Freeform (previously ABC Family) is primarily known for being home to fan-favorite shows like Pretty Little Liars and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. While they hold the record for the longest-running scripted series in the network’s history, there are other fantastic shows that are well on their way to joining the ranks, including Baby Daddy, Shadowhunters and the soon-to-be-released Famous in Love, starring Bella Thorne.
In addition to these scripted series, Freeform airs themed and seasonal programming, such as “25 Days of Christmas,” “13 Days of Halloween” and “Harry Potter Weekends.” Clearly, there are a lot of things that the network does right. But, reality television is not one of them. In the last 4 years alone, from 2012-2016, Freeform has aired a minimum of nine reality shows… and SEVEN have been canceled. Take a look below to see the reality series that bombed on Freeform:
In summer of 2015, Freeform aired the reality series Becoming Us. The show followed teenager Ben Lehwald, from Illinois, as he adjusted to his father coming out as a trans woman.
Throughout the season, Ben supported his father, learned more about the transition and leaned on his girlfriend, Danielle, whose father's also transgender.
The show was produced by Ryan Seacrest, who produces reality hits like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, so it was assumed that Becoming Us would be a big hit. However, the show was canceled after just 10 episodes.
Beverly Hills Nannies
Shows like The Real Housewives of Atlanta and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills have found great success and churn out season after season. But, have you ever stopped to wonder who's taking care of the children while their moms are off getting drunk at brunch, backstabbing their friends and having screaming matches in restaurants? Nannies, of course!
Beverly Hills Nannies followed a group of young nannies (including mannies) as they cared for the children of the rich and elite, including relatives of Star Wars' Carrie Fisher and actress Cindy Margolis.
In addition to caring for the kids, the nannies had drama of their own, including romances, getting poached by a new family and more. But, the drama wasn't juicy enough because the 2012 show was canceled after one season.
Tons of YouTubers have made their careers and become famous for filming the hilarious pranks they pull on their friends. But, while pranks and jokes may be popular on YouTube, the same can't be said for Freeform. The network's 2014-2015 show, Freak Out, followed friends and family as they intricately planned a scary prank on someone they knew, based on one of that person's deepest fears. The pranksters wore elaborate makeup, hired actors and even used special effects to make their friend's worst nightmare come to life. Though it led to lots of laughs, the scariest thing about Freak Out were its ratings. The show was canceled after a dozen or so episodes.
Job or No Job
Any recent graduate will tell you how challenging it is to begin a career in the real world. In fact, it's such a problem, that Freeform decided to make a television show about it.
In Fall 2015, the first episode of Job or No Job aired. Each episode followed a young adult on his/her journey to land the elusive first job. The candidates were often from various major cities across the US, and their interests included fields such as fashion, real estate, graphic design, and advertising. After meeting with a career expert, they would go on three interviews and the viewers got to watch while they received anywhere from three offers to none at all. But, it looks like the show failed at doing its job because it was canceled after one season.
Next Step Realty: NYC
New York City is known as the "City That Never Sleeps" because there's always so much to do and nothing ever closes. You can get a delicious burrito from a restaurant at 4am or go dancing in a warehouse until the sun comes up. But, it could also be known as the "City That Never Sleeps" because it's so expensive to live there… you actually can't afford an apartment to go to bed in. At least, that's what 2015 show Next Step Realty: NYC seemed to think.
The show followed the company Next Step Reality as it helped recent college graduates find housing in New York City. It gave viewers a realistic look at the struggles of apartment hunting, living with roommates, surviving on a budget, and more. Hopefully, it taught us everything we needed to know because it was canceled after one season.
These days, every teenager is glued to his/her phone, playing games or connecting with friends on the hottest apps. 2015 show Startup U followed a group of students who wanted to learn how to create those apps, as well as pursue other forms of technological entrepreneurship. The students attended Draper University, a 7-week mentorship program in Silicon Valley that encouraged and taught how to become a successful entrepreneur.
While the founder of this university, Tim Draper, may be a success, his show surely wasn't. Startup U was canceled after one season.
In the 2000s, reality shows such as MTV's Laguna Beach and The Hills found huge success. Viewers were enthralled with the lives of the elite who lived by the beach. So, in 2013, Freeform decided to follow suit and created The Vineyard. The reality series followed a group of young adults who lived in Martha's Vineyard.
Located near Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard is an island that is usually a summer destination for the wealthy. But, the show followed friends who live at the Vineyard all year long, while living together in a house and working at The Black Dog restaurant. In just eight short episodes, the group managed to get involved in love triangles, friend drama, roommate squabbles, job issues, and more. But, all of that still wasn't enough to bring in the viewers and the show was canceled after only eight episodes, making it one of the shortest-lived reality shows in Freeform's history.