Sometimes, problems with a hit show or a collection of them can throw an entire television network into a rough patch. A poorly-thought out case of NetworkDecay can also trigger this.


[[folder:United States]]
* Creator/{{NBC}} has gone through two (technically ''three'') of these in its history.
** The first one was during Fred Silverman's tenure as president and CEO, 197881. Hot off of his success turning Creator/{{ABC}} into a titan in 197578, NBC brought him on hoping that lightning would strike twice. [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor What they got instead]] was a slew of gimmicky shows that were often canceled after only a season, with failures like ''Series/{{Supertrain}}'' and ''Series/PinkLadyAndJeff'' being among the most notorious (both of these shows are listed in ''Literature/WhatWereTheyThinkingThe100DumbestEventsInTelevisionHistory'', which takes several additional shots at Silverman). The former hit ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' went through its first DorkAge during the 1980-81 season, and was nearly canceled after the [[PrecisionFStrike F-bomb]] dropped on the Charlene Tilton episode. Morale at the network crumbled with each passing year spent in a distant third behind ABC and Creator/{{CBS}}; Creator/AlFranken ran the famous [[ "Limo for the Lame-O"]] sketch on ''SNL'' skewering Silverman's handling of the network (which led to Franken getting sacked and, with it, the aforementioned DorkAge the following season), while the production studio and singers responsible for NBC's [[ "We're Proud as a Peacock!"]] campaign song recorded [[ a hilarious parody version]] mocking Silverman, something he didn't take well. The final straw came when the US Olympic team boycotted the 1980 UsefulNotes/{{Moscow}} UsefulNotes/{{Olympic|Games}}s as a result of the UsefulNotes/SovietInvasionOfAfghanistan, resulting in an Eastern Bloc-dominated affair that few Americans were interested in watching -- very bad news for the network that had bet the farm on Olympic programming that year to turn its fortunes around. Between that and the financial troubles of NBC's corporate owners, the electronics company RCA, it was speculated that the network would be shut down or sold off in a matter of years in order to prevent RCA from going bankrupt. Fortunately for NBC, in 1981 they ousted Silverman and brought in Grant Tinker (co-founder of MTM Enterprises) as the new chairman and CEO, and put Brandon Tartikoff in charge of programming duties. Together, despite a few false starts, Tinker and Tartikoff oversaw the beginning of a golden age for NBC that would last for nearly two decades, with the network dominating the ratings and, in particular, being responsible for many of the great American {{sitcom}}s of TheEighties and TheNineties. When General Electric bought out RCA in 1986, it was mainly to acquire NBC, which by then was one of the last profitable divisions of a company that was otherwise circling the drain.
** Alas, those two decades eventually came to an end. Tartikoff died unexpectedly in 1997, but many of the hit shows he greenlit continued for years after. However, following the end of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' and ''Series/{{Friends}}'', two of the network's last big sitcom hits, in 2004, NBC slipped from first to fourth as its new shows either failed to catch on or experienced {{Second Season Downfall}}s, and most of its attempts to make a {{reality TV}} hit like ''Series/{{Survivor}}'' or ''Series/AmericanIdol'' turned out to be failures. Its Thursday night comedy block was one of its few points of consistent acclaim, and even then, shows like ''Series/{{Community}}'' and ''Series/ThirtyRock'' struggled in the ratings. The low point came in the 2009-10 season, when the UsefulNotes/{{Vancouver}} Winter Olympics proved themselves to be a $250 million money pit for the network, and the failure of ''The Jay Leno Show'' left huge holes across a third of the network's UsefulNotes/PrimeTime schedule and caused a "Late Night War" between Leno and Creator/ConanOBrien that left TV fans with a lot of ill will against NBC's executives. The ouster of unpopular CEO Jeff Zucker in late 2010 saw the network finally start to turn itself around. ''Series/TheVoice'' premiered in the 2010-11 season and became a smash hit (though it was only one of two freshman series that season to get renewed[[note]]The other being ''Series/HarrysLaw'', which itself only lasted one more season.[[/note]]), and the network edged out ABC for third place at the end of the 2011-12 season. After equaling that rank the following season, they surged all the way back to number one in the 2013-14 season on the back of the Winter Olympics and several new hits, particularly ''Series/TheBlacklist'', ''Series/ChicagoFire'', and its {{spinoff}} ''Series/ChicagoPD''. This dominance continued through the 2014-15 season even as their Thursday night comedy block has completely collapsed and been pulled (in favor of using ''The Blacklist'' to attack ABC's dominant Creator/ShondaRhimes trio on the night). Today, they run neck-and-neck with CBS as the #1 network, with NBC claiming the 18-49 demographic and CBS claiming the most total viewers.
