Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

51 Worst TV Shows of the Century, Ranked

Sorry, David Spade.

Lance Cartelli
50-worst-june2020-main.jpg
1 of 52 ABC (left); CBS Television Studios (right)

Peak TV? Try Weak TV

Since the dawn of 2000 -- or, roughly, since the early seasons of The Sopranos -- the new Golden Age of TV has produced a lot of great shows. According to critics, though, the century has brought us plenty of terrible shows, too.

PHOTOS: These are the worst TV shows of the 21st century

Some of the panned shows came and went fast. (Exhibit A: Lori Loughlin's In Case of Emergency.) Some established themselves as popular favorites (Exhibit B: Jennifer Love Hewitt's The Ghost Whisperer.) Some are even still running today. (Exhibit Zingbot: The Julie Chen-hosted Big Brother.)

Click on the arrow to see our complete list of the 50 worst TV shows of the 21st century, ranked from bad to worst. Our rundown features scripted and reality primetime series that premiered in the year 2000 or after, and is based on the review-aggregate ratings from our sister site Metacritic. Among shows with the same Metascore, we sorted the titles by their Metacritic user scores.

2 of 52 Comedy Central

51. Lil' Bush (Metascore: 31; User Score: 3.7)

This 2007 political-themed animated show, which ran for two seasons, from 2007 -2008 on Comedy Central, was "more than a lil' awful," according to the New York Daily News.

3 of 52 FX

49 (tie). Saint George (Metascore: 31; User Score: 3.7)

FX's Saint George, George Lopez's first sitcom vehicle since his self-titled 2002-2007 hit show (George Lopez, natch), was, per the Washington Post, "only concerned with making sure that everyone in America has an equal opportunity at making terrible television." It ran for only one season.

4 of 52 Fox

49 (tie). Anchorwoman (Metascore: 31; User Score 3.7)

This short-lived 2007 Fox series was a comedy-reality-show hybrid. It was canceled the day after it premiered with back-to-back episodes. The Washington Post called Anchorwoman the "sort of trailer-park television you wouldn't mark your calendar to watch each week."

5 of 52 Fox

48. The Choice (Metascore: 30; User Score: 3.8)

This 2012 Fox dating show, which used a similar format to The Voice, was an "embarrassingly slapdash time-waster," TV Guide said.

6 of 52 NBC`

47. Charlie's Angels (Metascore: 30; User score: 2.9)

This 2011 NBC detective drama, a reboot of the 1976-1981 series of the same name, was "proof that angels exist in hell, because that's where it felt like I was during most of this hourlong drivel," Lori Rackl wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times.

7 of 52 TV Land

46. The Cougar (Metascore: 30; User Score: 2.4)

Hosted by Vivica A. Fox, this TV Land reality-dating show featured an on-the-prowl woman choosing from a group of younger men. The series lasted just eight episodes. The New York Post called it a "horrifyingly embarrassing low-rent dating show."

8 of 52 The CW

45. H8R (Metascore: 30: User Score: 1.5)

This 2011 CW reality series, hosted by Mario Lopez, focused on celebrities confronting their haters. Kim Kardashian (pictured) starred in the third episode; the show was canceled after its fourth episode. The Washington Post said H8R "makes the celebrities look like giant babies."

9 of 52 UPN

44. South Beach (Metascore: 29: User Score: 8.6)

This 2006 UPN drama about two men who move from Brooklyn to sunny Florida was "filled with terrible dialogue," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

10 of 52 CBS

43. The Ghost Whisperer (Metascore: 29; User Score: 8.3)

This supernatural series, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt as a woman who helps the dead sort out their unfinished business, ran for five seasons on CBS, from 2005-2010. Critics, however, were not among its fans. The Chicago Tribune called The Ghost Whisperer "pretty pointless."

11 of 52 NBC

42. Twenty Good Years (Metascore: 29; User Score: 5.9)

Starring John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor, Twenty Good Years was a 2006 NBC sitcom about two friends who commit to enjoying the presumed last 20 years of their lives. The Los Angeles Times called it "weak, and slightly embarrassing to watch."

