The TV Show That Was So Bad It Was Cancelled During the First Commercial

Even bad television shows normally get to air a few episodes before network executives pull the plug and put them out of their misery by cancelling them. However, one night in February 1969, Turn-On made television history by being cancelled during its first episode. In fact, it didn’t come back after the first commercial. Instead, ABC aired a movie, filling the time slot for the rest of the season with a revival of The King Family Show, a musical variety show featuring the big band-era vocal group The King Sisters. Turn-On began as the next project from the producers of the wildly popular Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Like Laugh-In, Turn-On was a sketch comedy series. However, the skits were performed without any sets, there was no laugh track, and the jokes focused mostly on risqué sexual innuendos, something that was not accepted by audiences at that time. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the Turn-On disaster was that it happened at all. Today, getting on broadcast television is one of the more difficult feats in Hollywood, with networks putting shows through the pilot stage, test screenings, and finally series orders. People are still wondering today how Turn-On got through that many stages before airing.