by Chris Harnick | Mon., Jun. 2, 2014 8:35 AM
Let's face it: When it comes to American TV, the networks want to make money. Cash money. Sure, they care about telling a story to a certain extent, but when it comes down to it, it's all about ad dollars and such. It's a business after all, which is why almost every great show (or popular show) has attempted a spinoff. Sometimes they work—hey JAG spinoff NCIS—and sometimes they don't—hey The Golden Girls spinoff The Golden Palace.
This season, The CW is giving us The Flash, a spinoff of Arrow and CBS is introducing viewers to two new spinoffs: NCIS: New Orleans and CSI: Cyber. For every successful spinoff, there's a plethora of failed ones, ones you—and the people who made them—would probably like to forget existed.
The Golden Palace, spinoff of The Golden Girls (1992-1993)
After Dorothy (Bea Arthur) got married at the end of Golden Girls on NBC, her mom Sophia (Estelle Getty) and roommates Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) decide to invest in a Miami hotel. Don Cheadle and Cheech Marin starred in this one season sitcom on CBS. The ratings and concept were bad and the show was canceled after one season. Getty's character moved over to Empty Nest, a successful Golden Girls spinoff.
Saved by the Bell: The College Years, spinoff of Saved by the Bell
Saved By the Bell was a mega hit on Saturdays for NBC, so much so the network took it to primetime after the original characters graduated. It didn't go very well. The show followed Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Slater (Mario Lopez) and Screech (Dustin Diamond) to college with Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen) soon following. The show continued the original's tradition of having the characters deal with real-life issues. Ratings weren't great and Zack and Kelly ran off to get married.
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, spinoff of Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior is a rare CBS spinoff fumble. With a talented cast including Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo had all the makings of a hit, but the audience wasn't there (by CBS standards).
The Bradys, spinoff of The Brady Bunch
What if the Brady family from the classic campy 1970s sitcom were faced with nighttime soap situations? You'd have the short-lived The Bradys, a Brady Bunch spinoff/revival that followed the famous TV family in (then) modern times. There were fertility problems, abuse storylines, politics and terrible accidents. America did not like seeing the Bradys like this. Nor were they super into The Brady Brides, a 1981 series about Jan and Marsha, or The Brady Bunch Hour, a variety show starring the Bradys. That's a lot of Brady. Bonus: The Bradys featured Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Kevin Brady. Whattttttt.
The Tortellis, spinoff of Cheers
The first Cheers spinoff (but not last, lest you forget one of the most successful spinoffs ever, Frasier), The Tortellis followed Dan Hedaya as Nick, Carla's (Rhea Perlman) ex-husband, and Jean Kasem as Loretta, Nick's new wife. Loretta and Nick's relationship was on its last legs and Nick followed Loretta to Las Vegas to improve it. Hijinks ensued, but not for long.
Joey, spinoff of Friends
Let's be real: Who thought a show about Joey from Friends would be a hit? Well, who besides NBC? After the Friends series finale, Matt LeBlanc reprised the role of Joey Tribbiani, a struggling actor who moved out west to make it big. The ratings were OK…at first. Then not OK. Drea de Matteo and Jennifer Coolidge also starred.
Young Hercules, spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Take a floppy-haired Ryan Gosling (swoon!) and mix in the ancient Greek mythology elements that made Hercules and Xena hits and you had Young Hercules, a show about just what the title suggests: Hercules, only younger. It lasted one season.
Time of Your Life, spinoff of Party of Five
Jennifer Love Hewitt headlined this short-lived Party of Five spinoff about her character, Sarah Reeves Marrin, starting a new life in New York. Jennifer Garner and a blond Pauley Perrette also starred in the late '90s drama. Low ratings and bad reviews made for a short Life.
Three's a Crowd, spinoff of Three's Company
As Three's Company started to fade in its eighth season, ABC looked to give it new life with a series starring John Ritter as Jack Tripper living with his girlfriend (Mary Cardorett) and having his girlfriend's father as the landlord. Arrested Development's Jessica Walter also starred. Ratings were OK, but the magic of Three's Company didn't follow Ritter and it only lasted one season.