Picks and Pans Review: The Worst Tv Shows Ever

UPDATED 08/18/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/18/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Bart Andrews with Brad Dunning

The hardest thing about writing, it's often said, is deciding what to leave out. No authors of fiction or nonfiction could ever have realized the truth of that dictum more poignantly than Andrews and Dunning. How, for example, could their compendium of worst TV programs ignore The Continental, The Tab Hunter Show, Home Run Derby, The Girl with Something Extra, Mr. T and Tina, Flying High, Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, Shirley's World or Battle of the Network Stars? It's hard to argue, though, with most of the 30 choices they made, from the obscure—The Baileys of Balboa, Satins and Spurs, O.K. Crackerby and My Mother, the Car—to the notorious: Gilligan's Island, The Jerry Lewis Show and S.W.A.T. Obviously, many will object to the selection of Three's Company, but Andrews, a TV writer himself, has to be commended for including his own 1966 disaster, The Pruitts of Southampton, starring Phyllis Diller. (Co-author Dunning is a freelancer specializing in rock music.) Their book provides extensive background material on each show and in some cases adds rueful postmortems by the perpetrators. (Sammy Davis Jr.'s apt review of his own first five variety shows in 1966: "Horrible.") This is a perfect gift for TV addicts—if you can get them away from the set long enough to read it. (Dutton, $6.95 paperback)

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