Unsold TV Pilots

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Head Of The Family (1959)

    Carl Reiner stars as Rob Petrie, writer for TV's Alan Sturdy Show



    Two years later producer Sheldon Leonard would read the script -- which Reiner had written as a vehicle for himself, based on his own life -- and tell Reiner he was miscast.

    After considering Johnny Carson and Eileen Brennan, Leonard would eventually cast Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as Rob and Laura Petrie.
     
  2. bamaaudio

    bamaaudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    US


    Not surprised this one was never picked up at the time and it's the kind of humor that may have only resonated with a a niche or later night audience who can tolerate camp and deadpan comedic delivery, etc. Conan was still an off-camera writer at this point with mostly SNL sketches to his resume while Smigel was just getting started. I would have loved to have seen more episodes but practically everyone I've showed it to has hated it and I'd imagine it really bombed with general test audiences back then as well. But in today's climate it could have probably found an audience through Adult Swim.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  3. KevinP

    KevinP Forum introvert

    Location:
    Wellington , NZ
    And they ended up with a perfectly cast show. The only 'miscast' was not brining Reiner in as Alan Brady earlier. They kept his face hidden in his earlier appearances, not to make him look so important (as I had always thought) but because they wanted to keep the part open and cast it later.
     
  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Calhoun (aired 1964)

    Jackie Cooper stars as a crusading county agent (yes, just like Mr Kimball on Green Acres). Barbara Stanwyck, no less, plays his wife -- she was in a career slump and Cooper was hot off The People's Choice and Hennessy. Robert Lansing and Howard Duff co-star.



    Calhoun would later get something like cult status after writer/creator Merle Miller detailed its production in his classic expose of the TV industry, Only You Dick Daring! Cooper would later tell his side in his 1980 memoir Please Don't Shoot My Dog.
     
  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    The Riddlers (1977) - game show hosted by David Letterman

     
  6. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Catch-22 (1973), w/Richard Dreyfuss as Yossarian



    There was actually a pilot for a Last Detail sitcom, w/a pre-Laverne & Shirley Cindy Williams, but that's not on YT
     
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  7. James Slattery

    James Slattery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Long Island
    I collect unsold pilots. I must have hundreds, both the ones that used to air as burnoffs on the networks and many that I bought on film. An interesting one is called The Happeners, about a folk rock group. Mickey Dolenz said on the recent FP cruise that he auditioned for it. Anyway, it was okay and had a couple of nice, catchy songs. ABC wanted it and was going to put it opposite The Monkees on Monday nights. The problem was that ABC wanted it to be a half hour and Herbert Brodkin, the producer, told them that he only made one hour show. The other problem was that the music and the group was more 1963 than 1966 and would have been dated.
     
  8. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Adventures of Superboy (1961)

     
  9. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Adventures Of Superpup (1958)

     
  10. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Do you have Sheriff Who?
     
  11. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Beane's of Boston (1979)

    The Americanized Are You Being Served

     
  12. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    How about Calling Dr. Storm, MD? Fall of 1977. Larry Linville, fresh from M*A*S*H, plays another doctor. Not worried about typecasting I guess. It sounds like more of a SOAP style show, which makes sense given that SOAP came out in the same year.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  13. KevinP

    KevinP Forum introvert

    Location:
    Wellington , NZ
    Late 70s or early 80s (and probably other times as well), one of the networks ran a showcase every week at the same time where they test-aired a different pilot each week.

    Ironically, it was cancelled after a few weeks.

    I thought it was a cool idea at first, but then it just made me appreciate how bad unsold pilots could be.

    But I'm surprised they don't do this now using the internet rather than their precious air time. (Or maybe they do.)
     
  14. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Dick Tracy (1967)

    From the producer of Batman. Theme played by The Ventures -- though the lyrics get kind of repetitive after awhile.

     
  15. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Wonder Woman (1967)

    More from the Batman people. This isn't so much a pilot as a sort of test reel to gauge interest in a pilot from studio and network.

     
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  16. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Li'l Abner (1966)

    I've never understood why Al Capp didn't sue The Beverly Hillbillies for plagiarism, but that's another thread... Capp himself is credited with the script.

     
  17. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Ah, the glory days of the 70s and 80s! (I'm kidding.) Our cable lineup in the 70s was:
    2 - CBC
    3 - Public Access (often nothing at all)
    4 - ABC
    5 - NBC
    6 - CBC (later CTV)
    7 - CBS
    8 - CTV
    9 - PBS
    10 - LITERALLY a series of clockface-like displays that rotated between temperature, humidity, rainfall, etc.
    11 - local independent (south of us)
    12 - local independent (north of us)
    13 - nada

    by the early 80s, we'd added two more (10 and 13), and by 84 or so, the count quadrupled, more or less, but that lame-o channel 3 remained.

    There was never anything worth watching on channel 3, but once in a while, we'd be flipping channels and notice an honest-to-goodness, professionally-produced show on channel 3! Deal was: periodically (a few times a year????) pilots for potential series would wind up being shown there. Most of them stank, I can tell ya! We never knew when they were on, so we'd just bump into one every now and then.

    Anyway, the one that sticks out in my memory is a pilot for ALF, because we got asked in advance to watch the show and to allow a lady to call us to discuss the show immediately after the broadcast. As I recall, we received notice that the show was still in rough form, and may have some technical problems, bad edits, timecode, etc., and the post-show questions were along the lines of, "Did you like the father character," and "If you could change one thing about the look of the show, what would it be," and "When this character acted this way, did you find such-and-such character's reaction to be believable" and blah blah blah. In all the years of catching pilot shows on channel 3, that was the only one I recall being "invited" to watch. Also, it had to be well before the September 22, 1986 NBC air date for episode #1, as by that time I was living far away from good ol' channel 3, and started working a graveyard shift job in June of that year, so likely would not have been around to watch a primetime cable-access broadcast regardless.

    I'm sure that many of the shows that we'd stumble upon on channel 3 never got picked up by the networks, thank goodness. I wish I could remember what they were, but the only one that stands out in my faded memory bank was the ALF experience.
     
  18. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    Jeanine Riley must have been fresh off her stint as Billie Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction. Sammy Jackson was the poor man's TV version of the movie hillbillies from his previous stint on No Time For Sergeants and now L'l Abner. Robert Reed of course was slumming between gigs The Defenders and The Brady Bunch. Can't believe they couldn't get Peter Palmer.
     
  19. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Thats how I first saw Cop Rock. Stumbled on it on my cable system on an odd channel. thought "what the hell is this?"
     
  20. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Justice for All (1968)

     
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  21. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Those Were The Days (1969)

     
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  22. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC

    Where do you get them?
     
  23. Vahan

    Vahan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glendale, CA, USA
    He works in the industry. He has connections. That's how he gets all these unsold pilots.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
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  24. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    No intellectual property issues?
     
  25. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    He may have wanted to do an anti-Sammy and distance himself from the hillbilly type
     

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