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8 TV Shows You Totally Forgot Were Spinoffs

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Shows You Didn't Know Were Spinoffs
Shows You Didn't Know Were Spinoffs

Suddenly everything old is new again—with a twist! That's right; spinoffs are making a comeback on TV these days, with at least three finding their way to broadcast TV this upcoming 2014-2015 season.

On The CW, The Flash starring Grant Gustin is a spinoff of Arrow. Both shows are based on the DC Comics superheroes. And on CBS, the Eye network is giving us not one, but two spinoffs from long-running CSI and NCIS franchises with CSI: Cyber and NCIS: New Orleans. CBS also had a How I Met Your Mother spinoff, in the works How I Met Your Dad, but ultimately passed on the comedy.

Any TV buff knows spinoffs are nothing new, but you may be surprised as to which successful shows actually started out as spinoffs themselves.

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The Andy Griffith Show CBS Archive/Getty Images

The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
The Andy Griffith Show
, starring Andy Griffith, was a spinoff. Griffith first appeared as Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Danny Thomas Show. Griffith's character arrests and detains Thomas in Mayberry. The rest? TV history.

Happy Days ABC Archive/Getty Images

Happy Days (1974-1984)
The beloved family sitcom starring Henry Winkler and Ron Howard was a spinoff from Love, American Style. Happy Days itself spawned several spinoffs including Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy.

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The Facts of Life Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The Facts of Life (1979-1988)
Good old Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) wasn't always a housemother to a group of girls at private school. Mrs. G started out as the housekeeper to the Drummond family on Diff'rent Strokes. Mrs. Garrett left Strokes in season two to headline The Facts of Life, which lasted nine seasons.

Knots Landing Cast CBS/Getty Images

Knots Landing (1979-1993)
The nighttime soap hailed from Dallas creator David Jacobs and starred some very famous names including Alec Baldwin and Nicolette Sheridan. Knots Landing outlasted its birth show and is one of the longest-running dramas ever.

READ: CBS passes on How I Met Your Mother spinoff

Family Matters

Family Matters (1989-1998)
Harriette Winslow (Jo Marie Payton-France) worked as the elevator operator in Balki and Larry's apartment building in Perfect Strangers. Eventually, viewers met her husband Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) and the two were spunoff into Family Matters, which eventually outlived Perfect Strangers by a season. And little trivia: Urkel wasn't the original star of Family Matters. Gasp!

Diagnosis: Murder CBS

Diagnosis: Murder (1993-2001)
The Dick Van Dyke drama was a spinoff of a spinoff! The character of Dr. Mark Sloan originated on Jake and the Fatman, which was a spinoff of Matlock, before landing some TV movie and later the eight-season long series.

READ: Will The Good Wife give Carrie Preston a spinoff?

Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)
Lucy Lawless
played the title character in three episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and was originally supposed to die following her third appearance. But the character proved popular and she was given her own spinoff, which developed a cult following and outlasted the Kevin Sorbo-fronted fantasy drama it came from.


NCIS (2003-Present)
One of the biggest shows on television, which has birthed NCIS: LA and now NCIS: NOLA, is a spinoff of JAG, which ran from 1995-2005. JAG started off on NBC before getting canceled and rescued by CBS in 1997 where it has become one of the network's biggest players.

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