List of television series canceled after one episode

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Some television series are canceled after one episode, quickly removed from a broadcast schedule, or had production halted after their premieres. Such immediate cancellations are extremely rare cases and are usually attributed to a combination of very negative reviews, very poor ratings, radical or controversial content, or circumstances beyond the network's control.

Purposely excluded from this list are pilots, premiere episodes produced primarily to be reviewed by network executives as proposed series; "backdoor pilots", pilot episodes shot in such a way that they can be aired as a regular episode of another series; and feature-length television movies produced to be broadcast as either an extended premiere episode, if picked up as a series, or as a distinct television movie. In any of those cases, the pilot was aired but its proposed series was not subsequently added to the programming, or the pilot was aired as a television movie after a decision not to produce a series.

Shows are listed in chronological order with the date the episode aired, any backlash from it, and what happened to the series after cancellation.

Canceled after one episode[edit]

The Dennis James Carnival (October 31, 1948)
A variety show presented by the CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) television network.[1][2] The Dennis James Carnival showcased various vaudeville-style acts under the premise that host Dennis James was trying to keep afloat a carnival which he had inherited from his uncle. The reaction to the program was mostly negative, and its sponsor, General Electric, was dissatisfied with the carnival setting.[1][2] A Variety article at the time noted that "this marked the quickest on-and-off commercial fade in young tele's history."[3]
Who's Whose (June 25, 1951)
A panel quiz show hosted by Phil Baker that aired on CBS in which four celebrity panelists (Robin Chandler, Basil Davenport, Art Ford, and Emily Kimbrough) tried to determine which of three male contestants was married to which of three female contestants. This show replaced The Goldbergs, which was dropped when its creator Gertrude Berg refused to fire the blacklisted actor Philip Loeb.[4] While one source classified this show as a television pilot,[5] contemporary news accounts confirm that this was a series which was dropped by its sponsor (General Foods) after one airing.[6]
Turn-On (February 5, 1969)
ABC variety comedy series; a racier derivative of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, the show alarmed broadcast officials and sponsors who immediately perceived it as offensive because of its strong sexual and political humor. At least one station (WEWS in Cleveland, Ohio) did not return to Turn-On after the first commercial break, and others on west coast delay refused to air it at all. ABC canceled the show before airing another episode.
The Melting Pot (June 11, 1975)
BBC sitcom written by Spike Milligan, who also starred as "Mr. Van Gogh", a Pakistani illegal immigrant in London who Milligan portrayed in brownface. Aired as a one-off pilot on BBC1, a further series of five episodes were commissioned and produced in 1976, but these remaining five episodes have never been seen.[7]
Heil Honey I'm Home! (September 30, 1990)
Comedy on British satellite channel Galaxy that spoofed American sitcoms of the 1950s and 1960s by featuring caricatures of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun who live in matrimonial bliss until they become neighbours to a Jewish couple.[8] The series was cancelled not only due to controversy but also due to British Satellite Broadcasting's merger with Sky; seven other episodes were filmed but not aired.
Public Morals (October 30, 1996)
Steven Bochco-produced CBS sitcom about a vice squad unit of the New York City Police Department. The cast included Bill Brochtrup, reprising the role of John Irvin, a recurring character on another Bochco series, NYPD Blue. Thirteen episodes were produced, and the pilot was originally scheduled to air first, but several affiliates refused to show it. CBS then decided to air a different episode from the thirteen produced, but even that was too much to ask, as it turned out to be the only one aired. Brochtrup and his character returned to NYPD Blue, becoming a regular.[9]
Lawless (March 22, 1997)
Fox action series starring former American football star Brian Bosworth as a private investigator.[10]
Dot Comedy (December 8, 2000)
ABC series featuring an early attempt to translate humorous material from the Internet to a mass television audience.[11]
Comedians Unleashed (October 8, 2002)
An attempt by Animal Planet to mimic Comedy Central's stand-up comedy shows, but with animal-themed jokes. The episode was rerun a few times before being removed from the programming lineup.[12] This is not to be confused with the 2006 syndicated series Comics Unleashed, hosted by Byron Allen.
The Will (January 8, 2005)
CBS reality show in which family members and friends competed to be named the beneficiary of a will.[13] The series eventually aired in its entirety on Fox Reality Channel, and aired in New Zealand as well.
Emily's Reasons Why Not (January 9, 2006)
ABC sitcom starring Heather Graham as a single career woman, unlucky in love, who employs a list-making system to help her determine when it's time to give up and move on. The series was canceled on January 10 by ABC programming chief Steve McPherson when he decided that it was "not going to get better and we needed a quick change".[14] It was reported that ABC executives committed to the show without seeing its pilot.[15]
The Rich List (November 1, 2006)
Game show by the British producers of The Weakest Link and Dog Eat Dog, adapted for the U.S. from an ITV pilot that was not picked up. Despite being heavily promoted on Fox during the World Series, the show was axed on November 3 following low ratings.[16] GSN revived the show in 2009 as The Money List, hosted by Fred Roggin; this iteration, the first GSN original to employ a returning-champion aspect, lasted nine episodes. The remaining episodes from the original series remain unaired. After the US version's failure, the format was produced for broadcast in the UK, where it airs as Who Dares Wins.
The Debbie King Show (March 5–6, 2007)
