Earlier this year when NBC announced it had ordered a 13-episode revival of the 1989-1997 sitcom ABC Coach, like many people I thought perhaps it was a joke. It wasn’t. NBC was serious about bringing back the sitcom with original star Craig T. Nelson. On Tuesday, however, the network revealed it has decided not to move forward with the revival. Although it was given a straight-to-series pickup, only the first episode was filmed. Despite the fact that straight-to-series orders are supposed to eliminate the need for pilots, NBC seems to have treated the first episode as a pilot and used it to evaluate the series.
It’s unclear whether any additional scripts have been completed. The series was never given a premiere date. Creative differences between the network and producers reportedly led to the project being scrapped. The production studio (Universal TV) is apparently trying to find a new home for it. Deadline Hollywood has more details.
This is only the latest in a long line of recent network cancellations of shows that were given straight-to-series orders. In November 2014, ABC pulled the plug on Members Only, which had received a 13-episode order but only one completed episode. NBC cancelled sitcom Mission Control in October 2014. It had a 6-episode order and likewise only completed one episode. In August 2014, NBC yanked a planned 10-episode limited series called Emerald City without finishing any episodes (only to revive it earlier this year). FOX cancelled its event series Hieroglyph in July 2014. It had a 13-episode order; again, only the premiere episode was finished. And back in October 2013, FOX pulled the plug on an animated sitcom called Murder Police, which also had a 13-episode order but no completed episodes.
Even if Universal TV is successful and convinces another network, cable channel, or streaming service to pick up the Coach revival, at some point are the networks going to realize that perhaps their attempts to bypass pilots by giving concepts straight-to-series orders aren’t working?
(Thanks to Bob for passing this along.)