Unsold Pilots on Television, 1967-1989

Read about nine TV shows broadcast between 1967 and 1989 that featured unsold pilot episodes, including Just for Laughs, Comedy Theatre, Comedy Time, and CBS Summer Playhouse.

Unsold Pilots on TV: 1956-1966 | 1967-1989

Premiere (CBS, 1968)

A summer replacement for The Carol Burnett Show, this series only managed to air seven episodes over the course of twelve weeks due to pre-emptions for sporting events, political conventions and one special. Premiere debuted on Monday, July 1st and ran from 10-11PM. The first unsold pilot was titled “Call to Danger” and starred James Gregory and Peter Graves as special agents charged with finding the plates used to print the $10 bill (they were stolen). The following week, Burt Reynolds starred in “Lassiter” as a magazine writer working on an expose about vice.

Other pilots included “Braddock,” with Tom Sicoe as a private detective searching for the missing component to a laser; “The Search,” with Mark Miller as a detective from the States working in London; and “Higher and Higher, Attorneys at Law” with Dustin Hoffman as a district attorney (it also starred Sally Kellerman, Robert Foster, Alan Alda, Barry Morse and Marie Masters). Six of the seven episodes were hour-long dramas. The August 12th broadcast included two sitcom pilots aired back to back: “Out of the Blue” with Shirley Jones as an alien sent to observe Earth culture and “Operation Greasepaint” with Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber as entertainers in France during World War II.

Premiere was pre-empted on August 12th, August 19th, August 26th and September 2nd. It was last seen on September 9th.

Comedy Playhouse (CBS, 1971)

Comedy Playhouse premiered on Sunday, August 1st and ran from 8-8:30PM. Janet Leigh starred in first pilot as a soap opera actress who, in real life, is married to a doctor. Her two “lives” become confusing. Other pilots included “Elke,” with Elke Sommer as a German woman married to a doctor whose family believes she only married him for his money and the opportunity to become a citizen of the United States; “An Amateur’s Guide to Love,” with Rose Marie, Michael Landon, Dick Martin and Peter Marshall in a hidden camera show; and “Shepherd’s Flock” with Kenneth Mars as a former football player who becomes a minister.

President Nixon pre-empted the August 15th broadcast; that episode, “The Phil Silvers Show” (aka “Eddie”) was seen on September 5th as the final broadcast. Silvers starred as Eddie Skinner, a security guard for a gated community who gets to live the life of a millionaire thanks to his employees. Patricia Barry co-starred.

Just For Laughs (ABC, 1974)

This series ran for just four weeks from August 8th to August 29th on Thursdays from 8:30-9PM; one of the four pilots actually managed to make it to the air. Frank Sutton, Cloris Leachman, and Dick Van Patten starred in the first pilot, “Ernie, Madge, and Artie. Sutton and Leachman were a newly married while Van Patten was the spirit of Leachman’s first husband. The other unsold pilots were “Ann in Blue” with Penny Fuller, Marybeth Hurt, Mary Elaine Monte and Hattie Winston as police officers stuck doing public relations work and “The Barbara Eden Show” with Barbara Eden as a soap opera writer.

The remaining pilot, “The Life and Times of Capt. Barney Miller,” would eventually become ABC’s Barney Miller. It starred Hal Linden as a captain of detectives whose wife, played by Abby Dalton, wants him to quit and find a safer (and better paying) job.

Comedy Theatre (NBC, 1976; 1979)

Comedy Theatre was first seen in 1976 and then again in 1979. During the 1976 season a pair comedy pilots were broadcast during each episode. Thus, a total of 12 pilots were shown during the 1976 season over the course of six episodes. The series premiered on Monday, July 26th and ran from 8-9PM. The first two pilots were “Ace” with Bob Dishy as a bungling detective and “The Bureau” with Henry Gibson and Barbara Rhoades as the chief of and an agent for a secret government agency called the Bureau.

