While Nike at Nite has given viewers countless hours of enjoyable television down the years, not every show to grace its entertainment line-up has been a hit. From scripting that appears to downplay audience intelligence to lackluster on-screen execution, these TV shows remind us that even our most beloved networks have their share of missteps.
1. My Mother the Car (1965-1966)
The sitcom follows the adventure of a man whose late mother rein-CAR-noted into his antique car. One of the most staggering failures of ‘My Mother the Car’ is the strangeness of its plot in television history. The short-lived series failed to capture audiences and was soon expulsed to the annals of TV oddities.
2. Turn-on (1969)
A failed successor of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Turn-on was a sketchy comedy show that made audiences question the borders of human relations humor should not cross; everything about the show was distastefully extreme. Its frenetic pace and mid-scripting were viewed as inappropriate by the conservative 1969 audience, leading to its cancellation just after the first episode aired.
3. Hello, Larry (1979-1980)
Fresh off the success of MASH, Hello, Larry, starring Mclean Stevenson, couldn’t replicate its predecessor’s magic. Critics believe the failure of the sitcom was down to the absence of humor and wit, and within a year, the sitcom was soon relegated to the abyss.
4. Pink Lady and Jeff (1980)
Pink Lady and Jeff was a variety show that strived to infuse the Japanese pop duo Pink Lady into the American market but failed due to cultural divides and language barriers. The hosts were also said to be lacking in chemistry—a show like that needed to gain mass appeal.
5. Buck James (1987-1988)
A medical drama with a setting in the American South, the potential of Buck James was huge at the onset but quickly faded due to lackluster writing and uneven character development. Despite the dedication of its cast led by Dennis Weaver, Buck James failed the audience test and was canceled after one season.
6. Family Challenge (1995-1997)
Family Challenge aimed to replicate the success of game shows like Family Feud, but the uninspiring show plots and uncharismatic hosts led to its demise. While some moments of the show got the audience excited, the uneven delivery erased the gains of the sitcom, and it was soon forgotten.
7. Mr. Rhodes (1996-1997)
Mr. Rhodes starred comedian Tom Rhodes as a charismatic writer-turned-high school teacher whose ambition was to capture the essence of an unconventional educator finding new creative frontiers to connect with students. The charm of the host was, however, insufficient to sustain the show’s weak storyline. Mr. Rhode was canceled after a season as it couldn’t balance comedy and drama.
8. Fatherhood (2004-2005)
On-screen replications of successful books fail most of the time, and Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood met the same fate while attempting to capture the joys and challenges of parenting. The first of the original animated series of Nik at Nite, Fatherhood missed the comedic finesse of the veteran comedian’s earlier work, and viewers consider it unimpressive.
9. Glen Martin, DDS (2009-2011)
Despite featuring stop-motion animation and a talented voice cast, Glen Martin, DSS couldn’t find an audience. The sitcom follows the life of a simple dentist and his family, the ups and downs of their interactions, and while it should impress due to the relatable nature of its plot, critics think its storylines are mundane. Its attempt at humor was, at best, uninspiring.
10. See Dad Run (2012-2019)
Featuring Former Happy Days star Scott Baio, the sitcom probes the life of a former TV star-turned-stay-at-home-dad. Undoubtedly, See Dad Run showed great potential, especially in the beginning. Still, the crew could not capitalize on it, resulting in a series that failed to resonate with its unconvinced audience.
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