9 TV hits that should be flops

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Deadliest Catch
Hit proof: Often topping 7 million viewers, it’s one of the most successful cable reality shows of all time.
Why it shouldn’t work: It’s also one of the most repetitive. How many times can you watch crabs being hauled onto a boat? If you’re a fan: Hundreds.
Why it does work: Crab fishing is literally like a televised slot machine. Every time they reel in a “crab pot” you get a different, unpredictable result, what those in the casino psychology business call a “variable payout.” Sometimes a ton of crabs spill out onto the deck like coins in a tray (ding! ding! ding!). Other times, nada. The fishermen are colorful too. Deadliest helped pioneer the blue-collar rural workman reality show which is currently ruled by Discovery’s hugely popular and similar Gold Rush.

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