America’s Favorite TV Shows that Jumped the Shark!

Homer Simpson jumping the shark

Shark Week began with its jaws fully open this past weekend on Discovery Channel, with host Paul de Gelder jumping into shark infested water (check out his list of on-screen heroes). Instead of taking a dive with one of the ocean’s top predators, we’re looking at TV shows that unfortunately jumped the shark and went down under. Coined by Jon Hein, “jumped the shark,” applies to shows that were once at the top of their game but took a turn for the worse after writers, desperate to keep audiences engaged, ruined the storyline, leaving fans disappointed and confused.  

Taking a breather from waters swarming with razor-toothed sharks on Shark Week, use your Caavo remote to switch to shows that were America’s favorites until they lost their way.

Happy Days

Credited with inventing the phrase “jumping the shark” in 1977, after having Fonzie (the local bad boy) literally jump over a shark in a leather jacket and daisy dukes as a last effort to spike ratings in season five, Happy Days is the original show that took a nose dive. Despite viewers losing interest as the 70s came to a close and people donated their bell bottoms in exchange for acid wash jeans, Happy Days continued to air for another 6 seasons. It finally ended when their spot as number 1 show in America dropped to number 63.


Dominating the TV charts when its first season aired in 2004, Lost captivated millions of viewers with its eerie story of a plane crash on a mysterious island leaving a few survivors to fend for themselves as they attempted to get back to civilization. A few seasons in, ABC studios was determined to keep the show going, pressuring their writers to throw in plot twists which ultimately raised more questions that were never answered.

Parks and Recreation

Beloved Parks and Rec, and their hoot of a cast, was off to a slow start (often being compared to The Office) but it became a favorite sitcom of many by season two when Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) and her eccentric team found their unique comedic tone. Things started to go awry around season five when Chris Pratt suddenly became a global star, forcing the show to shoot wherever he was currently filming a movie (like Guardians of the Galaxy). the final season 7, the show had not only lost Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, it had lost its voice.

Downton Abbey

America’s obsession with this British period drama was not without reason. From the tense political climate affecting both business and family in this historical Eglish estate, to the underhanded remarks coming from Maggie Smith’s sharp tongue, U.S. viewers were quickly addicted. With the number of fans skyrocketing, and the amount of drama along with it, the show began to take the form of a cringey soap opera, especially during its third season’s Christmas episode when a main character, met his tragic (and almost comedic?) end after being run over by a milk truck. Fans were not pleased, to say the least.

The Office

The American version of The Office is still a hit to this day (we know many of you have binge-watched it recently thanks to Netflix), with iconic character Michael Scott who made us all a little bit more thankful of our own boss and work environment. Even with its lovable cast that we watched grow from 2005 to 2013, the show started to lose most of its steam once Sabre took over Dunder-Mifflin and completely died once Michael left the show. 

American Horror Story

Fans can agree that AHS was off to a great start for the first three or four seasons, (Murder House, Asylum, Coven, and finally Freak Show) with Freak Show being the season where things started to turn a little sour. With each season being a different storyline, American Horror Story originally excelled at writing terrifying, yet sensical plots featuring majority of the actors from the previous seasons. By season five, Hotel, most of the original cast had moved on to other projects, so AHS brought in big star Lady Gaga,which may have initially spiked views, but the story was hard to follow and almost felt like a completely new show. In seasons 6 through 8, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters carried the show, but not even they could lift the show back to its former glory. 

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