10 TV Shows That Were Produced And Never Made It To Air

ytsfreeSeptember 14, 2022

After Hilary Duff confirmed that The Lizzie Maguire Show was going to be rebooted on Disney+, fans were ecstatic about the news. However, a few months ago, the show was confirmed to be canceled and placed back on the shelf for eternity. TV shows have been struggling to make it past the one-season mark, but what is not seen are the shows that struggle to pass the one-episode mark.


Streaming platforms cancel shows left and right for not reaching the required viewership numbers and getting the first season out there seems to be a win in and of itself. There have been many shows over the decades where the first episode was filmed, yet never had the chance to be seen.

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Delirium (2014)

During the rise of dystopian young adult novels seeing screen adaptations, Fox picked up the book series, Delirium. It follows a 17-year-old protagonist (Emma Roberts), who falls in love. However, she lives in an alternate world where love is illegal.

Related: 10 Failed YA Adaptations That Deserve Another Shot

The first episode was filmed, but Fox decided to drop the show after not liking the pilot, going with another show instead. The book may have worked better on other networks like The CW, which are behind multiple teen adaptations. Fans of the book came out with online campaigns and petitions to revive the show, but nothing came of it.

Mulholland Drive (1999)

Mulholland Drive is the famously surreal movie made by David Lynch. The original idea, however, started as a TV show. It was supposed to be Lynch’s big return to TV screens after his last show, Twin Peaks, 10 years prior. It began as a Twin Peaks spin-off that started filming its pilot in early 1999.

Unfortunately for Lynch, the pilot wasn’t liked by executives, and it was canceled. But David Lynch didn’t let this affect him, as he decided to expand upon the show’s premise and turn the idea into a feature film. While there were many bumps in the road, such as money, disposed of sets and props, etc., Lynch still came out with a weird TV-feature film hybrid that is revered today by fans.

Murder Police (2013)

Murder Police was an animated sitcom made by the producer of Family Guy that was centered around Manuel Sanchez, who aspires to be the best cop he can be, but finds himself failing due to his clumsiness and overly violent partner. Jane Lynch, at the time famous for Glee, was set to voice a character in the show.

The team animated the whole first season, consisting of 13 episodes, but when Fox reviewed the show, they were unsatisfied with the pilot. Shortly after, the show was canceled and none of the 13 episodes created have been aired.

Black Market Music (2003)

Back in the early 2000s, Jack Black became the executive producer of the TV show Black Market Music – a 30-minute comedy about young adults working in a record store. Jack Black also teased appearing on the show. He pitched the show as a High Fidelity meets Taxi.

The pilot episode was set to include Jason Segel and Seth Rogen, the co-writers of the show. The plan was set to have real musicians and bands featured on the show, and eventually air it on HBO, a network that would give them freedom. However, when given to the network they decidedly passed on the project and all progress was halted.

Manchester Prep (1998)

During the days of Dawson’s Creek and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, it became clear to networks that teen shows were hot. With other networks wanting to capitalize on this, Fox decided to produce Manchester Prep – a TV version of Cruel Intentions, which came out that same year.

Related: 10 Most Shocking Scenes In Cruel Intentions, Ranked

Set to star Amy Adams, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon, there were high hopes. However, after filming three episodes, it was deemed too sexual for the network and all production stopped. Not all went to waste, however, as the episodes that were finished were reworked and released as Cruel Intentions 2.

The Mayor (2003)

The Mayor was a comedy show set to star future Superstore actor, Ben Feldman. The premise followed an 18-year-old goofball who becomes mayor and saves the town from trouble.

The show was set to be produced by the famous Adam Sandler and was also said to cast the pre-famous Anna Kendrick. While it had promise and the first two episodes were produced, it never aired. Eventually, networks decided to drop the project and delivered no explanation.

The Singles Table (2007)

Friends dominated the sitcom scene in the ’90s and NBC found themselves struggling to find the perfect replacement after its finale. There were many attempts, mostly about 20-somethings hanging out and sleeping around, one of which was The Singles Table.

Related: 10 Memes That Perfectly Sum Up Each Season Of Friends

The Singles Table was about a group of strangers who meet at a wedding and are forced to sit at the titular table. NBC had a lot riding on this show, giving it a promising cast at the time. However, due to re-casting, re-shoots, and then cost-cutting, the production ceased and was completely canceled.

The IT Crowd (2008)

The IT Crowd was a successful British sitcom about employees working in a company’s IT department. NBC decided to produce an American remake due to its popularity in the UK and the original UK show’s star, Richard Ayoade, agreed to appear in the new version.

The pilot was filmed and surfaced online, gaining enough attraction and reception that the show received a six-episode order. Unfortunately for fans of the remake, NBC went through a change of president and the new boss didn’t have as much interest in the show as his predecessor, and so it was dropped.

Emerald City (2015)

Emerald City did actually eventually make it to air, but it had a rocky beginning forcing the cancellation of its first attempt. NBC’s original idea was an hour-long drama that would be set around a modern Wizard of Oz. The idea was so liked within the network that they ordered a 10-episode season of the show.

However, things started going downhill. Disagreements began to arise over the creative direction of the show, causing delays in production and forcing NBC to cancel the project. Luckily for Emerald City, it was later announced that the show would re-start again with the intended 10 episodes. Production started anew with a new creative direction.

Day One (2010)

In the early 2010s, NBC had hyped up a promising show called Day One. This end-of-the-world drama was set around a group of strangers forced to work together after the arrival of random towering structures that appeared out of nowhere.

The show was originally meant to replace the popular series, Heroes, but after the finale season’s drop in ratings, NBC became wary. They decreased production from 13 episodes to a four-episode miniseries. Then it shrunk to a two-hour TV movie, and finally, they canceled the whole thing and it’s only been seen as trailers on YouTube.

NEXT: 10 Actors Who Play The Same Character In Every Show

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