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Friday, January 23, 2009

Lost Television Pilots

Television production can be an interesting ride. Each season, networks create loads of pilots and then see which ones advertisers and viewers might be interested in watching. Some become shows...others become forgotten mistakes.

Eager to find success, networks will craft reality shows, spinoffs, updates, etc. But it is a tricky game. For every rampant success like the eleven season run of Frasier, there is an embarrassing abomination like Joey.

The crack investigative team here at BDF have uncovered some forgotten pilots that never made it to the airwaves. Here are their stories.

CSI: Mayberry

Having already spawned successful spinoffs with Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and Mayberry R.F.D., The Andy Griffith Show was seen as a hot property just waiting to be rejuvenated.

When the network began to fret that there might not be an audience for the homespun fun and wisdom of the original format, they decided to use the town as the source for a spinoff of another popular franchise: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Opie Taylor is now grown up and has taken over his late father's duties as sheriff of Mayberry. With his friends, Chester Fife and Homer Pyle, Sheriff Opie used forensic science to discover the perpetrators of crimes around the town.

In the pilot alone, the three discovered who swiped Mrs. Beasley's apple pie from the window sill as well as who was responsible for hitting a mailbox with their car.

Riveting stuff.

Unfortunately, nobody else agreed. The pilot failed.

Magnum D.U.I.

Like his father, Thomas Sullivan Magnum Jr. was a U.S. Navy SEAL and played quarterback for the United States Naval Academy football team. Unlike his father, Magnum Jr. became a cop. Relegated to monitoring speed traps and D.U.I. checkpoints, Magnum's life wasn't quite as exciting as his father's.

And neither was this pilot.

Honey, I'm a Heeb!

With the success of reality shows like The Bachelor, the idea germinated in young producer Jim Sleighterly's head to create a more sensational version.

In this show, 25 self-avowed white supremacist females are vying for the affections of a rich bachelor. What they don't know is that the bachelor is Jewish.

Will love overcome prejudice?

Will Jim Sleighterly ever work again after coming up with something this offensively awful?

SAW: The Animated Series

Jigsaw sends his friend Billy the Puppet to kids dealing with turmoil in their lives. Billy guides children towards making the correct moral choices...or else.

In the pilot, young Tom never wants to drink milk and instead buys cans of soda with his lunch at school. Billy arrives one day and straps a bomb to Tom's chest and the key to unlock the mechanism is in the bottom of a glass of milk. Does Tom really prefer the soda now? Ultimately, Tom learns a lesson about proper nutrition and the final scene has Billy riding off on his little red red tricycle to help other children.

Designed to find a fun and hip way to teach morality, the series caused a firestorm of controversy among parents because...well, be fucking serious. It's a animated series based on some of the most gruesome films in horror history.

The Golden Guys

With the success of updates like 90210 and Knight Rider, NBC decided to dust off their 80's success The Golden Girls.

With a cast of such stars as Bob Newhart, James Garner, Don Rickles, and Jackie Mason the new updated version focused on four older men sharing a home in Miami, Florida.

And it sucked. To this day none of the four stars will admit having shot the pilot.

Of course, that's probably because I made it all up. But...whatever.

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