** Even when NBC's entertainment programming showed a decline, its broadcast news programs (''Today'', ''NBC Nightly News'', and ''Meet the Press'') remained dominant at the close of UsefulNotes/TheOughts, while Creator/{{MSNBC}} showed impressive gains on cable. However, a series of increasingly disastrous PR flaps at the start of TheNewTens damaged the brand of NBC News and ended their ''two-decade-long'' ratings streak. It started with Ann Curry's lackluster tenure and botched firing as co-host of ''Today'', and continued with the similarly controversial firings of Creator/KeithOlbermann, David Gregory, and Melissa Harris-Perry, which led to MSNBC constantly changing its schedule to a ridiculous degree (Ed Schultz saw his show change time slots ''five times in four years'' before he joined Creator/RussiaToday). ''Nightly News'' anchor Brian Williams getting caught [[UnreliableNarrator embellishing his experiences]] covering the Iraq War didn't help matters. Ratings began to rebound with a new chairman at NBC News, but that was offset by the hire of ex-Creator/FoxNews host Megyn Kelly and the subsequent bombing of her Sunday night newsmagazine.

* Creator/{{CBS}} went through a bad decade in TheNineties. For much of TheEighties, its shows had skewed much older than its competitors ABC, NBC, and (starting in 1987) Fox meaning that, while it was pulling in huge ratings from seniors and retirees with shows like ''Series/{{Dallas}}'' and ''Series/MurderSheWrote'', it wasn't hitting the lucrative 18-49 demographic that advertisers crave. [[note]](Interestingly, CBS went through the same problem two decades earlier, which it resolved with UsefulNotes/TheRuralPurge.)[[/note]] This earned it the nickname "the network of the living dead", and by the early '90s [[{{Foreshadowing}} they were relying on their weekend sports coverage to stay in the black]].\\
You can guess how that went. In 1993, after CBS had already lost broadcast rights to NBA and MLB, Fox signed a contract with [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball the NFL]] that gave them the exclusive rights to air NFC games, a move that firmly established Fox as America's fourth network but utterly devastated CBS. A common joke claimed that CBS stood for [[FunWithAcronyms "Can't Broadcast Sports"]]; despite this, though, CBS managed to maintain their NASCAR contracts, and with the sport becoming hugely popular in the 90s, this was a lifesaver, especially since they held the exclusive rights to the Daytona 500 (having done so since 1979, and doing so until 2000). This was followed by Fox's plundering of CBS' sportscasters and, in 1994, through a contract with New World Communications and its merger with Argyle Television, poaching CBS affiliates in such key markets as [[UsefulNotes/DFWMetroplex Dallas-Fort Worth]], UsefulNotes/{{Atlanta}}, UsefulNotes/{{Milwaukee}} and UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}},[[note]] (NWC would be purchased outright by News Corporation, Fox's parent company, in 1997)[[/note]] forcing CBS to move to lower-tier UHF stations in those and other cities.[[note]] CBS was spared the UHF demotion in Dallas-Fort Worth but still had to move up the dial to Channel 11.[[/note]] CBS would start to recover in 2000 with the debut of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' and ''Series/{{Survivor}}'', its first mega-hits in a long while, and since then, it's been a regular contender for the #1 spot on the Nielsen charts. Of course, it has since gone back to being "the network of the living dead," with those series largely appealing to older viewers now, but that's less of an issue--these days, it seems like ''only'' older people watch network TV. Their biggest shows right now seem to be anything created by Creator/ChuckLorre, primarily ''LiveActionTV/TheBigBangTheory'', which premiered in 2007 and has become a highly-popular LongRunner that later spawned a spin-off prequel focusing on the childhood of BreakoutCharacter Sheldon Cooper.
