American audiences fell in love with Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani in NBC’s sitcom juggernaut “Friends.” But lightening rarely strikes the same place twice, and for Matt LeBlanc that cliché couldn’t be more true. “Joey” premiered on NBC on Sept. 9, 2004, was placed on hiatus (during the 2nd season) and returned in March of 2006. NBC cancelled the series in May and did not air the remaining episodes. How’d you like to find that sunken treasure?
“Top of the Heap” 1991
Spun off from FOX’s “Married With Children” and also starring Matt LeBlanc, “Top of the Heap” focused on Charlie Verducci and Vinnie and their schemes to get rich. Charlie’s “master plan” is for Vinnie to marry into a wealthy family. Bored already? So are we.
“Mrs. Columbo” 1979
Peter Falk wowed audiences as bumbling detective “Columbo.” His fictional wife “Mrs. Columbo” (Kate Mulgrew) wowed audiences by tarnishing the Columbo name with a 13-episode stinker.
“The Bradys” 1989
“The Bradys” reprised every character except Marcia, which we’re sure Maureen McCormick is still thanking herself for opting out of. More drama than comedy, in the first episode Bobby is rendered a paraplegic from a wreck that sidelines his budding car-racing career.
“The Ropers” 1979
Mr. Roper was always threatening the shenanigans of Jack, Janet and Chrissy of “Three’s Company.” And that is probably where he should have stayed. In 1979, Norman Fell and Audra Lindley starred as “The Ropers,” who sold their apartment building and moved to Cheviot Hills, where they struggle to fit in. Audiences struggle, too.
“Joanie Loves Chachi” 1982
The series followed the exploits of Joanie and Chachi as they moved to Chicago and tried to make it on their own with a rock band and a music career. It mixed the traditional elements of a sitcom with musical performances on each show by Scott Baio and Erin Moran.
“Saved by the Bell: The College Years” 1993
Take the powerhouse cast of “Saved By The Bell” and add Raiders defensive tackle Bob Golic as Michael Rogers, who played a dorm adviser/foil and wasn’t nearly as appealing as Mr. Belding, and you’ve got yourself a one-season flopper, where we all learned that we need to stay in school.
“Models Inc.” 1994
The show revolved around a Los Angeles modeling agency, Models Inc., run by Hillary Michaels (Linda Gray), the mother of Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear‘s character from Melrose Place). Hillary Michaels appeared briefly on Melrose Place in the last few episodes of Season 2 in order to set up the spin-off that became Models Inc. This third spinoff from “Beverly Hills 90210” lasted only one season.
“The Lone Gunmen” 2001
Attempting to capitalize on the popularity of “The X-Files,” “The Lone Gunmen” – a trio of computer hacking geeks – failed to capture the hearts and minds of audiences and quickly disappeared like a rogue UFO after 13 episodes.
“That ‘80s Show” 2002
“That ‘80s Show” starred Glenn Howerton, Tinsley Grimes, Chyler Leigh, Eddie Shin, Brittany Daniel and a handful of other people you’ve never heard of before (and probably won’t again.)
And, we can’t forget these honorable mentions: Flo (Alice spinoff – 28 episodes), Phyllis (The Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff – 48 episodes), Gloria (All in the Family spinoff – 22 episodes)
Sometimes it is better to leave well enough alone, and simply reap the rewards of a hit show as it cashes in on the syndication circuit. The above shows are great examples of such.