tv 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode

2.9k views 31 items Embed
For whatever reason, television networks, both broadcast and cable, will occasionally greenlight shows and then cancel them before they ever air. There are a variety of reasons this happens - and as the cost of making TV increases, it's happening more and more. In early 2015, three network series were announced, then dumped before anyone got a chance to see them and the practice dates back to even the 1960s.

Sometimes a show is cancelled without airing simply because it's not very good, or at least the executives at that particular network don't think it's coming together well. Or maybe it's because someone higher up the corporate ladder had second thoughts about the show. In a few cases, outside issues that have nothing to do with the show's quality intervene, such as a writer's strike, the death of talent, contractual disputes or, in one case, really important people think it's incredibly racist.

Here are the many canceled TV shows that were bought, written, and in most cases shot and announced as coming out soon - but never actually made it on the air.

The Robert Taylor Show (1963)


The Robert Taylor Show (1963) is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
NBC filmed four episodes of this drama based on stories from the official files of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. However, the network soon realized that the show's producers hadn’t actually gotten permission from the government to use the department's files, and it was dumped without ever airing.

Bill and Martha (1964)


Bill and Martha (1964) is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
A sitcom starring veteran actor William Bendix, Bill and Martha was scheduled to air on CBS, but Bendix was in poor health and the network cancelled the show before it aired. Bendix subsequently sued the network for $2.5 million, claiming the cancellation hurt his career and that he was in excellent health. The case was soon settled out of court – and Bendix died six months later.

Snip (1976)


Snip (1976) is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
A new show from the guy who created Chico and the Man and Welcome Back, Kotter seems like a slam dunk for success. But despite a full write up in TV Guide and extensive promotion from NBC, the hairdresser sitcom Snip was cancelled before ever airing. Star David Brenner believed the cancellation was related to one of the supporting characters being openly gay.

Coastocoast (1978)


Coastocoast (1978) is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
An hour-long sitcom about two airline stewardesses, (one of whom would be played by Melanie Griffith) Coastocoast was announced for NBC's Thursday night schedule in fall 1978. But when new NBC president Fred Silverman took over the network in June, he pulled the show from the schedule for “retooling.” Due to conflicts over the show’s concept and tone, it was quietly canceled without ever shooting a pilot.

Star Trek Phase II (1978)


Star Trek Phase II (1978) is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
Paramount bet big on this planned revival of Star Trek – going so far as to create an entire television network for it. 13 episodes had been written, sets and costumes had been designed, and some of the cast was in place when Paramount got cold feet and cancelled it. The first script for Phase II was recycled into Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with others being used for Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Mr. Dugan (1979)


Mr. Dugan (1979) is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
Most unaired shows are cancelled due to creative issues or scheduling problems. But this late '70s sitcom about a freshman black congressman ran into other problems: condemnation from the Congressional Black Caucus. Creator Normal Lear held a special screening for the group, who found it so insulting and demeaning that they threatened to boycott CBS if it was aired. It wasn’t.

The Dictator (1988)


The Dictator (1988) is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
A sitcom starring a height-of-his-powers Christopher Lloyd as a deposed Caribbean tinpot dictator living in a laundromat sounds like an inviting addition to late '80s TV wackiness. CBS agreed, and ads ran in TV Guide and on the network announcing its debut. But with just three episodes shot, CBS pulled the plug on The Dictator, in part due to the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike - and in part because it wasn't good.

Manchester Prep (1998)


Manchester Prep (1998) is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 31 TV Series That Were Canceled Before Airing an Episode
Photo: user uploaded image
Fox ordered a TV prequel to the 1999 film Cruel Intentions, starring pre-fame Amy Adams, but canceled it after two episodes had been completed. The pilot was recycled with salacious new footage, including nudity, and released direct-to-video as Cruel Intentions 2.