* Creator/{{ABC}} went through a DorkAge of its own from 2000-2004, when many new shows didn't draw much in the ratings. The beginning of this was when the network gave WolverinePublicity to ''Series/WhoWantsToBeAMillionaire'' for the 2000-01 season, saturating the schedule by airing the game show in prime time as many as ''five nights a week''. In addition, Michael Eisner, then CEO of parent company Creator/{{Disney}}, turned down Creator/JerryBruckheimer's pitch for ''Series/{{CSI}}'', which instead became a hit for Creator/{{CBS}} (see above), and many of the new shows that debuted on ABC in that period were hardly successful in terms of ratings (note that Disney as a whole was in a Dork Age at the time, with traditional 2D animation quickly falling to Pixar and Dreamworks, Disneyland being turned into what amounted to a shopping mall while maintenance suffered, and a general decline in customer service in favor of profit). The network fell to fourth place and almost went bankrupt in this period (and was part of the reason behind Eisner's fall), ultimately being spared by the debuts of ''Series/{{LOST}}'', ''Series/DesperateHousewives'', and ''Series/GreysAnatomy'', which boosted the network's ratings to second place for the 2004-05 season. Since then, the network has been a reliable third place finisher, an unspectacular but comfortable position, only falling to fourth place once (in the 2011-12 season, when NBC was beginning to mount its comeback but before Fox started to seriously collapse). While it only has a few megahits (and virtually none from people not named Creator/ShondaRhimes), it does have a large stable of fairly modest hits with devoted fanbases.
** It has been said that ABC ''really'' needed ''Lost'' and ''Desperate Housewives'' to succeed not just because of their precarious position at the time, but because, if they failed, there would have been [[NeverLiveItDown no end to the jokes]] about the network being "lost" and "desperate".
* Creator/{{Fox}} fell into one during the 2011-12 season. Coming off a long run of success in the '00s, they attempted to juice a fall lineup that was getting fairly long in the tooth with an American version of ''Series/TheXFactor'', which initially provided a solid boost but collapsed spectacularly over the next two seasons before it was canceled in 2013. More distressingly, Simon Cowell's involvement in ''The X-Factor'' led to his departure from ''Series/AmericanIdol'', which is often regarded as the [[JumpingTheShark point of no return]] for the latter show after a few years of stagnant, wobbly ratings; by the time ''The X-Factor'' was canceled, ''Idol'' had gone from Fox's big tentpole hit and TV's "Death Star" to a marginal player that was overshadowed by NBC's ''Series/TheVoice'', eventually singing its last note in 2016 (though this later proved to be a hiatus, as the series made a ChannelHop to ABC in 2018). Fox has also been severely harmed by their inability to develop new major scripted hits, generally putting out either {{Acclaimed Flop}}s like ''Series/{{Enlisted}}'' and ''Series/SurvivingJack'', "limited series" like ''Series/TheFollowing'' and ''Series/SleepyHollow'' that burn bright in season one only to [[SecondSeasonDownfall flame out]] when audiences realize that these aren't MiniSeries but instead multi-season shows with reduced episode orders, cult shows like ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' and ''Series/TheMindyProject'' that burnish the network's reputation with critics but [[AcclaimedFlop don't bring appreciable ratings boosts]], or reviled duds like ''Series/TheMobDoctor'', ''Series/RedBandSociety'', ''Series/{{Dads}}'', and ''Series/{{Mulaney}}''.\\
The effects of these problems really began to show during the network's dramatic collapse between 2012 and 2014, falling to third place in the 2012-13 season (and second in the 18-49 demographic that had long been its bread and butter) and only salvaging second place in 2013-14 because of the UsefulNotes/SuperBowl; without that, and with ratings black holes on practically every night of the schedule, Fox was hitting record ratings lows. In the 2014-15 season, they [[ fell painfully]] to fourth place in both total ratings and in the 18-49 demographic, with ''Series/{{Gotham}}'' and the monster hit ''Series/{{Empire}}'' as the only bright spots.
** Their cable sports properties also declined in TheNewTens. Parent company News Corp. bulldozed UsefulNotes/{{motorsports}}-centric niche channel Speed in favor of broad-skewing Fox Sports 1, only for [=FS1=] to suffer big ratings drops from Speed, with only UFC, baseball, and [[{{Irony}} the remaining motorsports programming]] consistently breaking six figures -- even Big East Basketball, a reliable million-plus breaker for ESPN, couldn't do anything for Fox, sometimes going below 10,000 viewers when the telecasts got shunted over to Fox Sports 2. [[note]]To be fair, that isn't entirely Fox's fault. Thanks to several defections and an ultimate split of the conference over its attempts to maintain relevance as a football conference, the Big East is a shell of its former self that's going through a Dork Age of its own, with most of its previous basketball powers like Syracuse, Connecticut, and West Virginia now playing elsewhere.[[/note]] Speaking of [=FS2=], it replaced the even more niche extreme sports-centric Fuel, only to collapse even more dramatically from Fuel's numbers than [=FS1=] has from Speed's. It almost goes without saying that Fox has alienated die-hard motorsports and extreme sports fans with the changes, as well as UsefulNotes/{{NASCAR}} fans (by far the most broad-skewing of any U.S. motorsports association) with things like the LiveButDelayed approach they took to the circuit's new knockout qualifying format in 2014 and the tendency to shunt over inconveniently scheduled practice and even qualifying sessions to [=FS2=], which is located on a higher cable tier than [=FS1=] (if your provider even carries the net). Keep in mind that television ratings have been falling for NASCAR all across the board, not just on Fox, which can be blamed on the massive drop in popularity after the death of Dale Earnhardt and the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow, not to mention a wide array of rule changes that made it seem like the sanctioning body was willfully manipulating every aspect of the racing product in favor of certain drivers.
