Shows That Took TV to New Lows Over the Past 20 Years

Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of worthwhile series on television. But if many people declare TV to be detrimental to society, the bane of morality and the assassin of profound thought, feel free to blame the shows on this list. Shockingly enough, almost all of them are reality shows, many of which were brought to us by Fox.
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1.
Jerry Springer (1991 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  
Among his peers' other talk-shows, Jerry's is of the more passionate and of the more sensational. His topics range from bisexual affairs to rape... (60 mins.)
“ There's something to be said for a talk show that actually celebrates being the worst thing on television. That said, in spite of all of its chair throwing, hair ripping, bleeped expletives and blurred privates, "Jerry Springer" has done some good for society over the years. How so? Well, it spawned an opera, starring David Soul as Springer - that's high culture, folks! And surely it has been a boon the hair extension and tube top industries, since so many of said items were destroyed during physical confrontations over the years. Most notably, it serves to remind its countless viewers that regardless of how difficult life is, somebody out there has made far worse decisions than they have...including agreeing to be on "The Jerry Springer Show." ” - IMDb-Editors
 
2.
Cheaters (2000 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
People who think their significant other is cheating on them hire a hidden camera crew to investigate their suspicions.
“ While it professes to exist in order to promote fidelity and virtue, "Cheaters" really just makes its viewers peeping toms leering and braying at some of the worst moments of a person's life. Not only that, its host Joey Greco was stabbed on camera by one of the people he was stalking. Then again, the voiceovers on the syndicated broadcasts are impressively poetic. "After a bit of clandestine canoodling, the lovebirds repair to an eatery known for its pulchritudinous waitstaff and spicy chicken" sounds so much nicer than saying, "After making out in the back seat of his car, he takes her to the local Hooters." ” - IMDb-Editors
 
3.
The Swan (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.5/10 X  
A reality show about an ugly duckling turned beautiful swan, only it's a woman giving herself a physical makeover with plastic surgery, to compete in a beauty pageant. (60 mins.)
“ Here's an idea: Round up a bunch of insecure women, give them loads of plastic surgery, paint their faces like Sunset Boulevard hookers and make them compete in a pageant. Does that strike you as odious? Wrong? Clearly you do not work for Fox. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
4.
Joe Millionaire (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  
A 28-year old heavy equipment operator courts twenty prospective mates under the guise that he has inherited nearly $50 million. (60 mins.)
“ Fox's version of "The Bachelor" - with a twist! - seemed fairly straightforward until one of the contestants led the titular star into the bushes and producers decided to air the audio feed...which consisted of slurping sounds. Stay classy, folks! ” - IMDb-Editors
 
5.
Flavor of Love (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  
Flavor flay is on the hunt to find his dream girl! Join him and his female contestants on a show full of laughs and raw chicken. (60 mins.)
Director: Robert Sizemore
“ It's hard to figure out which idea is more disturbing, that a murder of women would claw and spit at each other to win the heart a screaming idiot who wears a gigantic clock around his neck, or that said quest was so enthralling that MTV gave it three seasons. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
6.
Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1.7/10 X  
(120 mins.)
Director: Ken Fuchs
“ Lorenzo Lamas, armed with a laser pointer, so he can better highlight the cellulite on a parade of size 0 women in bikinis. This is what nightmares are made of. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
7.
I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  
Ten celebrities are abandoned in the Australian outback with only minimal means of survival, in order to raise money for charity. (60 mins.)
Director: Steve Beim
“ Now, now, our U.K. brethren...we understand your version has been quite entertaining. But when ABC gave it a shot, we were subjected to a topless Robin Leach. And when NBC resurrected it, audiences watched Stephen Baldwin baptize Spencer Pratt. Nobody needs to see any of that. Ever. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
8.
Temptation Island (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.3/10 X  
A real-life dramatic series where boyfriends/girlfriends travel to a romantic place to quiz and fascinate the strengths of their relationships... (60 mins.)
“ When evaluating whether to take one's committed relationship to the next level, we're betting this solution is rarely put on the table: "Say! Let's venture to a remote location, separate, and test ourselves by bouncing on the laps of single, willing horndogs! Then, let's report back to each other with what we've discovered about ourselves." Ick. (But, yeah, OK...we watched it.) ” - IMDb-Editors
 
