Unsold TV Pilots

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

  1. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Active Member

    Oh I did the same, although my very first account was blocked and one very old one has all the videos blocked.
    Today, they just identify your video and monetize it over your head.

    On very few occasions my posting incomplete series lead to visitors coming up with other episodes. That is always nice, unfortunately it happens approximately twice a decade.
  2. MikeInFla

    MikeInFla Forum Resident

    Panama City, FL
    This has me thinking about public domain and maybe @Vidiot can explain. Won't some of these pilots show up very soon in the public domain? How does that actually work? I know "One Step Beyond" has many episodes (not sure about the whole series) that is considered public domain. I have a 3-DVD set of the shows I bought for a dollar at Walmart. The transfers are terrible but it was neat to see those old shows again. How long does it take for these to get in the public domain? And another one I bought a couple of years ago was "Rescue From Gilligan's Island". I was also a terrible DVD transfer and I assume this was also public domain. That one was made in 1978 and some of these pilots are much older so I have no idea why they would not yet be in the PD.

    Thanks for any input you can give.
  3. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Love-In Tonite (1968)

    "PSYCH-BURN was what musicians call a contract-breaker. ABC had given us some coin to make a few short films for a TV pilot. LOVE-IN TONITE was to be a psychedelic rock variety show with live performances, skits and whatnot to cash in on the emerging hippie demographic. Even pre-Disney, the network was riddled with a bunch of out-of-touch, pencil-pushing buffoons, so I quickly realized the show would be a disaster. Imagine if MIDNIGHT SPECIAL was produced by Aaron Spelling. Then cast Charles Nelson Reilly as emcee. That would have been a far more lively show than LOVE-IN TONITE. So I decided to deliver the suits a farewell kick-in-the-butt called PSYCH-BURN. The best part was that they presented my film sight unseen at a board meeting about the new Fall Season. I heard some heads rolled over that one." - J.X. Williams

    Underworld Cinema: An Interview with J.X. Williams
  4. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    The trick there is that even if the show itself is public domain, the music may have a different copyright, the script may be based on a novel or short story that is still copyrighted, the SAG-AFTRA actors may still be owed a residual, as do the DGA directors and the WGA writers. All of this is called "underlying rights," and this is what stops a lot of apparent P.D. films from being released.

    I find unsold pilots absolutely fascinating, but it'd be tough to create "Unsold Pilot Hour" on cable or syndication, because by their very nature some shows are great, some are awful, but most of them you can see why they didn't sell. I think it's a fairly esoteric part of TV history that doesn't have a mass-market audience. Me, of course I'd watch it if I could.
    Chris DeVoe and MikeInFla like this.
  5. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Active Member

    Well, there were the compilations by Lee Goldberg, "The best TV shows that never were" and I think there was another similar program.

    Actually some of them did air, once, as mini-tv-movies. Space Force, or 1775, or Beane's of Boston (US version of Are you being served?), those are on youtube from early home video systems.

    Autopsies will not draw crowds, what I mean is, that it's probably just us here who are fascinated by the ones that didn't make it. I would be glued to the TV for "Unsold pilot hour", but I just know that it would never get high viewing figures.
  6. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Active Member

    Seems no-one mentioned "Oh no! Not them!" yet - the US version of The Young Ones. Or would-be version anyway. Not seen by anyone ever, I think.
  7. Andy Dursin

    Andy Dursin Forum Resident

    Providence RI
    The sadly defunct Trio channel once did that in prime-time for a whole week...they showed the unsold L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, DINER and FARGO pilots among a few others.

    Great channel also ran BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS shows every now and then too.

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