dustin Hoffman, this show seemed destined to reach the levels of The Sopranos and Game of Thrones. But it wasn’t meant to be, and the show was cancelled after three horses died on set. This was allegedly because the horses were being forced to run long distances every single day, in order to get the right scenes filmed. After learning that three separate horses had died, PETA did their best to get the show cancelled, and in the end they were successful.
HBO made the following statement after the cancellation: “Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horse racing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen, and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision. We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses and everyone involved in its creation.”
8. All My Babies’ Mamas – Show About Man Who Fathered Children With 11 Different Women Was Cancelled After An Online Petition
Reality shows have always been known for pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable on TV, but one show called All My Babies’ Mamas perhaps went a little too far. The show focused in on the life of rapper Shawty Lo, specifically his dealings with his 11 children, who all have different mothers. Although the premise was undoubtedly compelling, many people thought that the show sent the wrong message. Specifically about how women are treated. Many viewers started online petitions to get the show cancelled, and there was also a strong push from the Parents Television Council. In the end MTV had no choice but to cancel the show.
In a statement following the decision, MTV revealed: “As part of our development process, we have reviewed casting and decided not to move forward with the special. We will continue to develop compelling content that resonates with our young female viewers and drives the cultural conversation.”
7. Captain America – Cancelled Due To Strange Nazi References And The Studio Going Bankrupt
One of the most bizarre instances of a show being cancelled was the failed 1990 animated series, Captain America. This show never actually got off the ground, mostly because its teaser/pilot was so weird. Today, we all know Captain America and there are numerous movies and cartoons featuring the famed hero. But back in 1990, people were still trying to find new and interesting ways to market this forgotten superhero to the general public. One group of people tried to make a cartoon, but almost as soon as they started to share their ideas, the show was cancelled.
This was because the teaser trailer/pilot had so many weird Nazi references. The show seemed to revolve around Captain America fighting real Nazis, and swastikas were everywhere. Not only that, but the show seemed to revolve around a Nazi villain who wanted to turn stone henge in England into a giant Swastika. When people saw this, they put an end to the show immediately.
6. Commando Nanny – Cancelled Because A Ton Of Actors Either Got Injured Or Quit
On paper, Commando Nanny seemed destined to succeed. The show was about a retired British commando taking a job as a nanny of a large family. But this show suffered more mishaps and setbacks than seems humanly possible. First of all, the lead actor on the show broke his foot before shooting, so he had to be replaced. Then, the actress who played his wife abruptly left the show. And then when the show finally seemed like it was on track, another actor, who played the grandpa in the show, had to get surgery for a cancerous tumor in his lung.
The show’s filming was pushed back even further while the actor recovered. Finally, the show seemed ready to go ahead. And that was when the show’s producer dropped out of the show, citing “creative differences.” Who knows what was really going on behind the scenes here. The show was the first attempt by the reality show producer at a scripted TV show, and needless to say, he didn’t enjoy the experience.
5. Ev And Ocho – Show Cancelled After Chad Johnson Was Arrested For Assaulting His Wife
It’s always good when reality TV shows have tons of drama going on, but sometimes it can go a little too far. One example of this was the VH1 reality show Ev And Ocho. The short-lived TV show focused in on the relationship between Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozada. When the show started airing, the couple had just wed, and the show was sure to showcase all the ups and downs of newlyweds. But even the show’s producers could not predict the craziness that would unfold within the next few episodes. In a career-wrecking move, Chad Johnson was arrested for assaulting Lozada, and the marriage came to an end. The show could not continue, and was cancelled as a result. Furthermore, Chad Johnson was released from the Miami Dolphins. According to the allegations, Lozada had confronted Johnson about condoms she found in his car, at which point Johnson headbutted her.
VH1 released the following statement: “Due to the unfortunate events over the weekend and the seriousness of the allegations, VH1 is pulling the series Ev and Ocho from its schedule and has no current plans of airing it.”
4. Good Grief – Cancelled After 8 Bodies Were Found Laying Unattended In The Funeral Home
Another reality show that was cancelled due to bizarre circumstances was Good Grief. You can really tell that they’re running out of ideas for reality TV shows when they decide to make a show about a funeral home. But as it turns out, this was one of the most ill-fated decisions they could have made. The show focused in on the Johnson Family Mortuary, a small funeral home in Texas. The mortuary was chosen because it was struggling financially and it was deemed to have the right levels of drama and conflict for a reality show.
But the mortuary’s financial problems caused the entire show to end. The landlord of the premises entered the building while in the process of an eviction process due to non-payments. What she found shocked her. There were 8 decomposing bodies in the mortuary, and they had simply been abandoned there to rot. As a result, the mortuary was shut down and its owners were charged with corpse abuse (yes, that’s a real crime).
3. Barstool Van Talk – Sports Talk Show Canceled Due To Misogynistic Content
ESPN took a little bit of a risk with Barstool Van Talk, and it turned out to be an unintelligent one. The premise was simple – a no holds barred, uncensored and unscripted talk show about all things sports. This was a clear attempt to appeal to the average joe, someone who wanted to hear someone who spoke their own language. The hosts of the show were crude and blunt with their humor, and seemed to make fun of everyone under the sun. The show went on for some time, but was cancelled after a particularly bad controversy.
Sam Ponder, a female ESPN host, tweeted screenshots from the Barstool Van Talk blog. These blog posts were extremely misogynistic, and targeted Sam Ponder herself, claiming that her job was to “make men hard,” and that she had no real place in the sports entertainment business. Obviously, this was a major bombshell that forced ESPN to pull the show right away. The president of ESPN revealed, “While we had approval of the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.”
2. Who’s Your Daddy? – Reality TV Show Cancelled After Protests From Adoption Groups
Another reality TV show that was doomed to fail was Who’s Your Daddy. This reality show featured an adult who was adopted, trying to guess which is her real biological father out of 8 men in a room. It never actually aired, although one episode was filmed, in which the contestant guessed correctly and won $100,000. There’s something very, very wrong about this idea. Reuniting with your biological father should be a magical, serious moment, not one that is turned into a game show for the entertainment of the masses.
And that’s exactly how the public felt about this show, especially Adoption Organizations. One nonprofit agency complained: “It’s appalling. It seems so insensitive to the adoption experience, both from the adopted person’s point of view and the biological parents’ point of view,” While another remarked, “This isn’t just offensive, it’s destructive. How can anyone think to turn such a personal, involved and poignant experience into a game show?” This controversy, along with low ratings, ensured that the show was cancelled.
1. Louie – Louis CK’s Show Was Cancelled After Harassment Accusations
Louis C.K. is one of the most recent celebrities to have their s*xual harassment allegations made public. This comes after a long line of big names in Hollywood have all been accused of similar crimes. Louis C.K. is one of the most famous comedians in the world, and has made countless movies and TV shows. One of his best known shows is Louie, which was about to go into its sixth season. But after numerous women came forward and accused him of s*xual harassment, FX completely terminated all association with the comedian.
FX’s official statement reads, “Today, FX Networks and FX Productions are ending our association with Louis C.K. We are cancelling the overall deal between FX Productions and his production company, Pig Newton. He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him […] Louis has now confirmed the truth of the reports relating to the five women victimized by his misconduct, which we were unaware of previously. As far as we know, his behavior over the past eight years on all five series he has produced for FX Networks and/or FX Productions has been professional. However, now is not the time for him to make television shows. Now is the time for him to honestly address the women who have come forth to speak about their painful experiences, a process which he began today with his public statement.”
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