* Creator/TheCW is a curious example, as it was a network ''born from'' a Dork Age that ultimately destroyed one of its parent networks, Creator/TheWB. Starting around 2003, The WB attempted to broaden its base beyond its core market of teenagers and college-age young adults; it was during this time that they retired the Michigan J. Frog mascot and canceled hit shows like ''Series/{{Angel}}'' and ''Series/DawsonsCreek'', replacing them with programs that crashed and burned in the ratings. The only hits that The WB produced post-2003 were ''Series/BeautyAndTheGeek'', ''Series/OneTreeHill'', and ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', all of which made the jump to The CW -- and all of which, not coincidentally, were aimed at the 18-24 demographic that The WB was trying to break away from. By the end of 2005, The WB had fallen behind not only Creator/{{UPN}}, but also Creator/{{Univision}}, which is notably a ''Spanish-language'' network aimed at only a small subset of the population.\\
The Dork Age continued after The WB merged with UPN (a victim of a corporate shakeup at Viacom) in 2006 to form The CW. For fans of ''Series/GilmoreGirls'', ''Series/VeronicaMars'', ''Series/EverybodyHatesChris'', ''Series/{{Smallville}}''... well, it's easier to list the CW programs whose fandoms ''didn't'' burst out into tears as the network focused itself around (often short-lived) {{reality show}}s and vapid 'rich kids living the good life' dramas designed to [[FollowTheLeader cash in]] on ''Series/GossipGirl'' and ''[[Series/BeverlyHills90210 90210]]'', two of the network's breakout hits. More distressingly, The WB's absorption of UPN to create The CW was a short-term GenreKiller for African-American-led programming on network television, as UPN had been one of the main homes for such, and The CW was interested in more lucrative demographics. The network turned itself around starting in 2012, after unpopular network head Dawn Ostroff stepped down, by gunning for the position of 'the geek network'. During this time, they premiered new sci-fi and fantasy shows like ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', ''Series/BeautyAndTheBeast2012'', ''Series/IZombie'', and ''Series/{{The 100}}'' and gave renewed focus to genre hits like ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' and ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', and beyond sci-fi and fantasy, they also premiered shows like ''Series/JaneTheVirgin'' and a revival of ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' that helped boost their critical reputation. While it's still not a ratings-winner, The CW today has a devoted fanbase, and its embrace of online platforms to a greater degree than its bigger rivals has proven very fruitful.
* Creator/CartoonNetwork has currently had two; one from approximately 2008-2010, the other having started in 2015 and still currently going on now:
** The first one was the tenure of Stuart Snyder as CEO of the channel - not only was he the primary pusher towards live-action shows that unilaterally bombed, but he was also directly linked to getting several shows ScrewedByTheNetwork, the total demolition of action-oriented shows, mistreatment and alienation of content producers, eroding relationships with DC, and overall doing everything possible to destroy viewer interest. His tenure did see a number of good shows, but consensus is that they succeeded in spite of him, not thanks to him.