Other pilots broadcast during the first season included “The Cheerleaders,” with Kathleen Cody, Teresa Medaris and Debbie Zipp as cheerleaders trying to join an exclusive high school club in the 1950s; “Flannery and Quilt,” with Harold Gould and Red Buttons as widowers living in the same house who can’t agree on a single thing yet somehow get along; “Newman’s Drugstore,” with Herschel Bernardi as the owner of a small drugstore in the 1930s with money troubles; “Roxy Page,” with Janice Lynde as an actress who wants to be on Broadway whose family doesn’t; and “Local 306,” with Eugene Roche as a plumber promoted to the chief of his union who fears flying. The season finale was broadcast on September 6th.

Comedy Theatre returned for its second season on Thursday, May 24th, 1979. It was now a half-hour series running from 8:30-9PM with a single comedy pilot shown each week. The first pilot, “Car Wash,” was based on the 1976 movie and starred Danny Aiello, Stuard Pankin and Hilary Beane. Other pilots included “Heaven on Earth,” with Donna Ponteretto and Carol Wayne as young women who wind up in Heaven accidentally and are returned to Earth to do good; “Mother and Me, M.D.” with Rue McClanahan and Leah Ayres as mother and daughter doctors working at the same hospital; and “Faculty Lounge,” with Arte Johnson, Rose Marie, Larry Storch (and others) as teachers at a high school who suddenly find themselves on strike.

The final episode of Comedy Theatre aired on June 28th, 1979. One pilot, “Uptown Saturday Night” with Cleavon Little and Francesca Roberts, was scheduled to air on June 21st but was pulled the weekend before for an unknown reason.

Comedy Time (NBC, 1977)

This half-hour series had an interesting broadcast history. It premiered on Wednesday, July 6th, 1977 running from 9:30-10PM. During its third week on the air it became a twice-weekly series, with two sitcom pilots shown on Thursdays from 8-9PM. After being pre-empted during the first three weeks of August, Comedy Time returned for an additional two weeks airing only on Thursdays. All told, 12 episodes were broadcast. The premiere pilot, “The Natural Look,” starred Barbara Feldon as a cosmetics executive and Bill Bixby as her pediatrician husband.

The first Thursday broadcast consisted of a two-part pilot for a comedy series to be titled “Hollywood High,” with Annie Potts and Darrin O’Connor as high school students Paula and Eugene. In the first part, while working on an assignment for the school paper, the two find themselves sharing an apartment. In the second part, Paula tries to get Eugene a date with a popular girl by writing a paper for her.

Other pilots included “Bay City Amusement Company,” with Terry Kiser as the top executive at a television station in San Francisco; “The Rubber Gun Squad,” with Lenny Baker and Andy Romano as inept police officers trying to protect Central Park without guns; “Daughters,” with MIchael Constantine as a police chief raising three daughters on his own; and “Instant Family” with William Daniels and Lou Criscuolo as bachelors living in the same house trying to raise their sons their own ways. The final two pilots were shown on September 1st.

Comedy Theater (NBC, 1981)

This NBC series, like the similarly named Comedy Theatre, broadcast sitcom pilots. It premiered on Friday, July 17th, 1981 and ran from 8:30-9PM. The first pilot, “Dear Teacher,” starred Melinda Culea as a teacher who learns the man she’s dating (played by Ted Danson) is the father of the most troublesome student in her class. Other pilots included “Pals,” with Jeffrey Tambor and Tony Lo Bianco as brothers-in-law who travel to Mexico to purchase a painting; “Two Reelers,” with Radger Bumpass and Stephen Furst as tourists who find themselves in the middle of a revolution and help take a coffee shop and its waitress (played by Penny Peyser) hostage; and “Wendy Hooper, U.S. Army” with Wendy Holcombe as a member of the Army Signal Corps.

The final episode was broadcast on August 28th.

