Year in Review
Worst Tv Decisions 2016

2016 in Review: 10 Dumb Things TV Did

What were they thinking?

TVLine readers have wondered (or ALL-CAPS SHOUTED) that more than a few times over the past year, as the well-paid people who fit TV shows into the boxes in our den occasionally make decisions that are, to put it politely, dubious.

We are not talking here about cancellations; that’s low-hanging fruit, well-discussed in dozens of other places on this site. Rather, TVLine has rounded up other kinds of missteps, from highly questionable cast cuts to head-scratching pilot orders to moves that could be described as morally misguided.

Check out the gallery at right (or click here for direct access) and then hit the Comments with your own picks for 2016’s dumbest decisions.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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71 Comments
  1. KT says:

    I would have loved to be present in whatever board room that the Oliver Twist show was presented in. That have to have been an awesome pitch.

  2. mooshki says:

    I didn’t even care much for Beckett (thought she was the weak part of the show) and even I knew it was an epically bad idea to remove her from the show. When shows betray the fans in their finales, they drastically cut their future earnings from dvds and reruns.

    • DA says:

      seriously? she was clearly the best part of the show. Fillion has nothing on her.

    • Grey says:

      I never cared about Castle and his dumb down attitude. The show could have lasted two more seasons with just Beckett and the 12th precinct.

      • mooshki says:

        As a formulaic cop show. We already have plenty of Law & Order clones.

      • Grey says:

        Just so y’all know, my handle is also “Grey” but I’m not the Grey that wrote the above comment.

        However, I was a HUGE fan of the show and was totally pissed at what TPTB tried to do. The whole show was based around the love story of the two leads! Hello! ???? Just a totally stupid decision especially since Fillion’s performance of Castle was getting more and more juvenile. Kate Beckett grew as a person while Richard Castle devolved. What a waste *and* don’t think for one minute that Fillion didn’t have a say in Katic getting fired.

        • PatriciaLee says:

          The husband had been griping, for two years that Castle was just hanging around being made a dofus. We understood it was the writing. He wasn’t the one coming up with the clever solutions, any more. For me, the show lost it when they killed off Captain Montgomery. We could have gotten into a Castle ala Colombo style, though.

  3. ….. Eversince ABC let Stana Katic go, NOT & will never watch any ABC show again!!!
    That’s how l feel & do ….

  4. Jason says:

    Honestly, The lexa thing was not that big of a deal. it was a bunch of rampant teenager girls that went crazy, the media picked up on it turned it hate story based on sexuality and made it a lot bigger than it ever really was

    • Nathan Everett says:

      THANK YOU👏👏👏

    • Thithya says:

      Couldn’t have said it better. Thank you!

      • Ally Oop says:

        Agreed! Lexa was an okay character but her death was not devastating.

        • Andrea says:

          You are all SO wrong. You are probably too old for the 100, or never watched it or aren’t even fans at all, typical. Anyway you clearly can’t appreciate Lexa for what she was, a true role model for young women and the LGBT community . That right there should be NUMBER 1 on the list of stupid moves made in a tv show, she is missed terribly to this day. I only hope that in one of these episodes, she makes a well anticipated return. Best character EVER. Take that you heartless, rampant Lexa haters.

          • Ally Oop says:

            Lol, I am not a Lexa hater. I actually really liked her. The character served a purpose for the storyline. but her story arc ended with her death. The story could not have played out the way it if she lived. Her death was necessary for the story.

    • Alex says:

      You’re obviously just jealous because of the media attention Lexa and the 100 got over your own favorite character and or show. And now you come here to complain about her. So tragic are you folks.

  5. Kevin says:

    Totally agree on a lot of dumb things TV did this year. In my opinion, The Price is Right needs to end because it may have been the worst decision ever by CBS Daytime if it wasn’t to get renewed and they have no idea on when it will be put into retirement.

    • maregolden says:

      I really worry about your obsession with The Price is Right. What is your problem with that show?

      • Kevin says:

        Drew Carey is a poor man’s Bob Barker and Mike Richards the executive producer of the show comes up with the dumbest and lamest ideas ever. They should have ended it since Barker retired back in 2007 and my main problem is when Carey took over as host, it turns into a freak show because of Mr. Richards’ new direction or maybe Price became so GAY if only GLAAD should file a lawsuit against the show’s creative issues. My million dollar question if you people don’t believe me: when will Price is Right ever going to end? BTW, don’t talk about my “obsession” with TPIR ever again.

