The 12 Worst Shows on Cable News


Last week we made a few cable news PR flacks happy and listed what we consider the 12 best shows on cable news. And now comes the time to dispose of that good will.

Without further ado, here are the 12 worst shows on cable news:

12. MediaBuzz (Fox News)

If there were an award for “Least Improved,” Howard Kurtz would win it. The former Reliable Sources host landed at Fox after leaving CNN and being fired from the Daily Beast for, as Tina Brown put it, “serial inaccuracy.” Whereas RS was (and remains) a smart, probing show, Kurtz’s new MediaBuzz is yet another serving of Fox’s “just askin'”-style of talking point iteration, with the least imaginative guests possible (just ponder the inspiration it took for a Fox media criticism show to go down the hall and book Bill O’Reilly). Meanwhile, Kurtz and his girl Friday Lauren Ashburn cycle every Sunday from knocking MSNBC to sniping at Obama to snipping at Jon Stewart with the rusty regularity of an old carousel. Lazy criticism, bland television. – Evan McMurry

11. Outnumbered (Fox News)

This is what happens when you take the internet joke “Amirite ladies?” and turn it into an hour-long Fox show. Seemingly conceived to combat accusations of sexism on Fox, it morphed into an artificial format that enables men to say outrageous things — often about gender — and then have women react (in a loving way) to how outrageous the man’s statements are. Will this allow Sandra Smith, Harris Faulkner, Kirsten Powers, or Jedediah Bila — all very talented journalists and pundits — to have serious conversations about top issues often ignored by male-dominated media? Nope! Instead, everyone will focus on the gimmicky, dumb things that Geraldo Rivera, Jesse Watters, or Keith Ablow say (along with the sage wisdom of the more lightweight female hosts). Frankly, any show that unironically gives a gasbag like Keith Ablow a regular platform is a bad show. – Tina Nguyen

10. Fast Money Halftime (CNBC)

Finance and economics are incredibly serious topics, but why do we get the feeling we’re watching the Jerry Springer version of financial reporting? While we single out Fast Money for its increasingly frequent shoutfests and nonsensical quad-box pile-ons, this criticism actually applies to most of CNBC’s programming. Steve Liesman is an Emmy-winning reporter, Rick Santelli is a successful commodities trader; and yet the two are paraded out like rodeo clowns every now and then to give us all popcorn-ready entertainment in a way that significantly cheapens the product. – Andrew Kirell

9. Morning Joe (MSNBC)

Every morning, we all must bask in the glow that is how super-important and well-connected the Morning Joe hosts and their gaggle of regulars truly are. Did you know they love and are friends with Gov. Chris Christie? Did you know that some people think Joe Scarborough might make a good 2016 GOP candidate? As Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee so hilariously put it: “They starfuck like nobody’s business.” And despite all the bright minds at one desk, you leave every morning disappointed that their ridiculous format forces them to graft, Frankenstein-style, a political talk show onto an inane morning gabfest, where they have to mix breaking news coverage with dumb stories (which they clearly hate) about hot felons. – Tina Nguyen

8. Crossfire (CNN)

One question: Why was this necessary? Last summer, CNN broke Jon Stewart’s heart by announcing they would bring Crossfire back to life. Things didn’t get much better when they revealed that failed presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and Obama flack Stephanie Cutter would be half of the four rotating hosts.

It’s so dull, you almost forget the show even exists. When it isn’t being preempted by Wolf Blitzer’s breaking news updates, Crossfire 2.0 has been more misses than hits (Bill Nye battling S.E. Cupp is one notable exception). Ultimately, the show is the worst of CNN trying and failing to replicate the formula of tense, firebrand-driven segments that have come to dominate the rest of cable news. – Matt Wilstein

7. Ronan Farrow Daily (MSNBC)

With a resumé and pedigree like Ronan Farrow‘s, you can’t help but wonder if he joined MSNBC’s daytime lineup on a dare. How did a Yale graduate who once served as a special adviser to Hillary Clinton (a fact he loves to remind audiences of) end up doing TV segments on Sharknado? Does he ever ask himself that on one of the many occasions he trips on set or panics at the sight of a blank teleprompter on live television? Hosting a cable news show should never have been in the cards for Farrow; he had next to no TV experience. Sure, make him a roving correspondent, à la Ann Curry, but a daily host? Oof. – Eddie Scarry

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