Seeing TV shows get nixed before they’ve had the chance to reach their full potential is the absolute worst. Whether they ran for a solid two seasons or barely got a handful of episodes on air, seeing them face sudden cancellations only leaves us with incomplete story arcs and questions that will never be answered. But if we were to really think about it, these shows were lucky to have made it to our TV screens at all, because some projects never even got the chance to premiere their pilot.
To be fair, not all of these unaired shows deserved to be greenlit. A few had premises that were downright disturbing while others were just… not that impressive. But then there were those with great casts and creative storylines that had so much promise. And unfortunately, we’ll never get to see those stories unfold. See which shows got canceled before they even aired.
17. The Cops never aired on TBS
The adult animated series, which was created by Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks for TBS, was supposed to air this year. The show was about two Los Angeles patrolmen who try (but often fail) to successfully do their jobs. TBS had ordered 10 episodes and multiple scripts had already been written. But after Louis various accusations of sexual assault came to light, TBS scrapped the whole thing.
16. The Cheetah Girls never aired on Disney Channel
We all know about the hugely successful Cheetah Girls film series, but believe it or not, there was also supposed to be a TV show based on the original books for Disney Channel. Walt Disney Studios produced four episodes of the series in 2003, but still, the network never picked it up. Instead, the first movie in the franchise premiered that year. And interestingly enough, it was never confirmed why the show suddenly got canceled.
15. Us & Them never aired on FOX
This was going to be a remake of the British sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which follows two people in a long-distance relationship. After they date online for half a year, they finally meet. But this proves to be even more challenging than their long-distance arrangement because of their intrusive loved ones. The sitcom began with a 13-episode order and then it decreased to seven. But then FOX called it quits and chose not to air any of the episodes. Starring Alexis Bledel and Jason Ritter, it’s a shock that this one never saw the light of day!
14. All My Babies’ Mamas never aired on Oxygen
It was a reality TV show that would follow the life of rapper Shawty Lo, who fathers 11 children by 10 different women. It was supposed to premiere on Oxygen in 2013, but it led to huge backlash because of how it portrayed black families and glamorized premarital sex. There was also a popular online petition to cancel the show, so the network chose to cancel it without airing any episodes (and to be honest, we’re glad they did).
13. Members Only never aired on ABC
The unaired comedy-drama was going to star Natalie Zea, John Stamos, Betsy Brandt, and Boris Kodjoe. It focused on a powerful and wealthy family that owned the most exclusive clubs in Connecticut, and ABC ordered 13 episodes. It was set to air in 2014, but unfortunately, the show got canceled by the network before the premiere.
12. The IT Crowd never aired on NBC
This was going to be an American adaptation of the British comedy series, which centered on three IT staff members from the fictional Reynholm Industries. Its cast included Richard Ayoade, Jessica St. Clair, and Joel McHale. The pilot was filmed in front of a live audience in 2007 and it got picked up by NBC for a midseason debut in 2008. However, the network pushed the premiere back and then canceled the show. (On the bright side, the pilot can still be seen on YouTube.)
11. Immigrants never aired on Spike TV
The show was meant to be an animated series for Spike TV. It’s about two immigrants (a Hungarian named Jóska and a Russian named Vladislav) who try to adjust to their new lives in America. The network agreed to run six episodes and begin with a two-hour marathon. But for some reason, they just never aired it. Instead, the series got made into a full-length motion picture and got released in theaters.
10. Heads Up never aired on HLN
The game show was based on a segment called “Heads Up!” from Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show, where people would have to guess certain phrases based on what’s being acted out (and vice versa). It was hosted by Loni Love and over 65 episodes were completed. The show was also supposed to air Mondays through Fridays, but unfortunately, HLN decided to pull the plug last-minute.
9. Thick and Thin never aired on NBC
Jessica Capshaw was going to star in the sitcom as an overweight woman who’d lost over 60 pounds. The series was created by Paula Pell and it included Sharon Gless, Martin Mull, and Chris Parnell. It got six episodes as a midseason pickup for 2005-06, but not one of them were aired. As a result, Paula and Chris returned to Saturday Night Live. Its cancellation also kept Capshaw available to join the cast of Grey’s Anatomy soon thereafter.
8. Welcome to the Neighborhood never aired on ABC
This reality TV show picked out seven families who would temporarily move into rich, conservative neighborhoods and compete for a chance to win one of the houses in that neighborhood (those who competed were mostly minority or underprivileged families). An entire season was already shot and ABC planned to air the series in 2005. But out of concern that the show might foster prejudice and lead to controversy, they canceled it before it could air.
7. Snip never aired on NBC
In the sitcom, which was set to air in 1976, David Brenner was going to star as a hairdresser whose ex-wife (played by Lesley Ann Warren) moves back in with him. It was a highly anticipated show, especially after being heavily promoted by NBC and getting a full-length feature in TV Guide. But after only five episodes were filmed, the show suddenly got nixed and no one knew why. Later on, David mentioned that the reason might’ve been because one of the characters was openly gay, and that might have led to too much controversy. Thankfully times have changed.
6. Waterfront never aired on CBS
This particular series was ordered by CBS as a midseason replacement in 2007. It focused on the life of the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island (played by William Baldwin) while he tried to deal with a corruption scandal. Five episodes were already filmed, but in 2006, it was suddenly shelved. Apparently, “creative differences” and financial issues were to blame.
5. When Women Rule The World never aired on FOX
This reality show was about a group of 12 women and 12 men who get sent to an island, where the men have to be completely subservient to the women. Each week, the ladies would vote off one man, and the last one standing would not only be deemed the best servant, but he’d also win a whopping $250,000. It was set to debut in 2007 and then pushed back to 2008, but then FOX canceled it altogether. We’d say that was a smart idea, considering that the premise of the show is pretty creepy. They also tried to make the show a hit across the pond, but it didn’t go anywhere either.
4. The Ortegas never aired on FOX
The Ortegas was an American version of the British comedy, The Kumars at No. 42. It was about an Indian family that hosted its own talk show and it starred Cheech Marin. Believe it or not, there was a bidding war for this show between NBC and FOX. NBC won at first and they produced a pilot, but it never made their fall lineup. So they handed the show over to FOX and the network initially planned to schedule it on Sunday nights, but the show eventually got shelved.
3. The Mayor never aired on The WB
Not to be confused with ABC’s The Mayor, which focused on a young black rapper and budding politician. The unaired sitcom was supposed to premiere on the WB and it was produced by Adam Sandler. Not many details were revealed about the show’s premise, but the network had initially ordered six episodes. Later on, they decided to cancel the show because they apparently didn’t like the show’s creative direction.
2. Day One never aired on NBC
Day One was a sci-fi drama about a group of apartment residents who survived an apocalyptic event. At first, the show was ordered to fill the gap left by Heroes’ temporary hiatus in 2010. But then it got cut down to just four episodes, and after that, a two-hour TV movie. In the end, though, the network decided not to air anything at all, even though they’d released multiple trailers for its premiere. Bizarre, no?
1. Fearless never aired on The WB
Not only did this show have top-notch producers, but it was also going to star Ian Somerhalder, Rachel Leigh Cook, Bianca Lawson, and Eric Balfour. It was based on the young adult fantasy spy series written by Francine Pascal, but unfortunately, producers faced a number of problems including casting issues. The premiere got delayed a few times, but before it could finally make it on air, it got canned and was replaced with One Tree Hill.