Television pilot

A television pilot (also known as a pilot or a pilot episode and sometimes marketed as a tele-movie) is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell the show to a television network. At the time of its creation, the pilot is meant to be the testing ground to gauge whether a series will be successful; it is therefore a test episode for the intended television series, an early step in the series development, much like pilot studies serve as precursors to the start of larger activity. In the case of a successful television series, the pilot is commonly the very first episode that is aired of the particular series under its own name; the episode that gets the series "off the ground". A "back door pilot" is an episode of an existing successful series, featuring future tie-in characters of an up-and-coming television series or film. Its purpose is to introduce the characters to an audience before the creators decide on whether or not they intend to pursue a spin-off series with those characters.

Television networks use pilots to discover whether an entertaining concept can be successfully realized. After seeing this sample of the proposed product, networks will then determine whether the expense of additional episodes is justified. A pilot is best thought of as a prototype of the show that is to follow, because elements often change from pilot to series. Variety estimates that only a little over a quarter of all pilots made for American television proceed to the series stage,[1] although the figure may be even lower.[2]

Most pilots are never publicly screened if they fail to sell a series. If a series eventuates, pilots are usually—but not always—broadcast as the introductory episode of the series.

Pilot season

Each summer, the major American broadcast television networks – including ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, and NBC – receive about 500 brief elevator pitches each for new shows from writers and producers. That fall, each network requests scripts for about 70 pitches and, the following January, orders about 20 pilot episodes.[3] Actors come to Los Angeles from within the area or elsewhere in the United States and around the world to audition for them. By spring, actors are cast and production crews assembled to produce the pilots.[4]

Casting is a lengthy and very competitive process. For the 1994 pilot of Friends, casting director Ellie Kanner reviewed more than 1,000 actors' head shots for each of the six main roles. She summoned 75 actors for each role to audition, then chose some to audition again for the show's creators. Of this group, the creators chose some to audition again for Warner Bros. Television executives, who chose the final group of a few actors to audition for NBC executives; as they decide whether to purchase a pilot, network executives generally have ultimate authority over casting.[5] Since the networks work on the same shared schedule, directors, actors, and others must choose the best pilot to work for with the hopes that the network will choose it. If it is not chosen, they have wasted their time and money and may have missed out on better career opportunities.[6]

Once they have been produced, the pilots are presented to studio and network executives, and in some cases to test audiences; at this point, each pilot receives various degrees of feedback and is gauged on its potential to advance from one pilot to a full-fledged series. Using this feedback, and factoring in the current status and future potential of their existing series, each network chooses about four to eight pilots for series status.[3] The new series are then presented at the networks' annual upfronts in May, where they are added to network schedules for the following season (either for a fall or "mid-season" winter debut), and at the upfront presentation, the shows are shown to potential advertisers and the networks sell the majority of the advertising for their new pilots.[6] The survival odds for these new series are low, as typically only one or two of them survive for more than one season.[3]

Types of pilots

Standard pilot


If a network is not completely sold on a potential series' premise but still wants to see its on-screen execution, and since a single pilot can be expensive to produce, a pilot presentation may be ordered. Depending on the potential series' nature, a pilot presentation is a one-day shoot that, when edited together, gives a general idea of the look and feel of the proposed show. Presentations are usually between seven and ten minutes. However, these pilot-presentations will not be shown on the air unless more material is subsequently added to them to make them at least 22 or 45 minutes in length, the actual duration of a nominally "30 minute" or "60 minute" television program (taking into account television commercials that fill the remaining time). Occasionally, more than one pilot is commissioned for a particular proposed television series to evaluate what the show would be like with modifications. Star Trek: The Original Series and All in the Family are famous examples of this presentation-to-pilot-to-series situation.

An example of change between the making of a pilot and the making of a series is To Tell the Truth in 1956. The show's original title at pilot was Nothing But the Truth and was hosted by Mike Wallace; by the time it became a series, the title was changed and Bud Collyer was tapped as host.


