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40 Worst TV Shows of the 1970s

The Andros Targets

This story of a reporter who shines a light on the corruption in NYC didn’t make it very far in 1977. It started as a midseason replacement and wasn’t renewed come May. It starred James Sutorius, Pamela Reed, Roy Poole, Alan Mixon, Ted Beniades, and Jordan Charney.

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The American Girls

Often seen as CBS trying to replicate ABC’s “jiggle TV” model, The American Girls was basically a Charlie’s Angels knock-off where the girls were investigative reporters. It only lasted 6 episodes.

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Bearcats!

Even though it was heavily promoted by CBS, this Western marked the declining interest of American audiences in the genre. It was canceled after 13 episodes.

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Another Day

Another Day is your general tale of a middle-class family trying to make ends meet. Audiences weren’t intrigued, however, and it was cancelled after only 4 episodes.

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Chopper One

After Emergency! Became a hit for NBC, there was an abundance of emergency service shows that tried to also connect with audiences. Unfortunately this series about a California police helicopter team wasn’t one of the successful ones.

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David Cassidy: Man Undercover

In his first starring role since The Partridge Family, David Cassidy played an undercover cop who poses as a student to investigate a high school drug ring. After 10 episodes, it was off the air.

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Doc Elliot

Doc Elliot followed the titular character as he made house calls in the rural areas on Southern California. Those calls were typically made via plane or off-road vehicle, but that wasn’t interesting enough to draw in viewers.

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Dog and Cat

Dog and Cat is noted as Kim Basinger’s first lead role after her stint as a model. The cop series (the title is police slang for a male/female partner pairing) received poor reviews and low ratings. It only aired 6 episodes.

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Flatbush

This sitcom about a group calling themselves “The Fungos” followed high school grads as they tried to manage life in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. Of the 6 episodes produced, only 3 aired before it was pulled from airwaves, partially because the ethnic stereotypes portrayed were so offensive.

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Flying High

When a show’s premise is described as “following the lives of three sexy flight attendants,” that’s hardly a good sign. Poor reviews and stereotypical writing doomed this series that was trying to repeat the success of Charlie's Angels.

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Gemini Man

Based on H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man, this series followed a secret agent who could become invisible thanks to his exposure to radiation. While 11 episodes were produced, only 5 made it to air before the show was canceled.

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Get Christie Love!

On the one hand, Teresa Graves was seen as being the first black woman to lead an hour-long drama in America. On the other, Get Christie Love might also be seen as having been handicapped by blaxploitation stereotypes.

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Gibbsville

While it aired in the fall of 1976, Gibbsville was set 25 years earlier in the 1940s. NBC made 13 episodes but only 6 aired due to low ratings.

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Highcliffe Manor

This Gothic horror sitcom takes obvious inspiration from Dark Shadows of the late 60s and early 70s. It wasn’t a roaring success like its inspiration, however, only airing 6 30-minute episodes.

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Holmes and Yoyo

Following a cop and his android partner, Holmes and Yoyo is listed by TV Guide as one of the worst shows ever made. Future Cop (1977), Mann & Machine (1993), and Almost Human (2013) all followed a similar setup to the same success (or lack thereof).

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Adam's Rib

Based on a 1949 film, Adam’s Rib featured a DA husband who crossed paths with his lawyer wife in the courtroom. The show didn’t connect with audiences, and it only made it to December after a fall premiere. That being said, the show does currently have a 7.7/10 rating on IMDB, which means that audiences from later generations may have a more favorable view of it. However, when it comes to the 1970s, there's no denying that Adam's Rib was an unqualified flop. Fun fact: the show starred a young Blythe Danner, who would go on to have later successes in projects like Meet the Parents and Will and Grace

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In the Beginning

Though created by famed producer Norman Lear (of All in the Family and The Jeffersons fame), this series of a conservative priest and liberal nun running a mission together only aired 5 of its 9 produced episodes.

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Lanigan's Rabbi

Part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie series, Lanigan’s Rabbi was a series of 90-minute television films about a rabbi who helped police solve crimes. Only four ever aired.

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Me and the Chimp

Super producers Garry Marshall and Thomas Miller would have better success later in the decade (Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley), but one of their first tries, this series about a dentist whose daughter brings home a chimpanzee, was only around for 13 episodes.

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The Brady Bunch Hour

TV Guide consistently ranks The Brady Bunch Hour as one of the top five worst TV shows of all time. Though the pilot was a ratings success, the show-within-a-show storyline was a flop and later episodes (9 in total) were produced sporadically.

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All That Glitters

Upon its release, All That Glitters was panned by contemporary critics. It was a spoof of soap operas and aired five nights a week. One wonders if its premise, that females were the executives and heads-of-households while men were secretaries, led to the negative reception.

