Yes, These Movies Became TV Shows...and it Didn't Work Out

NBC's Parenthood kicks off its sixth and final season this fall, but not every movie can become a successful TV show. Let's reminisce!

By Chris Harnick Jun 23, 2014 5:00 PMTags
Parenthood, Working Girl, Dangerous Minds, Dirty Dancing20th Century Fox; NBC; ABC; CBS

As viewers prepare to say goodbye to Parenthood, it's easy to remember all the tears and laughs the show has provided. But before Parenthood there was Parenthood. And Parenthood.

The NBC series is based on the 1989 hit film of the same name starring Steve Martin, which spawned the 1990 NBC series, also of the same name. Ed Begley Jr. and Leonardo DiCaprio were in the short-lived 1990 version. It seems 1990 was a banner year for movie to TV adaptations with several hitting airwaves that season. None of them lasted.

Parenthood, the current series, is one of those rare adaptation success stories. It will join M*A*S*H, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and live on as a TV legend. These other shows? Not so much.

Baby Boom (1988)
NBC brought the Diane Keaton comedy to the small screen with Kate Jackson as J.C. Wiatt. Joy Behar and Susie Essman also stared in the short-lived series.

Dirty Dancing (1988)
Based on the movie of the same name, Dirty Dancing didn't last very long on CBS. Patrick Cassidy took over the Johnny role and The Office's Melora Hardin played Baby. The cast also included Paul Feig!

Working Girl (1990)
One of the many movie-to-TV attempts in 1990, Working Girl starred Sandra Bullock in the role Melanie Griffith originated in the 1988 film. Nana Visitor of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Scandal's George Newbern also starred in the failed movie adaptation. It lasted only eight episodes.

Baby Talk (1990)
Look Who's Talking
was a big hit! Baby Talk wasn't, despite having George Clooney in its cast (for part of its run). This was back in the day when he wasn't George Clooney. However, the ABC series based on Look Who's Talking lasted two seasons, longer than most movie to film adaptations. It went through several overhauls, but it wasn't enough to save the sitcom.

Parenthood (1990)
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That's what NBC did with Parenthood and it worked! The 1990 TV series based on the movie followed the same characters from the Ron Howard film with different actors in the roles. In addition to David Arquette, Leonardo DiCaprio and Thora Birch in the cast, the writing staff also included Joss Whedon. The pilot was well-received, but the ratings didn't match and the show was scrapped after 12 episodes.

Ferris Bueller (1990)
The year: 1990. The show: Ferris Bueller. The Movie: 1986's Ferris Buller's Day Off.  NBC's Ferris Bueller set itself up as separate from the film, the movie was based on TV's Ferris, star Charlie Schlatter explained in the first episode. Jennifer Aniston played the role of Jeannie.

Uncle Buck (1990)
Kevin Meaney took on the role John Candy originated in the 1989 movie, but critics weren't kind to this CBS series and it ended after one season.

A League of Their Own (1993)
Despite having Penny Marshall and Tom Hanks behind the camera on the series, A League of Their Own wasn't the hit on the small screen it was on the big screen. Only three episodes aired in April 1993 before two more aired in August 1993. The episode directed by Tom Hanks saw the team get a chimpanzee as a mascot. Need we say more?

Dangerous Minds (1996)
Annie Potts took on the role of Louanne Johnson, a Marine veteran who taught inner-city students. Michelle Pfeiffer played the role in the 1995 movie. Potts' Dangerous Minds lasted a little longer than most on this list: 17 episodes. 

The Net (1998)
Sandra Bullock's Internet thriller made the leap from the big screen to TV three years after its release. Brooke Langton took over the role of Angela Bennett in the one-season USA Network show.

The Firm (2012)
Set 10 years after the John Grisham novel-turned movie, The Firm starred Josh Lucas, Molly Parker and Juliette Lewis. The NBC drama lasted only one season.