Germany Loves David Hasselhoff, America Not So Much

Series can survive and even thrive on basic cable with audiences much smaller than the major networks can accept in prime time. And viewership tends to fall across the board in December anyway, as people get busy with shopping and other holiday plans.

I mention these facts only to give an idea of just how badly the A&E series The Hasselhoffs had to have tanked in order to be pulled off the air after only one week. A&E can be a little less patient than some of its competitors, but for a basic cable network to not run a completed series in its entirety, let alone kill it after two airings, is highly unusual (A&E has yet to say if the unaired episodes might be burned off at a later, less crowded date, such as 4 a,m. Christmas morning). The numbers speak for themselves: 718,000 tuned in to see the premiere this past Sunday (opposite, among other things, the season finale of The Walking Dead). The second half hour, which aired immediately afterwards, drew only 505,000 viewers.

The series was to have followed Hasselhoff's life as a single parent to his daughters, ages 20 and 18, who are attempting show business careers of their own. Hasselhoff claimed that his struggle to remain sober would not be ignored, but perhaps it's his long history of drunken antics, some of which involved his daughters as scared bystanders, that has turned America off to The Hoff. He was the first celebrity voted off this past season of Dancing With the Stars, which surprised producers (and me) who assumed he'd be a fan favorite in spite of his creaky efforts. Now there's the A&E failure, which would seem to prove once and for all that people just aren't buying him as a campy teddy bear.

Hasselhoff has one more iron in the fire: he is reportedly in talks to become a judge on Britain's Got Talent, the show that inflicted Susan Boyle on the world. He was part of the original judging crew on America's Got Talent, but the U.K. series is a much bigger deal. It might be his last shot at TV stardom before it's tours-of-county-fairs time.