CBS Summer Playhouse (CBS, 1987-1989)

CBS used this series as summer filler for three consecutive seasons during the late 1980s, mixing hour-long dramas and half-hour sitcoms (two each episode) for a total of 47 pilots. During the summer of 1987 it was seen on Fridays from 8-9PM and, over the course of 13 weeks, aired 18 pilots. The premiere installment, broadcast on June 12th, was an attempted remake of “The Saint” starring Andrew Clark as Simon Templar. Other pilots included “Mabel and Max,” with Geraldine Fitzgerald and Mary B. Ward as actresses living in a New York City apartment; “Day to Day,” with Linda Purl, Deborah Harmon and Noelle Parker as sisters living together; “Sons of Gunz,” with Kenneth McMillan as a car salesman whose three sons work for him; and “Infiltrator” with Scott Bakula as a scientist who gains superhuman abilities thanks to a “molecular teleportation” accident.

CBS Summer Playhouse returned on Tuesday, June 21st, 1988 with a special two-hour pilot called “My Africa,” with Carl Weintraub as a doctor working in Kenya whose children come to live with him after his ex-wife dies. It ran from 8-10PM; the regular time slot was 8-9PM. Other pilots included “Dr. Paradise,” with Sally Kellerman as a doctor whose brother owns a tropical resort (he’s also a doctor); “Roughhouse,” with Ronny Cox and Robert Prescott as construction workers; “Old Money,” with Carolyn Seymour as a wealthy countess; and “Sniff,” with Robert Wuhl as a reporter whose dog is a talented partner. The season finale aired on September 6th.

During the summer of 1989 CBS Summer Playhouse was once again seen on Tuesdays. The third season premiered on June 20th. The first pilot, “Microcops,” starred William Bumiller and Shanti Owen as tiny intergalactic police officers on the trail of a nasty bad guy played by Page Moseley. Also appearing in the pilot were Peter Scolari and Lucinda Jenney. Other pilots included “Elysian Fields,” with Jeffrey De Munn, Frances Fisher and James Borders as residents of a boarding house in New Orleans; “Outpost,” with Joanna Going as a police officer on a distant colony; “Shivers,” with Lesley-Anne Down as a sexy ghost who doesn’t want anyone living in her house; and “Coming to America,” based on the 1988 film of the same name with Tommy Davidson as Prince Tariq (the brother of King Akeem, the character played by Eddie Murphy in the movie).

The final episode aired on August 22nd.

Unsold Pilots All But Disappear From The Airwaves

CBS Summer Playhouse was the last regularly-scheduled summer series to burn off unsold pilots. By the mid-1980s, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) were seeing increasing summer competition from the number of viewing options available. But the main problem was cable. In July 1985, Harvey Shephard, CBS vice president for programming, pointed out that “in the last two seasons, the cable companies have recognized the fact that the networks — and the independent stations as well — are vulnerable. They’ve saved a lot of ther stronger films for summer and the netowrk shares have declined significantly” [1]. ABC Entertainment president Lew Erlicht, who was also in charge of programming for ABC, felt certain the networks were going to be providing “more and more original programming in the summer” [2].

CBS Broadcast Group’s research senior vice president David Poltrak agreed that something had to change. “There is a continuing increase in the number of channels people can get. We’re pedaling harder to stand still — to maintain our position — and we’re not getting any further up the hill. We’re going to have to give them a better product just to hold on to our share” [“3]. That better product meant more original programming. By August 1986, NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff was championing the concept of the 52-week season, suggesting first that summer was “the time when you can try new producers and new writers because the stakes are smaller” and second that “if you’re having trouble with a certain show you can warm up the time period while the competition is at half-mast” [4]. Tartikoff argued that the television landscape was in flux and that if the networks didn’t embrace the concept of original summer programming, someone else would. The launch of FOX as the fourth network in 1987 only added more competition to the Big Three.

CBS decided to embrace the unsold pilot as original programming and broadcast CBS Summer Playhouse during the summers of 1987, 1988 and 1989 (as described above). But it was the last gasp of a once common network practice. Although the networks knew they had to provide some incentive to viewers to keep them from turning to cable, original summer programming remained fairly week going into the 1990s. And Tartikoff’s 52-week schedule never took off. Still, unsold pilots would continue to be broadcast irregularly during the summer months throughout the decade. ABC aired three during July 1995 alone (“Philly Heat,” “The Last Days of Russell” and “Time Well Spent”). By the turn of the century, however, seeing an unsold pilot on television had become very rare.