12 of 52 Fox

41 (tie). The Return of Jezebel James (Metascore: 29; User Score: 5.2)

Canceled after just three episodes, The Return of Jezebel James was a 2008 Fox sitcom about a woman who asks her estranged sister to carry her baby. Time called it a "weird, tone-deaf mismatch of talents, styles and genre."

13 of 52 CBS

41 (tie). Big Brother (Metascore: 29; User Score: 5.2)

Although Big Brother has been on the air for more than 20 seasons, the popular CBS reality series, hosted by Julie Chen, got off on the wrong foot with critics. People savaged the show's inaugural season as "stunningly dull."

14 of 52 Fox

39. American Inventor (Metascore: 29; User Score: 5.1)

Before there was Shark Tank, there was Simon Cowell's American Inventor. This reality show aired for two seasons on ABC, from 2006-2007. The Chicago Tribune called it the "worst unscripted outing to hit the airwaves in many a moon."

15 of 52 CBS

38. Rob (Metascore: 29; User Score: 3.4)

Starring Rob Schneider, this CBS sitcom lasted just eight episodes in 2012. "Rob feels as if it were written by people who aren't on a first-name basis with comedy," TV Guide judged.

16 of 52 CBS Television Studios

36 (tie). Rules of Engagement (Metascore: 28; User Score: 7.5)

This CBS ensemble sitcom, featuring David Spade, ran for seven seasons, from 2007-2013. But the Detroit Free Press wasn't sold: It called it a "ho-hum traditional sitcom filled with formula banter and cliched cuteness."

17 of 52 UPN

36 (tie). Love, Inc. (Metascore: 28; User Score: 7.5)

This 2005 UPN sitcom about a group of matchmakers was "woefully bad," the San Francisco Chronicle said.

18 of 52 SyFy

35. Painkiller Jane (Metascore: 28; User Score: 6.1)

Based on the comic-book character of the same name, this show aired in 2007 on what was then known as the Sci Fi Channel. The San Jose Mercury News ruled that Painkiller Jane "doesn't come close to capturing the edgy tone and visual style of the print original."

19 of 52 Warner Bros.

33. The War at Home (Metascore: 28; User Score: 4.0)

This Fox sitcom, about a dysfunctional New York family, aired for two seasons, from 2006-2007. According to the Boston Globe, it had "absolutely nothing going for it." Other than that ...

20 of 52 Warner Bros.

34. $#*! My Dad Says (Metascore: 28; User Score: 4.4)

Starring William Shatner, this 2010 sitcom was based on the similarly, but more profanely titled Twitter feed of series co-creator Justin Halpern. The show was a "bad idea from inception to pilot," per the San Francisco Chronicle.

21 of 52 CBS TV Distribution

32. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (Metascore: 28; User Score: 3.7)

From Law & Order to Criminal Minds, procedural dramas have proved to be just about the most reliable primetime performers. But not Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. The Criminal Minds spinoff, starring Gary Sinise, ran only two seasons, from 2016-2017. Low ratings were to blame, but poor reviews didn't help. Newsday called Beyond Borders "beyond comprehension, beyond silly, beyond words."

22 of 52 WE TV

31. Sex Box (Metascore: 28; User Score: 2.5)

This 2015 WE TV reality show, the American version of a hit Brit series that focused on couples who were experiencing relationship problems, was canceled after just five episodes. "Sex Box is bad," Newsday judged. "It's also hackneyed, dull, derivative and surprisingly windy."

23 of 52 ABC

29. In Case of Emergency (Metascore: 27; User Score: 6.9)

Starring Fuller House's Lori Loughlin, In Case of Emergency was a sitcom that aired in 2007 on ABC for one season. TV Guide called it a "shapeless, pointlessly annoying comedy."

24 of 52 Getty Images

30. Desire (Metascore: 27; User Score: 7.5)

This 2006 telenovela-style drama about two brothers on the run from the mob aired Monday-Friday on MyNetworkTV for four months in 2006. Among critics, Desire stirred contempt. The New York Daily News called it "so cheesy."