  6. Jason says:

    The Castle situation will go down as one of the all time great network blunders. It’s a terrific example of how oblivious they can be to a show’s relationship with it’s fans.

    • dman6015 says:

      Fans? Who the hell in Tinseltown cares about fans? They only care about money. If a show isn’t making it, they just cancel and throw the next batch against the wall. Something is bound to stick, right?

      • Beckstle says:

        That’s how you treat a new show. However, when you have a cash cow like Castle, you should care about fans. They needed to do one thing to keep that show profitable – keep Castle and Beckett together. This was not rocket science, Instead they blew up their wedding, sidelined Beckett, split them up personally and professionally, and ultimately fired Katic. The Castle screw-up is one for the record books.

        • T says:

          The original showrunner started the show’s decline in season 5. Stories became formulaic; continuity was thrown out the window; character development stalled then regressed. Season 8 was a mess and then the series imploded. Firing Stana and Tamala was the final insult to the entertaining show that existed in its earlier days. I’m still waiting for the true story of how the studio, network, showrunner(s) and suspected actor BTS drama conspired to destroy an enjoyable show. The final chapter to that story would be an explanation of why anyone thought that Castle should go on without Beckett.

          • Grey says:

            Well said “T.”

          • Beckstle says:

            I agree that something was going on. Season five was the most popular, but Marlowe seemed to have some restrictions going on that in retrospect may not have been his idea. The problems in 5 hit near the end of the season. I wasn’t sure if was ABC throwing an extra episode into the mix or if something else happened that forced some changes. I would say that right after the 100th episode something starts to shift. Honestly, I don’t think it was the showrunner because he was set on doing a love story and something leaning towards a Nick and Nora partnership. There was some kind of power struggle going on over there – and Marlowe ultimately lost. Don’t know if we’ll ever get that true story though.

        • Christina says:

          Couldn’t agree more!

        • flipper says:

          By far the firing of Katic was one of the worst moves Dungey ( Paul Lee) replacement did. I wish she would have spent a little more time wondering why the rating fell so far so fast. She might have found that the two show runners of season 8 just did no care about what the fans wanted, they knew they had a bad story line and refused to change it, as they all sat around laughing at the fans (have they gotten over it yet, the splitting up of Rick and Kate. So out of touch with the fans were these two show runners. The bigger problem was Dungey and her boss Ben Sherwood just let it happen, maybe if they cared a little we would of had a proper ending. But if you go back to the very ending of season7, 8 started out with all kinds of fake news about what was going on. So why would we want to start watching something news, like it a lot them just have the rug pulled by ABC bosses, with no real reason why.

          • Notdisappointed says:

            I think you’ll find that Dungey wasn’t responsible for the decision to try and do a S9 without Stana, that was down to ABC Studios who made the show. Dungey was responsible for what actually aired on ABC Network, and despite ABC Studios best efforts she decided she didn’t want a Beckettless S9 Castle. She may well have cancelled the show even if Stana’s contract had been renewed like the others, I guess we’ll never know for sure.

          • georgee says:

            Notdisappointed who does ABC Studios report to? It sounds like they report to no one. Are they two people that were responsible for the train wreck of the story line of season 8? Did they know at the beginning of season 8 that they wanted Kates role to end? If so Why didn’t they tell the fans up front? I know Hawley one of the show runners wanted to put his stamp on the show, he did that CANCELED. We had a bad story line from the beginning and the two show runners refused it change it. Mr Paul lee asked in Feb 2016 to step down because of poor ratings and in comes Ms Dungey to put that fire out. Back at the ranch someone was working on a new contract for season 9 with Mr. Fillion, not Katic just Fillion. Season 8 bad story line continues on. On April 1st Mr Fillion signs a new contract for season 9,Did Dungey know about this and ok it? A somewhere around April Katic and Jones get fired because of budget problems, again did Dungey know about that and ok it? Now we have a major uproar from the fans, who could not see a Kate less Castle. At that point Ms. Dungey comes racing back in puts that fire out by canceling the show. Was the budget problems fake news? Now for the other show runner Mr Winter he just wanted to start season 9 with a clean slate, no katic or Jones. Still missing a player Mr Ben Sherwood president of ABC Tv operations. he must have been on the mushroom farm and left in the dark. If I was on the board of directors of ABC, I would have asked three questions 1. Why did the ratings on Castle fall so fast and hard? 2. Why did the show runners fire Katic? 3. If a budget problem was behind all this, why do we still have Mr Paul Lees old job and Ms. Dungey new job, it would save a lot of money by just hiring a fire dept to put out all the fires that they had no clue about. Going back to the question who does ABC Studios report to?

