Is "Petticoat Junction" the worst?
This week, CBS canceled its bankrupt casino drama "Viva Laughlin," which some have called one of the worst TV shows ever. Which got us to thinking. Here, then, is our list of The 25 Worst TV Shows Ever. Let the debate begin.
"You're in the Picture" (1961). Jackie Gleason appeared in a prime time quiz show, but it was so bad the quiz format was dropped after one airing and it became instead a short-lived talk show. Even Gleason knew it was bad: "I've seen bombs in my day, but this one made the H-bomb look like a 2-inch salute."
"Petticoat Junction" (1963-'70). Some shows from that era hold up remarkably well -- either as sweet nostalgia or entertaining camp. Not this one, set in Hooterville. Watch video
"My Mother the Car" (1965-66). In it, Jerry Van Dyke's mother was reincarnated as a talking automobile, the voice supplied by Ann Sothern. Actually made it through one season. Watch video
"Turn-On" (1969). Illegitimate son of "Laugh-In." Lasted one episode.
"Ernest Angley Hour" (1973-present). Broadcast from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Angley's Southern rural lisp deliveries are syndicated worldwide. While he doesn't claim to be a faith healer, his trademark palm-of-the-hand to the forehead is accompanied by his high-pitched shout "Be heeeeaaaalllled!" as the healee drops to the floor, to be caught by an assistant. Watch video
"B.J. and the Bear" (1979-81). Comedy/adventure about an itinerant trucker who traveled the nation's highways with his pet chimpanzee. Watch video
"When Things Were Rotten" (1975). Created by Mel Brooks. Hoo boy. Lasted a half season. Brooks used the same Robin Hood theme in the 1993 movie "Men in Tights."
"Mr. T. and Tina" (1976). Starring Pat Morita (who also played Arnold on "Happy Days"). Canceled after five episodes.
"The Ropers" (1979-80). An entire show built around the landlords from the nearly as awful "Three's Company."
"Joanie Loves Chachi" (1982-83). Scott Baio's addition to "Happy Days" was a classic jump-the-shark moment; here the shark goes belly up and begins to smell. Watch video
"Mama's Family" (1983-90). The Vickie Lawrence skit was the weak link on "The Carol Burnett Show." So, naturally, it got a weekly half-hour. Watch video
"Manimal" (1983). NYU prof could change into any animal to help fight crimes. Show turned into a turkey. Watch video
"Mr. Belvedere" (1985-90). Starred Bob Uecker -- need we say more? Watch video
"Small Wonder" (1985-89): Robot scientist builds robot in the shape of a 10-year-old girl, then tries to hide her amid his family. Theme-song quote: "She's fantastic/Made of plastic." Watch video
"Life With Lucy" (1986). Lucille Ball's final, disastrous short-lived series. It lasted only a few months but still tarnished the TV icon's legacy.
"Beauty and the Beast" (1987-90). The pretty gal and ugly critter didn't just love each other; they solved crimes!
"Cop Rock" (1990). Steven Bochco, apparently bored with making legitimate cop series ("Hill Street Blues"), decided it would be fun to have cops sing, and it would be even more fun to have them performing legit, hard-core cop work while they did it.
"Pink Lady and Jeff" (1980): Quite possibly the most demented variety show of all time, this bizarre offering paired two Japanese pop singers who spoke almost no English with comedian Jeff Altman. Hilarity did not ensue. Watch video
"The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage" (1991). A 17th Century pirate trans-whatevered to modern times has to save a life for every one he's taken. Which, come to think of it, is the same plot as "My Name Is Earl."
"The Jerry Springer Show" (1991 to present). His aim is low.
"Barney & Friends" (1992-present). Yes, some little kids love it. But parents helped compile this list, and it annoys the heck out of us. Watch video
"Homeboys from Outer Space" (1996-97). The name was a tip-off.
"The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer" (1998). A black British gentleman run out of England for cheating takes a job as a butler to Abraham Lincoln. And it was a comedy. And it made fun of slavery. Watch video
XFL (2001). NBC and Pro wrestling decide football isn't entertaining enough the way it is. They are wrong.
"Cavemen" (2007): We'll take this insurance commercial, see, only we'll make it 30 times as long! No, not the one with the lizard. Watch video
--Compiled by the Tempo staffCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times