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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • 23 TV Show Spin-Offs That Totally Bombed

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    nbc joey
    Television history is chock full of spin-offs that completely flunked.
    Last month, we took a look at some of the best spin-off shows of all time — but let's face it, not all spinoffs are met with success. 
    After all, who can forget "Joey," the heavily promoted yet unsuccessful NBC show that followed Matt LeBlanc's character in a post-"Friends" world?
    With networks gearing up for a bunch of new spinoffs, here are the shows that had a brief shelf life."Joey" (2004-2006)
    Spin-off of: "Friends" (1994-2004) 
    NBC's hit series "Friends" found so much success in its 10-year run, it's not that surprising a spin-off didn't live up to the same glory.
    "Joey" followed the main character Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) in his move to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. Despite heavy promotion, the show failed to win over viewers, leading it to cancellation after two seasons.
    In response to the show's lackluster performance, LeBlanc later said he would do it again. 
    “I thought that it was a good show. I just think that we were telling stories that emasculated the character," LeBlanc told the Guardian. "They wrote a guy who became very doubtful of himself in this new place, in Hollywood, no friends, can’t meet girls – and that’s not who Joey was. He was always, always, always, the consummate optimist. Always. And that’s not who they wrote. That was very frustrating for me.”
    Page 2 of 9 - "The Lone Gunmen" (2001)
    Spin-off of: "The X-Files" (1993-2002)
    "The Lone Gunmen," which premiered during a brief "The X-Files" broadcast hiatus, revolved around characters Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers, and Richard Langly, who all ran a conspiracy theory magazine.
    "The Lone Gunmen" was cancelled after thirteen episodes.
    "Top of the Heap" (1991)
    Spin-off of: "Married... with Children" (1987-1997)
    "Joey" wasn't Matt LeBlanc's only unsuccessful spin-off. 
    He also appeared in "Top of the Heap," a show spun off from a "Married... with Children" episode of the same name. Featuring characters Charlie Verducci and his son Vinnie, the spin-off only lasted a total of seven episodes. 
    "The Tortellis" (1987)
    Spin-off of: "Cheers (1982-1993)
    "The Tortellis" started while "Cheers" was still on air starring sleazy Nick Tortelli (ex-husband of Carla from "Cheers") as he tried to make things work with a new wife. After low ratings, the NBC cancelled the series after 13 episodes.
    The show's second spin-off, "Frasier" remains one of the most popular spin-offs of all time. Most of "The Tortellis" characters reappeared on "Cheers" following the spin-off's cancellation.
    "After MASH" (1983-1984)
    Spin-off of: "M*A*S*H" (1972-1983)
    When the 11th and final season of "M*A*S*H" came to a close, spin-off "AfterMASH" took over CBS' Monday night time slot, chronicling Colonel Potter, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy in a post-Korean War time.
    Page 3 of 9 - When networks moved the spin-off to Tuesday nights following "The A-Team," Nielsen ratings dropped from #15 to #90 and "AfterMASH" was cancelled nine episodes into its second season.
    Another "M*A*S*H" spin-off, "Trapper John, M.D." was a bit more successful with its seven-year run.
    "Baywatch Nights" (1995-1997)
    Spin-off of: "Baywatch" (1989-2001)
    "Baywatch" minus Pamela Anderson was a far cry from the original. 
    Though "Baywatch Nights" featured parent show's star, David Hasselhoff, the show took a turn from its skin baring, action scene context toward a science-fiction drama with Hasselhoff joining Sargeant Garner Ellerbee at a detective agency. 
    "Mrs. Columbo" (1979-1980)
    Spin-off of: "Columbo" (1968-2003)
    No one wanted to watch the wife of the famous lieutenant Kate Mulgrew solve her own crimes while ALSO raising a child. 
    It probably didn't help the show that Mr. Columbo never appeared on any of the show's 13 episodes despite his presence being felt on the show — his car in the driveway, ashtrays filled with his green cigar butts.
