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Top 10 Short Lived Celebrity Talk Shows

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by John Ward Well, we all can't be Carson or Letterman... Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Short Lived Celebrity Talk Shows. For this list, we’re taking a look at talk shows hosted by celebrities that essentially (and likely notoriously) flopped, based on its relatively shortrun and the host’s level of fame. Special thanks to our users My Pet Paradox or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by John Ward

Top 10 Short Lived Celebrity Talk Shows


Well, we all can't be Carson or Letterman... Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Short Lived Celebrity Talk Shows.

For this list, we’re taking a look at talk shows hosted by celebrities that essentially (and likely notoriously) flopped, based on its relatively shortrun and the host’s level of fame.

 

#10: "Lopez Tonight" (2009-01)

Comedian George Lopez entered into the not-so-diverse world of late night TV in November 2009 via TBS. As he was the 1st Mexican-American to host a show in the U.S. on an English language network, there were high hopes for “Lopez Tonight.” While his studio audience was always lively, the home viewing audience was not as enthusiastic. The cancellation came about a year after the show’s timeslot was moved from 11 PM back to its original midnight airing. The move – which Lopez made voluntarily - was to make room for Conan O’Brien’s new show following the 2010 Tonight Show debacle. Unsurprisingly, TBS executives weren’t happy with the sharp decline in ratings - and that Lopez’s show had less social-media chatter and online views than other shows.

#9: "Thicke of the Night" (1983-84)


That’s right: America’s favorite ‘80s TV dad had his own talk show prior to his finding fame as Dr. Jason Seaver. The syndicated attempt was meant to be a fresh alternative to and compete with Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show.” Yes, we’re talking about Alan Thicke, and not his son Robin, who would be 6 or 7 at the time and thus in his pre-“Blurred Lines” success. To be fair, early reviews of the show seemed fairly positive. Plus, you’d think mud wrestling and moments like “the Playmate Olympics” would be huge ratings grabbers pre-internet. But the show ratings continued to drop despite cast changes and “Thicke of the Night” was quickly cancelled after its first season. 

#8: "The Wanda Skyes Show" (2009-10)


Fox gave talented writer and stand-up comedian Wanda Sykes a shot when they gave her Mad TV and Talkshow with Spike Feresten’s Saturday night 11 PM timeslot for this. At least they did for 21 episodes, anyway. The show’s format was similar to Bill Maher’s Real Time – monologue, sketches, and a guest panel discussion. Except with booze. Yeah, the guests were allowed to drink. If this had led to some drunken celebrity on-air mishaps, maybe the ratings would’ve fared better. But then again, if an awkward skit about environmentally friendly sex toys won’t bring in people, what will? Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, we will never know as the show was halted after season 1.

 

#7: "Brand X with Russell Brand" (2012-13)

Between 2012-13, English comedian and actor Russell Brand tried his hand at American late night TV for 26 episodes on FX. His bombastic personality was allowed to riff unfiltered on current events, politics, and pop culture. Unfortunately, his riffing ability may’ve been overvalued by everyone involved. Critics believed they were watching a televised open mic night with little funny to be found. By the 2nd season, changes had been made to the supporting cast as well as to the show structure, extending it to 60 minute and airing it live. This ultimately didn’t work for FX either, as they opted not to order a third season.

#6: "McEnroe" (2004)


John McEnroe is usually known for his incredible skill as a professional tennis player – as well as his trademark hot temper on the court. His talk show, however, was barely known at all, with few people even being aware of its short-lived existence. Reportedly, McEnroe achieved not once, but twice, a 0.0 Nielsen rating. Despite getting a few big name guests, the show didn’t even make it out of the same year it started. At least McEnroe’s wife, Patty Smyth, was kind enough to sing the theme song.

#5: "ALF’s Hit Talk Show" (2004)


It only took 14 years of ALF being off the air for TV Land to give the universe’s most famous Melmacian his own talk show. Too bad putting “Hit” in the title didn’t fool the audience. Though it perhaps fooled an 81-year-old Ed McMahon into playing sidekick, as he agreed to make conversation with yet another former NBC cash cow. The weekly 30-minute talk show had skits and guests like any similar series. Viewer bewilderment may’ve stemmed from the fact that it was hosted by a frickin’ alien puppet that hadn’t been popular since the ‘80s. It may’ve only lasted seven episodes, but it can’t be denied that Alf’s Hit Talk Show certainly holds a place in television history… even if it’s for being one of the greatest talk show flops ever.

#4: "The Jon Stewart Show" (1993-95)


This entry stands out because the host actually became far more famous after his initial talk show went off the air. Then in his early 30s and suit-less, Jon Stewart – who was originally a contender to take Letterman’s NBC spot in the early 1990s – got his own half-hour talk show on MTV instead. Initially, it was a top ratings success for the network, second only to Beavis and Butt-Head. Kids, in the ‘90s, everything was second to Beavis and Butthead. After Paramount cancelled Arsenio Hall’s original talk show, the studio extended Stewart’s show to an hour and put it in Arsenio’s spot. Though this move proved fatal, we hear Stewart later found work elsewhere.

 

#3: "The Magic Hour" (1998)

Earvin “Magic” Johnson: he may be a legend on the court, but he was a disappearing act for late night viewers. The reasoning for green-lighting a talk show hosted by a man with no experience in show business, other than his owning a movie theater chain, was never clear. As ratings began to drop, executives began to shift strategies for “The Magic Hour.” This included moving Magic’s original sidekick, Craig Shoemaker, aside for Tommy Davidson due to a lack of chemistry. It probably also had to do with the fact that Shoemaker stated the show was “an absolute nightmare.” Other people in the biz, like Howard Ster, echoed similar sentiments. And despite Stern’s controversial and attention-grabbing appearance on Johnson’s show, “The Magic Hour” would see its demise shortly thereafter.

 

#2: "The Pat Sajak Show" (1989-99)

Okay: 5 words, 18 letters. We’d like to solve, Pat: “Don’t quit your day job.” That’s right, one of America’s favorite game show hosts, Pat Sajak, once had his own talk show. CBS’ attempt to get back into the late night interview format was giving a Vanna White-less Sajak a 90-minute talk show. Pretty much a straight-up rip-off of Johnny Carson’s formula, it was cut back to 60-minutes a few months later… and just flat out canceled a few months after that. The show fell behind the ratings of Arsenio Hall and David Letterman’s show, and Sajak was even replaced by guest hosts once a week during the weeks before its cancellation after just one season.
 

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
 
"The Sharon Osbourne Show" (2003-04; 2006)
  
"The Queen Latifah Show" (1999-2001; 2013-15)
  
"The Martin Short Show" (1999-2000)
  
"Kris" (2013)
 
"The Fran Drescher Show" [aka “The Fran Drescher Tawk Show”] (2010)
 
 

#1: "The Chevy Chase Show" (1993)

When Johnny Carson retired, the networks’ late night wars began. And the man that Carson once said “couldn’t ad-lib a fart after a baked-bean dinner” was the first causality. Originally, Fox wanted Dolly Parton to be their late night host, but Parton’s management said no and suggested Chevy. The result was a show whose average ratings were far below what Fox promised advertisers. Among critics, the show was as liked about as much as Chevy’s personality was liked by SNL and Community’s casts. Chevy said he found it to be a “very constraining” format and would later say he had wanted something “much darker and [with] more improv.” After a little over a month on the air, Fox announced its cancellation - and the network has yet to attempt similar weeknight late night programming.
 Do you agree with our list? What’s your pick for a short-lived celebrity talk show? For more timeless top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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