The real reason these Bravo shows were cancelled
What’s the real reason some Bravo shows were cancelled? The world has come a long way since an enterprising young soldier named Alan Funt secretly recorded other soldiers complaining about army life and broadcast it on armed forces radio. And while the program that would later become Candid Camera is largely considered the OG of reality television, we all know the genre didn’t really start until Bravo got involved.
With apologies to MTV’s The Real World, the reality TV onslaught of the 2000s and 2010s was largely driven by the Bravo Network. Over those years, Bravo brought us everything from an inside look at the twisted lives of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, to a magical cadre of gay men fixing the fashions of their taste-impaired straight brethren. And though the reality tide has ebbed a bit over the past few years, we can’t help but wonder why some of our old favorites went kaput. So join us now on this trip back in time to find out why some of Bravo‘s best shows were cancelled.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was cancelled because the stars got too popular
You could make a pretty good case for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as the most culturally influential reality TV show of all time. But despite a 2018 reboot, not everyone remembers the “Fab Five” who ran for only three seasons back in the day. The show was where Jai Rodriquez, Thom Filicia, Ted Allen, and other cast members first found fame — and that fame came so quickly the show couldn’t keep up.
By the time season 3 rolled around, the stars had gone on a publicity tour to the Philippines, and become favorites among the Hollywood elite. According to a Hollywood.com interview with Rodriquez, Filicia had even redesigned Jennifer Lopez’s new house. “It’s only been three years,” Rodriquez said in the interview. “But it feels like so much more due to the overexposure.” He went on to say the cast hadn’t been asked back for 2007, but also said he was working on a new TV show and a movie. “Everyone in the group has big new projects,” he said.
Inside the Actors Studio was cancelled because James Lipton retired
Before Bravo delved headfirst into becoming a reality TV network, it was home to one of the most introspective shows in television history: Inside the Actor’s Studio. Over the show’s 23 years, host and executive producer James Lipton interviewed the biggest names in showbiz in front of the Actors Studio MFA program at Pace University, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. And it became a way for audiences to delve deep into the artistic processes of some of their favorite stars.
Of course, as many do after 23 years in a job, Lipton eventually decided enough was enough and retired in 2018. The show then moved on to Ovation, where a rotating cast of hosts took over. Lipton, for his part, was happy to see his creation live on, albeit in a different form. “It is very gratifying to see the legacy of Inside the Actor’s Studio being carried forward,” he shared in a statement. “Ovation, as a network dedicated to the arts, will continue that tradition with the next seasons of the series.”
Millionaire Matchmaker was cancelled because Patti Stanger wanted to take the show in a different direction
Bravo cancelled Millionaire Matchmaker at the at the height of its popularity, according to Cheatsheet, which confused audiences. To clear things up, host Patti Stanger went on the The Wendy Williams Show years later to explain, claiming her exit, much like the matches she arranged, was not at all about money. “I wanted to do something different,” she told Williams. She added that she and the WEtv president had “fallen in love,” and the direction she wanted to take the show fit better on that network. But that narrative isn’t necessarily gospel.
Shortly before the show was cancelled, Stanger raised the ire of both the Jewish and gay communities after an appearance on Watch What Happens Next. “I’ve had to curb you people,” The Hollywood Reporter chronicled her saying to host Andy Cohen, who is gay, when discussing monogamy and gay men. Cohen responded, “I’m gay, and I’m down with the monogamy.” To which Stanger later responded, “Jewish men lie.”
Though the comments were never directly correlated to the show’s cancellation, her image was never the same.
My Life on the D-List was cancelled because Kathy Griffin wanted to go back to doing stand-up
Ironically, Kathy Griffin’s reality show about being a seldom-recognized celebrity shot her up to, oh, at least the B list. Her show, which ran for six seasons, followed her adventures in Hollywood until Griffin left the show in 2011. Her reason? She wanted to get back to being a comedian. “Reality is great, but I really didn’t set out to be a reality star,” she told People. “So now it’s time to spread my wings and show that I’m a little different than Kate Gosselin.”
Bravo was not the least bit disappointed in Griffin’s decision, signing her to do four stand-up specials after My Life on the D List ended. “We can think of no better way to start 2011 than giving Kathy Griffin…four new stand-up specials in one year,” Andy Cohen said in a statement (via People). The network would go on to give Griffin her own talk show as well, which ran for two seasons according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Rachel Zoe Project was cancelled because the show fired the most popular characters
Whatever happened to Rachel Zoe? When The Rachel Zoe Project ended after five seasons, star Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig told Capitol File Magazine (via Refinery 29) she’d decided it was “time to probably move on.” She added the show had transformed into something other than what she’d intended, saying “I don’t want my personal life on television.” And though a reality TV star saying they don’t want their personal life on TV seems a little like going to Paris and complaining that everyone speaks French, it was, nonetheless, her line on the cancellation.