25 of 52 Disney

28. Marvel's Inhumans (Metascore: 27: User Score: 3.9)

Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this 2017 ABC superhero series was about a collective of mutants that flee to Hawaii. Variety was not impressed: Its "only superpower is its sheer ineptitude," the trade paper wrote.

26 of 52 Fox

27. Does Someone Have to Go? (Metascore: 27; User Score: 3.3)

This short-lived Fox reality show, which lasted all of six episodes in 2013, gave employees the power to make changes -- and even fire people -- in their workplace. TV Guide called it a "reprehensible reality experiment."

27 of 52 Scout Productions

26. How to Get the Guy (Metascore: 26: User Score: 7.2)

This 2006 reality show about four women looking for love in San Francisco aired on ABC. The New York Post was not smitten: How to Get the Guy is a "ridiculous, cloying, condescending, wrong-headed reality show," the outlet said.

28 of 52 NBC

25. Truth Be Told (Metascore: 26; User Score: 3.9)

Starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Vanessa Lachey, this 2015 NBC sitcom about two diverse couples who just happen to be neighbors ran for just 10 episodes. Yahoo! TV called it "one of the lamest [shows] of the year."

29 of 52 Getty Images

24. Get This Party Started (Metascore: 26; User Score: 3.5)

The Miami Herald wrote that "you can practically feel the IQ points leaking out your ears as you watch" this 2006 UPN reality show about people who throw surprise parties for their friends and family.

30 of 52 Sony Pictures

23. Dr. Ken (Metascore: 26; User Score: 3.2)

This 2015-2017 ABC sitcom about a doctor with terrible bedside manner starred the Hangover franchise's Ken Jeong, who himself is a real-life doctor. The show's cool backstory wasn't enough for Slate, which found the show "just dreadfully unfunny."

31 of 52 Fox

22. Killer Instinct (Metascore: 25; User Score: 8.5)

Canceled after just nine episodes, this 2005 Fox crime drama was "lifeless and uninspired," said Variety.

32 of 52 Getty Images

21. Happy Hour (Metascore: 25; User Score: 8.3)

This 2006 Fox sitcom, about Chicago roommates and their happy-hour ritual, barely lasted longer than the press junket that promoted it: It was canceled after just four episodes. The San Francisco Chronicle called it "preposterously unfunny."

33 of 52 Netflix

20. Insatiable (Metascore: 25; User Score: 7.0)

Based on Jeff Chu's 2014 New York Times article, "The Pageant King of Alabama," this dark Netflix comedy was declared by the Daily Beast to be "unforgivably inelegant as satire." It lasted just two seasons.

34 of 52 Getty Images

17. Tucker (Metascore: 25; User Score: n/a)

Canceled the same month it debuted, this 2000 NBC teen sitcom was declared a "clunky, crass and utterly charmless Malcolm in the Middle knockoff" by the Chicago Sun-Times.

35 of 52 ABC

17 (tie). The Trouble with Normal (Metascore: 25; User Score: n/a)

This 2000 ABC comedy, about four paranoid men in New York, was "truly awful," according to the New York Daily News.

36 of 52 NBC

17 (tie). Hawaii (Metascore: 25; User Score: n/a)

Canceled after just seven of its eight produced episodes aired, this 2004 Aloha State-set NBC crime drama was "no Hawaii Five-O," the Dallas Morning News judged. "It's Hawaii Zero."

37 of 52 Warner Bros.

16. Modern Men (Metascore: 24 ; User Score: 5.5)

This 2006 WB sitcom, about three single men who hire a life coach to assist them with their love lives, was "so mediocre it's almost fascinating to behold," the Boston Globe said.

38 of 52 Fox

15. Unan1mous (Metascore: 24; User Score: 3.1)

This 2006 Fox reality show, which saw nine strangers fight it out in a bunker until they unanimously awarded one of them the grand prize, was "the new bottom of the barrel," per the Boston Globe.