9.
Armed & Famous (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
“ Not content to allow cable channels and Fox to lead the decline of the medium, CBS picked up this series that followed Erik Estrada, La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Jason Acuña and Trish Stratus as they became reserve police officers in Muncie, Indiana. The few million who watched were rewarded with seeing the cast get tasered, and hearing Estrada admit that the experience left him with an enlarged testicle. Not surprisingly, this series disappeared from the schedule almost immediately. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
10.
The Osbournes (2002 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A look at the home and family life of Ozzy Osbourne. (22 mins.)
“ Calm down - "The Osbournes" itself was a fine, fun series. Our beef with it has to do with the fact it led to all variety of celebreality clones. So next time you see Ozzy, Sharon or the kids, please thank them for eventually making stars out of the Kardashians, Holly Madison and Paris Hilton. Yes indeed...thanks for that. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
11.
The Real Housewives of Orange County (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  
A look at five families living in a protected Southern California enclave, and the real-life housewives who reside in one of the wealthiest planned communities in the country. (60 mins.)
“ Apparently living in one of the most affluent areas on the planet does not guarantee happiness. Nor does it assure a person will have manners, the ability to keep her voice at normal speaking levels or carry on intelligent discussions. But something about filming surgically enhanced harpies go for each other's jugulars has created ratings magic for Bravo, leading to a number of spinoffs, including the soon-to-arrive "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." ” - IMDb-Editors
 
12.
Bad Girls Club (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
A group of rebellious women are put in a house together in an experiment intended to moderate their behavior. (44 mins.)
“ Take seven women with psychological and behavioral issues, have them live together, and leave the cameras running as they tear at each other's weaves. That's pretty much the magic formula that went into making this soul-withering bleepfest, which also happens to be a relatively successful franchise for Oxygen, the cable network partially owned by Oprah Winfrey. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
13.
Baywatch Nights (1995 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  
In this -far less successful, hence shorter-lived- Baywatch spin-off, Mitch Buchannon, the reliable... (60 mins.)
“ Stands as proof that just because a series is successful doesn't mean it's particularly good, let alone worthy of a spin-off. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
14.
Barney & Friends (1992 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  
From pretending to be a pilot on a make-believe airplane to pretending to be a pirate in search of buried treasure, Barney's friends discover that creativity lets them soar in the wings of imagination! (30 mins.)
“ Parents, you are free to protest the purple dinosaur's inclusion on this list. And in truth, it is not the title character's fault that he's included here. Our problem is with his tiny human minions, all of whom were instructed to soak every line of dialogue in liquid aspartame and dance like meat marionettes in a horror film. Kids adored the show, but at the height of its popularity, "Barney & Friends" became synonymous with pure, grape-flavored evil. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
15.
Mr. Personality (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.9/10 X  
A young, beautiful and single woman will court several eligible men who must rely strictly on their individual personalities to captivate her. (60 mins.)
“ Fox blessed us with so many odious reality series that it's difficult to select just a few, but this show makes the list for two very specific reasons. 1) It challenged a woman to find true love among a group of dorks wearing Doctor Doom masks. 2) It was hosted by Monica Lewinsky. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
16.
Britney & Kevin: Chaotic (2005 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.6/10 X  
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline will share their love story through never-before-seen home videos they shot themselves during their courtship, engagement and wedding. (150 mins.)
“ The horrible sadness of this limited CW series about the courtship of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline is succinctly captured in its title. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
17.
Forever Eden (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
(60 mins.)
“ The premise was that this "reality soap" would be open-ended, and contestants could stay on for as long as they remained popular. What Fox failed to recognize was that by this point, such a series sounded less like escapist entertainment and more like a room in someone's personal hell. It was yanked after airing only a few episodes. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
18.
My Super Sweet 16 (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1.9/10 X  
Teenagers throw epic sweet 16 birthday parties. (30 mins.)
Director: Wei Ling Chang
“ You know, there just aren't enough series focusing on spoiled teenage girls throwing tantrums when they don't get exactly what they want. Especially when mummy and daddy fail to deliver a super-sick birthday party with a budget that rivals the cost of a mortgage. When future generations ask where society went awry, a DVD of this series will be exhumed from the rubble and submitted among the evidence. ” - IMDb-Editors
 
19.
Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? (2000 TV Special)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1.2/10 X  
A high-stakes "till-death-us-do-part" Dating Game, but with better prizes. The bride got a $35,000 engagement ring...
Director: Don Weiner
“ Fox's reality department went on a marriage rampage for a while (remember "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" and "Married By America"?) but the burning lowlight had to have been this series, which culminated in the nuptials of "multi-millionaire" Rick Rockwell to Darva Conger. Only after it ended did the news emerge that Rockwell was actually a "thousandaire," not to mention one with a restraining order against him. The marriage was annulled, and Conger auctioned off her prizes (and the ring) online. Their last stop was the place where many careers go to die, "Larry King Live." ” - IMDb-Editors
 
20.
Jon & Kate Plus 8 (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
Documentary-style reality show about a Pennsylvania husband, wife and each of their 8 extremely individualistic children. (30 mins.)
“ Some blame tabloids for our culture's odd obsession with celebrity pregnancies and births, but TLC hasn't done much to smarten up the dialogue with shows like this, which normalize the idea of couples giving birth to their own football leagues. This series begat "17 & Counting" and "Sister Wives." We also can't help but wonder if the world would have given so much attention to the Octomom if we had never met the Gosselins or the Duggars. ” - IMDb-Editors