7 Dumbest Decisions in Network Television

'Rolling Stone' catalogs 50, starting with the cancellation of 'Freaks and Geeks'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2023 7:25 AM CDT
7 Dumbest Decisions in Network Television
From the 'Freaks and Geeks' trailer.   (YouTube)

Rolling Stone has come up with an inventive list that seeks to catalogue "the 50 worst decisions in the history of television." Don't look for infamous Fonzie-jumps-the-shark moments. Instead, these gaffes focus mostly on decisions made by network execs, though a few writing bombs make the cut. The list also ventures into politics, with the RS editors bashing NBC for making Donald Trump a star. Here are the top seven on the list:

  1. NBC canceling Freaks and Geeks. Great show, legendary young cast. Despite "incredible reviews and an average weekly viewership that hovered around 6 million, NBC pulled the plug before they could even air all the episodes they shot for the first season."
  2. NBC turning Donald Trump into a "Television Titan." Thanks to The Apprentice.
  3. Fox turning down the Sopranos. They read the script for the pilot and said, 'Nah' for the 1999 season.
  4. Saturday Night Live firing Norm MacDonald over his relentless OJ Simpson jokes after his murder trial ended. The jokes were "hysterical," but they rankled NBC West Coast division President Don Ohlmeyer, a friend of Simpson's.
  5. Roseanne Barr torpedoing her own career with a racist tweet.
  6. NBC turning the late-night situation with Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien into a "debacle." Poor Conan got the boot after only seven months, after Leno refused to give up his show as promised.
  7. Fox giving Chevy Chase a talk show. It lasted just six weeks, "one of the great belly-flops in talk-show history."
Read the full list of 50. (Or check out other lists.)

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