There’s nothing worse than going out on top, then coming back to appease your fans and flopping around like a dead fish in front of millions of people on national television. That’s how we envision the sad reality of some of TV’s failed spinoffs that never took flight. If you thought we were referring to Michael Jordan just now, then damn you. He’s a true American hero, and you should be ashamed of yourself. But in all honesty, most of these failed spin-off tragedies are pretty apparent in hindsight.
Saved by the Bell: The College Years
Even though we know college is short — for some of us, at least — we didn’t think it’d be that short for the “Saved by the Bell” college spin-off that followed the entire gang — some people never grow apart, do they — from being top dogs of Bayside High to the lowly freshmen on campus. In a matter of one season, the guys rushed fraternities, had long term relationships and learned about irresponsible drinking all over again. Kelly showed up to be with Zack, then had a serious relationship with a teacher, then she got back with Zack and eloped in Vegas, all in 19 episodes in less than six months. The show premiered in 1993, the same year the original series ended, and quit in early 1994. The end.
That ’80s Show
I think everyone watched a bit of “That ’70s Show” at some point in their life, but I’d probably be hard-pressed to find someone who ever attempted “That ’80s Show.” Despite having total babes, Brittany Daniel and Chyler Leigh, in addition to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” veteran Glenn Howerton, the series bottomed out in its first season when the network realized nobody liked the ’80s or anything about it. The show aired in January 2002 and ended in May.
The burger-loving David Hasselhoff and Gregory Alan Williams (Sgt. Garner Ellerbee) from the original 1989 “Baywatch” series went from daytime beach-whore superheroes to moonlighting private detectives in a spin-off that took two seasons for people to realize it was total crap and had to be cancelled. The show, like “Baywatch,” had Hasselhoff at the helm as Mitch Buchannon, but the difference being he didn’t have handfuls of the hottest “Baywatch” babes at his side.
Time of Your Life
After the “Party of Five” sixth season and series finale, the cameras followed little Sarah Merrin Jennifer Love Hewitt to New York, where she apparently only had the “time of her life” for one season of 19 episodes. Despite Hewitt’s blossoming potential and bodacious bosoms, the show failed to carry its followers from “Party of Five” over, as Fox halted the show in 1999, then returned with it for Fox’s “Summer of Love” theme in 2000, then cancelled it officially. The final episodes aired in 2006 on TBS.
The last of the “All in the Family” spinoffs featured a six-episode flunk in spring of 1994. The show featured John Amos as Ernie Cumberbatch, an African-American who moves his family into Archie Bunker’s old house at 704 Hauser St. Only five of the six episodes aired, but we did get our first glimpses at a sexy, young Maura Tierney, so not all is lost. This was the final nail in the coffin for “All in the Family” spinoffs, as ratings dried up completely.
Comedians Dave Chappelle and Jim Breuer did co-guest star spots on an episode of “Home Improvement,” which garnered such a good response that the show’s executives decided to green-light a spinoff series called “Buddies” about the two guys who showed up on “Tool Time,” a TV show inside of a TV show, both starring Tim Allen. Now there’s a nightmare. However, after failed rehearsals, Breuer was removed and replaced with another actor who wasn’t Chappelle’s buddy much at all, costing ABC studio eight unaired episodes out of 13 in 1996.
Top of the Heap
At the bottom of the heap in 1991 was the “Married…With Children” spinoff, starring Matt LeBlanc of “Friends” fame as the son of a small role character in Al Bundy’s world. The show focused on him being a slimy Italian dirtbag in attempts to get rich while catching the humor that Bundy himself incited, only to fall well short in only seven episodes. The show aired in April of 1991 and was squashed in May. But “Friends” debuted not long after, so everything worked out for young LeBlanc. Also, Kelly Bundy.
Charlene Briscoe (Leah Remini), friend of Samantha Micelli (Alyssa Milano) from “Who’s the Boss?”, is in need of a home while getting into modeling. The showed spun off from Tony Danza’s family dramedy “Who’s the Boss?” in 1989, which is when we got some of our first looks at a young Remini before her brief summer days as Stacey Carosi on “Saved by the Bell,” along with an early Halle Berry. Despite having a cast of young potential, the show was awarded an “F” by People Magazine in only 12 episodes in 1989 before getting kicked to the curb.
The Golden Palace
After “Golden Girls,” Bea Arthur took off as the other golden gals decided to attempt a spinoff later that year about opening up a hotel, which — as most hotels do — bombed fairly quickly. Betty White, Estelle Getty and Rue McClanahan renewed their roles while Bea Arthur’s character, Dorothy, supposedly went off and got married again. The show lasted a whole 24 episodes, including early looks at Don Cheadle and some lovable Cheech Marin before the Golden Palace was closed in 1993.
Three’s a Crowd
“Three’s Company” playboy, Jack Tripper, played by the late John Ritter, claims to have found true love, and “Three’s a Crowd” is the spinoff about said love. In the short-lived series, Tripper and his girlfriend attempt a life together while living under the unruly landlord, who just happens to be his girlfriend’s father. The show lasted one season, but more importantly, how creepy is this photo of them?