The 9 Worst Shows NBC Aired During Jeff Zucker's Tenure

JeffZucker225.jpgIt was a bittersweet moment for the Internet when Jeff Zucker announced earlier today that he was leaving NBC. Sweet, of course, because most people deem Zucker the enemy in the Great Late Night War of 2010, and it's a nice bit of schadenfreude to see him walking out the same door as Conan O'Brien. But it's bitter, too; now which network executive is everyone going to mock and insult? That remains up for debate, but what isn't is that Zucker's reign of terrible television is over. Ahead, take a trip with Movieline down memory lane to remember the 9 worst shows from his tenure.

· The Jay Leno Show

Number of episodes: 95

Calling The Jay Leno Show a disaster about covers it and kudos to Zucker for yanking it off the air when he did. Wait, did I say "kudos"? I mean, nice of him to bow to affiliate pressure and throw the future of his late night division onto the street in the process. This was his Waterloo and he was around for Joey.

· Joey

Number of episodes: 46

At least it's still a punchline all these years later?

· Knight Rider

Number of episodes: 17

Zucker's infatuation with Ben Silverman led to stuff like the Knight Rider reboot, a show that was an excuse for NBC to run a car commercial during primetime once a week.

· Kath & Kim

Number of episodes: 17

Imports are so hot...except when they're done badly and without a trace of the bite or humor from their original.

· Coupling

Number of episodes: 11 (7 of which were unaired)

See: Kath & Kim.

· quarterlife

Number of episodes: 6 (1 of which aired on NBC)

Hoping to capitalize on the explosion of the blogosphere, NBC aired quarterlife, a television show-cum-MySpace series about a blogger. Spoiler: It didn't go very well.

· My Own Worst Enemy

Number of episodes: 9

Maybe it's not fair to blame Zucker for this one; after all, it starred Christian "Series Murderer" Slater.

· The Lyon's Den

Number of episodes: 13 (7 of which were unaired)

Great cast (Rob Lowe, Kyle Chandler, Elizabeth Mitchell and David Krumholtz), terrible series.

· Outsourced

Number of episodes: 1 (so far)

Forgive me for jumping the gun, but not only is Outsourced pretty bad, but it is also acting as a roadblock for Parks & Recreation, one of the most consistently strong comedies on television. Only a completely tone deaf executive would make a move like this, so it makes sense that it will stand as one of Zucker's final moves.

Of course, there are plenty more where these came from. Leave your least favorites in the comments below.


  • Sarah says:

    Was he responsible for "Committed"? Not the worst show on Earth perhaps, but it irritated the hell out of me.

  • Noel says:

    FINALLY! So many bad shows and destroying a once-great network i'm sure led to a very nice golden parachute. bad shows get erased from memory pretty quickly, though i'll nominate the awl's suggestion of 'hidden hills' for just sounding bad on paper. tone deaf in every regard.

  • Cliff says:

    was he responsible for that King dreck?

  • Cliff says:

    Kings, that is

  • lynn says:

    Outsourced isn't a roadblock for Parks and Rec. They pushed back Parks and Rec because Poehler was pregnant when they should have begun filming the new season.

  • Tori says:

    I think you maybe wrote your question wrong. I think you meant to write "is he responsible for not giving that amazing show Kings a fair chance and canceling it prematurely?"

  • Rachel says:

    They'd started filming S3 as soon as they finished filming S2 - they have six episodes ready to air right now, and they can't because of the show that's airing in its timeslot.

  • Travis says:

    thank you Tori for sticking up for Kings. NBC has a long history of getting rid of shows that cost money. I don't see much of a life for the new batch of shows this season. That was the reasoning beyond that Jay Leno Show debacle. Getting rid of the 9 pm shows for something that was cheaper to make.

  • evie234 says:

    I think you're right, Rachel. I remember that they hustled to be have episodes ready for September, and were then very surprised to learn that they'd gotten bumped back. So it sort of is a roadblock, I think. Though as just about everyone who's seen Outsourced (I refused!) has greatly disliked it, I'm hoping it doesn't last to long and the great P&R can return quickly.
    As for Zucker leaving, I think it's funny he tried to make it sound like his idea, when really he got fired, and it was a long time coming. Every network has their bad shows, but the programming nonsense, especially the whole Leno thing, is beyond just a lousy show.
    Somewhere, Conan O'Brien is probably smiling.

  • chloes mom says:

    Still sore about a great show called Deadline. Not dateline. Great show. They gave it 3 or 4 episodes and it would have had a GREAT following.

  • chloes Mom says:

    Oh and by the way I WILL be watching Conan's new show!!!! LOVE HIM and would follow him to any network!!!!

  • John says:

    If you haven't seen it then why are you commenting on it? I thought Community started off a little slow but built up momentum. Let's see where Outsourced goes.

  • byejeff says:

    Changes in the economics of the call-center business (namely, our high unemployment rate and thus a larger available labor pool that will work for what it can get) have caused many outsourced call centers to shift back to the States, so "Outsourced" already looks as dated to me as another xenophobia-disguised-as-comedy-movie-turned-tv-sitcom, "Gung Ho" (anyone remember that one?). It would probably be just as appropriate to set the show in, say, Alabama, but then you couldn't capitalize on the popularity of "Slumdog Millionaire".

  • Anna says:

    Wait..."Kath & Kim", which had the great John Michael Higgins, made the list, but not the awful "Four Kings"?

  • LPB says:

    Still sore about "Life".

  • Boomer says:

    "Joey" lasted 46 episodes? Shocking.

  • brandon says:

    My Own Worst Enemy was an AMAZING show, I couldn't believe they cancelled it. They put so much money and effort into marketing it and it did come out amazing; i think if they'd given it the rest of the season and maybe a second, it would have picked up a great following.

  • JOEY RAY says:

    of that list, I'm one of the few who thought My Own Worst Enemy was actually pretty good, an intriguing premise. That and Journeyman are the two shows I miss most from NBC in recent years, even more than Heroes

  • Joe Green says:

    The question is not how bad Jeff Zucker was at his job. The real question is what fool or fools hired him in the first place. Anyone with half a brain knew that Jay Leno was not Dean Martin and would fail.

  • Linda says:

    How about the cancellation of Medium which was picked up and still running on CBS?

  • jeff says:

    Emeril must have been mistakenly omitted