Unsold Pilots on TV: 1956-1966 | 1967-1989

Works Cited:
1 Miller, Ron. “Summer means truce time as networks clean house.” Knight-Ridder Newspapers. Boca Raton News TV in the News [Boca Raton, FL]. 6 Jul. 1985: 6.
2 Ibid.
3 Hanauer, Joan. “Check summer television fare.” United Press International. Modesto Bee. 9 Jul. 1985: C-5.
4 Buck, Jerry. “52-Week Season Eyed.” Associated Press. Ocala Star-Banner TVWeek [Ocala, FL]. 2 Aug. 1986: 24.

Originally Published July 23rd, 2009
Last Updated May 5th, 2018

35 Replies to “Unsold Pilots on Television, 1967-1989”

  1. A couple of quick notes:

    1) The 1968 CBS Premiere series included a show filmed in Chicago whose title I can’t recall, which starred Carroll O’Connor and Andrew Duggan as cops. It may have been the last TV show directed by Robert Altman before he switched to movies; it was filmed entirely on location.

    2) IN Ernie, Madge And Artie, you have the male leads switched: Dick Van Patten was the new groom and Frank Sutton was the ghost. I remember this in particular because the show aired only a matter of days after Sutton had died in real life; there was a small dispute over whether it was going to air at all.

    3) The title role in the Dr. Paradise pilot was played by Frank Langella, his first such appearance if memory serves.

    4) The title roles in Higher & Higher were played by Sally Kellerman and John McMartin. Dustin Hoffman’s part as the DA was small (this was filmed well before The Graduate), but you wouldn’t have known that fron CBS’s promotion.

    5) The star of Braddock was Tom Simcox, who sort of vaniished after a brief spurt of activity in the late ’60s. The last thing I can recall of him was when Patrick McGoohan murdered him on Columbo.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Ernie Madge & Artie was NEVER broadcast because it was scheduled the same night Nixon made his resignation speech. I remember looking forward to it and didn’t understand what was going on since the pilot was scheduled at 8:30 and Nixon’s speech wasn’t until 9.

      1. Ernie, Madge, and Artie WAS aired, one week after it was originally scheduled.
        I know this because I saw it.
        The reason for the one-week delay was Frank Sutton’s death, just two days before the originally scheduled airdate.
        This was mainly a sight-gag comedy, with most of them centered on Sutton’s inability to master ghostly manifestations: exploding his way out of a crematory urn, trying to walk through a wall and getting stuck halfway through, etc.

      2. I just researched this, and it seems like you are both right, sort of. It does seem like it was pre-empted the first time (Aug. 8), since it was scheduled again on August 29, 1974.

  2. Reading the descriptions of the 1976 NBC Comedy Theatre, three shows stand out; if you put ‘Ace’ and ‘The Bureau’ together you’d have GET SMART…’Flannery and Quilt’ sounds like a revised version of THE ODD COUPLE (the men being widowers instead of divorced)

  3. The unsold pilot that Carroll O’Connor and Andrew Duggan appeared in on “PREMIERE”, originally “pitched” for CBS’ 1966-’67 season, was entitled, “WALK IN THE NIGHT” (aka “NIGHTWATCH”). It came down to a choice of their pilot for the fall schedule…or “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE”- and CBS executives chose the latter.

    I’ve seen an original network print of “HIGHER AND HIGHER, ATTORNEYS AT LAW” (with commercials) on “PREMIERE” [color kinescope), and it was indeed Kellerman & McMartin in the lead roles, filmed in New York. Hoffman had a supporting role as the “DA”…and Alan Alda- his role was smaller, but pivotal to the evening’s plot {and I have no intention of revealing exactly WHY, here…in case any of you ever get to see it…why spoil the surprise?}.

