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Showkillers: The Actors Who Destroy Successful Shows

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I say the king is Ted McGinley.  But there are many others (of both genders) as well.  

Discuss 'em all!

 

 

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Oh my God, this thread was made for soap opera fandom. The pool of show killers is as incestuous as certain family trees on GoT, but top contender is Jill Farren Phelps. She was EP of Another World and ran that into the ground; she and her BFF tlBob Guza turned General Hospital into AsThe Mob Turbs Around Steven Burton until the low ratings got her sacked from there; and now, she's run The Young and the Restless further into the ground than its previous two Exec Producers could have ever imagined. Oh, and some speculate that her firing of soap actress Anna Lee (who was in or near her 90s) from GH is what led to her death several months later.

Also, Steve Burton. ...otherwise known as Steve Farren Phelps in the Y&R thread, for good reason. He is not entirely horrible, but he is noy leading man material. I'm only surprised it took this long to tie him into the cast with Nikki and Paul as his bio parents, and JFPhuckup taking one big honking cow turd over thirty-some odd years of history to do so.

Runner Up: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga for both Star Treks Voyager and Enterprise. Voyager was insipid and uninspired for it's entire run, but Enterprise....holy shit. And then once a show runner came in to do damage control in the last season and get something resembling good praise from critics and fans alike, they write that godawful "These are the Voyages" that shits on not just the few loyal viewers left, but on TNG as well. For those that are not Trek fans, imagine if the Angel finale starred Buffy as she's having a flash foward about Angel and co.'s future while Joss Whedon get nods to BtVS throughout.

Flaws aside, I'm glad J.J. Abrams has revitilized Trek and help remove the sting of those two series (plus the TNG films).

ETA: Second runner up: Ryan Murphy--Glee. *drops mic*

Edited by Anna Yolei
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It's not a perfect correlation, but you can roughly say that if a show is going to live, whatever character Eric Balfour is playing must die.

 

Died-

24

Buffy

Six Feet Under

 

Lived-

Arresting Behavior (5 episodes)

Veritas: The Quest (??) (13 episodes)

Hawaii (less than a season)

Sex, Love, And Secrets (4 episodes aired)

Conviction (13 episodes)

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Eric Balfour survived Dino Shark and I believe he is still around on Haven until SciFi kills that show.

 

SciFi believes in killing all it shows in the most unpleasant way possible.

 

David Spade.   Period.   

 

Wait Steve Burton left GH?   And it is still General Mobster?   BTW, loved him in Out of this World.

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Oh my God, this thread was made for soap opera fandom. The pool of show killers is as incestuous as certain family trees on GoT, but top contender is Jill Farren Phelps.

 

Oh, yes. It seems like staying at GH for a long run has made people forget, she's a lot less controversial than she used to be. But she did a lot to destroy Guiding Light and Santa Barbara started falling apart on her watch (which was when she became good at winning awards, its the only thing she's good at). I hear there are new sets on Y&R, that gave me a flashback to that set that police station set that strapped the AW budget (along with that title sequence that looked great but was too expensive to update) until the show's end.

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Oh, and some speculate that her firing of soap actress Anna Lee (who was in or near her 90s) from GH is what led to her death several months later.

I had not heard that rumor. I quit GH several years ago but I had watched it since the early 80s & I loved the Quartermaines. That just makes me mad. Anna Lee was lovely.

ETA: Sometimes I feel like I'm a show killer because for a long time it felt like if I fell in love with a show then odds were high it would die. I try to just really like shows now. I'll date them, but won't get serious.

Edited by ramble
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I say the king is Ted McGinley.  But there are many others (of both genders) as well.  

 

The funny thing about Ted McGinley is that his status as a show killer isn't really deserved. I mean he was a cast member for 61 Episodes of Happy Days and 164 episodes of Married... With Children (in fact MWC produced more episodes after he was cast as Jefferson, than before).

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Isn't Jason Gedrick being cast in any sort of leading and/or regular status on a show a sure sign of it's demise? I seem to recall him being on many shows that barely made one season, for a while there, back in the mid- to late-'90s.

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Or a different Jason... Jason O'Mara.  He gets on The Agency.  They end it. In Justice.  Life on Mars (U.S.).  Terrra Nova.  Vegas.  He's just racked 'em up the past few years.  Hmm. Although do you consider what's mostly a string of failed shows as the same thing as a showkiller?  Is a showkiller JUST killing an established show, or is it being a commodity the market keeps using over and over again for some reason, who kills every project he is involved in regardless?


The funny thing about Ted McGinley is that his status as a show killer isn't really deserved. I mean he was a cast member for 61 Episodes of Happy Days and 164 episodes of Married... With Children (in fact MWC produced more episodes after he was cast as Jefferson, than before).

He was also on Hope & Faith for 55 episodes and Dynasty for 34.

