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10 offensive TV shows that were cancelled ASAP

Digital Spy logo Digital Spy 20/03/2017 Tom Eames
The 10 most offensive TV shows that were cancelled ASAP: Man vs Beast, Heil Honey I'm Home and more © Galaxy / Jae C. Hong-Pool / Getty / NBC The 10 most offensive TV shows that were cancelled ASAP: Man vs Beast, Heil Honey I'm Home and more

There are many shows out there which millions seem to complain about, yet they keep on truckin' and weather the storm.

But there are some shows which were deemed so offensive, or so ridiculous, or so… crap, that they had to be axed instantly before the executive who commissioned them got the sack. Here are some of those shows which you (almost certainly) never saw.

1. IF I DID IT (0 episodes aired)

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Fox had planned on airing a special in which OJ Simpson would be interviewed about his book If I Did It – a description about how he would have murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994.

Naturally, the Goldman family was not happy, describing it as "an all-time low for television". NBC turned the special down, but Fox very nearly aired it. Rupert Murdoch later admitted that it was an "ill-considered project".

2. HEIL HONEY I'M HOME (cancelled after 1 episode, 7 unaired)

You thought Love Thy Neighbour was controversial? Try a sitcom in which Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun live next to a Jewish couple and get up to japes and scrapes.

Aimed as a pisstake of classic American comedies, it was described as "the world's most tasteless sitcom" by TV historian Marian Calabro. It was criticised for trivialising Nazism, though others have defended it following a tradition of parodies after Allo Allo! and Hogan's Heroes.

Although eight episodes were planned, only the pilot made it onto shortlived UK satellite channel Galaxy in 1990.

3. MAN VS BEAST UK (0 episodes aired)

It's incredible to think this even got past the commission stage without a stern telling-off and a background check on whoever came up with it: 44 dwarfs competed against an elephant in pulling a jet, while a sprinter took on a giraffe in the 100m.

It's even more incredible that two specials actually aired in the USA before the UK picked it up. John Fashanu filmed six episodes as host of a British version of the show for ITV, but animal-rights groups rightly protested and it was never aired.

4. ALL MY BABIES' MAMAS (0 episodes aired)

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Rapper Shawty Lo (no idea) would have fronted this reality show on Oxygen about how he has fathered 11 children by 10 different women.

Already this sounds like trouble waiting to happen, but it was axed after attracting huge criticism for its allegedly stereotypical portrayal of black families, and for glamorising sex with multiple partners.

5. FLIP IT FORWARD (0 episodes aired)

Twin brothers David and Jason Benham were hired to host a brand new home-flipping series on cable network UGTV in 2014. What's so offensive about that, you ask?

The show itself was fine, but the network axed the project after it emerged that the brothers were right-wing extremists. They are the sons of evangelical minister Flip Benham, and they have a history of preaching anti-gay and Islamophobic messages.

The pair got over the cancellation by saying: "If our faith costs us a TV show then so be it."

6. THE MELTING POT (cancelled after 1 episode, 5 unaired)

Spike Milligan may be remembered as one the UK's best-loved comedians, but he was also behind this ill-fated sitcom on the BBC in 1975.

He played Mr Van Gogh, an illegal immigrant from Pakistan who lands on a beach in Britain. His son was also played by a white man, comic John Bird. Enough said?

There were also other poorly-portrayed stereotypes of Africans, Chinese, Jewish, Arabs, Australians, and the Irish (though perhaps Milligan gets an irony pass on the last one, being half-Irish). It also had plenty of the 1970s' usual dose of sexism and was cancelled after just one episode. Considering the Black and White Minstrel Show was still on TV then, that's really saying something.

7. WHO'S YOUR DADDY? (cancelled after 1 episode, 5 unaired)

This Fox reality show focused on a young woman named TJ Meyers, who was about to be reunited with her biological father, whom she had not seen since birth. Quite sweet, right?

Nope, as TJ was placed in a room with 25 men and she then had to correctly pick her actual father in order to win $100,000. If she was incorrect, then her wrong "daddy" would pocket the money.

The show was criticised by adoption rights groups, and Fox decided to axe the remaining five episodes and described the pilot as a "special" instead. However, it later aired in full on Fox Reality. In case you wondered, she guessed correctly in the end.

8. WORK IT (cancelled after 2 episodes, 11 unaired)

In a time where the gender and sexual equality issue remains as large as ever, this wasn't ABC's best idea in the world.

The sitcom saw Ben Koldyke and Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco play two unemployed blokes who believed that the economic recession had affected men more than women. How to fix this? They do a Some Like It Hot and dress up as women in order to keep a job.

Not only was it universally panned for being rubbish, but it was obviously criticised by LGBT advocacy groups for trivialising transgender people's issues in the workplace. It also didn't go down well after Amaury's character said that Puerto Ricans are "great at selling drugs". After just two episodes, it was shelved in January 2012.

9. THE PLAYBOY CLUB (cancelled after 3 episodes, 4 unaired)

NBC's attempt to replicate Mad Men's sexy and slick success was doomed from the start. Soon after the project about Hugh Hefner's Playboy bunnies in the 1960s was announced, many groups vehemently denounced it.

The Parents Television Council protested that the show degraded women and placed porn in the mainstream, while various other anti-porn and conservative advocacy groups slammed the show before it even aired.

After mixed reviews and poor ratings, NBC cancelled the drama after just three episodes, and the others have not been aired since.

10. THE SECRET DIARY OF DESMOND PFEIFFER (cancelled after 4 episodes, 5 unaired)

This UPN sitcom had already been slammed before it aired in 1998, as people were concerned that it would take American slavery lightly.

The series saw Chi McBride play a black Englishman who served as Abraham Lincoln's butler. Several African American activist groups protested the premise outside Paramount Studios, leading to UPN cancelling the pilot (just how bad was it?), before removing the show altogether.


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