    “BRADDOCK” was supposed to be a “futuristic” crime drama about “the last private eye in America” in 1977, featuring Tom Simcox [Braddock uses “old fashioned methods” as opposed to up-to-date “computerized” proceedures]. It was filmed, I believe, at a futuristic-looking UCLA complex.

  4. As for the 1981 edition of NBC’s “COMEDY THEATER” on Friday nights, I recall “NATIONAL LAMPOON’S TWO REELERS” (it was produced in association with the magazine), but it WASN’T seen in New York [pre-empted on WNBC-TV in favor of a local news special; I saw part of it on NBC’s Philadephia affiliate, KYW-TV, because the set I was watching could bring the signal in reasonably]. The idea of the projected series was to simulate the “golden age” of theatrical comedy shorts, with the two leads {Rodger Bumpass & Stephen Furst} reappearing in different roles and situations in each episode (a la “The Three Stooges”, “Laurel & Hardy”, and so on). “PALS”, from the team responsible for CBS’ “MR. MERLIN” in the fall of 1981, was an out-and-out rip-off of the 1980 theatrical movie, “The In-Laws” (Peter Falk & Alan Arkin). “WENDY HOOPER, U.S. ARMY” was from the same creator/producer of “GOMER PYLE, USMC”, Aaron Ruben; NBC chief programmer Fred Silverman believed Wendy Holcombe had a future as a sitcom star- she eventually became a regular on Gabriel Kaplan’s short-lived “LEWIS & CLARK” that fall, after Silverman had left the network. Another unsold pilot seen was Irene Cara’s “IRENE” (Fred Silverman decided, on the strength of her performance in “Fame”, that she could be a sitcom star; the pilot episode aired shortly after he left NBC), featuring Kaye Ballard and Julia Duffy in supporting roles.

    1. WNBC in New York seemed to do that on occasion. The September 8th 1982 rerun of The Shadow Of Death episode of Quincy M.E. was preempted by a news special on WNBC. The Quincy episode did air on the NBC station in Philadelphia.

  5. I was looking for info on Paradise bay 1965-66 and ended up here Pleget something on this tv series posted thanks.

  6. I had a guy come to our house back in 1970-71 and the family watched a pilot on a projector of a cop show starring Eugene Roche, the Ajax for dishes man, as a cop. I was only 13 but remember liking it but it never aired. It is weird that all these years later I have the fond memory as a kid of giggling “the cop is the Ajax dishes man!”

  7. I have looked for info on “Call to Danger” for many years. I rermember seeing it the first time it aired amd being struck by its similarity to “Mission: Impossible” — and what a coincidence that Peter Graves, star of “Call to Danger” replaced Steven Hill on “Mission: Impossible”.

  8. I remember reading last summer about a Cold War series (it may have been produced in Great Britain) ca. 1966–67. It involved a young man fished out of a river (the Thames?) who had lost his memory, but as the series progressed, it became clear he was a highly trained agent presumed lost on a secret mission—what, and for which government, would come back to him only gradually. As I recall, it actually got beyond the pilot stage and several episodes were filmed, but the network sponsoring it backed out. Can anyone tell me the name of the series and who starred in it?

    1. The show you’re thinking of was called Coronet Blue, and the show was set in New York, with the river the amnesiac agent’s fished out of being the East River. It was to have been shown in 1965, but was delayed until summer of 1967, and then it became a hit when shown, with people requesting more episodes, but the production company had dissolved, and the star of the show was now working on another show.


      1. At the end of February 1965, Jim Aubrey had tentatively scheduled “CORONET BLUE” on Fridays at 10pm(et) for the fall- but after he was fired by CBS, most of his programming decisions for the upcoming fall schedule were altered….. including the “postponement” of “CORONET BLUE” {a second season of “SLATTERY’S PEOPLE” appeared on Fridays instead} until 1967.