** While Stuart Snyder was eventually removed, Christina Miller came to power, which basically over the next few years put Cartoon Network into yet ''another'' Dork Age. First by ([[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment reportedly]]) [[ExecutiveMeddling forcing some of the]] [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids more mature shows]] [[MoralGuardian to tone down their content]] (despite Cartoon Network being well-loved for not being afraid for pushing the envelope compared to other kids' channels), and then turning the controversial polarizing ([[CriticalDissonance but ratings success]]) ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo'' into the flagship show '''[[PeripheryHatedom deliberately]]''' [[PeripheryHatedom against the other shows' fans' wishes.]] And that's not even bringing in hiring scheduler Vishnu Atherya, the man responsible for the the Asian feed's Dork Age with their NotSoDifferent love for ''WesternAnimation/OggyAndTheCockroaches''... Then in 2015, [[AdoredByTheNetwork their adoration for]] ''AdoredByTheNetwork/TeenTitansGo'' (and the more-liked ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' in second) ended up [[ScrewedByTheNetwork screwing over previous beloved hits like]] ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' and ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'', while ignoring SleeperHit ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' (albeit not screwing it as bad as the aforementioned other shows, as it's not cancelled, [[TemptingFate yet]]), to the point that daily marathons took over the schedule, and gained WolverinePublicity levels, including calling it [[TakeThatCritics "Your New Favorite Show"]], and advertising it all the time. Come 2016, Cartoon Network ended up using ''Teen Titans Go!'' as a template for its reboots (including ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls2016'' and ''WesternAnimation/Ben102016''), and quietly cancelling ''Regular Show'', and despite renewing ''Adventure Time'' for two last seasons, the show has seen ''no reruns'', and new episodes [[InvisibleAdvertising receive minimal advertising, so that they can give]] ''Teen Titans Go!'' commercials for even its own reruns and marathons, much of which seems aimed at its massive {{Hatedom}}.\\
Pouring even more salt in the wound has been the treatment of the new DC show, ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueAction''. The show has been much better received by Cartoon Network's PeripheryDemographic because while it is LighterAndSofter than most of DC's recent DarkerAndEdgier works, the humor and action it aims for is more reminiscent of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', another beloved DC comedy/action show. However, the show currently [[ScrewedByTheNetwork only airs once a week with no reruns and airs at 7:30am when many kids aren't awake, and will sometimes get dumped for the week in favor of marathons]], all while ''Teen Titans GO!'' keeps all of the prime Saturday morning slots. On top of all that, Cartoon Network also managed to screw over what few acquisitions they had, with ''WesternAnimation/SonicBoom'' (despite becoming a CultClassic even amongst non-Sonic fans, to the point that even its scheduling was messed up for some of the later episodes), ''WesternAnimation/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'' ([[HarsherInHindsight which had recently moved the franchise from Discovery Family in hopes of a wider audience]]) and ''WesternAnimation/{{Supernoobs}}'' (which is seen as a remarkable improvement from its [[WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest infamous predecessor]]). Also, the LongRunner mainstay, ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', has moved to Creator/DisneyXD because of its continual screwing over (thankfully, Disney XD treats Pokemon much better, though many have questioned the wisdom of putting it on the same network as ''Anime/YoKaiWatch'', a franchise credited with sapping much of Pokemon's popularity). ''Teen Titans Go!'' [[AdoredByTheNetwork/TeenTitansGo became its longtime Saturday morning slot]]. In 2017, most shows that aren't ''Teen Titans Go!'' or ''Gumball'' see little to no airtime, and when the two shows aren't taking up all the slots, the channel has gained a habit for airing either a ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' movie, a ''Film/DiaryOfAWimpyKid'' movie, or the reviled ''Film/TheCatInTheHat'' or ''Film/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' movies. ''Teen Titans Go!'' also gets a ''nine''-hour block on Fridays for itself, just to lead into ''other'' shows, and is also getting [[WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGoToTheMovies a theatrically-released movie]]. This DorkAge has caused longtime fans of the channel to jump ship to Nickelodeon and Disney XD. When you've managed to get [[ARareSentence Stuart Snyder]], ''[[ARareSentence of all people]]'', VindicatedByHistory, even on Wiki/ThisVeryWiki, you can tell Cartoon Network has entered a second Dork Age.
** Not even Creator/{{Toonami}} was immune. The TOM 4 era was hated by a lot of fans for the [[UncannyValley TOM's]] [[YouDontLookLikeYou redesign]], and for things like the Absolution and [[SpaceshipGirl SARA]] being [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome dropped without any indication of a reason]], though Creator/SteveBlum continued to voice him. The general [[ScrewedByTheNetwork screwing]] of multiple shows reducing the block to nothing but reruns and ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' (which was, at the time, in the middle of its long filler arc) led many to suspect ExecutiveMeddling, especially given that this happened in 2007, after the [[WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce Mooninite]] [[UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom bomb scare]] in Boston and the resulting management shake-ups at Creator/CartoonNetwork. Of course, then the block [[ScrewedByTheNetwork got taken]] [[{{Cancellation}} off]], and [[AlasPoorScrappy people mourned its passing]], no matter what they'd thought about the {{retool}}. It wasn't until 2012, one of the last years with Snyder as CN's president, when Toonami [[UnCanceled came]] [[NetworkToTheRescue back]], retrieving the better-received TOM 3 version (as an HD version named TOM 3.5, later upgraded to TOM 5 with two more ''Intruder'' events that were well-received and revealed the fate of TOM 4, whose role in the comics tied to the event saw him RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap).
