Shout! Factory has issued a press release for its 19-disc complete series set of Maude, which has a release date of March 17th. Among the bonus features are two unaired episodes. If you’re a fan of Maude you’re probably thinking “What unaired episodes? There aren’t any unaired episodes of Maude.” You’re right. Sort of. The two episodes in question — “The Double Standard” and “Maude’s New Friend” — were broadcast but it turns out earlier versions were produced and then for reasons unknown shelved without being aired. Later, the episodes were remade using the same scripts.
Here’s the official explanation from the Shout! Factory website:
*The two unaired episodes of Maude share titles and story elements that eventually did air. “The Double Standard” was originally shot for Season One as episode 15 and did not air. However, the same script was reshot for Season Two with cast changes and aired on 10/30/73. “Arthur’s Friends” (a.k.a. “Maude’s New Friends”) was originally shot for Season Three as episode 16. This version also did not air, but the script was reshot in Season Five with cast changes and aired 11/29/76. Tapes for both episodes were recently found in the Sony vault and have never been seen by the public until now.
So, depending on how you define “unaired” these two episodes technically never aired but the concepts and storylines were. This is relatively unprecedented, I believe. There are plenty of examples of TV shows with alternate pilot episodes and I can think of a few occasions were partially alternate versions of episodes have been released on DVD. But this is something different.
(Via Sitcoms Online.)