  9. HAH! Boy, did I come to the right place! I’ve been browsing the Articles section for the last hour or so (it’s now 02:30 in Toronto), and found the series I was asking about: “Coronet Blue.” Awesome!!!

  10. Didn’t Abby Dalton star in a pilot episode of a situation comedy sometime in the early 1980s called ‘All Together Now.” A middle aged couple finds that their children move back home, divorced daughter, her children, the gay son, and his boyfriend, who was a basketball jock. Have you any idea how to trace this one show? Many thanks for an interesting article.

  11. I don’t know if you’re just looking for pilots with famous names, but during the spring /summer 0f 78, ABC ran an umbrella title of pilots named “The ABC Comedy Special” on Mondays at 8/7 Central-before Monday Night Baseball. None of these survived, but I do remember watching these in order to kill time before MNB. Is there any info available…

  12. Sometimes unsold pilots have an unexpected “second life” after a tv showing.

    I recall seeing an unsold pilot on NBC for a sitcom probably in the summer of 85. I don’t remember the title, but remember that it popped up unexpectedly on the schedule, almost as “filler” one evening, perhaps because of production problems with one of their regular series or something.

    Even though I don’t recall the name of it, the thing really was memorable for how dreadful it was – it featured a male actor that had appeared in some soaps and a really annoying little kid.

    Fast forward ten years. A friend of mine received an invite to participate in a focus group on “new television programming”. He and I went and got $25 to sit and watch this “new show”. The organizers of the focus group told us it would include commercials so it would be just like you were watching the show on tv.

    Of course, it turned out to be that dreadful unsold pilot I saw on NBC. And, of course, the focus group wasn’t about the show – they grilled us with questions on the commercials.

    I wonder how many other unsold pilots have been sold or leased to companies for odd uses like this.

  13. Re: “Coming to America”. I was director of Special Events at Queens College in New York in the late eighties (I retired in 2010). In 1988 I was contacted by CBS TV since they were planning a comedy series to capitalize on the success of the movie which featured Eddie Murphy as an African Crown Prince who comes to America to find a suitable princess to be his queen. Thus he came to Queens. The TV series was to feature the prince’s younger brother who came to Queens in a similar pursuit. I cooperated with CBS and provided Queens College banners and T-Shirts, etc. They would appear in a restaurant near the campus. A pilot was made which unfortunately did not sell.
    It was shown once on July 4, 1989 as part of the CBS Summer Playhouse pilot series.

    1. Hello world.
      I just came across this posting from several years ago. (It is all 100% true! )

      It is is just amazing what stays in “cyberspace“.

      For years I have cautioned my family and friends to be careful what they post. It could come back to haunt them.

      Now, hardly a week goes by when we don’t see someone being embarrassed , fired from a job, refused admission to his school, etc. for a foolish posting online that has been uncovered.

      My warning has been “iIf you post, you may be toast!”

      Joe Brostek

      1. I don’t follow your train of thought regarding regrettable comments on the interwebs. The comment you’re responding to (your own?), seems to be pretty straightforward and not laced with anything I can envision as potentially being toxic. What is the connection?

  14. Would 1985’s “George Burns Comedy Week” count? At least one show, “Leo & Liz” became a short lived series.

    I remember ether one or both of the first two seasons of the “CBS Summer Playhouse” featured a number viewers could call to vote on if they felt the pilot deserved to continue.

    As for MicroCops…I may be mistaken, but I think Peter Scolari was their human sized friend, not the micro sized criminal they were chasing.

  15. I’m looking for the name of a tv pilot, I believe from the 80s. Main character was a young newspaper editor with a girlfriend. The girlfriends plane disappeares for hours, while returning from. Hawaii and when it finally lands, she is different, unemotional. It is later revealed that she has been replaced by a robot that tries to kill him.
    Other passengers were also replaced, so the editor makes it his mission to find out who they are, and what.
    The name was similar to The Punisher or The Tormented.

  16. Failed pilots and short-run series were a big part of the often-forgotten cable network TRiO, which I believe NBC folded into Bravo about a decade ago.

