From 'The Swan' to 'The Simple Life': Fox's 10 Most Outrageous Shows
1:34 PM PDT 7/24/2012 by Michael O'Connell
The youngest of the big four broadcast networks, Fox's ratings dominance did not come without a few desperate grasps for straws along the way. THR looks back at some of its most absurd programs to ever make it to air.
Iconic television by any standards, this best friends' fish out of water tale that saw socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie living like common folk was nonetheless deranged when it originally aired on Fox. For catapulting Hilton's modest infamy to full-blown arbitrary fame, it may be the worst offender on this list.
As makeover shows go, contestants on The Swan certainly made out like bandits, but the unapologetic endorsement of plastic surgery drew more flack from critics than any of reality TV's smuttier offerings.
'The Chevy Chase Show'
Among the more epic fails to tackle the late night talk landscape was The Chevy Chase Show. The curmudgeonly Community star never caught on with viewers, the series never really adopted a coherent format and the network is still largely skittish of the genre 20 years later.
'Hole in the Wall'
Japan is really to blame for this game show of "Human Tetris," but Fox should be held accountable for bringing these feats of mediocrity to U.S. shores. History will look harder on Cartoon Network, though, as the bulk of its shockingly long five-season run aired on cable.
'Playing it Straight'
Dating shows are notorious for their blatant disregard for political correctness, but having gay men pose as heterosexuals, alongside actual straight men, to woo a woman (i.e. win money) has to be some sort of line-crosser -- even by 2004 standards. In the show's defense, it was fun to watch its bachelorette tell the straight competitors she thought they were gay.
Pop quiz! Which of the following is more bizarre: a post-apocalyptic sitcom about various stereotypes hanging out on a farm after the nuclear holocaust or the sight of Evan Handler with a full head of hair?
At least Fox got its money's worth with this little gem. The show about the construction worker/underwear model posing as a millionaire to find a girlfriend (who really just wanted money) launched a media frenzy in 2003 thanks to all of the behind-the-scenes drama.
'Life on a Stick'
As workplace comedies go, the food court isn't the most absurd setting -- but the outfits, hot dog puns and truly awful title made Life on a Stick a rare achievement in misguided sitcoms. On the bright side, this 2005 failure did manage to free up creator Victor Fresco to make the considerably funnier, if similarly ill-fated, Better Off Ted.
The road to hell is not paved with good intentions. It's paved with reality shows that encourage people to cheat on their significant others.
William Shakespeare likely never anticipated that one of his most celebrated works would be revisited some 400-odd years later as television series set in the porn world, but Elizabethan playwrights were notoriously closed-minded. Fox's audience was as well. The 2003 drama was axed after three episodes, its only lasting contribution being the introduction of Olivia Wilde.
Photo by: FOX
'Skating with Celebrities'
The only thing entertaining about this play for Dancing With the Stars' ratings was that Fox did it before ABC -- and then ABC did it, to similarly dismal results, five years later.