 

I do think his showkiller status is real at the same time, or at least became a joke/thought about him because he's been in so many TV pilots that never saw the light of day.  And then in the late 80s through mid 90s it seems he had a whole string of shows that actually DID make air and all got canned really quickly.

 

And maybe to a degree there's a confusion (which I guess I fell prey to) between being a showkiller and being a shark-jumper.  Maybe he's not so much the guy who gets your show canceled, he's the guy you bring on in the later years of your show, when it starts to suck, who becomes the standard bearer of that dividing line for every show he's on.

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Can it include showrunners and executive producers?

 

Chris Carter did it in part with the X-Files. Killing off the Lone Gunmen, having Mulder almost be like a martyr (iirc)...

 

Greg Yaitanes and Hugh Laurie (House) did it in regards to ruining the main character and making him into a straight out druggie and a slut.

Edited by AntiBeeSpray
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Paula Marshall has to be the queen of actresses who have been cast in shows that have lasted one seaSon or less. Too many to mention.

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Or a different Jason... Jason O'Mara.  He gets on The Agency.  They end it. In Justice.  Life on Mars (U.S.).  Terrra Nova.  Vegas. 

 

Vegas made me think of Vega$, and how Robert Ulrich had like a total of two shows that made it to a second season- that one and Spenser for Hire. IMO, far more of a showkilling record than McGinley.

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Vegas made me think of Vega$, and how Robert Ulrich had like a total of two shows that made it to a second season- that one and Spenser for Hire. IMO, far more of a showkilling record than McGinley.

True.  He even killed The Love Boat more decisively than McGinley. Ted has around 60 episodes on Love Boat.  Urich's lead role on Love Boat: The Next Wave only lasted 25 episodes.

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JFP & MAB have completely ruined Young & The Restless. I use to watch this show religiously for years and now I haven't watched since late 2013 and have never looked back. I will continue to not watch this show until JFP is fired. During JFP's reign Y&R has had so many actors leave or get fired. It's like a revolving door over there. Everyone who said that she's a soap killer is absolutely right and the ratings are just getting worse and worse each week.

 

SB is also ruining the show with his wooden, monotone, deer caught in the headlights acting.

Edited by ShadowSixx

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It would probably be easier to list the executive producers from the US soap world who aren't show killers. That genre desperately needed an infusion of new blood a good 10-15 years ago, instead of just blaming all the problems on the OJ trial and internet spoilers.

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I'm beyond confused about why the OJ case still gets blamed for today's ratings. That case lasted a year, and the West Coast feeds moved up the daytime block up a few hours (Y&R aired at 3pm during that time in the Sacramento area) to accommodate that.

And EVERY show has spoilers these days, and yet nighttime soaps like Scandal and True Blood still thrive. Enough excuses already.

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It would probably be easier to list the executive producers from the US soap world who aren't show killers. That genre desperately needed an infusion of new blood a good 10-15 years ago, instead of just blaming all the problems on the OJ trial and internet spoilers.

 

 

Word. The blame belongs squarely on the network and executive producers. They've treated soaps and soap viewers like crap for years. Its not the OJ problem, its theirs and its easily fixed with new blood, new writers and new producers. I hated the way you'd finally get a producer or writer fired from one soap opera only for them to be hired by another one to do the same crappy writing and turning that soap into a disaster. I started watching soaps in the late 90s so they can't blame OJ for that one I was forced to quit General Hospital when they transformed it into the Sonny, Carly and Jason show. Why were fans upset and dropping the show? Perhaps the fact they changed the show so completely and killed off everyone that they liked. Including the nicest lady on the show. They decided they didn't want to keep Guiding Light on the air, instead of respectfully ending the show, they purposely drove it into the ground to justify canceling it. Soaps can still be a viable market but that's only if the networks and producers actually try to do so. 

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Has there been many producers accused of running multiple soaps into the ground? There are a lot of producers who should be out of work but I can't think of many who moved from show to show, most that come to mind (Ellen Wheeler, Chris Gouteman) just had an inexplicably long run on one show. To be a showkiller, you need to have brought down multiple shows. (I'm not counting any writers since I can't think of any who are the voice of their show like with the iconic writers.)

 

That said, Brian Frons probably counts as a literal soap killer. I remember a soap journalist talking about a villain who bragged about cancelling a soap twice. I suspect that was Frons, since he was in a position of power when Search for Tomorrow was cancelled at CBS then NBC. Since then he's added at least two more soaps, maybe more.

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Like it or not, Just Shoot Me and Rules of Engagement both lasted 7 seasons.

Yeah, Spade is more of a show QUALITY killer than a show killer!

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Can it include showrunners and executive producers?

 

Ryan Murphy and the other producers on Glee.

Edited by vb68
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Ryan Murphy and the other producers on Glee.