          • Beckstle says:

            She didn’t fire Katic. That move came from something cooked up by ABC Studios – which is separate from the network. Paul Lee and Ben Sherwood are the two persons to look at in terms of what happened. By the time Dungey got there that deal was already in play. She had no say in the storylines that were put together and the show’s direction. Lee did. The cost-cutting call came from Sherwood, but Lee was the one most responsible to how ABC Studios would do it.

  7. Pia says:

    As a purported journalism website, you should definitely know that it’s “lede.” And how to use it.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      If you read the entire caption, the joke (Penny Dreadful‘s creator figuratively and then literally burying the lead) doesn’t quite work if you “misspell” “lead” on first mention. But thanks for keeping us honest, “Pia”! —Mgmt.

    • RachelA says:

      Yeah, except Eva Green is the LEAD of the show. Either way it was going to be ‘wrong’ from one direction because the whole joke operates on a homophone of two differently spelled words that mean different things but sound the same. Calling Eva Green the “lede” of Penny Dreadful would have also been grammatically incorrect.

  8. Megara says:

    Firing Bonnie Somerville and Raza Jaffrey from Code Black was #1 for me. I still have no idea what they possibly could have been thinking.

    • Alrisha says:

      Right? And they never mentioned or said anything about they been gone. If like they never existed.

    • Iris says:

      They weren’t thinking of improving the quality of the show, that’s for sure. The routinely fractional ratinsg aren’t even the most embarrassing about this season from the little I read about the plots and writing. Such a dumb move indeed, and such a pity.

  9. c-mo says:

    I still miss Castle…the seasons 1-7 Castle (really mostly 1-4). While I would have watched a Beckett-less/Lainie-less Casle, I know I would have really missed Beckett…never really enjoyed Lainie, I much preferred Perlmutter.

    • grazelled says:

      I’ve been recording Castle running late night weekends and was just wondering last night how in the world did they mess up such a good show. Even the last 2 seasons are better than any other show ABC has tried on Mondays.

  10. kmw says:

    Right on with everything especially Castle. While I still believe letting her go was a huge mistake, I have a feeling even without her Castle would be doing better than half their dramas they have right now. However it was still just plain dumb. Look at all the shows that rely on chemistry between two leads and then imagine those show going forward without one of them and you wouldn’t have the same show at all. ABC may have saved money by cancelling Castle but boy they weren’t able to replace it with anything viable

  11. RD says:

    You forgot the horribly-truncated last season of American Idol,which took all the ‘learning to grow with the contestants’ out of it and made it feel decidedly cheapened as result.

  12. Dante says:

    Sorry, but getting rid of Bryan Fuller on ST: Discovery wasn’t all that bad. His shows don’t have the best track record of sticking around for long. Not to mention that he can’t handle the responsibilities of two shows at once.

  13. I am shocked NCIS is not on here

    • grazelled says:

      Which part? Michael Weatherly left on his own. Adding the other agents or killing Ziva off screen and giving Tony a daughter as the reason for him to leave.

      • A lot of fans were pissed that they gave Tony a kid and didn’t use the story he wanted to take a break from NCIS with the story they use there no way for Tony to come back which led many to believe he was fried

        • grazelled says:

          I never heard any rumors about MW being fired. They gave him his own show following NCIS and an ending that can have him come back whenever he wants. It would be great to know where to find out about the story MW wanted for Tony’s exit. I think they made it too much about Ziva but the little girl and Sr. were cute.

  14. Jami says:

    OMG Lexa, please the only viewers who were mislead that Lexa was going to be in all of Season 3 of The 100 are delusional. JR said he was lucky AMC allowed her to do several episodes. I remember he said maybe 7 episodes. I loved Lexa and Clarke, but knew she was gong to bite the dust. JR gave us a beautiful love story and the fans of Lexa went crazy. Yes she was fan favorite, a guest star. Man the show is awesome. Season 4 looks incredible.

    • Andrea says:

      It does and season 4 looks amazing, I still love the 100. But lets face it Lexa was out of this world and FTWD is just plain crap. Sorry but it was a bad choice in the end, no question.

