Was it a flop or a hit?

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

If you're an average American, you spend about four hours each day watching TV. That amounts to 13 years over the course of a typical lifetime. How much can you tell us about television's greatest hits and flops?

Which pair of shows are the longest-running dramas in TV history?

Both "Law and Order" and "Gunsmoke" ran for an astonishing 20 TV seasons, making them the longest-lived TV dramas ever.

Advertisement

How long did the CBS detective series flop "South of Sunset" last?

"South of Sunset," which starred rock star Glen Frey, was cancelled after just a single episode in 1993.

Advertisement

Was "Baywatch Nights" a hit or a flop?

"Baywatch Nights," a spinoff of the wildly popular "Baywatch," was cancelled in its second season in 1997. The lifeguard portrayed by David Hasselhoff originally moonlighted as a detective, but his character inexplicably stopped solving crimes and began investigating supernatural incidents.

Advertisement

Real-life policemen say this hit TV cop show was the most realistic of the bunch.

The hit comedy "Barney Miller," which starred Hal Linden as a police captain who supervised a group of idiosyncratic detectives, aired from 1974 to 1982. Unlike most other cop shows, all the action took place in the squad room.

Advertisement

Was the TV show "Charlie's Angels" a hit or a flop?

The original "Charlie's Angels" aired from 1976 to 1981, but the 2011 remake was cancelled after just 7 episodes.

Advertisement

Which of these spinoff series was a hit in its first season but flopped in its second?

"AfterMASH," a 1983 spinoff of "M*A*S*H" in which several of the characters reunited after the Korean War to work in a Veterans Administration hospital, ranked 10th in the ratings after season one. Then it was moved opposite "The A-Team," plummeted in the ratings and was canceled after nine episodes in season two.

Advertisement

Before the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of "Dallas," what was the most-watched TV series episode?

"The Fugitive," which aired from 1963 to 1967, was loosely based upon the real-life case of a Cleveland physician wrongly accused of his wife's murder. The series' final episode in 1967 was watched by nearly half of U.S. households.

Advertisement

Was "The Green Hornet" a hit or a flop?

"The Green Hornet" lasted just one season in 1966-1967. The show's big claim to fame is that it spawned the movie career of martial arts star Bruce Lee, who played the main character's chauffeur.

Advertisement

Which of these shows was a critically acclaimed ratings flop?

"Terriers," a detective comedy-drama created by producer Ted Griffin ("The Shield"), was hailed by critics but lasted just a single 13-episode season on FX in 2010.

Advertisement

Was "Lou Grant" a hit or a flop?

"Lou Grant," a spinoff of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," was a hit that ran from 1977 to 1982. It was unusual in that it was a serious hour-long drama spawned by a 30-minute comedy.

Advertisement

Which of these TV flops was seen as an effort to capitalize on the hit "Mad Men"?

"The Playboy Club," which lasted just 7 episodes in 2011, was seen by critics as an effort to capitalize on the early 1960s ambiance of "Mad Men."

Advertisement

Which of these shows was a flop on network TV before becoming a hit in syndication?

"Baywatch" originally aired on NBC for one season and was cancelled for low ratings. A year later, it was revived for first-run syndication and ran a further 10 years.

Advertisement

Which of these hit series spawned the equally big hit "Frasier"?

"Cheers," which aired for 11 seasons, spawned "Frasier," which also lasted for 11 seasons.

Advertisement

Which hit U.S. TV series was based on an earlier British version?

"The Office," which aired for nine seasons in the U.S., was based on a much shorter-lived British sitcom. There was a U.S. version of "Prime Suspect" but it only lasted one season.

Advertisement

Which hit TV series spawned two spinoff flops?

"Law & Order," which aired for 20 seasons, spawned the single-season flops "Law & Order: Los Angeles" and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury." It also spawned the 10-season "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: SVU," which has been on air since 1999.

Advertisement

This show, a moderate hit on network television, moved to cable and its first episode there became the highest rated ad-supported sitcom in cable history. What was it?

"The Game" ran for three seasons on the CW before moving to BET. The first episode of its fourth season in 2011 pulled in a record-breaking 7.7 million viewers.

Advertisement

Where did "Cheers" place in ratings its first season?

"Cheers" was nearly cancelled its first season when it placed 74th out of 77 shows. Critical acclaim and personal support from NBC president Brandon Tartikoff kept it on the air. During season 2, it started to find an audience, eventually finishing eight of its 11 seasons in the top ten.

Advertisement

This spin-off was a much bigger hit than its original show.

The long-running cartoon "The Simpsons" (on air since 1989) was originally a short on Fox's "The Tracy Ullman Show," which ran from 1987 to 1990.

Advertisement

Was "Touched by an Angel" a hit or a flop?

"Touched by an Angel" aired for nine seasons, from 1994 to 2003. It starred Roma Downey and Della Reese as angels sent by God to help people.

Advertisement

Some TV shows have become so engrained in our consciousness we forget they were not a big hit when they first came out. Which of these fits that bill?

The original "Star Trek" lasted three seasons from 1966 to 1969, even though it only garnered mediocre ratings. It survived so long in part because youthful sci-fi fans staged a letter-writing campaign to NBC, insisting that the show be allowed to continue. But "Star Trek" went on to build a larger following in syndicated repeats, and eventually spawned a slew of hit TV spinoffs and movies.

Advertisement

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes