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All The Must-See TV Shows NBC Tried And Failed To Make The Next 'Friends' Or 'Seinfeld'

March 12, 2020 397 votes 61 voters 2.7k views16 items

List RulesVote up the failed NBC comedies you're morbidly curious to see.

How do you replace hit TV shows like Friends and Seinfeld in a must-see TV lineup? Don't worry if you aren't quite sure of the answer because NBC has had just as hard of a time figuring it out. Among the legacy of '90s comedy shows, there are a regretful number of sitcoms that the network desperately tried to dub the successors of some of NBC's greatest hits - none of which made the cut.

Some of these shows were so bad they were canceled after only four episodes, others were sitcoms that NBC may have pulled a little too early just because they weren't the instant success they were counting on. Vote for the shows you'd most like to sneak a peek at, regardless of how hard the network may have worked to make everyone forget their existence. 

  • Photo: NBC

    Premise: Boston Common is set at an upper-class Boston college, where good ol' boy Boyd Pritchett (Anthony Clark) arrives to drop off his sister, Wyleen (Hedy Burress). Raised in the wilds of Virginia, the two soon discover that their backwoods ways don't quite fit in among the polished manners of the other students. Nonetheless, Boyd decides to stick around as a handyman after meeting a girl named Joy (Traylor Howard), even though she's already involved with a professor. Comedy ensues as the two engage in Beverly Hillbillies-style antics. 

    How Long Did It Last: Two seasons, 32 episodes (March 1996 - April 1997)

    Why It Didn't Work: While critics bashed the show as unfunny and complained about the over-the-top energy of Burress's character, audiences actually seemed to really enjoy it. Nonetheless, NBC switched it to a really unfortunate time slot and then canceled it altogether, much to the disappointment of its fans. While it may not have struck people as pure gold at the time, it was witty and had a strong cast and premise - it might have had a strong future had the network let it stick around a little longer. 

    • Actors: Anthony Clark, Hedy Burress, Traylor Howard
    • Premiered: 1996
    A must-see?
  • Photo: NBC

    Premise: The Single Guy follows the dating adventures of New Yorker Jonathan Eliot (Jonathan Silverman), who finds himself the lone single still left among his married friends. His friend Sam (Joey Slotnick) is always coming up with zany plans that his enduring wife, Trudy (Ming-Na Wen), has to straighten out, and Jonathan's eccentric doorman, Manny (Ernest Borgnine), lends plenty of fun to each plot. Despite his best-laid plans, however, Jonathan's dates always turn out to be unstable, eccentric, or otherwise completely inappropriate when it comes to being marriage material. 

    How Long Did It Last: Two seasons, 44 episodes (September 1995 - April 1997)

    Why It Didn't Work: Of all the shows that tried to replace Friends and Seinfeld, The Single Guy was arguably one of the best. It had a great cast, fun scenarios, and dialogue that was witty even if it didn't leave anyone rolling on the floor. What happened? Some argue the show's biggest problem was that it was neither Friends nor Seinfeld and just couldn't live up to the hype of its predecessors. Its characters adhered pretty strictly to sitcom stereotypes and, while there was nothing wrong with it, per se, The Single Guy just never really filled the admittedly huge shoes NBC hoped it would. 

    • Actors: Ming-Na Wen, Ernest Borgnine, Olivia d'Abo, Jonathan Silverman, Dan Cortese
    • Premiered: 1995
    A must-see?
  • Photo: NBC

    Premise: With Tony Shalhoub and Neil Patrick Harris as its stars, many viewers figured that Stark Raving Mad was the sitcom that would finally put NBC back on the map. Harris starred as a young book editor with a severe case of OCD, who's hired to help a horror novelist (Shalhoub) overcome a case of writer's block. An "odd couple" relationship ensues as Shalhoub's character continually assails Harris's with dark humor and pranks.  

    How Long Did It Last: One season, 22 episodes, four unaired (September 1999 - July 2000)

    Why It Didn't Work: It's no secret that fans and critics often have very different views on both movies and TV shows. That was exactly the case with Stark Raving Mad, which many critics hailed as a one-joke wonder without much promise. Meanwhile, it won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Television New Comedy Series" in 2000. Unfortunately, NBC went with the critics and pulled the plug, much to the disappointment of many fans.

    • Actors: Neil Patrick Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Heather Dubrow, Eddie McClintock
    • Premiered: 1999
    A must-see?
  • Photo: NBC

    Premise: Hope and Gloria was rolled out by ex-Cheers producers Bill and Cheri Steinkellner back in the mid-1990s when gal-pal stories, such as British hit Absolutely Fabulous, were making a comeback. In the vein of today's Grace and Frankie, the show revolves around the unlikely friendship of Hope Richardson (Cynthia Stevenson) and Gloria Utz (Jessica Lundy). When Hope, a polished TV producer, finds herself single after a 10-year marriage, she decides to become the roommate of free-spirited single mom, Gloria. Alan Thicke rounds out the cast as the host of the TV show the women both end up working for.

    How Long Did It Last: Two seasons, 35 episodes (March 1995 - June 1996)

    Why It Didn't Work: As far as NBC sitcom attempts go, this wasn't the worst. Okay, so the whole Odd Couple thing was overused, but it worked here, at least for a little while. As far as why it was canceled, no one knows for sure, outside of the general consensus of the critics. While the show wasn't bad, it was never really spectacular, either - and it may have simply run out of material. 

    • Actors: Burt Reynolds, Alan Thicke, Cynthia Stevenson, Enrico Colantoni, Jessica Lundy
    • Premiered: 1995
    A must-see?