21 Times Popular TV Shows Tried To Make A Spinoff And Failed Miserably

·8 min read

1.Gossip Girl was supposed to have a spinoff focusing on teenage Carol and Lily in '80s Los Angeles.

Lily and Carol on a bus

Gossip Girl producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz wanted to do a GG spinoff without losing any of their main characters — so they went with a prequel series about Serena's mom, Lily, when she was a teenager. They filmed a backdoor pilot to the series that aired as the 24th episode of Gossip Girl's Season 2, but the CW passed on the series.

Giovanni Rufino / The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection

2.The O.C. was supposed to have a spinoff following Kaitlyn Cooper at boarding school.

Kaitlin sitting on a couch

The show was meant to be a TV version of Mean Girls and air in 2006, but it never came to be.

WB / Courtesy Everett Collection

3.The Office was supposed to have a spinoff about Dwight's family farm.

Dwight on his farm

The Farm would've starred Dwight, his cousin Mose, and the other Schrutes on their beet farm, where they also ran a bed-and-breakfast. However, NBC ultimately passed on the series, and the footage was recut and made into an episode in the last season of The Office.


4.Gilmore Girls was supposed to have a spinoff focused on Jess called Windward Circle.

Jess on the boardwalk

Gilmore Girls aired a backdoor pilot for the show in Season 3, featuring Jess looking for his father in California. The show would've featured Jess living there and reconnecting with his father. Apparently, it was too expensive to film in Venice Beach, and the series was scrapped.

Warner Bros. / Everett Collection

5.Glee was supposed to have a spinoff starring Finn, Rachel, and Kurt in New York.

Kurt and Rachel in NY

Ryan Murphy told Deadline he had been in talks with Cory Montieth, Lea Michelle, and Chris Colfer to create a spinoff starring their characters. The series would've followed them in their move to New York, where they would attend Juilliard. Murphy publicly revealed that Season 3 would be the actors' last Glee season — which the actors claimed was the first they were hearing of this, even saying they were being fired. Cue a media firestorm, and Murphy dropping plans of a spinoff altogether. The actors remained on Glee, though Rachel and Kurt did move to NYC in Season 4.

Adam Rose / Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Smallville was supposed to have a spinoff starring the comic book character Aquaman.

Justin as Aquaman in the spinoff

Aquaman was introduced in Smallville's fifth season, played by Alan Ritchson. A pilot was then shot with Justin Hartley in the role of Aquaman/Arthur Curry, who ran a dive shop and mostly used his powers for fun, but the CW ended up passing on it. However, you can buy it on iTunes or watch the trailer here. Hartley ended up playing Oliver Queen on Smallville.

mercyreeffan / YouTube, the CW / Via youtube.com

7.Smallville was also supposed to have a Justice League spinoff.

The Justice League and Clark walk away from an explosion

This series would've focused on Green Arrow, Barry Allen, Cyborg, and Aquaman teaming up as the Justice League following their work together in the Smallville Season 6 episode "Justice." Writer, director, and co–executive producer Steven S. DeKnight elaborated, saying, “The idea was that Oliver Queen was basically giving refuge to young people with superpowers, kind of in a Professor X kind of way, putting together this team and also trying to help out these people.”

The CW

8.How I Met Your Mother was supposed to have a gender-flipped spinoff years ago starring Greta Gerwig.

How I Met Your Dad trailer

We all know that Hilary Duff is playing the main character in the spinoff How I Met Your Father, but did you know there was a similar series in the works back in 2014? The show was to be called How I Met Your Dad, star Greta Gerwig, and have Meg Ryan doing voiceover. However, CBS passed on the pilot. You can watch a promo for the series here.


9.Supernatural was supposed to have a spinoff called Supernatural: Bloodlines...

Nathaniel Buzolic and Melissa Roxburgh in the woods

The show was about warring supernatural factions in Chicago tied together with a series of treaties. It ended up airing as a backdoor pilot in Season 9. It wasn't ordered to series, partly because The Vampire Diaries' spinoff The Originals had just begun airing, and it had a similar plot.

Carole Segal / The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection

10....and a spinoff called Wayward Sisters.

The characters sitting around a table eating

The spinoff was supposed to focus on Jody Mills as she mentored orphaned young women into a monster-fighting force. It aired as a backdoor pilot in 2018, but the CW passed on picking it up as a series — they went with TVD spinoff Legacies instead.

Dean Buscher / The CW Network / courtesy Everett Collection

11.Sabrina the Teenage Witch was supposed to have a spinoff called Witchright Hall.