  15. Kris says:

    The “in-development” Oliver Twist show sounds about as good as The Emoji Movie looks…… FLOP

  16. Gina Bartolomucci says:

    Hello, TVLine….did you forget the worst decision of all….TNT canceling Rizzoli & Isles?
    The fans are still wrestling with that genius move!!!!

  17. tigersmurfette says:

    the whole criminal minds bts debacle?

    • The Rookie says:

      That’s a Human Resources issue, not an entertainment or creative based decision. And the whole ratings down situation does not consider that after season 7, all seasons had a ratings decline from 10-15%. But Horch fans do not understand reason. Sad for them CM is going to be renewed for season 13. Fans get 22 fresh eps this and next season while they get none, zero, nada.

  18. Maria says:

    The look on Stana’s face in that photo pretty much sums it up.

  19. militantgod says:

    I don’t really get why they’re calling out The Man in the High Castle when most people seem to like it more the first season (which wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination). Having no showrunner isn’t ideal but what they did to finish the season out wasn’t horrible. You can’t blame them for ousting a guy who was living in another continent and putting more effort into another show.

  20. Claire says:

    Castle died when the two main actors stopped being friendly (for whatever reason that was. Rumor says a bad break up) ABC blew it big time when they tried to fire Stana and that ruined the “new” Castle they wanted to create but I had no interest in that show. That is where ABC blew it. Having 2 actors refuse to be in the same room kind of ruins a love story.

    The show was not stale. It really took off when they got together.

  21. Mari says:

    It’s sad what happened to Castle and it’s not all ABC’s fault. The main actors didn’t want to work together. So, they tried to make it work by splitting them apart. Then they fired stana to give nathan his own show but the problem was the premise was about the both of them hence game over.

  22. taylorrness says:

    still/forever bitter about Penny Dreadful and the treatment of its characters in that last season. one of my most favorite shows of all time and yet the ending has made it almost impossible for me to recommend the series to people. sigh. LONG LIVE VANESSA IVES

  23. Sade says:

    Can we tall about Fox killing oftheir female lead Abbie Mills on Sleepy Hollow and then renewing the show and moving it out of Sleepy Hollow all together?

    I’ve never seen a show so oblivious to what made a show work in the first place. I love Tom Mison but I hope the renewed season crashes and burns like it deserves.

    • dave2442 says:

      Nicole Beharie wanted off of the show. Whether the character was killed off, moved to Cleveland, or whatever else, she was not going to be returning. Did you want them to take a page from Bewitched and give us “New Abby” played by a different actress?

  24. Mary Miller says:

    The absolute WORST decision was TNT cancelling Rizzoli and Isles. That show was TNT’s number 1 show for the entire 7 years it aired. It was coming in 2nd and 3rd in ratings of all cable TV shows, only being beaten by Game of Thrones. The actresses would have continued. It absolutely made no sense. Every new “more edgy” show they introduced since has failed miserably. I hope TNT also fails miserably after this horrendous decision.

  25. Bianca says:

    It makes me sad that ABC finish my favorite show CASTLE the way they did. WFT they were thinking ? But at least I have my dvds and so I can rewatch it anytime and forget this dumb move.

  26. Ally Oop says:

    I’m going to add the decision of Quantico’s writing team to essentially recycle Season 1’s stories and flashforward format. Worst sophomore slump.

  27. georgee says:

    Yes it was dumb firing Katic. I feel Castle should of ended at the end of season 6 using the story line of Driving Heat. But seven 7 had some really good episodes in it, and we still had lots of fans. Season 8 was just a train wreck. Mr Ben Sherwood ( President of ABC TV) should of just had the story line redone, but didn’t, either he liked it or just did not care. This year 2016 we all had major things going on, one was a big election. For many the wrong person won, so we have a group of celebrities boycotting the inauguration of the next president of these United States because they are mad. And on a smaller scale we have many fans of Castle as mad as hell on the poor ending of a loved show. Mr Sherwood I do not care if Fillion was a bully or Katic was a diva, as president of ABC magic kingdom of tv how would you feel if all the fans of Castle just boycotted ABC Tv, because of the poor ending .If you would have worked a little magic and gave the show a shortened (like in season 1 10 episode) proper ending, fans would be happy. You sir need to do that, or this will never end, or gives us the real reason for firing Katic. That sir is part of your job, you have ran out excuses for the two jv show runners and the bad story line for season 8 and the 30 second ending. You all have a Merry Christmas.