Over 80 of the Biggest TV Show Flops, Bombs and Misses for the Second Half of 2023

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In the first part of my 2023 recap, covering the film flops from the second half of the year, I had two major strategic takeaways: 

  • Send (most) films to theaters! 
  • Dual-cast made-for-TV movies on multiple channels.

Most of you probably knew those takeaways already, since I wrote a whole series on the first point and I mention dual-casting in the Streaming Ratings Reports all the time. (To be fair, I had a number of other, smaller insights sprinkled throughout that article.) 

But today’s post has some genuine surprises in it.

Looking at all of the TV shows that flopped, bombed or just missed since 1-Jul, even I discovered a bunch of new things. Which is good! That’s exactly why I do this, to analyze the data and glean insights from it. And it’s why I try to keep an open mind until I do this.

To start with one larger point, the number of TV shows that flopped is much smaller than the first half of the year, dropping by nearly 30 or so misses. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, because there’s a couple of factors at play:

  • The strikes, obviously, which slowed down TV show production, forcing the streamers to stretch out their release calendars to account for a bunch of now-delayed series.
  • A general pullback in TV production, as the streamers focus on profitability.
  • A decline in big budget and expensive shows in general. (Remember, budgets matter.)

This might not be that surprising, but it is confirmation of something many people expected to happen. This isn’t to say that the streaming bubble has fully popped yet—Apple TV+ still exists—but more and more, the streamers are starting to resemble the broadcast channels of old, in a good way. (A good way from a business perspective; it’s definitely upsetting critics.)

Before we dive in, check out Wednesday’s article on the film flops to find my definitions of what constitutes a “flop”, “bomb” or a “miss”. And check out the bottom of that article to find my methodology for compiling these lists.  

In short, this list is…

…scripted and unscripted TV shows,
…from the eight major streamers,
…in the US (using US-only ratings),
…excluding true crime, kids shows, and foreign-language TV shows,
…that got bad ratings. 

What constitutes bad ratings? Basically, did a movie or TV show either have low viewership overall, low viewership relative to the size of their streamer or, most importantly, low viewership relative to a TV show’s budget? If the answer is “Yes”, that show is a flop, bomb or a miss. 

Frankly, the longer I do this, the more useful this list becomes. In the last two years, these bi-annual lists have predicted TV show cancellations fairly well, and it’s only getting more accurate. There will always be exceptions, but most shows with poor ratings don’t make it to a third season or beyond. (Eighteen shows, below, are on season three or more, but five have been cancelled already, another three already had more than three seasons when they came to streaming, and a few more come from other countries.)

Looking at this list, I’ll mention a couple of times the “hit rate” for some of the streamers, but I’m going to do a more rigorous analysis (calculating how many shows were “hits” out of total shows made) later on in this month. Today, I can only figure it out for the lower volume streamers, so to speak.

Finally, I didn’t mention it yesterday, so I’ll say it today: please subscribe! Compiling this list (not to mention figuring out which TV shows hit the WGA’s success-based residual threshold) requires a lot of time-consuming work. I can only put in this time (delivering over 8,000 words of content) due to my paid subscribers.

Okay, with all that out of the way, on to the list!


  • Animals Up Close With Bertie Gregory
  • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Season 4)

Honorable Mentions: Behind the Attraction, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire

Compiling Disney+’s flops and misses for Q3 and Q4, I had this realization:

Holy crap, Disney+ had a great second half of the year. 

You probably didn’t realize that either, did you? Believe me, I wasn’t expecting this, since shows like Loki and Ahsoka definitely underperformed compared to other MCU and Star Wars shows. But if you look at it in terms of hit rate, Disney quietly had way fewer misses than in past years:

Almost every show Disney+ put out made the charts. That’s really, really impressive. When I mentioned that I had found some really intriguing insights, this is what I was talking about. True, this doesn’t list include kids shows (which outside of a few hits shows rarely make the charts, but also Disney+ has one of those shows: Bluey) and three-or-so foreign TV shows, but Disney+’s overall performance is still really, really good. 

(Now, lest you think Bob Iger has turned around the Disney Corporation ship, stay tuned for the opposite example later in this article…)

Winner: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series wins/loses by default, but as I’ve written before, I don’t mind this swing, depending on the budget. Maybe I’m pulling my punches a bit, but High School Musical: The Musical: The Series made it to four seasons. Normally, I’m skeptical about saying “This show must be a hit because it made it to season two or three” but I’m not sure that applies to a fourth season. I also expect it had a “Disney Channel budget” so to speak, which could easily be the difference between a hit and a miss.


  • Colin From Accounts
  • Frasier
  • The Gold
  • Ink Master (Season 15)
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks (Season 4)

Honorable Mentions: 72 Seconds in Rittenhouse Square, The Billion Dollar Goal, Born in Synanon, Colin From Accounts, De La Calle, FBI True, Football Must Go On, Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too?, I Wanna Rock: The ‘80s Metal Dream, Never Seen Again, Willie Nelson & Family

This was a weird quarter for Paramount+. Not great, but not horrible either. In 2023, their hits were still mostly Star Trek spinoffs and TV shows from Tyler Sheridan, and I doubt that changes any time soon. The Gold (starring a bunch of fun UK actors) failed to resonate. Ink Master made it on TV Time for one week after its finale aired, and Star Trek: Lower Decks spent eight weeks on the TV Time charts.

Winner: Frasier

Paramount+ did have one big miss and that miss was Frasier. If any IP should have name recognition, it’s Frasier. I’m a big fan of the dual-cast strategy, but only about 2.2 million people actually tuned in to watch Frasier when the premiere episode aired on CBS, which isn’t that good either. Maybe people just didn’t want this reboot in general?

Also, even thought I’m constantly pushing more streamers to embrace (some) traditional sitcoms, this is definitely a data point in the opposite direction. (Of course, Young Sheldon is doing terrifically on Netflix right now and might get a spinoff…)


  • The Continental
  • Killing It (Season 2)
  • Love Island Games
  • Love Island USA (Season 5)
  • Paris in Love (Season 2)
  • Wolf Like Me (Season 2)

Honorable Mentions: Hart to Heart, House of Kardashian, John Carpenters Suburban Screams, The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip

This wasn’t a great quarter for Peacock. Their “hits” (like Twisted Metal for TV or Genie for films) weren’t all that big, but some of their flops (if not outright bombs, “bomb” being defined as an expensive flop) don’t seem cheap, like The Continental, Killing It and Wolf Like Me. 

Also, Peacock’s bet on Love Island doesn’t appear to be paying off (yet), but two points: 1. What sort of ratings would this show (or any nearly daily reality “soap opera” like this) get on Netflix? My guess: it’d get solid ratings and tons of engagement. 2. At risk of repeating myself, I’d dual-cast almost all of these shows on NBC or another cable channel. 

We’re just getting started, but the rest of this article is for paid subscribers of the Entertainment Strategy Guy, so If you’d like to find out…

  •  …all of the film flops and misses for Max, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Hulu and Netflix…
  • What social media stars can’t get more than .001% of their followers to watch their show…
  • What streamer had the most misses, and why that might not matter…
  • How many buzzy showrunners had TV shows that flopped…

please subscribe! We can only keep doing this great work with your support.

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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