The UPROXX Guide To Television’s 20 Most Lethal Show Killers

Entertainment Features
09.22.11 31 Comments

At the end of last year’s prime time television season, Fox — the network with the itchiest trigger finger on television when it comes to cancelling shows — gave Christian Slater the bad news that his show, “Breaking In,” had gotten the axe. Many in the media, including myself, began proclaiming Christian Slater as the new King of the Show Killers, having suffered an 0-3 streak with “The Forgotten” and “My Own Worst Enemy.” But the reality is, even if Fox hadn’t reversed recently course and given “Breaking In” a second-season renewal (as a mid-season replacement), Christian Slater is nowhere near King of the Show Killers. Three cancelled TV shows wouldn’t even put the man in the top 20.

Indeed, you might imagine that after three strikes a sitcom actor would typically float off into obscurity. Not true of many actors, who manage to climb aboard a new show every pilot season, only to see another effort crash and burn. But like the Phoenix from the ashes, these television duds rise again. Of course, some of the most notorious show killers eventually do land a hit: Jon Cryer, for instance, failed nearly a dozen times between Pretty in Pink and “Two and a Half Men.” Others, like the supremely talented Paula Marshall, can be seen yet again on this fall season’s television schedule as Maleficent in “Once Upon a Time.” I give it 6 episodes.

The slideshow that begins below is the Internet’s Definitive Guide to the 20 Most Lethal Show Killers. In most cases, these players were regular cast members or had recurring character roles on short-lived television shows; sometimes, a guest appearance on one episode was enough to seal the show’s cancelled fate. Some of these shows were lesser failures than others, but you couldn’t reasonably consider any of them a commercial success.

20. Jaime King (5): “My Generation, “Gary Unmarried,” “The Class,” “Kitchen Confidential,” “Harry Green and Eugene.”

19. Joely Fisher (5): “Wild Card,” “Baby Bob,” “Danny,” “Normal Ohio,” and “Grosse Point.”

18. Judy Greer (6): “Glen Martin DDS,” “Mad Love,” “Miss Guided,” “Love Monkey,” “Love and Money,” and “Maggie Winters.”

17. Summer Glau (7): “Good Morning Rabbit,” “The Cape,” “Dollhouse,” “The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “The Unit,” and “Firefly.”

16. David Krumholz (7): “The Lyon’s Den,” “Lucky,” “Undeclared,” “The Trouble with Normal,” “The Closer,” “Chicago Sons,” and “Monty.”

15. Mark Feuerstein (7): “The Hustler,” “3 lbs,” “Shark,” “Good Morning Miami,” “Conrad Bloom,” “Fired Up,” and “Caroline in the City.”

14. George Clooney (8): “Sisters,” “The Building,” “Bodies of Evidence,” “Jack’s Place,” “Baby Talk,” “Throb,” “Sunset Beat,” “E/R” (not “E.R.”), and the waning years of “The Facts of Life.”

13. Rena Sofer (8): “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Blind Justice,” “Mr. Nice Guy,” “Coupling,” “The Chronicle,” “Opposite Sex,” “Timecop,” and “Oh, Grow Up”

12. Tim Matheson (9): “Wolf Lake,” “The Legend of Calamity Jane,” “Charlie Hoover,” “Just in Time,” “Trying Times,” “Tucker’s Witch,” “Trying Times,” “Magician,” “Three for the Road.”

11. Mädchen Amick (9): “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Shark,” “Viva Laughlin,” “Kidnapped,” “Freddie,” “Joey,” “Jake in Progress,” “Queens Supreme,” and “CPW.”

10. Lindsay Price (10): “Love Bites,” “Eastwick,” “Lipstick Jungle,” “Pepper Dennis,” “Kitchen Confidential,” “The Mountain,” “Coupling,” “Becker,” “Jack and Jill,” and “Head over Heels.”

9. David Alan Grier (10): “Life with Bonnie,” “Samurai Jack,” “Cedric the Entertainer Presents,” “The Preston Episodes,” “Tanner ’88,” “All is Forgiven,” “The Proud Family,” “Dag,” “Damon,” and “Pinky and the Brain”

8. Jon Cryer (11): “Danny Phantom,” “Stripperella,” “Hey Joel,” “Becker,” “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” “The Trouble with Normal,” “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” “Getting Personal,” “It’s Good to Be King,” “Partners,” and “The Famous Teddy Z.”

7. Mark Valley (11): “Human Target,” “Swingtown,” “Emily’s Reason’s Why Not,” “Keen Eddie,” “I’m with Her,” Harry Green and Eugene,” “Pasadena,” “The Lone Gunmen,” “Brimstone,” “LateLine,” and “Gideon’s Crossing.”

6. Sherri Shepard (12): “Sherri,” “The Wedding Bells,” “Kim Possible,” “Less than Perfect,” “Brandy and Mr. Whiskers,” “My Adventures in Television,” “Emeril,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Suddenly Susan,” “The Trouble with Normal,” “Holding the Baby,” and “Cleghorne.”

5. Paget Brewster (12): “Dan vs.,” “Stacked,” “Duck Dodger,” “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” “Rock Me Baby,” “George Lopez,” “Raising Dad,” “Dag,” “The Trouble with Normal,” “Love and Money,” “The Expert,” and “Godzilla: The Series.”

4. Paula Marshall (13): “Friends with Benefits,” “Gary Unmarried,” “Shark,” “Out of Practice,” “Hidden Hills,” “Ms. Match,” “The Weber Show,” “Snoops,” “Cupid,” “Chicago Sons,” “The Single Guy,” “Nash Bridges,” “Wild Oats.”

3. Dondre Whitfield (15): “The Event,” “Samantha Who?” “Jake in Progress,” “Second Time Around,” Strong Medicine,” “Half and Half,” “Less than Perfect,” “The Hidden Hills,” “Girlfriends,” “Inside Schwartz,” “Nash Bridges,” “Secret Agent Man,” “Between Brothers,” “Living in Captivity,” and “The Crew.”

2. Justin Louis (15): “Durham County,” “1-800-Missing,” “Hidden Hills,” “Mutant X,” “The Fighting Fitzgeralds,” “The Fugitive,” “Battery Park,” “Trinity” “The Net,” “Three,” “Cracker: Mind over Murder,” “Public Morals,” “Local Heroes,” “Cobra,” and “Urban Angel.”

1. Jason Gedrick (15): “Lie to Me,” “Lincoln Heights,” “Windfall,” “Crossing Jordan,” “LAX,” “S.O.S. 18,” “North Shore,” “Boomtown,” “Philly,” “Strange Frequency,” “The Beast,” “EZ Streets,” “Murder One,” “Sweet Justice,” and “Class of ’96.”

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