    Their “Brilliant But Cancelled” series featured a few gems and even more stinkers.

  17. Ken Levine wrote about his experience co-writing “Bay City Amusement Company” in a funny post to his blog here (adult language warning):


    It originally aired July 28, 1977 (not July 20, as he stated), as I found the TV Guide listing for this show. I don’t recall ever seeing it, but now after reading his post I want to see it. Here is its IMDB entry:


    I can still remember the most depressing “comedy” pilot I’ve ever seen, “The Faculty”, which ABC aired June 20, 1986, along with its other Friday night sitcoms, including MR. BELVEDERE & MR. SUNSHINE. It was part of a failed pilot package called COMEDY FACTORY. (Do you have record of this ABC 1985-86 summer series?) It featured Blair Brown & Allyn Ann McLerie, among others, as faculty members of an inner-city high school. It was done documentary-style, including interviews with the teachers, and it had no comedy in it whatsoever, at least that I can recall. Here is its IMDB entry:


    1. “An Amateur’s Guide to Love” was turned into a CBS daytime game show in March 1972, the first game show on CBS since the network cancelled TO TELL THE TRUTH in September 1968. Gene Rayburn hosted the daytime game show, which was produced by Heatter-Quigley and used H-Q’s usual announcer, Kenny Williams, who announced most H-Q game shows, no matter what their network. CBS cancelled the show after 13 weeks, but on Labor Day 1972, CBS premiered 3 game shows, THE JOKER’S WILD, GAMBIT, and THE [NEW] PRICE IS RIGHT, and the last of those shows continues on CBS to this day.

    2. “I can still remember the most depressing “comedy” pilot I’ve ever seen, “The Faculty”, which ABC aired June 20, 1986, along with its other Friday night sitcoms, including MR. BELVEDERE & MR. SUNSHINE. It was part of a failed pilot package called COMEDY FACTORY. (Do you have record of this ABC 1985-86 summer series?)”

      I watched this one back in the day (along with most of what got burned off on “Comedy Factory”) and hated the hell out of it. “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” at least had some dry humor in it, such as it was. I had no clue what “The Faculty” was even trying to be, or why Jay Tarses didn’t just go to HBO if that’s what he wanted to make. Even more detestable is that ABC didn’t just pass on it cold like they did two million other pilots at the time; they asked him to reshoot it, except make it funny. Of course he declined. Without Tom Patchett, he didn’t know how to anyway.

      On the other hand, I recently rewatched Madeline Kahn’s “Chameleon,” a solid, albeit traditional, pilot which ABC passed on for no reason. (David Lloyd created two pilots for them that year. They dumped both. Unfortunately, this was after buying “Mr. Sunshine,” which is the one of his they should have passed on.)

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  19. Really late to this party, but to me the most memorable aspect of “Call To Danger” was its theme song, composed by Morton Stevens, a tightly-edited version of which was the soundtrack for the animated logo for “A CBS Special Presentation” for YEARS. The full version is on Stevens’ “Hawaii Five-O” soundtrack album.

  20. Didn’t “Seinfeld” make its debut on TV airing as an unsold pilot (“The Seinfeld Chronicles”)?

  21. I don’t follow your train of thought regarding regrettable comments on the interwebs. The comment you’re responding to (your own?), seems to be pretty straightforward and not laced with anything I can envision as potentially being toxic. What is the connection?

    1. Please ignore the duplication above. On the matter of pilots not picked up, having some half-life, I point to The Stranger, with Glen Corbett. While pretty much a lift from Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, I think the tension provided by most of the actors’ performances, among other factors, led it to have a continued following, nearly 50 years after its production and rejection by NBC.

      It’s still going strong on YouTube. https://youtu.be/9oL8BH5vW80

  22. Does anyone know of an unsold pilot of a half hour sitcom made in 1980? The stting, I think, was a newsroom, and the two recognizable cast members were Morey Amsterdam and Stu Gilliam. I recall being at the after party, but I remember little else about the show itself (other than the fact that it was really bad).

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