* A lot of sports fans consider Creator/{{ESPN}} to be in one now, especially with its flagship program ''Series/SportsCenter''. The sports news show rose to great popularity in TheNineties due to its charismatic anchors that could deliver scores and highlights with a touch of witty banter. Unfortunately, the rise of social media in the late 2000s allowed sports fans to see the biggest highlights as soon as they happened, making it unnecessary for them to tune into the show to ensure they saw the best plays of the night. Additionally, the network began to focus most of its ''[=SportsCenter=]'' segments and programming around the sports and leagues that they have the rights to air games to (the NFL, NBA, college football, etc) which caused viewers who felt their preferred sports were being ignored to tune out. Later still, the show's analysis and discussion segments began to slip away from focusing on strategy and performances to bits focusing on athletes' personal issues and off the field controversies that last way too long for many viewers. What's more, the hosts they have now, like Skip Bayless and Stephen A Smith, come off as too egotistical and provocative for viewers looking for meaningful sports insights rather than "hot takes".\\
ESPN has also been among the most high-profile victims of the growing problems facing the cable TV industry due to competition from the internet, as a massive share of its operating budget came from the high fees it charged to cable carriers to get it onto millions of basic cable subscriptions -- and with the growing trend of both cord-cutters and young people not getting cable subscriptions in the first place, [[ those critical numbers are dropping]]. Due to falling revenue and subscriptions, ESPN laid off a number of on-air staff in 2015 and shuttered its popular sports/culture website Grantland, and has now announced a second round of on-air talent layoffs in 2017.
* Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}, as it was from 2009 to 2015, is almost unanimously considered the lowest point in the network's history.
** Over half of the channel's timeslots were filled with reruns of ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants''. They started putting out poorly-made live-action shows that made the ''Disney Channel'' look like a bastion of quality programming though most agree that ''Series/{{ICarly}}'' at least was good. They gave WebVideo/{{Fred}} three poorly-received movies and a show that didn't even get a second season. They regularly rejected quality pilots from talented creators, including turning down the chance to make ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' into a full series, which was later picked up by Cartoon Network and went on to become a huge success. They regularly cancelled or ignored other good shows they have, yet gave multiple seasons to ''WesternAnimation/FanboyAndChumChum''. And they now trawl Website/YouTube for show ideas, like ''WesternAnimation/{{Breadwinners}}''. It also didn't help that they gained a nasty reputation for relegating any new animated shows they received to Nicktoons Network, usually after only a month or two of their premiere on Nickelodeon. They repeatedly showed themselves to be out of touch with what audiences were interested at the time, (compared to rival networks Disney XD and Cartoon Network) resulting in many of their new shows being criticized for lacking substance in comparison to animated shows on said rival networks. During several points in this period, Nickelodeon's ratings plummeted to lows that hadn't been seen on the network since the early 80s.
** The Dork Age affected their treatment of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. The original show was a phenomenon, raking in views across all demographic groups and bringing in rave reviews and huge ratings for the network, to the point where they planned a movie adaptation for a show less than a decade old (though the less said about ''[[Film/TheLastAirbender that]]'', the better). So how many episodes did Nickelodeon order for its sequel series ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' initially? '''Twelve.''' Then, after the show proved to be successful, they ordered three more seasons...and proceeded to delay it time and time again until September 2013. And then they booted it to the network's website in 2014 (which actually proved a blessing in disguise, as the series found itself able to get away with things that would never pass the censors, such as a graphic onscreen death and mature themes such as anarchy and homosexuality).
** Incidentally, this is also the point where they replaced their traditional iconic orange logo that could take any shape imaginable, with a generic "professional"-looking one, and lost longtime exec Majorie Cohn, who defected to Creator/DreamWorksAnimation, something that REALLY hurt the network.
** Starting in 2015, Nickelodeon started boosting the reputation of their animation department again with the debuts of the acclaimed ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBeaks'' and the outright smash hit ''WesternAnimation/TheLoudHouse''. However, major controversy eventually brewed over the [[ScrewedByTheNetwork massive amounts of screwing over]] the network were dealing to the former series. C.H. Greenblatt revealed that the network ''forced him to apologize'' on a Cartoon Brew article where he stated his displeasure with the treatment his show was receiving, as well as the fact he didn't even know his show was being booted off to Nicktoons Network until a co-worker posted about it on Twitter. This was followed a year later by ''Loud House'' creator Creator/ChrisSavino being fired from Nickelodeon due to allegations of sexual harassment rising to the surface.