Pilots usually run as the first episode of the series, and more often than not are used to introduce the characters and their world to the viewer. However, the post-pilot series may become so different that it would not make sense for the pilot to be aired. In this case, the pilot (or portions of it) is often re-shot, recast, or rewritten to fit the rest of the series. The pilot for Gilligan's Island, for instance, showed the castaways becoming stranded on the island. However, three roles were recast before going to series, with the characters either modified or completely altered to the point where the pilot could no longer be used as a regular episode. As a result, CBS aired Gilligan's second produced episode, which had the characters already stranded on the island, first; the story from the pilot was largely reworked into a flashback episode which aired later (with several key scenes re-shot). Even Gilligan's theme song, which was originally done as a calypso number, was rewritten and recomposed to be completely different. Another example was in the original Star Trek where most of the footage of the original pilot, "The Cage," was incorporated into the acclaimed two-part episode, "The Menagerie," with the story justification that it depicted events that happened several years earlier. Conversely, the second pilot for Star Trek, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", aired as the third episode of the show's first season, even though it included some casting and costuming differences that set it apart from the preceding episodes (enough that a literary work based on one of its spin-offs would actually place the episode in a parallel universe).

If a network orders a two-hour pilot, it will usually broadcast it as a television film to recoup some of the costs even if the network chooses to not order the show.[7] Sometimes, a made-for-TV-movie is filmed as the pilot, but because of actors not being available, the series intro is reshot and the first reshot episode is considered the pilot. The original Cagney & Lacey movie co-starred Loretta Swit (of M*A*S*H fame) as Chris Cagney, but when she could not get out of her contract, they reshot it with Meg Foster, who after the first season was replaced with Sharon Gless; therefore, the original movie is not considered a pilot, and is not included in the series collections on DVD. In some cases, this does not hamper broadcast, such as Jackie Cooper playing the role of Walter Carlson in the TV movie pilot of the 1975 series The Invisible Man, but replaced by Craig Stevens for the remainder of the series; the pilot is still considered part of the series and released to DVD as such. Likewise, The Homecoming: A Christmas Story had an almost entirely different cast than the series it was intended to pilot (The Waltons), but both were rerun for many years.

The majority of TV pilots are aired twice (typically in September and December), while some have aired more times.

Examples of pilots airing three times, typically in September, December, and June, include:

  • Scrubs (first airing: 15.4 million; second airing: 10 million; third airing: 6.5 million)
  • Medium (first airing: 16.1 million; second airing: 9.3 million; third airing: 5.2 million)
  • The Office (first airing: 11.2 million; second airing: 3.4 million; third airing: 4.2 million)
  • Ghost Whisperer (first airing: 11.3 million; second airing: 8.8 million; third airing: 4.9 million)
  • The Good Wife (first airing: 13.7 million; second airing: 5 million; third airing: 6.9 million)

Some examples of pilots airing more than three times:

  • ABC aired the pilot of Lost five times (first airing: 18.7 million viewers; second airing: 8.8 million; third airing: 11.6 million; fourth airing: 8.1 million; fifth airing: 6.4 million)
  • Desperate Housewives (first airing: 21.6 million; second airing: 7 million; third airing: 12.9 million; fourth airing: 7.4 million)
  • My Name Is Earl (first airing: 15.2 million; second airing: 5.3 million; third airing: 8.3 million; fourth airing: 4.8 million)


Since the mid-1990s, television producers and networks have increasingly used presentation tapes called "demos" in lieu of full-length pilots.[2] These demos tend to be substantially shorter than a standard episode, and make limited use of original sets and post-production elements. The idea is merely to showcase the cast and the writing. These types of pilots are rarely broadcast, if ever, although the material is sometimes partially fitted onto a future episode of the resulting series. A demo prepared at an early stage, normally using amateur equipment, is also known as a sizzle script.[8]

Some series sold using demos:

The "demo" episode is not a new concept, as The Munsters was sold on the basis of a 13-minute demo episode in 1964, while Who's Afraid of Diana Prince? in the late 1960s attempted without success to launch a comedic Wonder Woman series.