What she didn’t mention was that the show’s ratings were apparently anemic. Radar Online talked to an unnamed source at the show who said the ratings were “lackluster,” and asserted people just didn’t want to watch Rosenzweig’s shtick anymore. This was mostly because she’d fired the show’s most popular characters, Brad Goreski and Taylor Jacobson. And without the conflict and humor those foils provided, the program could only survive so long on “I die.”
Princesses: Long Island was cancelled because its stereotypes were too much
For a Bravo reality show to reinforce so many negative stereotypes that it ultimately gets cancelled is quite the dubious achievement. But Princesses Long Island managed to do just that, lasting a single season before Bravo announced a new slate of shows in which they were not included. During its brief tenure, the show managed to infuriate many on Long Island, according to Newsday, and even got a U.S. Congressman to write an irate letter to Bravo. Rep. Steve Israel, whose district includes Long Island, told the network “Jews have spent thousands of years trying to dispel stereotypes.”
But as many who are labeled as “offensive” do, the stars of Princesses had a different take. In an interview with Bikini.com, Chanel Omari said, “I think it was so raw, and let’s be real here, the world isn’t always accepting of six Jewish girls from Long Island. They think we’re spoiled brats.”
The ill-fated program lost over 337,000 viewers in its second week, Newsday reported, and after one season Bravo pulled the plug.
Tabatha Takes Over was cancelled because Tabatha Coffey needed a break
Those of us who don’t spend our lives with a lavalier mic strapped to our backs and retaking our morning coffee orders eight times probably will never understand how exhausting reality TV can be. But Tabatha Coffey definitely felt it after five seasons of stepping into hair salons and “taking over” in her version of Bar Rescue for hair stylists. “It was hard,” Coffey told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s a great show to make, but it’s a hard slog to make it.”
But Coffey’s need to take time off wasn’t just about pure burnout. During an interview on Larry King Now, Coffey revealed that she’d never had proper time to mourn after her mother passed away. “It was time to take some time,” she said. “My mother passed away and I went straight back to work, and it was a lot.”
Coffey returned to TV five years later with Relative Success with Tabatha, which according to its Bravo page, has run one season.
Bethenny and Fredrick was cancelled because the stars didn't get along
Sometimes the strengths that make you great are also the weaknesses that cause your downfall. This is true of painfully creative people like Kurt Cobain and Hunter S. Thompson. But it’s also true of reality celebs Bethenny Frankel and Fredrik Elkund, as the two were a seemingly perfect pair to host a show about renovating multi-million dollar homes. But while their massive personalities and strong opinions made for entertaining television, the very-real disagreements also drove them apart. That’s the real reason Bethenny and Fredrik was cancelled.
This, at least, is what was reported by The Cinemaholic, who said Frankel and Elkund’s disagreements often devolved into verbal spats. The outlet also claimed that their differing takes on how to approach a renovation made working together nearly impossible. Elkund gave some insight into how this affected life on the set during an interview with US Weekly, saying, “[Bethenny] tells the truth, she says how it is. It’s a great quality, but very annoying [when] you’re on a television show, [when] you’re being recorded.”
Real Housewives of Miami was cancelled because ratings dropped when Mama Elsa passed away
Miami, with its plastic surgery billboards and hundred thousand cars that, according to Will Smith, everyone has, seems like the ideal setting for a long-running Real Housewives franchise. But the Miami version lasted only three seasons. Andy Cohen revealed why in an Instagram post, saying bad ratings were the real reason Real Housewives of Miami was cancelled. “Like, it went down for the reunion,” he wrote. “If it’s going down toward the end that’s just never a good sign.”
Cohen also cited the illness and ultimate passing of Marisol Patton’s mother — aka Mama Elsa — as a reason the show faltered. Part Queen Mum, part Walter Mercado, Elsa was a dispenser of sage wisdom and spiritualism on the show, and when she left, Real Housewives of Miami was never the same. “It was a big hit,” Cohen continued. “It was…it just ended.”
