TV Article

A Sporting Chance?

Low ratings on the scoreboard -- TV sports dramas have a history of quick cancellations

CLUBHOUSE
CBS, 2004
Our wide-eyed teen protagonist becomes a batboy for a New York pro baseball team and is befriended by star infielder Conrad Dean, played by...Dean Cain! Despite the name game, the show aired only five times before being picked off the schedule.

PLAYMAKERS
ESPN, 2003
An unflinching look at a fictional pro football team, complete with sex, drugs, and homophobia. ESPN benched the critically acclaimed show after a single season when the NFL (a broadcast partner of the network) expressed displeasure with those edgy story lines.

AGAINST THE GRAIN
NBC, 1993
NBC has experience with earnest family dramas about high school football in small-town Texas: This series starred Ben Affleck as a QB whose coach dad is granted one season to turn around the team. NBC granted even less, pulling the show after eight episodes.

BAY CITY BLUES
NBC, 1983
This blue-collar drama about the striving souls on a minor-league baseball team was sent to the showers after just four episodes, even though Sharon Stone played the wife of a bed-wetting pitcher and Dennis Franz served as one of the coaches.

THE WHITE SHADOW
CBS, 1978
A former NBA player (Ken Howard) takes a coaching gig at a gritty high school in Los Angeles and winds up mentoring his struggling athletes. While Shadow never netted huge numbers, it did last three seasons, perhaps because it featured a dude named Salami.

Originally posted Jan 26, 2007 Published in issue #917 Jan 26, 2007 Order article reprints