* The Creator/DisneyChannel (and perhaps the company as a whole too) went through one of these for the better half of a decade, generally agreed to have begun with the premiere of ''Series/HannahMontana'' (which coincides with the end of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'') and to have concluded with the premiere of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', though one could argue for it concluding with the premiere of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb''. During this period, they shoved animation to the side in favor of cheap, mediocre, tween-oriented sitcoms and TV movies that acted as little more than vehicles for whatever pop-star they were trying to bring into the limelight. They hardly even used [[WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse their]] [[WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck own]] [[WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}} mascots]] anymore! Fortunately, starting in 2010, they began to go back to their roots by creating brand-new, well-received animated shows while also making [[WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse2013 new shorts starring Mickey]] that has proven to be an Annie/Emmy magnet.[[note]] Though admittedly, Disney has good legal reason to keep making shorts with the classic characters. Under current US copyright law (unless Disney manages to get it extended ''again''), ''Disney/SteamboatWillie'' will fall into the PublicDomain in 2024; the first Donald and Goofy cartoons won't be far behind. Once that happens, the only thing that will keep Disney in control of their characters is trademarks, which can last forever (unlike copyright), but only if the trademarks are maintained by, for instance, releasing new media with the characters.[[/note]]
** Their sitcom DorkAge, however, arguably began with ''Series/ShakeItUp'' in 2010; most people believe the shows beforehand, like ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'', were well-written {{Guilty Pleasure}}s that were fun to watch. By the time ''Shake It Up!'' premiered, however, the humor of the shows became far more cringeworthy and dumb as opposed to funny (''Series/DogWithABlog'', anybody?), and the tone of the series increasingly mean-spirited and vapid. Pretty soon, the sitcoms began swallowing much of their much more acclaimed animated lineup, as shows like ''Gravity Falls'' and ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' wound up being [[ChannelHop shifted over to]] Creator/DisneyXD. However, they have since added more animated series to their lineup, and have debuted the well-received series ''Series/StuckInTheMiddle'' and ''Series/AndiMack'', both of which eschew normal Disney Channel series elements like a LaughTrack. To many viewers, the only general-type sitcoms worth watching were ''Series/GirlMeetsWorld'', ''Series/GoodLuckCharlie'' and Disney XD's ''Series/LabRats''.
* Creator/{{GSN}} (Game Show Network) went through this in 1997-98, when they temporarily lost the rights to nearly all Creator/MarkGoodson-Bill Todman game shows. While this did have the benefit of adding a whole slew of lesser-known shows, it also brought several critically-panned original shows (the nadir being ''Faux Pause'', which was a horribly unfunny {{MST}}ing of obscure game shows). The 1997-98 era earned the FanNickname "Dark Period". By 2000, they had regained most of the Goodson-Todman library, but lost the rights to popular ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'' reruns. In 2004, the network rebranded from "Game Show Network" to GSN, seemingly to move the phrase "game show" out of the way and allow for more reality shows and casino-based programming. Since then, the network's lineup has been in a near-constant state of flux, so whether or not it is still in a DorkAge is ultimately up to the individual viewer.

* Creator/{{CBC}} (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has one of these every five years or so, always as a result of network/government bigwigs trying to draw in new audiences by making it more [[WereStillRelevantDammit "relevant"]]. This naturally turns-off long term fans (who watched CBC precisely because it doesn't typically trade in LowestCommonDenominator fare), while "mainstream" audiences get their entertainment from Creator/{{CTV}} and Creator/{{Global}}.

[[folder:United Kingdom]]
* Creator/{{ITV}} suffered a major Dork Age in the mid 2000s. After its attempt to launch a TV broadcasting service collapsed it seemed to completely lose its bottle. Once a channel known for its dramas, gameshows and current events, it slowly decayed into a channel associated with awful reality TV featuring z-list celebrities. This killed off its loyal older fans, and some disastrous attempts to capture the youth market showed it up as a poor attempt to imitate the much more successful Channel 4. This peaked when the channel that had once rivaled the BBC was reduced to broadcasting late night phone-in game shows associated with the filler channels. After years of failing, its only just managed to turn things around. The insanely successful ''X-Factor'' finally caught the younger market, and series of high quality dramas including ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' drew back its older fanbase.
