Trivia

Hard

The Only TV Show In U.S. History To Be Canceled Mid-Broadcast Was?

Co-Ed Fever
Turn-On
Dot Comedy
The Hasselhoffs
The title screen for the short-lived television show Turn-On.
ABC/The Walt Disney Company

Answer: Turn-On

When it comes to TV shows flopping, there are plenty of examples of shows that were canceled mid-season thanks to lackluster ratings. There’s even a decent list of shows that were canceled after only a few episodes, but there’s one particular distinction in the history of American broadcasting that only one television show can lay claim to.

In 1969, the ABC variety comedy series Turn-On became the first, and last, television show in U.S. history to be canceled while it was on the air. While perhaps not particularly racy for the present age, at the time of airing the sexual and political humor showcased during the broadcast alarmed television officials across the nation so much that they immediately canceled the show with many stations in the western part of the U.S. refusing to air it at all. At least one station even pulled the show after the first commercial break, WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, with the station quickly sending ABC’s network management a telegram to inform them that the show would not be returning and would never air on the station again.

The phenomenon of being canceled while airing is certainly a unique one, and globally there’s only one other notable show that we can compare to Turn-On. In 1992, Australia’s Nine Network aired a show called Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos. The show was loosely based on the format of America’s Funniest Home Videos, but focused on clips sent in by viewers that were risque and featured adult humor. The owner of the network was informed of the show’s content by friends while at a dinner, then tuned in mid-broadcast to watch and, with a very angry call to the station, had the show yanked from the air within minutes.

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