7 Shows That Remained On-Air Despite Low Ratings

Tuesday, November 15 by


Cheers was a smash hit by the time of its final curtain call, but it started out on shaky ground. It seems there was once a time before Jersey Shore where viewers weren’t interested in watching people sit around and drink. In fact, it was nearly canceled during its first season when it ranked last in ratings for its premiere. Over time, though, it built its audience and aired for eleven seasons. Then, Kelsey Grammer‘s character spun off into the series Frasier which aired for eleven seasons, which is scary if you think about dealing with twenty-two years of The Situation. I’d drink to that not happening.

The X-Files

Who would have guessed that a show about mutant babies, sewer monsters and government conspiracies wouldn’t be a hit right out of the gate? Believe it or not, The X-Files was not. The ratings weren’t amazing, but there were enough viewers to make it a cult hit. Over time, more people got pulled into the over-arching mysteries of the series and it became a hit, leading to two film spin-offs and countless dorm room posters.


Can you imagine a world without close talkers, puffy shirts, trash can eclairs, and Festivus? Well, you almost did. Seinfeld‘s ratings in the early years were pitiful. In fact, its four-episode second-season renewal ties it with Homicide as the lowest number of episodes ordered in network history. These troubles ended and Seinfeld entered the Nielsen Top 30 in its fourth season. After leading the ratings in its sixth and ninth season, TV Guide declared it the greatest television program of all time. 76 million people tuned in for the finale, making it the third highest-viewed finale in history. However, no one has wanted to watch Michael Richards ever since.

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