Backdoor pilot

A backdoor pilot is a movie or miniseries that serves as a proof of concept for a full series,[9] but may be broadcast on its own even if the full series is not picked up.[10]

The term may also be used for an episode of a currently running show that serves to introduce a spin-off. Such backdoor pilots commonly focus on an existing character or characters from the parent series who are to be given their own show. For example, to introduce A Different World, built around Cosby Show character Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet), the Cosby Show episode "Hillman" was devoted to Denise's visit to the college that would become the new show's setting, and her encounters with some of the new show's supporting characters. A 2018 episode of ABC's 1980s-set sitcom The Goldbergs, titled "1990-Something", heavily featured teachers who were recurring characters on the series and served as the backdoor pilot to Schooled, which debuted in early 2019.[11]

In other cases, however, an episode of the parent show may also focus on one or more guest characters who have not previously appeared in the show; for example, the JAG season eight episodes "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown" introduced the characters for what would become NCIS, while the NCIS season six "Legend Part 1" and "Legend Part 2", two-part episode introduced the characters for what would become the NCIS spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles and the NCIS season 11 two-part episode, "Crescent City", introduced the characters for what would become NCIS: New Orleans. Similarly, the backdoor pilot for the television sitcom Empty Nest was an episode of The Golden Girls, which relegated that show's regular stars to supporting characters in an episode devoted to new characters who were introduced as their neighbors. Feedback on the episode resulted in Empty Nest being extensively reworked before its debut; while the concept and the "living next to the Golden Girls" setting was retained, the series ended up featuring different characters from those in the original Golden Girls episode. In a 2011 episode of the TV Land original sitcom Hot in Cleveland focused on the wedding of the Elka character (Betty White). Boyce Ballentine (Cedric the Entertainer), an R&B singer-turned-preacher, was introduced as the pastor for the wedding, with the intention to give the Boyce character his own series on the network. That came to fruition in 2012, when TV Land introduced The Soul Man.[12]

Not all backdoor pilots lead to a series. In 1968, the Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth" was intended as the pilot for a spin-off of the same name, featuring a human named Gary Seven (played by Robert Lansing), taken from Earth's far past and raised by aliens to be sent to watch over Earth in the 1960s; while the series was not picked up, its characters have appeared in numerous non-canon Trek productions set in the 20th century.[13] The series finale of One Day at a Time in May 1984 was supposed to serve as a backdoor pilot to a spin-off featuring Pat Harrington, Jr.'s character of Dwayne Schneider in a new setting, but CBS ultimately passed on the potential series.[14] The Dukes of Hazzard aired two episodes, named "Jude Emery" and "Mason Dixon's Girls", which served as a backdoor pilot complete with the Dukes cast interacting with the new characters. Ultimately, CBS passed on the two series in favor of a series starring Hazzard County deputy Enos Strate. Another example within sitcoms would be a season 2 episode of The Nanny called "The Chatterbox", which centered around a struggling actress who gets a job at a barbershop owned by a single father. In an example from June 2010, Lifetime pursued a spinoff procedural drama of Army Wives featuring Brigid Brannagh's character, police officer Pamela Moran.[15] The fourth-season episode "Murder in Charleston" was intended to serve as a backdoor pilot for the proposed spin-off.[15] The episode sees Moran teaming up with an Atlanta-based detective on a murder that is related to a case she has been working on for the past three years. At the end of the episode, the detective encourages Moran to take a detective's exam, and to look for her if she is in Atlanta.[16] In September 2010, however, Lifetime declined to pick up the project to series.[17] In 2013, The CW announced there was a spin-off of their genre hit Supernatural in the works. The 20th episode of season nine titled Bloodlines, served as a back-door pilot, revealed in January 2014 to have been titled Supernatural: Bloodlines. The series was set to explore the "clashing hunter and monster cultures in Chicago". The show was not picked up by the CW for the 2014–2015 season due to dismal overall reception by viewers.

