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Pulling the plug isn't easy on these once acclaimed and/or successful shows. In their heyday, they dominated the ratings and the award shows; now, they're lucky to be featured in a nostalgia article.

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  • The Jiggle Show. During the Seventies and Eighties, shows like Three's Company, Charlie's Angels, and, to a lesser extent, the Wonder Woman series and The Dukes of Hazzard, which were long on beautiful actresses but (perceived as) a little short on plot, were incredibly popular. The joke was that they were especially popular amongst sexually frustrated men, who would be willing to sit through thirty minutes of flimsy dialogue for the chance to see Suzanne Somers in a bikini or Farrah Fawcett run after a bad guy in a tight sweater. The genre peaked with Baywatch, but with the rise of easily accessible pornography on the internet and more liberal views towards sexual matters, shows that are expecting to coast solely on the beauty of their casts are finding themselves disappointed. This was best demonstrated in 2011, when The Playboy Club and a revival of Charlie's Angels both got canned after only a few poorly-rated episodes and scathing reviews.
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    Series 

CBS

  • How I Met Your Mother was one of the most popular romantic-comedy TV shows of the 2000s, contributing immensely to the pop culture of the time (most notably with The Bro Code) and being widely praised by viewers and critics. However, Seasonal Rot, the Arc Fatigue and the much-maligned series finale lead to it being recognized as a prime example of how not to plan an ending while you're still developing the story and characters. Likewise, rewatching the show after seeing the finale is very difficult because everything that the characters did (particularly Ted, Robin and Barney) is now a clear Shoot the Shaggy Dog case; even former fans refuse to rewatch the earlier seasons. Because of this, the show and the finale itself made a huge dent on Craig Thomas' and Carter Bays' careers and completely tanked in syndication (which also explains why the supposed gender-flipped spinoff never got picked by CBS).
  • During its network run, Murphy Brown was one of the most talked about, critically acclaimed shows on the air. Today, its only syndicated presence is on an Encore pay channel which requires a premium channel price to watch, and first season DVD sales were so poor that the second season was never even released. The show's reliance on topical humor is almost certainly a factor; jokes about Dan Quayle aren't nearly as funny 20 years later. It definitely doesn't help that its defining moment, Murphy's pregnancy and the subsequent feud with Dan Quayle, not only happened relatively early (the show ran for another six seasons after that), but has aged poorly — it seems quaint by today's standards for Dan Quayle to have made such a big deal about a single mother on television. From The Onion: "Nation's Weirdest Teenager Buys Season One DVD Of 'Murphy Brown'"
  • In The '90s, older viewers (some Boomer Christians and earlier) might explain why Touched by an Angel was a Top 10 show at the height of its run. It often outdrew The Simpsons in its Sunday nighttime slot (despite never being a critical favorite and regarded as glurge at its worst), it launched a Spin-Off in Promised Land (which lasted three seasons), and reruns of the show were central to the young PAX network's lineup. When its time slot was switched to Saturday nights for its final two seasons, ratings plunged, and while it's still in cable reruns, it's mostly seen as an overly sentimental, Glurge-friendly joke now.

MTV

  • Jersey Shore was a monster hit in the early '10s. Everyone, talked about it when it was around, and a number of terms it popularized (such as "grenade", "fist pumping", and "GTL") entered the lexicon. Enough controversy and criticism (particularly from New Jerseyans and Italian Americans) swirled around it to get a whole page on Wikipedia almost as long as the page for the show itself. A host of ripoffs emerged, such as Buckwild (Jersey Shore with rednecks!) and The Only Way Is Essex (Jersey Shore with British kids!). But not even a few years after it was canceled, it was all but forgotten. Now, when people make Jersey Shore jokes, everyone laughs at them for being so out-of-date.

NBC

  • The Cosby Show was a hugely popular sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1992, which revived the sitcom genre and was the #1 show on TV from 1985 to 1990. However, the show's reputation was permanently stained after star Bill Cosby was charged with serial rape. Most TV stations pulled Cosby from their reruns following the scandals.

PBS

  • Barney & Friends was a gigantic phenomenon across The '90s among young children worldwide, but it quickly built what is possibly the biggest base of haters among most older children and adults. However, the series lost its steam during the Turn of the Millennium due to the creation and popularity of other preschool cartoons and series made by, among others, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, as well as Seasonal Rot marked by the addition of a new character (Riff) and it was put on an indefinite hiatus at the end of the decade without any fanfare or any signs of it coming back into production. Most PBS stations and other channels worldwide no longer air the series, and many younger children nowadays probably aren't even aware of its existence. Flash forward to the present, and the series is barely a footnote in launching the careers of Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez (and a bunch of other lesser-known stars like Michaela Dietz, Kyla Pratt and Madison Pettis), and if Barney or the song "I Love You" is brought up today, it's begging to be made fun of.


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