James Hibberd
January 09, 2013 AT 04:35 PM EST

Joking with reporters is always a risky venture. At Fox’s Tuesdays press junket, the network’s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly was huddled with a gaggle of writers after his executive session and candidly referenced “stumbling out of the gate” with the ill-fated fall drama The Mob Doctor. He then quipped, “which, by the way, was the worst title in the history of the world.”

Sure enough, that quote popped up in online reports yesterday. And make no mistake — The Mob Doctor was a stinker title (though after the upfronts last year, we actually thought CBS’ upcoming drama Golden Boy was a tad worse — it sounds like a watersports fetish video instead of a cop drama). And neither of those are as as bad as what Fox originally titled The Mindy Project (that would be It’s Messy — perfect for a show about an OB-GYN!).

But I’ll defend The Mob Doctor (a little bit), because at least you knew what the show was about. Exactly and precisely what the show was about, but it was clear. Unlike, say, CBS’ short-lived Three Rivers or ABC’s GCB. The problem with the title The Mob Doctor was it made a deadly sober drama tough to take seriously.

Here’s a few others that were worse: ABC’s Emily’s Reasons Why Not, CBS’ Love Monkey, ABC’s Dot Comedy (seriously, this happened, one episode aired) and FX’s Testees.

Then there’s my all-time favorite: UPN’s 1999 one-season treasure Shasta McNasty. But that title flies so far into the airless regions of awfulness that it loops around to the other side to become sort of wonderful in its own way.

And though we’re picking on shows that were losers here, let’s face it: If ABC’s Cougar Town had flopped out of the gate like The Mob Doctor, you know that would be on worst title lists too. Which just goes to show that a little success can make any title sound a whole lot better.

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