10. SKATING WITH CELEBRITIES (Fox, 2006)
Exemplifying the TV industry’s regrettable tendency toward ”me too” reality knockoffs, Skating was Dancing With the Stars plus ice — and minus any entertainment value. And now there really is a Skating With the Stars, which turns out to not be so bad.
9. BOY MEETS BOY (Bravo, 2003)
The first same-sex dating show could’ve been groundbreaking TV. Instead, viewers watched gay bachelor James Getzlaff romance 15 men; unbeknownst to him, almost half of them were just pretending to be gay. Cruel, offensive, and worst of all, boring.
8. KILL REALITY (E!, 2005)
When a bunch of fame-craving ex?reality stars got together to film a horror movie (and a series about filming said movie), two sets of cameras made them act twice as infantile: Survivor‘s Jonny Fairplay was asked to leave the show for defecating in a Bachelor castoff’s bed. The tribe has upchucked.
7. CHEATERS (Syndicated, 2000-present)
The concept: Catch suspected cheaters in the act. The execution: As tasteless as it sounds. Lowlight: Host Joey Greco getting stabbed by a cheater.
6. DANCING WITH THE STARS and AMERICAN IDOL results shows (DWTS: ABC, 2005-present; AI: Fox, 2002-present)
Their monster performance episodes go down easy; it’s the bloated follow-up hours of product-placement filler and endless zoom-ins on the fate-awaiting contestants that are unbearable. Thank you, TV gods, for the DVR.
5. THE ANNA NICOLE SHOW (E!, 2002-03)
The sneering tagline said it all: ”It’s not supposed to be funny. It just is.” But nothing’s remotely comical about the exploitation of an obviously troubled woman, whose slurred words and unsteady gait were played for laughs — and who died of an overdose four years later.
4. WHO WANTS TO MARRY A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE? (Fox, 2000)
Thank this two-hour special for the advent of reality TV nuptials. The importance of thorough background checks, though, was its more critical legacy: Not only was groom Rick Rockwell’s net worth questioned, it was also discovered that he had a restraining order against him. No wonder bride Darva Conger annulled the union in less than two weeks.
3. ARE YOU HOT?: THE SEARCH FOR AMERICA’S SEXIEST PEOPLE (ABC, 2003)
The ugly, short-lived series marked the first (and last) time that Lorenzo Lamas — the crude laser-pointing judge — was considered an ”expert” in anything.
2. BRITNEY AND KEVIN: CHAOTIC (UPN, 2005)
Britney began her intimate look at the great American love story that was Federspears by asking ”Can you handle my truth?” The ”truth” turned out to be a blandly narcissistic collage of home videos, in which Britney often raved about the duo’s great sex life. TMI, y’all.
1. THE SWAN (Fox, 2004)
What was missing from 2004’s already creepy plastic-surgery show Extreme Makeover? A pageant element, of course! After all, what good is watching a sad woman with a warped sense of self nip and tuck her face and body into oblivion if the results aren’t compared and judged before a national audience?