The Gossip Girl episode "Valley Girls" was supposed to be a backdoor pilot for a prequel spin-off series starring Brittany Snow as a young Lily van der Woodsen, however the show was not picked up. "The Farm" was an episode of NBC's The Office that was supposed to act as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off series starring Rainn Wilson and focusing on his character, Dwight Schrute.[18] Upon review, the spin-off was not picked up by NBC[19] and the original version was never aired; instead it was reworked with additional material shot later, as the original version contained "certain aspects that were appropriate for a pilot of a new show".[20]

A historically important venue for backdoor pilots has been the anthology series. They have variously been used as a place to show work still being actively considered for pickup, and as a venue for completed work already rejected by the network. With the decline of anthology series, backdoor pilots have increasingly been seen as episodes of existing series,[21] one-off television films, and miniseries. As backdoor pilots have either failed to sell or are awaiting audience reception from its one-time broadcast, networks will not advertise them as pilots, only promoting them as a "special" or "movie". It is thus often unclear to initial viewers of backdoor pilots that they are seeing a pilot of any kind, unless they have been privy to knowledgeable media coverage of the piece.

In one extraordinary case, an unsold pilot was released as a theatrical film. Lum and Abner Abroad, a 1956 attempt to create a television vehicle for film and radio stars Lum and Abner, was never picked up as a series, but the three pilot episodes produced as proof of concept for the series were strung together and released as a theatrical film.

Unintentional pilot

While, as listed above, there are many telemovies or episodes within series intended as pilots, there are often telemovies or episodes within other series that are so popular that they inspire later television series. Popular examples are South Park, which began as a duo of shorts its creators made at college; The Simpsons, which began as an occasional comic short within The Tracey Ullman Show; and Family Guy, which began life as a short, titled The Life of Larry. A two-part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man introduced the character of Jaime Sommers who, despite dying in the story, was popular enough to narratively return to life and a spinoff series, The Bionic Woman, was commissioned. The 2006 Doctor Who episode "School Reunion" was intended as a one-off reunion appearance by Sarah Jane Smith, but ended up leading to a spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Put pilot

A put pilot is a pilot that the network has agreed to air either as a special or series. If the network does not air the pilot episode, the network will owe substantial monetary penalties to the studio. Generally, this guarantees that the pilot will be picked up by the network.[22]

Unsold pilot

Unsold television pilots are pilots developed by a company that is unable to sell to a network for showing.

There have been numerous pilots for game shows that have been rejected by American television networks or syndicators:


In a 10/90 production model, a network broadcasts ten episodes of a new television program without ordering a pilot first. If the episodes achieve a predetermined ratings level, the network orders 90 more to bring the total to 100 episodes, immediately enough to rerun the show in syndication. Series that used the 10/90 model include Tyler Perry's House of Payne, Meet the Browns, For Better or Worse, Debmar-Mercury's Anger Management,[23] and Are We There Yet?.

As distinguished from "first episode"

A pilot episode is generally the first episode of a new show, shown to the heads of the studio to whom it is marketed.

The television industry uses the term differently from most viewers. Viewers frequently consider the first episode available for their viewing to be the pilot. They therefore assume that the first episode broadcast is also the episode that sold the series to the network. This is not always true, however, in part because of the factors mentioned above. For instance, the episode "Invasion of the Bane" was not a pilot for The Sarah Jane Adventures because the BBC had committed to the first series before seeing any filmed content[24] – yet it is routinely referred to as a pilot.[25][26] In the Canadian supernatural drama Lost Girl, the pilot that sold the series to Showcase, "Vexed", was used as the eighth episode of the first series.[27] In the case of Firefly, the original pilot (Serenity) which was intended to serve as the series premiere was rejected by the network, and a new first episode, Train Job, was shot specifically for broadcast.[28]