Aired in the UK on the controversial channel ITV Play with no publicity, the show (like all the others on the channel) was a live premium rate phone-in quiz presented by Debbie King who has previously hosted the popular Quizmania. As well as being a quiz, viewers were invited to phone/text in views towards current events. However, earlier the same day ITV announced that transmission of the ITV Play channel was being suspended after that evening's programmes as a result of an investigation into its premium-rate phone services. Despite this, ITV still decided to push ahead with the launch of the series. The following week, it was decided that the ITV Play channel would permanently cease transmission due to the numerous irregularities involving call-in/SMS quiz shows in the UK. Although ITV Play did continue as a limited service on ITV1 The Debbie King Show ended after only 2½ hours on the air.
Quarterlife (February 26, 2008)
NBC broadcast version of the popular MySpace series, with an intent to air on Sunday nights following its debut as a stopgap solution to present some 'new' form of programming during that season's writers‘ strike. Following the dismal reception of the premiere episode, the other five episodes were aired in a marathon on NBC Universal sibling channel Bravo on March 9.[17]
Secret Talents of the Stars (April 8, 2008)
CBS reality talent show where celebrities competed by participating in talents that differed from their profession. Although the show was to follow a seven-week tournament-style structure with home-viewer voting (which would have taken the show through May 13 with a May 22 "grand finale"), the series was pulled after its debut because of extremely low ratings.[18]
Osbournes Reloaded (March 31, 2009)
Fox variety show hosted by The Osbournes – Ozzy, Sharon, Jack, and Kelly. The remaining five episodes were immediately shelved because of a combination of bad reviews and several Fox affiliates (including the entire Raycom and Local TV LLC station chains) either airing the program in an early-morning timeslot or not at all because of content concerns.[19][20]
Kookyville (November 25, 2012)
An unscripted comedy sketch show which aired on Channel 4 in the UK. The tag line for the show was "These people are not actors or comedians, and there's no script...they're just real funny people." The show received bad criticism from TV critics and was cancelled after one episode.[21][22]
Ford Nation (November 18, 2013)
A talk show hosted by Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto and his brother, city councillor and future Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, on Sun News Network in Canada, initially indicated as being a weekly program airing Monday nights. The Ford brothers had been in the news because of an ongoing scandal involving a video showing the mayor smoking crack cocaine. Despite garnering record ratings for the fledgling news/opinion channel, the show was nonetheless cancelled after a single episode, reportedly because of unexpectedly high production costs (the one-hour program was reported to have taken five hours to record and an additional eight hours to edit) and advertiser concerns about being associated with the controversial politicians.[23] Network executives, as well as Doug Ford, would later claim that the program only had a one-episode commitment and was not necessarily intended as a long-term series.[24][25]
Breaking Boston (March 13, 2014)
A reality show produced by Mark Wahlberg for A&E about four young women working to change their lives in the titular city.[26] Seven episodes were subsequently made available on the hulu.com website. Then, by June 1, 2015, the seven episodes were switched to the A&E website, and later on became available for purchase on other commercial websites.
Mesmerised (October 15, 2015)
An Australian hypnosis show helmed by British hypnotist Peter Powers broadcast on the Seven Network. It was dropped after one episode, which featured a man marrying an alpaca as its centrepiece, following dismal ratings. Five produced episodes remain unaired.[27]
Host the Week (June 22, 2017)
Channel 4 in the UK commissioned a topical unscripted comedy series in which a different guest host each week, joined by a troupe of improvisational comedy performers, would introduce comedy and entertainment features, without having had access to a script or rehearsals. Episodes were produced in the week of transmission to remain topical. Scarlett Moffatt was the host of the first edition of three billed; the underperformance of this programme, down more than 60% on the average audience of the slot, saw production of the billed second edition – to be hosted by Jack Whitehall – scrapped, and a third show – the host of which was not confirmed ahead of time – will also now not go ahead.[28]
Barstool Van Talk (October 17, 2017)
ESPN2 cancelled the sports humor and commentary show, a collaboration with the sports website Barstool Sports, after one episode had aired, following internal and social media protests from ESPN employees over the perceived misogynistic nature of Barstool's content.[29]
Dicho y hecho (March 9, 2018)
Spanish adaptation of the British comedy game show Taskmaster. Televisión Española halted the show's tapings after the first episode underperformed in ratings on the network's main channel La 1, and relegated the other five already recorded episodes to a late-night slot.[30]
Back with the Ex (April 18, 2018)
Australian reality series in which four sets of ex-partners attempted to give their broken relationships a second chance. The underperformance of this episode resulted in the remaining episodes being moved to Channel Seven's streaming service.[31]
Ahora, la Mundial (June 20, 2018)
Football talk show which Telecinco planned to air after Spain's matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It was heavily criticized for relying on panelists not linked to sports journalism but to the network's gossip shows such as Kiko Matamoros or Alessandro Lecquio. Telecinco commentator and former Spain coach José Antonio Camacho refused to appear on the show via satellite from Russia after hearing about the program's format.[32] After the criticism and the poor ratings of its premiere, Telecinco scrapped the show altogether.[33]
The Herman Cain Show (June 2020)
A conservative talk show hosted by businessman, media personality and presidential candidate Herman Cain on Newsmax TV. One episode was produced before Cain fell ill with COVID-19 and died on July 30.[34]
The Chop (October 15, 2020)
Sky History reality series in where woodworkers were to participate in competitions to determine the best woodworker in the United Kingdom. The series was put on hiatus on October 20, 2020 as one of the contestants had an "88" face tattoo which was questioned by viewers for having neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbolism, though the contestant claimed it was an innocent tribute to his father's 1988 death.[35] The entire series was canceled 10 days later on October 30, 2020, after it was found out the contestant's father (who was estranged from him) was alive and well, and his other head tattoos suggested further white supremacist symbols and numbers.[36]

