Failed Pilots 2016

Upfronts 2016: Your Guide to Fall Pilots That Didn't Make the Cut

The television industry’s annual roller coaster of relief and devastation — more commonly known as Upfronts Week — has come to an end. Venerable series have been cancelled (RIP, Castle), long shots have earned additional seasons (party on, Sleepy Hollow!) and a whole slew of new programs have earned their place on the 2016-17 schedule.

But amid all the fall trailers and extravagant presentations from the broadcast nets, you might be wondering what became of certain buzzy pilots that failed to land series orders.

To that end, we’ve compiled a gallery of all the potential series — 44 of ’em, to be exact — that didn’t score a place on ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox or NBC’s lineups. Among the fallen projects: CBS’ Sarah Shahi-led Nancy Drew adaptation, NBC’s sequel to the 1999 film Cruel Intentions and ABC’s comedy vehicle for Happy Endings star Casey Wilson.

Though most of the below pilots have been passed over — meaning, they won’t be pursued any further — some will be redeveloped for the next pilot season, while others hope to find new homes on different networks. Whatever the case, we’ve denoted the current status of each one of ’em, along with the cast attached to each series-that-might-have-been.

Scroll through the photo gallery below — or click here for direct access — for our comprehensive guide, then hit the comments and tell us: Which pilot are you most bummed to see shelved?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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53 Comments
  1. NM says:

    Drew – “Passed over due to scheduling issues (and being deemed “too female” for CBS); being shopped to other networks”. I know CBS has a history (Criminal Minds and Blue Bloods) but this can’t be for real?

  2. cuius says:

    Noël Coward sang, “Don’t Put Your Daughter On The Stage, Mrs. Worthington” – you can see why – the number of people competing for work in the TV world is staggering

  3. xyz says:

    One of them sounded OK but the rest sounded awful.

  4. GraceM says:

    Nome of these pilots sound all that great.

  5. I wish we had the opportunity to see the pilots because some (though certainly not all) of these pilot descriptions sound better than the ones that were picked up.

    • Andrea says:

      I want that to be a contest someday. I want one network to leave one drama spot open and post four or five full-length pilots, not just clips. Fans vote, and the winner gets picked up. If fans can vote for every singing and talent show imaginable, we should be given a try to pick a pilot.

      I’m sorry about not getting to see Drew or The Jury.

      • Amazon prime actually did something similar this spring, showing pilots of 4 or 5 original shows and viewers were to vote via review which they wanted to see developed as a series.

  6. amalda says:

    That photo of Sarah Shahi makes her look like a stripper. You did her wrong, TVLine!

    • LynnH says:

      She had a small role as a famous variety performer in the last season of Ray Donovan and for some bizarre reason TVLine keeps using that photo of her. Surely there are other, better photos? Can’t they use one of her from Person of Interest, Fairly Legal, Life… anything else?

  7. Amy says:

    I’m not surprised most (if not all) of these got passed over). Though I am disappointed I won’t get to see the show with Tom Brittney :(
    Maybe UnREAL will bring his character back, too.

  8. Too female?!!
    My blood is boiling now.

  9. kn123 says:

    The only one of these that sounds interesting to me is The Jury, which I will also say sounds a whole lot more interesting than anything else was picked up. All of the pilots from this season seem to be kind of a bust though.

    • Kvivik says:

      I was so looking forward to this one. So sad it’s in the purgatory of ‘re-development’.

    • Stacy says:

      I’m bummed about The Jury too. I thought it had awesome potential and could have been a great vehicle for killer guest stars. I have to assume the quality of the writing and plot just weren’t up to par. :(

  10. Is Damage Control being developed for next year then?

  11. michael says:

    The Mars tv show sounded interesting.

  12. Nichole says:

    Hope that means we’ll see more Nasim Pedrad on New Girl. Loving Winston and Aly together. Also enoyed her interaction with the girls.

  13. Most of the pictures were really unflattering. Only 1 or 2 sounded interesting and if I had a comedy, I wouldn’t pitch it to NBC.

  14. CW says:

    I hope The Jury eventually makes it to ABC’s schedule. Archie Panjabi is a talented actress and I’d like to see her back on TV in a weekly series.

  15. Regina says:

    “Too female”? Seriously though did CBS pick up any new shows that don’t have male leads? The Kevin James and Matt Le Blanc shows literally have the exact same premise. I guess CBS has a type.

  16. Ray says:

    Sad that Niecy Nash’s project The Enforcers never saw the light of day. The logline sounded quite hilarious. Also miffed about Transylvania, but I understand why the CW might want to veer away from another supernatural themed show.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a retooled version of Hail Mary hits the airwaves next year. Casey Wilson + that premise are too good to pass up.

    • T H says:

      I was really interested in Transylvania because the logline sounded cool, so I hope it’s just been shelved indefinitely and that CW will take it down, dust it off, and rework it when some of their supernatural themed shows (eventually) end.

      • Ray says:

        Do you watch Penny Dreadful? It’s set in the same late 19th Century era and is a classic monster mashup, just like Transylvania is supposed to be.

  17. pAloma says:

    Okay, did the editors deliberately see out the worst possible photo of all these actors to illustrate this gallery, as if to say your pilot didn’t get picked up, so we’re going to kick you while you’re down by making sure you look awful?

  18. PatriciaLee says:

    The Enforcers and Miranda’s Rights! It’s a shame they didn’t get picked up.

  19. Larc says:

    With the possible exceptions of Four Stars and Me & Mean Margaret, doesn’t sound as if we’ll be missing much. Not that some new shows making the cut sound much better.

  20. Tom says:

    They’re finally getting smart and killing Kyle Bornheimer shows BEFORE they air.

  21. I wanted a Nancy Drew series, but I never wanted her to be a cop in it. That’s too predictable.

  22. Me says:

    I’m so bummed about Archie Panjabi’s pilot being discarded. I was looking forward to having her on my screen again! Hope they can redevelop it successfully!

  23. mc says:

    Gina Torres
    Casey Wilson
    Becki Newton
    Archie Panjabi
    Stockard Channing
    Courtney Cox
    Tracy Spiridakos
    Oh, the women I won’t get to see on new shows this fall.

    Also, isn’t “Imaginary Friend” the one who won the NBC competition? Is that only a development deal, not a guarantee for order?

  24. Ian says:

    Hopefully there’s still a chance for Pearl and The Jury. I wonder what this “redevelopment” thing actually means.

  25. Johnny Law says:

    Just a thought – should you have maybe listed the show creators in this article?

  26. liame says:

    Too bad, some of those failed projects sounded like they had potential. Oh well, I hope those actors get cast on other projects.

  27. Cas says:

    Hope that Noel will return to Shameless ;)
    Also sad I won’t get to see SMG.