Top 10 Biggest TV Blunders of the Decade
By James Hibberd & Nellie Andreeva -- Perhaps we should give executives toiling in the TV industry a pass given all the competitive distractions dwindling their audience, from video games to social networking. And yet, some of their decisions were so memorably boneheaded that we must celebrate these milestone mishaps. Let's start with...
10. Fox canceling "Family Guy" (and, sure, perhaps "Firefly" too)
Axed TV shows usually stay dead, yet two titles canceled by former Fox chief Sandy Grushow in 2002 refused to go quietly. One was Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy," which was moved around the schedule and was even put opposite top-rated hits "Survivor" and "Friends" before getting yanked. After the show's repeats got strong ratings on Adult Swim and netted big DVD sales, the comedy eventually made its way back to broadcast in 2005. "Family Guy" is now Fox's second-highest-rated scripted series and has produced a successful spinoff ("The Cleveland Show"). As for "Firefly," the show lived on as a theatrical movie ("Serenity") and to this day, no TV series cancellation inspires louder fanboy wails.
9. NBC hiring Ben Silverman
If you have a great dentist, you shouldn't assume he can perform heart surgery. If your gardener is fantastic, he isn't necessarily a good hair stylist. You know where we're going with this? Silverman was a fine agent and accomplished dealmaker ("The Office," "Ugly Betty"), but Zucker falsely assumed Silverman could therefore run NBC and fit with the network's corporate environment. Coming off a devastating writers strike, NBC needed a Gen. Patton. It got Hulk Hogan ("American Gladiators") and KITT ("Knight Rider" remake). The executive Silverman essentially replaced, Kevin Reilly, moved on to Fox, which is having its strongest fall season in years.