Canceled after two episodes, seen back-to-back on premiere night[edit]

The following series were canceled after their first two episodes had aired back-to-back on one evening:

Beware of Dog (August 13, 2002)
Animal Planet sitcom; two episodes presented back-to-back for the only appearance of the series on U.S. television.[37] The show featured Look Who's Talking-style observations (voiced by Park Bench) by a stray dog named Jack who was adopted by a suburban family.[38][39]
Anchorwoman (August 22, 2007)
Fox comedy/reality series about Lauren Jones, a model who became a television news anchor. The show was canceled on August 23 because of a disappointing 2.0 Fast National rating; however, its premiere was one hour, consisting of two 30-minute episodes.[40]
The Bussey Bunch (January 22, 2008)
TLC reality show about the Busseys, a family that promotes a local professional wrestling federation in Texas. The series was pulled following its premiere showing, with a scheduled showing on January 29 also pulled.[41]
The Xtacles (November 9, 2008)
Adult Swim spin-off of Frisky Dingo. The only two episodes aired back-to-back on November 9, 2008. In early 2009, Adult Swim declined to fund the production of any episodes beyond the first two. Around the same time, 70/30 Productions – which produced the show – closed down.[42]
The Hasselhoffs (December 5, 2010)
A&E reality series starring David Hasselhoff and his two daughters was canceled after only two episodes aired. The first two episodes aired back-to-back on the same night leaving eight episodes unaired.[43] A&E stated that they planned on airing the other eight completed half-hour episodes at a later date;[44] however, that never took place. The full series aired in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2011 on The Biography Channel.[45]
Videos After Dark (March 12, 2019)
American video clip television series based on America's Funniest Home Videos with more adult tones. The series premiered on March 12, 2019 as a one-hour special, with the remaining episodes set to premiere later in the year, but never came. ABC never made any mention of the show after its premiere and shortly after, removed the two aired episodes from its website and Hulu. Fourteen episodes of the series were filmed with only two episodes aired.

