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Networks' reasoning for passing on various pilots will mostly just make you dislike NBC more

Last week’s pilot pickup season saw some surprises, with shows considered sure things to get pickups at all five networks being passed on. In particular, those who care about such things focused on ABC’s Big Thunder, CBS’ Beverly Hills Cop, and NBC’s Mulaney, all of which were thought to be certain to land on the schedule somewhere next season and all of which were passed on. Well, surely network presidents wouldn’t pass on good shows for pointless bullshit reasons, right? Surely they would only pass on shows if they didn’t live up to their promise and/or were kind of bad, right? (Those of you who have seen television ever know where we’re going with this.)

Entertainment Weekly did some digging for a slideshow on the 10 most surprising shows the networks passed on, and what they’ve found will mostly just infuriate you about NBC. For instance, ABC passed on Big Thunder because—reading between the lines—it was shitty. CBS passed on Beverly Hills Cop because it was “too retro,” and apparently not in a good way. (Maybe all involved got confused and just remade the Simon And Simon credits over and over.) Fox passed on Delirium—some weird sci-fi soap about a world without love starring Emma Roberts—because, well, it was a CW show and how was it on Fox to begin with? The CW passed on The Selection—despite redeveloping it this pilot season after considering it last pilot season—because it was found to be too similar to its other pilot Reign, which it liked better and subsequently picked up.


NBC passed on Mulaney because though it was liked by “comedy geeks,” NBC executives didn’t like it. Why? Well, EW suggests because NBC is going for a “family theme” in its comedies and “moving away from smarter-narrower-snarkier titles.” This despite the fact that that worked so well for the network last fall. Then there’s the case of The Sixth Gun, based on a popular comic book, which NBC passed on because the network “felt it played too much like a geeky Syfy show and not enough like a big broadcast network show.” This despite the number one drama on TV being about zombies.

Read the whole slideshow, though, to get an anonymous ABC executive making fun of Canadian production values.

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