    A few title changes ("Kate Columbo" / "Kate the Detective" / "Kate Loves a Mystery") and a change in the title character's last name to Callahan (insinuating a divorce) probably didn't help either. 
    "Enos" (1980-1981)
    Spin-off of: "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979-1985)
    "The Dukes of Hazzard" County deputy sheriff Enos Strate starred in his own CBS spin-off of the successful series.
    Characters from the original series guest starred to help boost ratings, but in the end it had little effect. 
    "Enos" was cancelled after 18 episodes.
    Page 4 of 9 - "The Golden Palace" (1992-1993)
    Spin-off of: "The Golden Girls" (1985-1992)
    "The Golden Palace" started where "The Golden Girls" ended, at the group's Miami house with Dorothy having married and left town. The spin-off follows the remaining women and their interactions with guests at the hotel they recently invested in.
    Despite the endearing Rose, Blanche, and Sophia, low ratings led to cancellation.
    A 1992 New York Times review said, "It's all a bit too familiar, and the format is forced into some unseemly stretching."
    Fun fact: You can catch a young Don Cheadle on "The Golden Palace." Take a look here.
    "Joanie Loves Chachi" (1982-1983)
    Spin-off of: "Happy Days" (1974-1984)
    Though the world could handle many "Happy Days" spin-offs, ("Laverne & Shirley," "Mork & Mindy"), of the seven, "Joanie Loves Chachi" was by far the worst.
    The series featuring Erin Moran and Scott Baio as two musicians in Chicago was cancelled after two seasons — a decision attributed to a drop in ratings following a moved time slot. 
    The show winded up on TV Guide's list of "25 Biggest TV Blunders" with the caption, "Joanie Loves Chachi: But nobody loved Joanie Loves Chachi."
    "The Brady Brides" (1981)
    Spin-off of: "The Brady Bunch"  (1969-1974)
    Since "The Brady Bunch" was such a hit in its five-season run, creators naturally figured the show should live on. 
    Page 5 of 9 - Unfortunately no one wanted to watch the eldest Brady girls Marcia and Jan — along with their news husbands — buying a house, living together, and navigating their newlywed lives. 
    The sitcom was cancelled after 10 episodes.
    "Time of Your Life" (1999-2000)
    Spin-off of: "Party of Five" (1994-2000)
    The teen drama series "Party of Five" didn't achieve too high of ratings over its six-season duration, but it did help launch the careers of Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt, the latter of whom starred in the show's spin-off series, "Time of Your Life."
    Character Sarah Reeves Merrin lives in New York City, where she searches for her biological father and creates a new home and circle of friends.
    Though Love Hewitt was popular at the time, the show was not received well. According to TIME, "This star vehicle, thus far, is a shiny subway to nowhere."
    "Living Dolls" (1989)
    Spin-off of: "Who's the Boss?" (1984-1992)
    With top rankings and 10 Emmy Awards to its name, "Who's the Boss?" was the definition of sitcom success. The ABC series starring Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano lasted eight seasons.
    Its spin-off "Living Dolls" was the complete opposite. Though it featured future big name celebs Halle Berry and Leah Remini, the show was torn apart by critics.
    ABC cancelled the series after one season. 
    "The Ropers" (1979-1980)
    Spin-off of: "Three's Company" (1976-1984)
    "Three's Company" paved the way for spin-off "The Ropers," a story about middle-aged couple Stanley and Helen Roper. The show only lasted two seasons, thanks to a time slot move from Tuesday to Saturday nights.
    Page 6 of 9 - According to Time and its list of 'Top 10 Worst TV Spin-Offs', "The listlessness of the first 40 seconds of The Ropers’ credit sequence rarely dissipated over the show’s ensuing 29 minutes. "
    "Models Inc." (1994-1995)
    Spin-off of: "Melrose Place" (1990-1999)
    While Fox's sex-filled spinoff series of "Beverly Hills, 90210" became a hit, its own spin-off did not. It was probably because the show was so removed from its predecessors.