Amanda sitting in the headmaster's office

Melissa Joan Hart's younger sister, Emily, played Sabrina's cousin Amanda in an episode where she was sent to a boarding school for misbehaving witches and warlocks called "Witchright Hall." However, the series was not picked up by the WB after the backdoor pilot.

The WB

12.Charmed could have had a spinoff featuring Kaley Cuoco's character Billie.

Billie with her hands on her hips

Billie became a series regular in the eighth season. She was not brought in to create spinoff potential, but it was something that was discussed.

Mitchell Haddad / Viacom / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.And they attempted a spinoff called Mermaids.

a mermaid in a grotto

After the success of mermaid-themed episode "A Witch's Tail, Part 1," which featured a mermaid in a Little Mermaid–like plotline, executive producer Brad Kern pitched a mermaid series that wouldn't involve any of the Charmed characters (even the ones in the mermaid-themed episode). It was said to have a good shot at being picked up by the WB but became a casualty of the WB-UPN merger: The newly created CW network passed.

The WB

14.The series iCarly was supposed to have a spinoff focusing on Gibby working at a rec center mentoring teenagers.

Gibby speaking into a mic

It was never released, but a first episode was apparently filmed, since creator Dan Schneider tweeted about editing it. You can read the script here.


15.Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was going to have a spinoff called Marvel's Most Wanted, focusing on Bobbi Morse.


The series would also star Nick Blood as Lance Hunter and follow his adventures with Bobbi/Mockingbird; it would also be less of a spinoff and more an entirely new show that just used the characters. A pilot was filmed, but ABC passed on it, and it's never been released.

Adam Rose / ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Arrow almost had a spinoff featuring the Suicide Squad...

The suicide squad in Arrow

Arrowverse actor David Ramsay revealed in 2015 that producers were in talks to create an Arrow spinoff with the show's version of the Suicide Squad. However, in anticipation of the upcoming Suicide Squad film, actor Willa Holland revealed that they were being forced to kill off their Suicide Squad characters so that there weren't two versions of the characters existing at once. And series writer Keto Shimizu also alluded to the same in an interview with MTV.

Cate Cameron / The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection

17....and a spinoff called Green Arrow and the Canaries.

Mia and the Canaries

The final season of Arrow had a backdoor pilot for the show, which would've featured Oliver and Felicity's daughter, Mia Smoak/Green Arrow, and the Canaries, Laurel Lance and Dinah Drake. However, the CW passed on the series.

Katie Yu / The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection

18.Crossing Jordan tried out a spinoff starring Jerry O'Connell as Hoyt in Los Angeles.

Hoyt on the beach

Creator Tim Kring created the show as a vehicle for Crossing Jordan star Jerry O'Connell once it became clear the star wanted his own show: "We thought we could keep it in the family rather than lose him." They tried out a backdoor pilot called "Sunset Division," which took place in Los Angeles. "This show with Jerry would be a lot more tongue-in-cheek than Crossing Jordan. It's a cop show. There's a whole different color and editing style, a whole different vibe," said Damon Lindelof, who was co-developing the spinoff. However, it was never picked up.


19.Xena: Warrior Princess was supposed to have a spinoff set before Xena's time called Amazon High.

Selma Blair as Cyane

In the series, Selma Blair would have played a modern girl named Cyane who was transported into prehistoric times and eventually created a group of warriors called the Amazons. The two-hour pilot was later repurposed into a Season 5 episode of Xena called "Lifeblood." Rob Tapern, who wrote the show, ultimately decided that there were so many Xena and Hercules rip-offs that the market was too saturated, and he wanted to do something new. Tapern later used the basic concept to create the show Cleopatra 2525.


20.Mr. Mayor was initially supposed to be a spinoff of 30 Rock.

Ted Danson at a podium

The spinoff was meant to feature Alec Baldwin reprising his role as Jack from 30 Rock, except now he's the mayor of New York City. Baldwin later pulled out of the project, and the script was rewritten and pitched to Ted Danson — no longer as a 30 Rock spinoff. Danson did not want to move to New York, so the series' location was also changed.


21.And finally, The Nanny was reportedly supposed to have a spinoff focusing on a hair salon called The Chatterbox.

Man doing a woman's hair at a salon

There was a backdoor pilot for the show in the second season of The Nanny, featuring mostly new characters and seeming to set up a storyline similar to The Nanny's where a woman had a relationship with her boss, but CBS did not pick up the series.

CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection