TV flops, exits and endings in 2014

Along with its triumphs, the world of television had its share of setbacks in 2014. Here are few of the high-profile flops and low points of American TV.
The disappointing finale of How I Met Your Mother. Courtesy CBS
The disappointing finale of How I Met Your Mother. Courtesy CBS

Along with its triumphs, the world of television had its share of setbacks in 2014. Here’s are a few of the more high-profile flops and low points of American TV that left viewers disappointed or angry during the past 12 months.

How I Met Your Mother concludes

This long-running – and for most of its run – highly popular CBS sitcom met few viewers’ expectations for a big finish and left many feeling let down.

Its big reveal – naming the mother of the title after nine years of teasing – yielded a finale only slightly less tangled than the ending of Lost. And it proved even less popular.

The fact that the mother had been dead the whole time (the story was told in flashbacks) didn’t help, and shoehorning in a happy ending for soul mates Ted (the father telling the story to his teenage kids) and former love Robin just added to viewer dissatisfaction.

David Gregory exits Meet the Press

After months of speculation that he was being ousted from the programme he had ­hosted since 2008, NBC News confirmed in August that Gregory was ­being dumped. It came only 18 months after the network had signed him to a new contract it described as “a long-term ­commitment” – and four months after the NBC News president defended him in a memo to Meet the Press staff ­expressing support “for David, now and into the future”.

That future was short-lived. He was out in a jiffy, with Chuck Todd hired as his replacement.

Ray Rice’s elevator assault

How much is too much? Are TV news channels overusing explicit violent footage in the race for high ratings?

Over and over, viewers were force-fed the chilling video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée and knocking her out.

After it was released in September, the video of Janay Palmer collapsing on the floor of the lift was broadcast repeatedly by multiple networks. In one hour alone, the clip was shown 37 times on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, raising serious questions about taste, respect and exploitation when reporting such important but disturbing stories.

Within a few days, many of the networks vowed to stop showing the footage – but Rice might be back on TV screens soon. Having appealed his indefinite suspension by the NFL as a result of the assault, and won, he’s eligible to play again in the NFL.

Utopia unrealised

Arriving with much fanfare, ­Utopia, the Fox reality show, left a group of strangers stranded at a remote site where, during the year ahead, they were supposed to build a perfect society.

It turned out they couldn’t even build a show that viewers would watch. Puny ratings forced its cancellation after only two months. For Fox (and the human race) Utopia swiftly proved to be a dream unfulfilled.

Never everland

Peter Pan Live! proposed a bold counter-theory for the space-time continuum. It argued for eternal youth in a realm only accessible by fairy dust-assisted human flight.

Unfortunately, NBC’s live TV production of this time-honoured family favourite musical failed to take off. Viewers were left feeling that not only had they grown up, they had aged and grown old by the end of the three long hours Peter and friends spent struggling to get off of the ground.

Published: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM

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