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Hee Haw Honeys

Hee Haw was never a hit with critics, but it always maintained a large audience. However, this scantily-clad spin-off remains one of the worst TV shows ever created according to TV Guide and lasted only a few episodes.

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Supertrain

Supertrain is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced for American audiences. While heavily promoted by the network, audiences just didn’t turn up in order to make it profitable. It bowed out after 9 episodes.

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Co-Ed Fever

All you need is the title to guess how disastrous Co-Ed Fever was. Trying to capitalize on Animal House fever, this series produced 6 episodes, aired only 1, and was promptly cancelled by the network after an overwhelmingly negative reception.

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Struck by Lightning

This update of Frankenstein has a descendant of the doctor trying to keep alive his monster while simultaneously keeping his identity secret. Of the 11 episodes that were made, 3 aired before the network pulled the plug.

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Sword of Justice

In this TV series, a playboy by day is a mercenary by night. But this is no Batman tale. To leave messages and warnings for criminals, he would place a 3 card of the four various suits, denoting a specific meaning. If this sounds odd, it apparently was for audiences, too. Only 9 episodes were produced.

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Three for the Road

After his wife dies, Pete Karras sells his house and packs up his two sons to travel the U.S. in an RV. Low ratings contributed to it being canceled after 12 episodes.

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The Texas Wheelers

Being pitted against The Rockford Files was always going to be tough for a new series, and this show starring a young Mark Hamill and Gary Busey never played well with audiences. It was canceled after 8 episodes.

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A Year at the Top

This 1977 show with a “deal-with-the-devil” premise didn’t make it very far. After only five episodes, CBS shut down production.

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Who's Watching the Kids?

Producer Garry Marshall, for some reason, kept going back to an idea of Vegas showgirls. This one, however, failed to garner sufficient viewership. It focused on two Vegas performers who tried to balance work and looking after their younger siblings.

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Mr. T and Tina

Mr. T and Tina was NBC's attempt to create a spin-off from a character that appeared in a single episode of Welcome Back, Kotter. Instead of humorous, it came off as shockingly stereotypical and pushed gags that were extremely bigoted--even for the 70s. It was canceled after five episodes.

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Hello, Larry

Hello, Larry was a sitcom that stared McLean Stevenson. It was supposed to be a hit due to his successful history on M*A*S*H, but it never stood a chance. Poor writing made it extremely unfunny, which made it a regular subject of many jabs on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. At least he had plenty of material since the show lasted two seasons.

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Firehouse

During the 1970s, Emergency! was one of the most popular shows on television. ABC wanted to mimic NBC's success, so they created Firehouse. Unfortunately, it was treated like the cash grab it was. The writing wasn't great, even though the actors gave it their all. It was canceled after 13 episodes.

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Mrs. Columbo

Columbo was a great series, so the network wanted to create a spin-off. Even though Mrs. Columbo had a high production value, the characters just didn't feel right. It was to the point where it felt miscast. Not to mention, the writing felt forced. The final nail in the coffin was the pace, which was so dull that it felt formulaic.

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The Ropers

Three's Company was a huge hit, so ABC created a spin-off called The Ropers. It attempted to capitalize on the enormous success of the original but failed to realize one thing: the Ropers weren’t likable enough for people to watch it. The characters weren't funny or interesting, so audiences stopped watching.

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Grady

Grady was a spin-off of Sanford and Son and was after Redd Foxx left the show. The issue with this show is that Grady was never a well-developed character, and the show didn't help much. The show flopped pretty quickly, and audiences completely forgot about it a few years later.

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Dusty’s Trail

Dusty’s Trail was off to a bad start with networks didn’t want to pick it up. Somehow, it managed to air, but it bombed pretty bad. The TV show is a carbon copy of Gilligan's Island set in the old west. None of the cast had chemistry, which made each interaction more awkward than the last.

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Three’s a Crowd

Don’t mistake this show with Three’s Company or the ‘80s Three’s a Crowd tv show. This was a sleazy game show where a guy would see who knew him best: his wife or his secretary. Unlike other shows that bring people together, this one was destined to tear marriages apart.

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Ernest Angley Hour

Ernest Angley was a televangelist, who started a popular show in the 70s. He didn't claim to be a faith healer, but his trademark was to put his palm on someone's forehead and yell "be healed!" Ernest Angley has recently been accused of operating a cult, threatening members, and inappropriately touching people. 

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The P.T.L Club

The P.T.L. Club, also known as The Jim and Tammy Show, was a Christian TV program. We're putting it on the list because the show was just about money. Later, it released that the whole thing was merely a scam to steal from people.

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