Sometimes, too, viewers will assign the word "pilot" to a work that represented the first appearances of characters and situations later employed by a series – even if the work was not initially intended as a pilot for the series. A good example of this is "Love and the Television Set" (later retitled "Love and the Happy Days" for syndication), an episode of Love, American Style that featured a version of the Cunningham family. It was in fact a failed pilot for the proposed 1972 series New Family in Town, but was a successful pilot for 1974's Happy Days.[29] So firmly embedded is the notion of it as a Happy Days pilot, however, that even series actress Erin Moran viewed it as such, as well as its creator, Garry Marshall.[30]

On other occasions, the pilot is never broadcast on television at all. Viewers of Temple Houston, for example, would likely have considered "The Twisted Rope" its pilot because "The Man from Galveston" was only publicly exhibited in cinemas four months later. Even then, "The Man from Galveston" had an almost entirely different cast, and its main character was renamed to avoid confusion with the then-ongoing series.


List of highest rated television pilots which attracted 28 million or more viewers in America:

Rank Show Viewers
(in millions)
Rating Date Network
1 A Different World 38.9 31.3% September 24, 1987 NBC
2 Undercover Boss 38.7 19.1% February 7, 2010 CBS
Lead in: Super Bowl XLIV Post Game 75.5 33%
3 The Last Precinct 39.7 N/A January 26, 1986 NBC
4 Dolly 37.4 24.7% September 27, 1987 ABC
5 Veronica's Closet 35.07 [1] 23.3% September 25, 1997 NBC
6 Twin Peaks 34.6 [2] 21.7% April 8, 1990 (two hours) ABC
7 Brothers and Sisters 31.722 N/A January 21, 1979 NBC
8 Full House 31.3 21.7% September 22, 1987 ABC
9 Roseanne 30.8 23.7% October 18, 1988
10 Grand Slam 30.765 N/A January 28, 1990 CBS
11 seaQuest DSV 30.4 (8–10pm) [3] 17.8 rating September 12, 1993 NBC
12 Chicken Soup 30.2 21.8% September 12, 1989 ABC
13 Suddenly Susan 30.1 [4] 20.4% September 19, 1996 NBC
14 Caroline in the City 30.0 20.5% September 21, 1995
15 Delta 30.0 20.5% September 15, 1992 ABC
16 Dear John 30.0 19.8% October 6, 1988 NBC
17 The Single Guy 29.1 19.2 September 21, 1995
18 Frasier 28.1 19.3% September 16, 1993


