Wednesday, May 27, 2015

From the Silver Screen to Your TV Screen

The television networks have always sought shortcuts to ratings success. Once they had convinced the movie studios that they could coexist, the networks began mining the movies for new television shows. One of the biggest television successes of all time- M*A*S*H- was borrowed from the big screen.

Unfortunately, that was a big exception. Most film to television transitions never quite work out. Like Gung Ho. Based on the film starring Michael Keaton and Gedde Watanabe, it starred Scott Bakula and Gedde Watanabe (who played a different character.) A relic of an era in which Americans feared the purported business prowess of Japan, it only lasted for 9 episodes on ABC.

NBC tried its luck with a television version of Melanie Griffith's Working Girl. Starring a young Sandra Bullock, the show lasted just 12 episodes. 

The Fox Network found success with the Ferris Bueller-esque Parker Lewis Can't Lose. Certainly a real spinoff called Ferris Bueller starring Charlie Schlatter and a pre-fame Jennifer Aniston would be even more successful, right? NBC thought so. Unfortunately, the show lasted just 13 episodes.

Maybe a dramatic adaptation might work better? ABC picked up a one hour adaptation of Michelle Pfeiffer's "Great White Hope" drama Dangerous Minds, only Annie Potts was the teacher who got to stare down rough ethnics. The show ended after just 17 episodes.