Not only is David Walton the inspiration for this list, but he might also be the unluckiest actor on it. His curse began in 2004 with the quickly forgotten Mike White sitcom Cracking Up. 2006’s Heist was canceled within just one month. Quarterlife, based on the web series of the same name, was canceled after the pilot aired — understandably so, because it had the worst ratings of any NBC show in that particular time slot in almost 17 years. From there, Walton went back to comedy with 100 Questions, Perfect Couples, and Bent. All were on NBC and all were canceled within a season. The three sitcoms had a combined total of 25 episodes.
Kyle Bornheimer shared the screen with Walton in Perfect Couples (and guest starred in an episode of Bent). Prior to that, he was the lead in Worst Week for one season (the British original had two) and Romantically Challenged, which only aired four of its six produced episodes. Most recently, he was in the awful Family Tools, an ABC midseason replacement canceled after two episodes.
Hayes MacArthur rounded out the trio of funny actors anchoring Perfect Couples, so it’s possible that the entire cast is doomed. MacArthur, consistently great in every show he pops up in, also joined Bornheimer in Worst Week before moving on to Go On, the Matthew Perry vehicle that was canceled shortly after the first season ended. He currently stars in The Rebels, but considering it’s the worst of the new Amazon pilots, I can’t imagine that being his big break, either.
You may not know Josh Cooke’s name but you’ve definitely seen him around. Most recently, he has had arcs in Hart of Dixie and Dexter, but prior to those, he had a lot of bad luck. 2005’s quirky comedy Committed was quickly canceled (and nearly impossible to find). The wedding sitcom Big Day and boring bro comedy Four Kings both failed to air a full season. Better With You reunited him with Jennifer Finnigan but was canceled just two days after its season finale.
Christian Slater’s name often comes up in conversations about cursed actors, though he’s nowhere near the most unlucky of the bunch (and he has the biggest name). Still, he has failed quite spectacularly. The 2008 drama My Own Worst Enemy, featuring Slater in two different roles, had nine episodes before its cancellation. A year later, The Forgotten only got one season, too. Then came the curious case of Breaking In. The Fox sitcom was canceled after its first season, oddly renewed a few months after that, and then canceled a second time before the second season even ended. The upcoming Mind Games probably won���t last long either.
Jessica St. Clair
It pains me to put Jessica St. Clair on this list, because she’s such a great comedic talent. Unfortunately, networks haven’t picked up on that yet and keep yanking the shows that she’s on. She first appeared on The Colin Quinn Show, which lasted all of three episodes. Worst Week, In The Motherhood, and Love Bites were all one-season wonders. 2012’s Best Friends Forever was hilarious and underrated, but NBC disagreed and canceled it before it aired a full season. Fortunately, her newest show Review looks amazing.
Like St. Clair, it’s a shame that Erinn Hayes is on this list. She’s one of my favorite actresses but has a series of duds behind her. She, too, was on Worst Week, playing the bride to Bornheimer’s groom. The Winner only had six episodes and On the Spot only had five. She had an extended arc on the funny but barely watched Kitchen Confidential. Her Jimmy Fallon-created Guys With Kids was promising but also ultimately canceled.
Tyler Labine gets a bad rap as being the poor man’s Jack Black, but he’s definitely funny in his own way, and, if he ever lands a show that lasts, is sure to become a household name. Unfortunately, he has had a string of bad luck: Dead Last, Invasion, Sons of Tucson, Mad Love, and Animal Practice? All had just one season. He’s now joining the Hulu game with Deadbeat — so here’s hoping he has better luck on the internet.
After a few bit parts here and there, Kristoffer Polaha landed the lead role in the Hawaiian hotel soap opera North Shore. If it sounds terrible, that’s because it was. Fox canceled it after a single season. Miss Guided, co-starring Judy Greer, was actually a gem of a sitcom but lasted less than a month. The horrible Valentine averaged less than a million viewers during its first and only season. Life Unexpected did manage to make it to a second season before cancellation, but both Ringer and Made in Jersey also failed.
Jerry O’Connell had a few television hits in the ’80s and ’90s, but just like that, his streak was over. Do Not Disturb was a sitcom about the behind-the-scenes happenings at a hotel that failed to resonate with viewers (or air a full season). Carpoolers had a great cast (Jerry Minor, T.J. Miller) and shared producers with Arrested Development but was poorly executed. The Defenders‘ one season got lost in the shuffle of better legal dramas. O’Connell’s most recent attempt was CBS’s We Are Men, which was canceled after two terrible episodes.