Jay Leno and TV’s 10 Most Infamous Failures

Jay Leno
Jay Leno
Jay Leno has made headlines this week due to his jabs at NBC, who have made it obvious that they will give his Tonight Show job to Jimmy Fallon. But that's not his biggest failure: His stint on The Jay Leno Show was one of the most infamous bombs ever, and had him quickly running back to The Tonight Show much to the chagrin of Conan O'Brien. But he's in good company: Here are 10 more notable TV failure
Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien
He toiled away in the Bush League of Late Night for 16 years before finally getting a crack at the big leagues when Jay Leno was set to retire. Too bad the biggest chin in the business just moved to 10 PM, where he destroyed Conan's lead-in and took his loyal audience with him. Now he has his own show on cable which is great and all, but, you know, it's no Tonight Show. {Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photobank/Getty Images}

Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photobank/Getty Images
Brian Dunkleman
Brian Dunkleman
American Idol wasn't the juggernaut it is now when it first debuted, but Brian Dunkleman never got to find out. He was canned as co-host after the first season, leaving Ryan Seacrest to gain all the fame and basically take over Hollywood.{Kevin Winter/ImageDirect/FOX/Getty Images}

by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect/FOX/Getty Images
Debbie Matenopoulos
Debbie Matenopoulos
Barbara Walters plucked this 23-year-old from obscurity and made her the "young one," on the inaugural season of The View. After a few high profile flubs, she was sent right back to obscurity two years later and replaced with Lisa Ling. {WENN}

WENN
Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers
Yes, Joan Rivers had a long-running daytime talk show, but before that, in 1986, she was the first woman given a late-night talk show of her own on Fox, which had just launched. It was a huge flop, it ruined her friendship with Johnny Carson, a gig at The Tonight Show, and, worst of all, her husband. He committed suicide months after Fox forced him out of the show as an executive producer. {Ron Galella/WireImage}

Ron Galella/WireImage
Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
Yes, he gambled once and left SNL after its first year to pursue a successful film career, but he wasn't so lucky twice. After their Joan Rivers debacle, Fox tried to install him as a late-night host in 1993 with The Chevy Chase Show. It was horrible and he was shown the door after five weeks — not to return to TV regularly until Community. {Everett Collection}

Everett Collection
Katie Lee Joel
Katie Lee Joel
The wife of famed musician Billy Joel and a food blogger, she was tapped to host the first season of Top Chef. However, her on camera skills were...well, less than tasty. The show catapulted up in the ratings with Season 2 after she was shown the door and Padma Lakshmi took over. Oh, and Joel broke up with her 2 years later. {Myles Aronowitz/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images}

Myles Aronowitz/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Deborah Norville
Deborah Norville
It's hard to take over for an icon (just ask Ann Curry) so Norville had her work cut out for her when she was promoted from the news desk to replace Jane Pauley on Today in 1990. When the show began losing to Good Morning America Norville was blamed. She left for maternity leave the next year and was told she wouldn't be back on the show. Wow, that's even worse than Ann Curry. {Alan Singer/NBC NewsWire/Getty Image
Alan Singer/NBC NewsWire/Getty Images
Rosie O'Donnell
Rosie O'Donnell
Rosie O'Donnell has the worst luck on all of television. She left her own daytime show at the height of her fame when she could have kept going for years. A stint on The View proved to be a disaster, as was a variety show she did for NBC and another talk show on Oprah's OWN cable channel. She's currently in a craft room somewhere writing haikus about her feelings. {OWN}

OWN
Angelina Pivarnick
Angelina Pivarnick
The only reality star on the list, Angelina made the fatal flaw of bowing out of Jersey Shore in the first season when no one, including MTV, thought it would be a gigantic hit. She came back for Season 2, but no one wanted her by then. One bad decision has cost her millions. {MTV}

MTV
Everyone on 'The X Factor'
Everyone on 'The X Factor'
Oh, Simon Cowell is so heartless. Not only did he can Paula Abdul after one season of his singing competition didn't go well, he also gave the axe to dreamy host Steve Jones. Worst of all though is Cheryl Cole, who hosted in the UK and was tapped to make the move across the pond but was dropped when producers were afraid Americans couldn't handle her accent. {Erik Pendzich/Rex USA}

Erik Pendzich/Rex USA
After getting his master's degree in poetry, Senior Writer Brian Moylan started writing about television and pop culture for Gawker, The Guardian, The Washington Blade and a few other reputable publications. Brian has an honorary PhD in “Jersey Shore” studies from the University of Chicago. He's shared his often hilarious views about the tube on VH1, MSNBC, TV Guide Channel, MTV (Canada), BBC radio, and NPR. He can usually be found at his apartment in New York yelling at the TV and dodging calls from Real Housewives. He is a Taurus and likes long walks on the beach, fried chicken, and almost every reality television program ever created (especially “The Swan”).

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