Special cases[edit]

Because of more complex situations, such as shows canceled independently in separate countries, the following programs can be said to have been canceled after one episode under a special set of circumstances only.

You're in the Picture (January 20, 1961)
CBS game show starring Jackie Gleason, which received such negative reviews that Gleason used the same timeslot on January 27 to apologize. He called the previous week's show "the biggest bomb—it would make the H-bomb look like a two-inch salute". Gleason used the timeslot to revive The Jackie Gleason Show as a talk show to fulfill the remainder of his contract.
Hardwicke House (February 24/25, 1987)
ITV sitcom set in an anarchic school. Cancelled after a double-length pilot and one regular episode of a completed six-part series had aired on consecutive nights, with the five untransmitted editions remaining unbroadcast and unreleased in the UK – the series is available for overseas syndication but as far as is known has never been purchased, and attempts to release the series on DVD in more recent times have stalled.
Who's Your Daddy? (January 3, 2005)
Fox reality series that involved an adopted woman trying to identify her biological father amongst a group of impostors. The show attracted protest from adoptive families and adoption-rights groups before airing. This episode aired as a "special", not a "series premiere", and as such the series can be said to have been canceled before airing an episode.[46]
Korgoth of Barbaria (June 3, 2006)
An Adult Swim animated show parodying the post-apocalyptic and sword and sorcery genres, focusing on the titular barbarian hero Korgoth. Aired as an uncommitted pilot, the show was announced as having been picked up as a series on June 18 of the same year. However, no further episodes were actually produced, and a 2010 "bump" on the network listed Korgoth in its list of cancelled programming (for being "too expensive").[47] Though only one episode was ever produced, the show was formally picked up and later formally cancelled, making its distinction between pilot episode and cancelled series unclear.
Viva Laughlin (October 22, 2007)
CBS musical comedy-drama that takes place at a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, based on the BBC series Blackpool. While CBS canceled the Hugh Jackman-produced series after two episodes had aired, Australia's Nine Network aired the first episode on October 22 and then canceled it the following day.[48][49]
Soul Quest Overdrive (May 24, 2011)
Adult Swim spin-off of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, featuring the voices of David Cross, Kristen Schaal, H. Jon Benjamin, and Gavin McInnes. After losing a 2010 online pilot contest to Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge, six episodes of the show were ordered by the network regardless. Four of them aired back-to-back at 4 AM on May 24, 2011 during Adult Swim's "DVR Theater" block, leaving at least one unaired. No further episodes of the show were made. Cast member Gavin McInnes confirmed that Soul Quest Overdrive was cancelled, and incorrectly blamed its cancellation on the other cast members not being "as funny" as him.[50]
Taskmaster (August 2, 2020)
A British comedy game show, which had been imported by The CW to air over the summer in the United States. After underperforming in comparison to other series it had imported (to cover for delayed programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic), The CW pulled the series on August 5 and replaced it with reruns of Supernatural. The series has been a critical success in its home country of the United Kingdom, where it has run for over nine seasons and has won the British Academy Television Award for Best Comedy. It was also recently acquired by Channel 4 television from UKTV's Dave channel, becoming the third highest rating show on the network by October 18, 2020.[51][52][53] The CW later placed the episodes it had acquired on its video on demand platform.[54]

Placed on hiatus after one episode[edit]

The following series are sometimes included on lists of shows canceled after one episode, but strictly speaking do not belong there. The following series were stopped after a single episode aired, but were later brought back by the originating networks, and aired their remaining episodes on the originating networks some months later (usually during a non-ratings period).

