10 shocking pilot season rejects
No Beverly Hills Cop? No Delirium? No Sixth Gun? Some of the shows that received the most online buzz during pilot season have failed to earn a series greenlight for next season. While there’s an outside chance a network might resuscitate one of these in the coming weeks, currently all are considered out-of-the-running. Here’s 10 shocking pilot season rejects and why they didn’t make it:
BEVERLY HILLS COP (CBS)
Pitch: Continuation of the movie franchise, centered around Axel Foley’s police officer son (Brandon T. Jackson), who takes down the criminal elements of the rich and famous in Beverly Hills.
Why It Should Have Worked: Based on a hit film with original star Eddie Murphy making occasional appearances. Plus, it’s a crime procedural — that must be perfect for CBS. Right?
Why It Didn’t: We’re told the pilot felt “too retro,” and that guest-star Murphy stole the show from the main character.
SUPER CLYDE (CBS)
Pitch: Single-camera comedy about a meek, unassuming fast food worker (Rupert Grint) decides to become a super hero.
Why It Should Have Worked: Fun idea, and the Harry Potter star seems like a natural for a TV sitcom.
Why It Didn’t: CBS was high on Grint, and still is. But the concept was deemed off-brand for the network and the net’s other comedies came in strong. Plus, successful comedy blocks are about creating flow, and there was also nothing compatible that CBS had to pair it with.
THE SELECTION (The CW)
Pitch: Set 300 years in the future, an epic romance centering on a working class young woman chosen by lottery to participate in a competition with 25 other women for the Royal Prince’s hand to become the nation’s next queen. Based on the book by Kiera Cass.
Why It Should Have Worked: This is the second time in two years The CW has shot a pilot for The Selection. So the network really wanted to make this work.
Why It Didn‘t: We’re hearing this version was “1,000 times better” than the first. The CW has a very limited number of slots and the other drama pilots that were picked up were considered stronger. Part of the problem was Selection is slightly similar to historical soap Reign, which executives liked better (“It’s Game of Thrones for chicks,” as one put it).
Pitch: Based on bestselling trilogy about a world where love is deemed illegal and is able to be eradicated with a special procedure. With 95 days to go until her scheduled treatment, Lena Holoway (Emma Roberts) does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Why It Should Have Worked: Big online following; has that Hunger Games vibe.
Why It Didn’t: Deemed “too young” for Fox’s audience. I know — Fox could have concluded that from reading the book and saved everybody the trouble. But there’s a difference between being youthful on paper and the resulting pilot feeling too young.
BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN (ABC)
Pitch: When a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon, they quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems. Pierce Gagnon, Ana de la Reguera, Ed MacLiam star.
Why It Should Have Worked: It will be the next Pirates of the Caribbean.
Why It Didn’t: Sources vary on why this was turned down, especially when ABC picked up so many other dramas. One said simply that the pilot “had a lot of problems,” while another more politely offered that it was better what you might expect from the script, but still not strong enough.
Pitch: Drama based on Swedish detective series of same name about an overweight, offensive irascible cop (Rainn Wilson) as he tries and fails to change his self-destructive behavior.
Why It Should Have Worked: It’s Dr. House-as-detective and based on a proven format.
Why It Didn’t: Deemed good, but not good enough. Wilson was convincing in a dramatic role and made Dr. House look soft-hearted by comparison. Still, CBS originally tried to cast Hugh Laurie and it’s hard to imagine the network passing on this if he was attached. Both this and NCIS LA: RED still had the faintest of pulses last time we checked.
Pitch: A sexy gothic soap set in present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray, among others. Chris Egan, Tom Ellis and Melissa George star.
Why It Should Have Worked: It’s like Once Upon a Time, but with legendary monsters instead of fairy tale characters.
Why It Didn’t: Was told “the production values weren’t there.” Or, as one person hilariously put it: “It looked Canadian.”
THE SIXTH GUN
Pitch: A drama based on the best-selling supernatural graphic novel that follows the story of six mythical guns, each with its own other-worldly powers. Michiel Huisman, Laura Ramsey star.
Why It Should Have Worked: Big online following, and presumably NBC learned a thing or two after rejecting a certain other comic book project (you know, the one with the zombies?).
Why It Didn’t: I’m told NBC felt it played too much like a geeky Syfy show and not enough like a big broadcast network show. Also, notice NBC greenlit a bunch of crime dramas this cycle; the network is trying to go for super-broad CBS-style concepts instead of niche ones.
Pitch: A young ensemble comedy that is created, written by and starring one of the hottest young stand ups, John Mulaney, and based loosely on his life.
Why It Should Have Worked: This show could be the next Seinfeld!
Why It Didn’t: Some in the industry who liked the pilot were surprised this didn’t get picked up. I’m told “comedy geeks” loved the script, but the executive brass did not. Timing could have been an issue. NBC is embracing a “family theme” for its comedies next fall, moving away from smarter-narrower-snarkier titles.
NCIS LA: RED
Pitch: The spin-off pilot aired as an episode of NCIS: LA earlier this season: A small mobile team of agents are forced to live and work together as they crisscross the country solving crimes. John Corbett stars.
Why It Should Have Worked: It has “NCIS” in the title.
Why It Didn’t: The feeling at the network was spinoff wasn’t “special” enough. I know, you’re smirking.