    "Models Inc" told of the personal and professional struggles of young models, but its poor reviews led to a cancellation after one season.
    After the series premiere, the Los Angeles Times said, "It was so unbelievably below average that it was endearing. Just missing greatness, it was not quite bad enough to be hilarious, but plenty bad enough to be amusing."
    "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005-2006)
    Spin-off of: "Law & Order" (1990-2010)
    "Law & Order" holds a place on TV Guide's list of the '50 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time', and while its successful procedural and legal drama format paved the way for two highly successful sitcoms, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: Special Victims," another spin-off "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" saw nowhere near as much success as the other two spin-offs did.
    Set in New York City with a focus on criminal trials, the series lasted one season, making it the first show in the "Law & Order" franchise to be cancelled. 
    "Phyllis" (1975-1977)
    Spin-off of: "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1970-1977)
    Page 7 of 9 - The groundbreaking "Mary Tyler Moore" show paved the way for three spin-offs, "Rhoda" "Lou Grant," and "Phyllis," all of which saw minimal success. "Phyllis," which only ran for two seasons, focused on Mary Richards' landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom (played by Cloris Leachman). 
    With "Rhoda" faring slightly better than "Phyllis" on their eventual back-to-back Sunday night time slots, it was "Phyllis" that faced the chopping block.
    "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" (1993-1994)
    Spin-off of: "Saved by the Bell" (1989-1993)
    Though "Saved by the Bell" found notoriety in its four-year run, the spin-offs that followed didn't have as much luck.
    First came "Saved by the Bell: The College Years," which followed the show's characters as they navigated life at a California university. Though the spin-off followed a similar format as the parent show, it was canceled after only one season.
    A later spin-off, "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" found more success, running from 1993 to 2000.
    But let's be honest, it's Screech, A.C. Slater, and Zack Morris of original "Saved by the Bell" that will forever live in pop culture infamy. 
    "Buddies" (1996)
    Spin-off of: "Home Improvement" (1991-1999)
    "Home Improvement" may have been one of 1990s America's most popular sitcoms, but you probably don't know it had a spin-off.
    After a successful appearance on the series during Tim Allen's "Tool Time," Dave Chappelle (yes, THAT Dave Chappelle), had a VERY short lived show on ABC called "Buddies." 
    The show lasted a mere five episodes before it was cancelled, and even Chappelle himself went on to acknowledge the show's horrid run.
    "It was a bad show. It was bad. I mean when we were doing it, I could tell this was not gonna work," told CBS.
    Page 8 of 9 - "Gloria" (1982-1983)
    Spin-off of: "All in the Family" (1971-1979)
    While "All in the Family" spin-off "The Jeffersons" is often referred to as one of the best spin-offs of all time, "Gloria" following the daughter of Archie Bunker, didn't do as well.
    The show followed Gloria as she picks up the pieces of an estranged marriage and moves with her son to a new house in New York.
    CBS didn't renew "Gloria" for a second season.
    "Grady" (1975-1976)
    Spin-off of: "Sanford and Son"
    "Sanford and Son," may have had a successful six-season run, but its revivals and spin-offs were not as well known, nor nearly as successful.
    "Grady" followed one of Fred Sanford's friends who moved to LA to live near his daughter and her family. The NBC show didn't catch on in the ratings and was cancelled after ten episodes.
    "Sons of Thunder" (1999)
    Spin-off of: "Walker, Texas Ranger" (1993-2001)
    While Chuck Norris gained infamy on his action crime television show, its spin-off, following a private detective firm formed by childhood friends Trent and Carlos didn't fare as well. 
    Though the show beat ratings at the time for Norris' series, the show only lasted six episodes on CBS.
    "Young Americans" (2000)
    Spin-off of: "Dawson's Creek" (1998-2003)
    While the James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes series ran on The WB for six seasons, its spin-off lasted a mere eight episodes. 
    "Young Americans" chronicled a former classmate of Dawson's Will Krudski (Rodney Scott) who had moved away a long time ago and returned to town. 
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