How 'bout Ryan Murphy and Popular, too? That show was blessed enough to be euthanized before it became the tsunami of suck that Glee became, but it was certainly headed there.

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Vegas made me think of Vega$, and how Robert Ulrich had like a total of two shows that made it to a second season- that one and Spenser for Hire. IMO, far more of a showkilling record than McGinley.

Also S.W.A.T., but that's an asterisk, because it was a mid-season replacement, so the first season was only 13 eps.

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Surprised the thread has made it this far and no one has mentioned Jerry O'Connell. How many shows has he been on that went south right after he shows up?

Dylan McDermott, post The Practice, seems to do this too.

I'll also add- grudgingly- Chi McBride. I love him as an actor, but, for some reason whenever he gets a prominent role it just never works out for him. Boston Public had one, maybe one and a half good seasons before it went off the rails. Pushing Daises lasted one season, and Killer Instinct and Golden Boy (which I liked) didn't even get a whole season.

He may be on Hawaii 5-0 now but he's not a major character there...plus 5-0 airs on Fridays, so it's not exactly a hit.

Which is a shame, as I think he should be a bigger star than he is.

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3 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

Two! Two glorious, too-short seasons...

Right...I should have double-checked it...so long since I saw it. Saw on Wiki that it ran for 22 episodes, which is a standard broadcast season.

I'll agree it was still way too short.

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ABC screwed Pushing Daisies up badly. Pulling it from the schedule for Bachelor reruns and then dumping it on another night with no advertising about the new night. They made me so mad.

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On 11/23/2019 at 11:30 PM, Danielg342 said:

I'll also add- grudgingly- Chi McBride. I love him as an actor, but, for some reason whenever he gets a prominent role it just never works out for him. Boston Public had one, maybe one and a half good seasons before it went off the rails. Pushing Daises lasted one season, and Killer Instinct and Golden Boy (which I liked) didn't even get a whole season.

He may be on Hawaii 5-0 now but he's not a major character there...plus 5-0 airs on Fridays, so it's not exactly a hit.

Which is a shame, as I think he should be a bigger star than he is.

Au contraire mon frere. Captain Lou Grover is a major character on Hawaii 5-0 from season 4 to now the 10th. Especially with Scott Caan's Danno taking extended leaves and being missing for many episodes. He is there more often than anyone else and has had Lou A-story centric episodes and is the go to deputy commander for the other half of the team that is not with McGarrett. Both on a big A-story or when the episode has an B-story independent of the main murder case.

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4 hours ago, Raja said:

Au contraire mon frere. Captain Lou Grover is a major character on Hawaii 5-0 from season 4 to now the 10th.

Still on a Friday show. Not exactly what you would consider to be a high profile gig.

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25 minutes ago, Danielg342 said:

Still on a Friday show. Not exactly what you would consider to be a high profile gig.

With all the outlets from local stations like WGN, YouTube's, new streaming services that half the population never heard of, and the like. I think that any night on a legacy Big 3 broadcaster that reaches almost all of America for a decade is a big deal.

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I'm not sure if she qualifies as a showkiller, but having Brandy Norwood in your cast seems to be a good way to ensure that your show will end on a cliffhanger (Moesha, One on One and Star, with her being a late addition to two of those shows).  The only show of hers I can think of that didn't end that way was The Game, although I think she was in only one early scene in their finale after being a regular cast member for a few years.  I guess she was also in Thea in her early teens, but I don't know much about that one.

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On 11/29/2019 at 5:13 AM, KWalkerInc said:

I'm not sure if she qualifies as a showkiller, but having Brandy Norwood in your cast seems to be a good way to ensure that your show will end on a cliffhanger (Moesha, One on One and Star, with her being a late addition to two of those shows).  The only show of hers I can think of that didn't end that way was The Game, although I think she was in only one early scene in their finale after being a regular cast member for a few years.  I guess she was also in Thea in her early teens, but I don't know much about that one.

I never thought about that, but it’s true. And yeah, Thea ended abruptly as well. 

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On 11/27/2019 at 11:35 PM, Raja said:

With all the outlets from local stations like WGN, YouTube's, new streaming services that half the population never heard of, and the like. I think that any night on a legacy Big 3 broadcaster that reaches almost all of America for a decade is a big deal.

We'll just agree to disagree, then.

On 11/29/2019 at 5:13 AM, KWalkerInc said:

I'm not sure if she qualifies as a showkiller, but having Brandy Norwood in your cast seems to be a good way to ensure that your show will end on a cliffhanger (Moesha, One on One and Star, with her being a late addition to two of those shows).  The only show of hers I can think of that didn't end that way was The Game, although I think she was in only one early scene in their finale after being a regular cast member for a few years.  I guess she was also in Thea in her early teens, but I don't know much about that one.

Her music career also cratered pretty quickly after a few early hits. Some people just can't seem to catch a break, it seems.

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