39 of 52 ABC

14. October Road (Metascore: 23; User Score: 8.5)

Starring Bryan Greenberg and Laura Prepon, this 2007 ABC drama about about a made-it-big author who returns to his hometown was "sort of perfect storm of bad writing," the New York Daily News said.

40 of 52 FOX Image Collection/Getty Images

13. I Wanna Marry Harry (Metascore: 23; User Score: 2.4)

This 2014 Fox reality show, which featured 12 women competing for the love of a man they were led to believe was Prince Harry (but wasn't), was a "cruel and stupid show," per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

41 of 52 NBC

12. Identity (Metascore: 22; User Score: 8.4)

Hosted by magician Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller, this 2006 NBC reality show was a "degraded update of What's My Line?," said Slate.

42 of 52 UPN/The CW

11. The Game (Metascore: 22; User Score: 8.2)

This Girlfriends spin-off might've lasted nine seasons on The CW and BET, but the critical consensus was that The Game should've been benched. The San Francisco Chronicle said it was "not funny, believable, interesting or ... inspired."

43 of 52 NBC

10. Knight Rider (Metascore: 21; User Score: 5.9)

This 2008 NBC remake of the iconic 1982-1986 action show, featuring Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT, was an "almost hilariously cheesy remake of the David Hasselhoff original," per the Chicago Tribune.

44 of 52 A&E

9. Sons of Hollywood (Metascore: 21; User Score: 3.9)

Starring the children of Aaron Spelling and Rod Stewart, this 2007 A&E reality show was "the equivalent of having my faced shoved into a toilet," Adam Buckman wrote for the New York Post.

Sons of Hollywood was canceled the same month it debuted.

45 of 52 Fox

8. Do Not Disturb (Metascore: 21; User Score: 3.5)

Canceled after just three episodes, this 2008 Fox sitcom -- starring Niecy Nash and Jerry O'Connell -- was a "disappointing and largely laughless comedy set in an upscale New York City hotel," said the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

46 of 52 ABC

7. Cavemen (Metascore: 19; User Score: 5.2)

Based on a series of popular Geico commercials, this short-lived 2007 ABC sitcom about, well, cavemen was an "utterly bland experience," per Variety.

47 of 52 NBCUniversal/Getty Images

6. Momma's Boys (Metascore: 19; User Score: 4.3)

Produced by Ryan Seacrest, this NBC reality-dating show, which lasted six episodes from 2008-2009, was "totally stupid," according to the Boston Globe.

48 of 52 NBCUniversal

5. The Real Wedding Crashers (Metascore: 19; User Score: 2.6)

Inspired by the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson comedy The Wedding Crashers, this 2007 NBC prank show that allowed improv performers to infiltrate a wedding ceremony "implodes on pretty much every level," wrote the Hollywood Reporter.

49 of 52 ABC

4. Work It (Metascore: 19; User Score: 0.9)

This 2012 ABC sitcom about two men who dress as women to keep their jobs was canceled after just two controversial and much-criticized episodes. TV Guide called Work It the "season's worst new show."

50 of 52 CBS

3. Stalker (Metascore: 17; User Score: 7.4)

Starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott, this 2014 CBS crime drama was "nothing more than exploitative, misogynist trash," said HuffPost.

51 of 52 Fox

2. Dads (Metascore: 15; User Score: 3.8)

Dads, a 2013 Fox sitcom about two video-game programmers whose fathers move in with them, was "the worst new comedy in quite some time," said Slate.

52 of 52 Paul Zimmerman/WireImage/Getty Images

1. The 1/2 Hour News Hour (Metascore: 13; User Score: 2.8)

According to critics, this is it: the worst TV show of the century. The 1/2 Hour News Hour, a short-lived, Daily Show-aspiring news satire show, featuring future Schitt's Creek star Jennifer Robertson (pictured), appeared on Fox News in 2007. "The humor is so predictable and so stale that it fails to produce any laughs," the Chicago Tribune said.