Every day networks are trying to come up with the next hit show, hoping that fans keep watching for years like they did
The Cosby Show, A Different World, Martin, Living Single, Roc," Moesha, and Girlfriends (side note: seriously though, that Girlfriends reunion is coming though, right?)
Pilots get the green light to go into production, but you and I both know that fans can be finicky. There's no telling what they'll love and what they'll refuse to tune into after the first few episodes, and networks are more than willing to cancel a series rather than lose money on a failing show.
Don't get it twisted there are tons of Black sitcoms that made it to classic and even iconic status, but there are also a few flops as well. Let's take a walk down memory lane, that is, if you can even remember that these shows existed in the first place. Check out the gallery and look at the Black TV shows that got the pink slip after just one season.
Before he became a Daytime Emmy award-winning talk show host and after his long-running football career, Michael Strahan had a stint as the star of his own television show on fox titled
Brothers. The show starred Daryl "Chill" Mitchell, Carl Weathers and C. C. H. Pounder, only running from September to December 2009.
Strahan played a retired NHL player who returns home to Houston, Texas and reunites with his family. He is pressured by his parents, (Weathers and Pounder) to repair his relationship with his paraplegic, wheelchair-bound brother (Mitchell).
The Fox show debuted with low ratings and they didn't get much better throughout its 13 episode run, so the network pulled the plug and canceled the series.
South Central (1994)
Roc was one of FOX's hit shows from 1991 to 1994, but the last year that it ran, a new show called South Central aired right before it. Set in South Central Los Angeles, the short-lived series followed the Moseley family as they grappled with living in a community plagues with gun violence, drug abuse, and difficulty finding employment for a single black mother. Tina Lifford played mom Joan who was raising her three children on her own. Her son Marcus was her eldest child who was murdered by a gang member. After being laid off, Joan struggled to provide for her three remaining children: Andre (Larenz Tate), Tasha (Tasha Scott), and Deion (Keith Mbulo).
Critics and fans loved the show, but because Fox's Tuesday night lineup wasn't bringing in the ratings that the network expected, the show was canceled after 10 episodes along with every other series in the Tuesday night lineup.
For those that don't know, Brandy Norwood had a television career
before she became our beloved Moesha. That's right, she played Danesha Turrell on an ABC network series called Thea, starring Thea Vidale.
Thea was a widowed Houston mother of four who works in a supermarket during the day and does hair out of her home in the evenings. The show also starred Adam Jeffries, Jason Weaver, Brenden Jefferson, and Yvette Wilson (who would go on to work with Brandy on
Thea suffered the curse of the "Season 1 Cancellation" after airing 19 episodes from September 1993 to February 1994. The ratings for the show were initially high but steadily declined, so ABC decided to pull the plug.
On Our Own (1994)
Nope, your eyes aren't deceiving you; that's little Jussie Smollett before he became an
Empire powerhouse. If you look a harder, you'll see his actress sister Jurnee Smollett in that photo as well. As a matter of fact, six real-life Smollett siblings starred in the 1994 ABC show On Our Own including Jojo, Jake, Jazz, and Jocqui.
From September 1994 to April of 1995,
On Our Own aired on ABC and centered around the seven member Jerrico family. After their parents died, the six younger siblings live in St. Louis and are being raised by their eldest brother. To fool case workers, the older brother dresses in drag and poses as Aunt Jelcinda so they think there is a capable caregiver in the home.
Ratings weren't up to par and during the season the show's time slot was even moved in an effort to try to help out, but in the end,
On Our Own just couldn't make it work.
Friday: The Animated Series (2007)
Friday: The Animated Series aired on MTV2 in the summer of 2007 and re-imagined some of our favorite characters in cartoon version, voiced by veteran actors. Craig was voiced by Phil LaMarr and Cree Summer (Freddie from "A Different World) played the part of Betty "Mom" Jones as well as Dana Jones.
But the series was barely able to get off the ground and was canceled after eight episodes. Executive producer Ice Cube wanted to further capitalize off if his 'hood hit classic Friday by presenting us with
Friday: The Animated Series, but unfortunately fans just couldn't get into it.
Remember when the UPN network was sitting on their gold throne after pumping out hit show after hit show? Well, they seemed to have missed the mark with their 2003 effort
The title character was portrayed by Sydney Tamiia Poitier and starred
A Different World icon Kadeem Hardison as her boyfriend Will. The former lovers choose to remaining living together in their San Francisco apartment so they can keep their place. Abby also has to deal with a sister who wishes Abby was more like her, an unfair boss, and her best friend Max who wants to be more than just her closest homie.
The ratings were poor from the start and 10 episodes later (one unaired) the show was canceled.
The Tracy Morgan Show (2003)
Tracy Morgan. Tamala Jones. Heavy D. John Witherspoon. Katt Williams. With that lineup we just
knew that we had a hit show that would have us crackin' up for years.
However, the comedy Gods thought otherwise because
The Tracy Morgan Show only aired for 18 episodes from December 2003 to March 2004.
Dave Chappelle was destined to reach television stardom and did so with
Chappelle's Show, but way before he was to give us the misadventures of Charlie Murphy (R.I.P.!), he starred in an ABC sitcom in 1996.
Following his guest appearance with friend and fellow comedian-actor Jim Breuer on
Home Improvement, network executives were impressed with the pair's performances. From there, the two were given their own series, Buddies, but after they went in for rehearsals, the network replaced Breuer with Christopher Gartin. Not only was the chemistry between Chappelle and Gartin not nearly as effortless and with Breuer, but Breuer's firing left many angered. The animosity made for a lackluster show and five episodes aired (13 were produced) before the show was canceled.
Barbershop: The Series (2005)
Another Ice Cube film-to-series show that ended up flopping is
Barbershop: The Series. Omar Gooding starred as Craig, managing the Southside of Chicago barbershop, just as they portrayed in the movies. The show picked up the story from the end of Barbershop 2 and kept many of the same characters but slightly changed their names or appearances.
The 30-min Showtime series aired for 10 episodes from August to October 2005. Even though they attempted to keep the comedy while focusing on more serious issues in the city of Chicago, they just couldn't make it work for a second season.
For seven episodes back in 1997, Arsenio Hall and Vivica A. Fox played a married couple living in Atlanta. Hall was Michael Atwood, a sports show host while his wife Vivian worked as a lawyer. The wife's younger brother lived with the couple as he tried to figure out life after graduating from Harvard.
Ratings for the show were lackluster at best, but this wouldn't be the last time Hall or Fox appeared on our TV screens.