  1. ^ "''Variety'' defines "busted pilot"". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  2. ^ a b "Pilot programs at ''The Museum of Broadcast Communications''". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  3. ^ a b c Chozick, Amy (2011-05-12). "The Math of a Hit TV Show". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  4. ^ Nocutt, Tamara-Lee. "A Survival Guide to Pilot Season". Backstage. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  5. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (1994-04-06). "Finding the Absolutely Perfect Actor: The High-Stress Business of Casting". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Lotz, Amanda D. (2007) The Television Will Be Revolutionized. New York, NY: New York University Press. p. 103-104
  7. ^ Lowry, Brian (May 8, 2000). "The Saga of O.J.'s Last, Lost Pilot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  8. ^ Smith, Evan; "Creating a Series Pilot—Newcomers Welcome", Journal of Film and Video, vol. 65, no. 1 (2013): 56-61 Project Muse (accessed March 28, 2013)
  9. ^ "Alex Epstein on Backdoor Pilots". 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  10. ^ "Slanguage Dictionary". Variety. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (May 11, 2018). "'The Goldbergs' Spinoff Series Gets Title & First Image".
  12. ^ Pavan -- (April 23, 2012). "TV Land Brings Back I Love Lucy in June 2012; Good Morning America's TV Reunion Blowout: One Day at a Time, Laverne & Shirley, and More - News Blog". Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  13. ^ Dutton, Scott. "Assignment: Earth". Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  14. ^ "What you didn't know about One Day At A Time,"TV Land, 25 April 2012.
  15. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (September 1, 2010). "'Army Wives' Spinoff Gets Green Light for Embedded Pilot & Taps Gabrielle Union". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  16. ^ Writers: Zimmerman, Bruce; Mitchell, T. D.; Director: Liddi-Brown, Alison (August 15, 2010). "Murder in Charleston". Army Wives. Season 4. Episode 17. Lifetime.
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 1, 2010). "CABLE NOTES: 'Memphis Beat' Looks Good for Renewal, 'Army Wives' Spinoff A No-Go, 'Facing Kate' Order Trimmed". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  18. ^ Weisman, Jon (July 5, 2012). "Greg Daniels and the Future of 'The Office'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  19. ^ Bricker, Tierney (October 30, 2012). "Rainn Wilson's Office Spinoff, The Farm, Not Picked Up by NBC". E! Online. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  20. ^ Roots, Kimberly (December 26, 2012). "The Office Boss: Retooled Spin-Off Episode Will Still Air – and Change Up the Dwangela Plan". TVLine. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  21. ^ "Tonight’s special guests? The cast of a whole new show!: 21 TV episodes that tried and failed to spawn spin-offs", from The AV Club
  22. ^ ""Put pilot" as defined by ''Variety''". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  23. ^ Rose, Lacey (2013-01-16). "TV's $200 Million Charlie Sheen Experiment". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  24. ^ Cook, Benjamin. "Doing it for the Kids". Doctor Who Magazine (378) p. 37.
  25. ^ Criswell, Casey. "TV Review: The Sarah Jane Adventures". Blog Critics Magazine. 8 January 2007. Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Various reviews of ''Invasion of the Bane'' at Behind the Sofa". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  27. ^ Killingsworth, Melanie (June 6, 2013). "Lost Girl: How 'Vexed' works as the perfect pilot".
  28. ^ Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary, track 1
  29. ^ ""Love and the Happy Days" at". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  30. ^ Pop Culture Addict interview with Erin Moran. Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

External links


Bubsy is a series of platforming video games created by Michael Berlyn and developed and published by Accolade. The games star an anthropomorphic bobcat named Bubsy, a character that takes inspiration from Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog. The games were originally released for the Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Jaguar, the PC and PlayStation during the 1990s.

Five games were released in the series: Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, Bubsy 2, Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales, Bubsy 3D and Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. A sixth game titled Bubsy: Paws on Fire is set to be released in 2019 for PS4, Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch. In 2015, a compilation of the first two games was released for Microsoft Windows through Steam, by Retroism, the video game software subsidiary of Tommo. In addition to the games, a television pilot was created for a Bubsy cartoon show based on the video game series; however, it did not transition to become a full-fledged series.

Comedy Lab

Comedy Lab is a British television series which showcases pilots of experimental comedy shows. Series have been aired irregularly on Channel 4 and E4 since 1998.

Several pilots first shown on Comedy Lab have gone on to spawn full series, most notably Trigger Happy TV, Fonejacker, That Peter Kay Thing, Meet the Magoons and FM. It also gave Jimmy Carr his first television appearance in Jimmy Carr's World of…Corporate Videos.The 2001 series featured the episodes Knife and Wife (featuring Kevin Eldon), Orcadia (featuring Alice Lowe), Daydream Believers: Brand New Beamer (featuring David Mitchell and Robert Webb) and Jimmy Carr's World of…Corporate Videos featuring Jimmy Carr.

The 2008 series featured the episodes Headwreckers (featuring David McSavage), Mr and Mrs Fandango, Olivia Lee's Naughty Bits, Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool, Pappy's Fun Club, School of Comedy and Slaterwood.

2010's shows were iCandy, Happy Finish, Penelope Princess of Pets, Jack Whitehall Secret Census, Filth, Moviemash and Hung Out.

The 2011 lineup included: Anna & Katy (featuring Anna Crilly and Katy Wix), Totally Tom (featuring Anna Popplewell) and Rick and Peter (featuring Rick Edwards).

Coming to America

Coming to America is a 1988 American romantic comedy film directed by John Landis and based on a story originally created by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the lead role. The film also co-stars Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, and John Amos. The film was released in the United States on June 29, 1988. Eddie Murphy plays Akeem Joffer, the crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda, who comes to the United States in the hopes of finding a woman he can marry.