Co-Ed Fever (February 4, 1979)
CBS sitcom that attempted to imitate the then-successful National Lampoon's Animal House. The pilot was aired as a "special preview" of the upcoming season, but the series was canceled shortly thereafter. The other five completed episodes remain unaired in the United States, but were shown in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on BCTV in a late-afternoon weekend timeslot.[55]
Melba (January 28, 1986)
CBS sitcom starring Melba Moore as a single mother who runs a New York information bureau; the series premiered on the day of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.[56] The five remaining episodes aired during the summer.[57]
South of Sunset (October 27, 1993)
CBS private-detective show starring Glenn Frey of rock band the Eagles.[10] Despite being heavily promoted during the World Series, the show was canned not only because of bad ratings but because news coverage of wildfires in Malibu had pre-empted it on much of the West Coast (although KCBS in Los Angeles showed the pilot on October 30 at 11:30 PM). The remaining five episodes aired on VH1 a year later.
The Great Defender (March 5, 1995)
Fox legal drama starring Michael Rispoli as a My Cousin Vinny-type lawyer. The premiere aired opposite 60 Minutes and received dismal ratings. Fox removed the series from the air after its first episode, later airing the remaining episodes during the summer.[58]
Antique Inspectors (April 25, 1999)
The BBC filmed a series of the antiques programme hosted by Jill Dando, who was killed the day after the first episode was broadcast. The BBC halted the broadcast of further episodes until later on in the year.
Family Forensics UK (2005)
LivingTV reality show, it was canceled in November 2005 after one episode had been broadcast when the producers discovered that their private investigator, Michael Brown, had been convicted that October of six child sex offences. Brown was in breach of his contract for not telling the producers about this, and Living TV apologized for broadcasting the one episode.[59] Pulling the show cost Living £600,000.[60]
It's Now or Never (July 22, 2006)
British light entertainment ITV1 program presented by Phillip Schofield; two episodes were produced to be aired in a Saturday night timeslot during the summer of 2006, but only the first was aired owing to ratings of 1.7 million viewers, or 10% of the available audience.[61] The second episode was eventually aired later in the year, on December 30, 2006.[62]
The Master (August 16, 2006)
Australian quiz show hosted by Mark Beretta on the Seven Network, which was axed after the premiere received low ratings (744,000 viewers). The following six episodes were eventually broadcast on the network, albeit in non-ratings periods. Ironically, the second and third episodes (December 12 and 19) showed an increase in ratings by approximately 95,000 viewers.
Proving Ground (June 14, 2011)
G4 popular science reality show hosted by Ryan Dunn and Jessica Chobot in which stunts from video games, films and comic books are tested in the real world. The series was pulled from G4's schedule after Dunn was killed in an unrelated car accident shortly after the airing of the first episode.[63] G4 began airing the remaining eight episodes in July 2011 and it was discontinued after, with Chobot instead becoming a correspondent with X-Play to fulfill her contract with G4 for its last year of existence with original programming.[64]
Aquí mando yo (April 15, 2016)
Spanish adaptation of Gogglebox for Antena 3 hosted by Miki Nadal in voiceover form. This program filmed different groups of friends or families watching and critiquing television shows aired during the week. Antena 3 announced the series would go on hiatus three days after the premiere episode underperformed in ratings.[65]
The Week We Went Wild (January 9, 2017)
Channel 5 (UK) reality documentary series in which members of troubled and dysfunctional families were sent out to the jungles of Panama in order to work through their grievances in the context of a survival scenario. Four editions were commissioned and produced, but after the first underperformed in ratings, the remaining editions were abruptly withdrawn from the intended 9pm Monday timeslot and replaced by other content: the unshown episodes did ultimately appear before the month was out, however, airing in a 3 am slot on 17, 24 and 31 January 2017.[66]
Dale Winton's Florida Fly-Drive (February 8, 2018)
Channel 5 travelogue series featuring presenter Dale Winton touring Florida. The first episode aired as planned, with further editions scheduled to follow on subsequent Thursdays, but the series was pulled from the 15th February schedule following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting the previous day.[67] Following Winton's death in April 2018, Channel 5 confirmed that it would air the remaining episodes at "an appropriate time".[68] The unaired editions ultimately appeared on Channel 5 and 5Select in June 2018.
Maxxx (April 2, 2020)
Channel 4 sitcom/boyband satire with O. T. Fagbenle. The series was launched on E4 in April 2020, after being heavily advertised on the youth TV channel, but was pulled from the schedule after one episode had been shown (with the slot used for re-runs of Brooklyn Nine-Nine). The series, which could be found as a box-set on All4, was re-launched on Channel 4 during Black History Month, with the first episode being repeated on 29th October 2020 and the missing second episode due a week later.[69][70]
La Campos móvil (March 10, 2021)
Telecinco talk show hosted by María Teresa Campos, which was filmed inside a transparent box in the back of a moving truck, where Campos would interview her guests. The pilot episode was aired as part of Telecinco's daily afternoon show Sálvame, featuring President of the Community of Madrid Isabel Díaz Ayuso as guest, and had a poor ratings performance in its allocated timeslot. Days after the premiere, it was reported that Telecinco had put the show on hiatus while they considered possible tweaks to the format or outright cancellation.[71]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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