Is Jerry O'Connell Cursed on TV?

O'Connell's Series 'The Defenders' Canceled

Yahoo Contributor Network

Jerry O'Connell has come a long way from his first role in "Stand By Me." The 6'2 actor has matured into a handsome, charming and capable actor, but seems to collect far more misses than hits on his resume. With success on TV shows like "Sliders," "Crossing Jordan" and its crossover series "Las Vegas," O'Connell showed he has the ability to entertain an audience. With the recent cancellation of his latest effort, "The Defenders," however, O'Connell seems to have run into a streak of canceled programs. He's even collected guest spots on short-lived series like "Samantha Who?" and "Eastwick." So, is it a TV curse, or a just bad luck in a volatile business?

"The Defenders": Jerry O'Connell teamed up with Jim Belushi for this engaging series about two lawyers in Las Vegas who fight for justice and don't mind bending the rules. A show for people who liked their courtroom drama and clever banter without all the blood and gore of your typical cop or lawyer series, "The Defenders" was a nice lighthearted break in the Wednesday night drama slot. O'Connell played the more shallow partner in the firm, but still displayed a likable sweet side and handled the dips into heavier drama well. When the show's ratings slid from an initially strong start, most notably in that coveted 18-49 demo, CBS shifted it to an early slot on Friday nights. With weird breaks in its initial airing, and then a move to a different night, "The Defenders" lost its audience and was sadly doomed to cancellation.

"Rex is Not Your Lawyer": This series had a built-in fanbase before it even started, with "Doctor Who" fans hungry for lead David Tennant's next project. Unfortunately the premise, about a lawyer prone to panic attacks, wasn't all that promising. TVSquad dubbed O'Connell a "show killer" when they announced that he was replacing "Heroes" star Sendhil Ramamurthy in the pilot, and they turned out to be right. While NBC held on to the project for awhile, they ultimately opted not to go forward.

"Do Not Disturb": There was plenty of interesting talent joining O'Connell in this series about hotel management misfits. There was Niecy Nash of "Reno 911," Dave Franco--the gem of the failed "Scrubs" reboot, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson--who went on to smash hit "Modern Family." The quirky comedy stars couldn't save this program from quick cancellation, however, and Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter snarkily questioned "why it was created in the first place."

"Carpoolers": This 2007 comedy actually had potential, with O'Connell fine-tuning his comedic, ultimately harmless womanizer TV persona. The best moments of the male-bonding-via-carpooling series were the musical ones, like this scene set to 80s hit "Come on Eileen" and Jerry Minor's MC Hammer dance. A throwback to older style, simpler sitcoms, this series gathered fans but couldn't muster up enough effective comedy. BuddyTV considered the show a waste of O'Connell's talents, and the show was ultimately canceled.

Out of all O'Connell's failed TV shows, "The Defenders" had the most promise and was mishandled by the network. It appears in most cases that the actor was the victim of bad writing or other circumstances beyond his control, but perhaps he's not the best at making choices. What do you think, Yahoo! Readers? Is O'Connell a TV curse that brings down any show he's in, or does he just need to pick better projects? Should he try to get back into movies and break the cycle?

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