In 1989, a pilot for a planned spin-off TV show was made, although this was never picked up for a series.

Gerald "T-Bones" Tibbons

Gerald "T-Bones" Tibbons is a comedic fictional character played by David Koechner. He has appeared on two television series and alongside his partner, The Naked Trucker, performed live, and recorded a musical album. As of March 2007, a film based on T-Bones was also in the works.

When asked what the inspiration behind the character was, Koechner explained, "He's a truth teller, we crafted these characters with a lot of truth, and Gerald purely lives for every moment." Koechner also stated that he based Gerald "T-Bones" Tibbons off a Midwestern muse drifter named "Four Way George." The character dates back to 1995, when Koechner filmed a short television pilot based on T-Bones' misadventures. The character became so popular that Koechner would go to auditions, only to find that directors were always demanding his stage persona.

I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

I'm Gonna Git You Sucka is a 1988 American action comedy parody film of blaxploitation films written, directed by, and starring Keenen Ivory Wayans in his feature film directorial debut. Featured in the film are several noteworthy African-American actors who were part of the genre of blaxploitation: Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, Antonio Fargas, and Isaac Hayes. Other actors in the film are Kadeem Hardison, Ja'net Dubois, John Witherspoon, Damon Wayans, Clarence Williams III, and Chris Rock.

The film's main villain, "Mr. Big," was played by John Vernon.

Jerks of All Trades

Jerks of All Trades (identified on the title card only as “The Three Stooges”) is the title of an American television pilot released on October 12, 1949. It was The Three Stooges' first and only pilot made with Shemp Howard in the role of the third stooge. Filmed before a live studio audience, it was a pilot for a planned TV series on the then-new ABC Television Network; the series never went into production due to objections from Columbia Pictures, who held the trio under contract. The pilot film is currently in the public domain and is available on home video.

Rebel Eats

Rebel Eats is an American television pilot that aired on Food Network in 2013. The show was hosted and executive produced by Justin Warner.

Ryan Murphy (writer)

Ryan Patrick Murphy (born November 9, 1965) is an American screenwriter, director, and producer. Murphy is best known for creating/co-creating/producing a number of successful television series, including the FX medical drama Nip/Tuck (2003–10), the Fox musical comedy-drama Glee (2009–15), the FX anthology series American Horror Story (2011–present), American Crime Story (2016–present), and Feud (2017–present), and the Fox procedural drama 9-1-1 (2018–present). He is also known for directing the 2010 film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love and the 2014 HBO film adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, which earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

Scalped (TV pilot)

Scalped is an American television pilot episode developed by Doug Jung and Geoff Johns for WGN America. It is an adaptation of the comic book series Scalped created by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra, and published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint.

Strange New World (film)

Strange New World is a television movie based on concepts envisioned by Gene Roddenberry which first aired on July 13, 1975 on ABC. It starred John Saxon as Captain Anthony Vico (PAX team leader), Kathleen Miller as Dr. Allison Crowley (team navigator and communications expert), and Keene Curtis as Dr. William Scott, M.D. (team physician/medical doctor).

Strange New World was originally a TV pilot and the third attempt to bring Roddenberry's post-apocalyptic future vision to the small screen. Prior efforts, called Genesis II and Planet Earth (the latter also starring Saxon in the lead role), explored an Earth after a nuclear war and focused on an organization called PAX that was working to bring peace and order to the world.

Although he was closely involved in the previous two incarnations, this time Roddenberry was much less involved. As a result, the character names, as well as some of the main plot points, were changed in order to avoid any potential litigation.

Saxon had starred in Planet Earth as Dylan Hunt, but the character's name was changed for its successor. The movie did, however, share the post-apocalyptic premise of Genesis II and Planet Earth. The title of the film was borrowed from the famous opening monologue of Roddenberry's Star Trek.

Strange New World is considered by many observers to have been the weakest of the three productions which envisaged the world of PAX. Like the previous attempts, it was not developed into a weekly series.