* Creator/TheBBC was not above a Dork Age either. The late 70s to the early 80s were a tough time in Britain, and the BBC suffered too. Its reputation as a trusted news source was shaken with some blatant pandering to the current governments. Its budgets were getting tighter, with ''Series/DoctorWho'' suffering its worst production and ratings in its history. Its output was also seen as stale and safe compared to the edgier ITV. At a time when its directors were seriously concerned that any signs of over spending or not appeasing the highly conservative government might get the channel privatized, it's not that surprising.
* Creator/{{Channel4}} is in the midst of a prolonged Dork Age in the eyes of older viewers. Originally touted as an 'alternative' channel to the more mainstream BBC and ITV, its programming catered to a lot of niche interests, such as animation. Its comedic output from the late 80's to late 90's is particularly well-regarded, featuring a mix of home-grown classics such as ''Series/FatherTed'' and ''Series/{{Spaced}}'' as well as imports of American sitcoms. This halted in 1997 with the appointment of Micheal Jackson [[NamesTheSame (no, not]] [[Music/MichaelJackson that one)]] as Controller of Channel 4, which caused the network to rely more on those imports as well as more broadly accessible programming, the crux of which was ''Series/BigBrother''. Nowadays the network draws in viewers with more populist programming such as ''Series/MyBigFatGypsyWedding'' and ''Series/BenefitsStreet'', which keep the network afloat despite criticism from its older fans over what it has become.

* The channel RTL once aired its own fictional programming like a line of Sitcoms and was the first to air many summer blockbusters. Nowadays the only true fictional programming is the blockbuster on Sunday, US crime shows on Tuesday and Thursday and one or two self produced shows. All other shows they air are "news" programs covering what celebrities currently do, game, casting and other reality shows as well as scripted anthology shows in a documentary style chronicling what white trash families are doing.
* RTL II's focus on children programming like anime gradually shifted over the years to reality shows and scripted soap operas in the vein of ''Series/JerseyShore''. The daily kid shows were booted to a timeslot on Sunday morning and now even this slot is going to be cancelled and replaced with rom-com films.

* Creator/NineNetwork fell into this around [[TurnOfTheMillennium the mid-noughties]], because all of the American shows it aired were either getting cancelled (like Friends and Frasier) or were losing their charm (like CSI) and they didn't have anything to fill the holes in the schedule. Their foray into reality TV failed when they cancelled The Block and the Australian version of Survivor flopped. Since this was also the time when internet speeds in Australia were getting fast enough that many Aussies simply downloaded any good foreign shows, in the panic Australian networks started airing shows as soon as they possibly could; it's just that Nine did this to, of all things, Viva Laughlin, which was cancelled after its second episode. Luckily, their fortunes has turned around, due to a combination of good reality properties like return of The Block and Australian Series/BigBrother, as well as good drama like ''Series/{{Underbelly}}'' and a number CBS comedy imports like Series/TwoAndAHalfMen and Series/TheBigBangTheory (although they might be playing them too much...)
* Creator/NetworkTen fell majorly since the start of TheNewTens. After launching its digital subchannel Eleven, and giving it branding (and programming) to attract the 18-30 demographic, the execs forgot why Ten's identity during TheNineties and TheNoughties was based entirely around it - because it couldn't compete with Seven or Nine for mainstream audiences. ''Series/MasterchefAustralia'' has been losing ratings by getting more stale and its reality-TV replacements have all failed, none of its other programming are getting any real viewers, and both breakfast show attempts were thoroughly mocked before being cancelled after less than a year on air. And it's suffering the worst of indignities: losing in the ratings to Creator/TheABC.

[[folder: Belgium]]
* Belgian channel KANAALTWEE (now known as [[UsefulNotes/FlemishTVStations 2BE]]) had one from 2004 to the first six months of 2005. The main reason why is because its major share of programming at the time was outdone by other television networks. Its market share (less than 5%) was considered too low and the network was almost desperate for trying a new hit but they never seemed to find one (with the daily soap Star Academy being much more unsuccessful than expected). Nearly every new show the network would have would get ScrewedByTheNetwork in a few weeks to get replaced and it seemed like every show would get low ratings (the shows with the highest ratings were stuff such as ''Open en Bloot'' and ''De Heren Maken De Man'', which got 200.000 viewers). The last 6 months became more successful thanks to their new slogan (Need Entertainment?). ''Big Brother 2006'' would get a viewer count of 300.000 viewers a day and their slew of live-action shows on monday evening would get a viewer count of 600.000 viewers, putting them effectively out of their bad status.