For her part, Lea Black sees it differently, saying on her YouTube show Lunch with Lea that the show was never meant to be a Real Housewives franchise; it was originally titled Miami Social Club. And when Bravo chose to make it part of the Real Housewives family, “Miami didn’t have its own identity,” Black said
Blood, Sweat & Heels was cancelled after an on-air fight and subsequent lawsuit
During the final episode of the second season of Blood, Sweat & Heels, producers had what most would think is reality TV gold: An on-camera fight that ends with an actual arrest. In late 2014, TMZ reported Geneva Thomas had been arrested for hitting another woman with a vodka bottle; that woman turned out to be co-star Melyssa Ford. Thomas later pled guilty to third degree assault, and Inquisitr confirmed Ford needed staples to the head.
Blood, Sweat & Heels then went on an extended hiatus, during which cast member Daisy Lewellen died of bile duct and liver cancer, according to CNN. Between the legal issues and the death of a major star, Bravo announced the show would not return in July of 2016. It didn’t specify a reason, but when Page Six reported the show’s end, both events were mentioned.
Work Out was cancelled when Gatorade dropped its sponsorship
Before The Biggest Loser, there was Work Out, where hard-nosed and loud-mouthed trainer Jackie Warner whipped people into shape whether they liked it or not. But, at least on one occasion, she may have taken her brand of “motivation” a little too far. During season 3 of the show, she made what Bravo described as “unkind comments” about the bust implants of client Jamie Eason. Normally tasteless, the words hit especially hard since Eason is a breast cancer survivor.
As The Globe and Mail reported in an interview with Warner, Gatorade subsequently dropped its sponsorship of Work Out, and Bravo cancelled the show shortly afterward. “I had no control over editing anything,” Warner said while defending herself to the Globe.
Warner seemed unfazed in the 2011 interview, though, saying her reputation was undamaged, citing her best selling books and DVDs. She returned to Bravo in 2010 with Thintervention, which ran for one season.
Top Chef Just Desserts was cancelled because baking doesn't fit the Top Chef format
Pastry chefs are like the place kickers of the restaurant world: crucial to your success, but never appreciated enough by the rest of the team. Bravo tried to give them their just desserts literally and figuratively when it launched a pastry version of the massively popular Top Chef. But the show collapsed after one season like a cake with too much baking powder.
TV Guide published a compelling analysis of the show’s failure, detailing why the Top Chef formula didn’t work with pastries. “Pastry chefs are used to being 100 percent in complete control of everything,” executive producer Dan Cutforth explained. “So when you throw them in the Top Chef mix, where you don’t have your recipes, and we take away the comfort of time? It really pushed them to the limit.”
Cutforth added that all the contestants were appalled when told they couldn’t use their recipes (baking is an exact science, after all), and several left the show early. The show’s final episode got about half the audience at that year’s savory Top Chef finale, and Bravo never ran another season.
Million Dollar Listing: San Francisco was cancelled because they couldn't find enough people to be on the show
The type of person who lives in San Francisco is arguably different than the type who live in for New York, Los Angeles, Miami, or other cities where Million Dollar Listing has taken its cameras. Bravo producers learned this the hard way when according to SFGate, they struggled to find enough people who wanted to appear on the show.
In announcing the show’s cancellation, SFGate spoke with Justin Fichelson, one of the agents featured on Million Dollar Listing San Francisco‘s lone season. “This is not New York or LA,” he explained. “Los Angeles has a plethora of people…looking to be on TV.” He went on to say the network had spent four months looking for another cast member and couldn’t find one. Fichelson then added that getting clients to agree to appear on the show was nearly impossible as well.
After the show aired, Fichelson said he had people willing to appear, but the mission was not as easy as it would have been in more showbiz-driven towns.
Being Bobby Brown was cancelled when Whitney Houston wouldn't do another season
The “celebreality” genre took a turn for the dysfunctional when Bravo followed pop stars Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown in 2005’s Being Bobby Brown. It was almost prophetic look at fame in the decade that would follow too, as Gawker recalled an episode where Houston cried, “I just want to be a real person,” while surrounded by then-novel camera phones. Perhaps the show’s grossest moment was covered in the Mirror, when Brown graphically discussed having to assist Houston with her bathroom hygiene.
Houston actually said in a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey that the show highlighted the dysfunction in their relationship. “Yeah, it’s madness,” she admitted to the iconic host (via Gawker). As Whitney cited the show as being concurrent with the height of Brown’s emotional abuse, it wasn’t surprising when she declined doing a second season. And the show never saw another episode.
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