Unlike the previous versions, which focused on a single cryogenically frozen survivor working for an established organisation called PAX, Strange New World had three astronauts return to Earth after being cryogenically frozen and looking to re-establish the organisation (PAX) that had sent them into space. The opening of the movie introduced the PAX team members and described the disaster which befell the Earth (a swarm of giant asteroids). PAX headquarters changed the orbit of their space station so that it would orbit the sun and return to Earth in 180 years, during which time its crew and hundreds of volunteer personnel located below PAX headquarters, would remain in suspended animation. Upon returning to Earth, the astronauts' primary mission was to make their way back to PAX headquarters and revive their colleagues.

The Fountain of Youth (film)

The Fountain of Youth is a 1956 television pilot directed by Orson Welles for a proposed Desilu Productions anthology series that was never produced. Based on a short story by John Collier, the short film narrated onscreen by Welles stars Dan Tobin, Joi Lansing and Rick Jason. The Fountain of Youth was televised once, on September 16, 1958, on NBC's Colgate Theatre. It received the prestigious Peabody Award for 1958, the only unsold television pilot ever to be so honored.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American spy-fiction television series produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television and first broadcast on NBC. It follows secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who work for a secret international counterespionage and law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E. The series premiered on September 22, 1964, completing its run on January 15, 1968. The series led the spy-fiction craze on television, and by 1966 there were nearly a dozen imitators. Several episodes were successfully released to theaters as B movies or double features. There was also a spin-off series, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., novel and comic book series, and merchandising.

With few recurring characters, the series attracted a large number of high-profile guest stars. Props from the series are exhibited at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and at the museums of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other US intelligence agencies. The series won the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Show in 1966.

Originally, co-creator Sam Rolfe wanted to leave the meaning of U.N.C.L.E. ambiguous so it could refer to either "Uncle Sam" or the United Nations. Concerns by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's (MGM) legal department about using "U.N." for commercial purposes resulted in the producers' clarification that U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Each episode had an "acknowledgement" to the U.N.C.L.E. in the end titles.

The Street Lawyer

The Street Lawyer is a legal thriller novel by John Grisham. It was Grisham's ninth novel. The book was released in the United States on 1 January 1998, published by Bantam Books, and on 30 March 1998 in the UK, published by Century.

The Three Stooges Scrapbook

Three Stooges Scrapbook was an unaired 1960s television pilot starring The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly-Joe DeRita). In the opening title and Hollywood trade ads, the show's title is spelled without "The," including a promotional photograph of the Stooges holding an oversized scrapbook. The pilot featured the slapstick trio getting evicted from a rooming house for cooking in their apartment, looking for a new place to live, finding refuge in the home of a mad inventor (played by Emil Sitka), and presenting an animated short called The Spain Mutiny that imagines the funnymen as part of Christopher Columbus’ crew.Three Stooges Scrapbook was filmed in color and produced by Norman Maurer (Moe Howard’s son-in-law), who hoped to establish a weekly program for children’s television. When no network wanted to pursue the project as a series, Maurer divided the pilot into two short films that were released to theaters in 1963. Maurer also reprinted the live action scenes in black-and-white and incorporated them into the 1962 feature film The Three Stooges in Orbit.To date, the original pilot has never been released on home media.

The Trackers (film)

The Trackers is a 1971 American TV Western film directed by Earl Bellamy and starring Sammy Davis Jr.. The film was originally a television pilot that appeared on the ABC Movie of the Week.

Wild Women (1970 film)

Wild Women is a 1970 American TV Western film directed by Don Taylor and starring Hugh O'Brian, Anne Francis and Marilyn Maxwell. The film was originally a television pilot that appeared on the ABC Movie of the Week.

The Los Angeles Times called it "diverting entertainment".

Yuma (1971 film)

Yuma is a 1971 western TV-film, starring Clint Walker, directed by Ted Post and shot in Old Tucson. The film was originally a television pilot that appeared on the ABC Movie of the Week.

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