Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pilot Week! Backdoor Pilots

Backdoor Pilots are episodes of existing television shows that double as pilots of new spinoff shows. These types of pilots allow a network to hedge its bets by producing a pilot that it knows will actually get broadcasted and produce revenue. While most other types of pilots will never see the light of day, these pilots typically always get a broadcast. The added benefit of this type of pilot is that it typically gets a larger audience than it might normally attract. An example of this type of pilot was NCIS, which was a Backdoor pilot spun off from Jag.

NCIS, in turn, provided a launching point for NCIS: Los Angeles, which had its own Backdoor pilot episode of NCIS.

NCIS also launched NCIS: New Orleans in a Backdoor pilot episode.

Not every Backdoor pilot results in a successful launch, however. One of the most notorious Backdoor pilots that didn’t get a pickup was Kelly’s Kids, which concerned a couple who lived next door to the Bradys of The Brady Bunch. The never before seen neighbors adopted three kids and the show would have followed their lives as they dealt with their newly expanded family. The show didn’t get picked up and the neighbors were never seen again.