Almost all TV shows that eventually kept you asking for more began with facing failure for not having a ‘unique’ story idea. Either the script was deemed unworthy of a pilot or the pilot that was not worth a season. But despite all the downs there these are the shows that triumphed over them and have become popular worldwide.
Here’s a list of shows which went through the journey of rejected pilots to season renewals
Game Of Thrones
Game of Thrones may be one of the most popular shows on television today, but it was initially rejected because it was deemed as being disjointed. TV producers Dan Weiss and David Benioff’s, un-aired pilot was a catastrophe. On the podcast of Scriptnotes the pair talked about their original failure.
The pilot apparently had a lot of problems and Benioff pointed the one critical issue that stood out:
“None of (our friends) realized that Jaime and Cersei were brother and sister, which is a major, major plot point that we had somehow failed to establish,” he said in the podcast.
The producers re-wrote the script and re-cast few of the key roles. In 2011 the pilot aired on HBO. And since then we’ve been waiting for winter for six seasons now.
Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory team, who are the highest paid TV actors, (Jim Parsons who plays Sheldon Cooper topped a Forbes’s list in 2015), probably never saw this day coming when they shot the pilot episode.
Long before Kaley Cuoco joined, it actress Amanda Walsh who played the role of Penny. But she was dumped by Chuck Lorre when CBS rejected the pilot. Iris Bahr, who was also a part of the show earlier, was ditched during the rework.
Cable network FX had passed on Vince Gilligan’s exceptional show, Breaking Bad because it was too much in line with other television shows on air back then.
“We had three dramas with male anti-heroes and we looked at that script and said, ‘Okay, so here’s a fourth male anti-hero.’The question was, ‘Are we defining FX as the male anti-hero network and is that a big enough tent?’,” John Landgraf, President of FX said in an interview.
FX had The Shield, Rescue Me, and Nip/Tuck at the time. For all the good shows they had, the network had a tough time finding places for Damages, Dirt, The Riches, and Thief. Would Breaking Bad have done as well on FX? Maybe not. In the end it aired on AMC, and became iconic.
The pilot faced six rejections. Things did not start well for the romantic musical comedy which is about a slightly weird, but lovable, Rebecca who abandons her job at a law firm and her life in New York to find her long-time soul mate.
But Rachel Bloom, the lead actress and also the co-creator of the show, didn’t lose hope and kept making changes for the final product. Bloom not only received critical acclaim for her stellar performance as the neurotic lawyer, but also bagged the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Comedy. The popular series has now been renewed for a second season.
Desperate Housewives, followed the domestic struggles, secrets and how criminals also dwell in a neighbourhood that is sedate on the outside. However, the creator Marc Cherry had his pilot rejected by major networks such as HBO and Lifetime.
HBO rejected Desperate Housewives for the felt the ladies of the show weren’t ‘risque enough’, and wanted to give the ladies of Sex And The City more space on the screen.
After giving a more satire-like feel, ABC gave the approval, and the show went on to win Emmy Awards.
Third time’s the charm – and this phrase was particularly true for Ugly Betty. The show which was an adaptation of the hit Colombian tv seires Betty La Fea, received an approval from ABC in its third reincarnation. It was a five-year effort for agent-turned-producer Ben Silverman.
The show revolves around Betty Suarez who despite her lack of style lands a job at a fashion magazine. The show won two Golden Globe awards.
So, when you fail, don’t give up. After all you may just be in the process of becoming something epic!