Top 10 Worst TV Spin-Offs

Written by David MacIntyre All it takes is one crappy offshoot to ruin a show’s legacy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 worst TV spinoffs. For this list, we’re looking at spinoffs that originated from extremely popular shows, but that didn’t last long on the air because of questionable quality. A show like “The X-Files” spinoff “The Lone Gunmen” didn’t make the cut because it was simply under-appreciated, rather than flat-out bad. Special thanks to our users sarahjessicaparkerth, a25kaitlynrocks, zendaddy621, Rob Welch, Marcus Justin Smalls, tnblkbear, Andrew A. Dennison, Twyla Fox and a25kaitlynrocks for submitting the idea through our Suggestions Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by David MacIntyre

Top 10 Worst TV Spin-offs


All it takes is one crappy offshoot to ruin a show’s legacy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 worst TV spinoffs.

For this list, we’re looking at spinoffs that originated from extremely popular shows, but that didn’t last long on the air because of questionable quality. A show like “The X-Files” spinoff “The Lone Gunmen” didn’t make the cut because it was simply under-appreciated, rather than flat-out bad.

#10: “Baywatch Nights” (1995-97)
Spinoff of “Baywatch” (1991-2001)

“Baywatch” was all about beaches, babes and, well, that’s about it. So whose bright idea was it to take away the beach and most of the babes? “Baywatch Nights” swerved in a completely different and altogether confusing direction from its parent show, with David Hasselhoff joining his cop buddy as a private detective. After one season of so-so ratings, it turned into an “X-Files” rip-off, with the Hoff and friends facing paranormal creatures. Ratings declined further and season two was its last, with Mitch Buchannon returning full-time to his red swimsuit.

#9: “The Golden Palace” (1992-93)
Spinoff of “The Golden Girls” (1985-92)

Once Dorothy married Leslie Nielsen in the “Golden Girls” finale, Blanche, Rose and Sophia decided to invest in a Miami hotel, where they’d perform chores and interact with all manner of bizarre personalities – from guests to employees like Cheech Marin and Don Cheadle. That’s the premise of “The Golden Palace,” which began a few months after its parent show’s ending aired to 27.2-million viewers. Although it got almost 15-million viewers in its first season, this spinoff never lived up to the original’s success, and was cancelled after eight months.

#8: “Three’s a Crowd” (1984-85)
Spinoff of “Three’s Company” (1977-84)

Since “The Ropers” were slightly more successful in their spinoff endeavor, we’re targeting “Three’s a Crowd” as the show that tainted “Three’s Company”’s reputation. This sequel carries over Jack Tripper’s storyline, following him and his new ladylove as they move in together and deal with landlords, parents and other random secondary characters. Because it competed in with “The A-Team” and didn’t feature nearly as much slapstick or shenanigans as you’d expect from a Jack Tripper sitcom, “Three’s a Crowd” didn’t make it past its first season.

#7: “Models Inc.” (1994-95)
Spinoff of “Melrose Place” (1992-99)

Not only a spinoff of “Melrose Place,” but also the third series in the “Beverly Hills, 90210” franchise, this show focuses on a modeling agency run by Amanda Woodward’s mother, Hillary, as well as the less-than-amicable relationship between the mother-daughter duo. Full of glitz but lacking substance, “Models Inc.” turned out to be a dud, as far as primetime soap operas go – even with a pre-“Matrix” Carrie-Ann Moss – and that showed in the viewership. After placing 113th in the ratings, CBS pulled the plug with one episode left unaired.

#6: “Top of the Heap” (1991)
Spinoff of “Married… with Children” (1987-97)

Running a spinoff while the main show’s still going can spell disaster – and FOX tried it three times with “Married… with Children.” “Top of the Heap” made it the farthest, as the other two efforts were backdoor pilots that also served as episodes of the parent series. But still, it only aired seven episodes, wherein a young Matt LeBlanc – before his “Friends” success – embarked on get-rich-quick schemes with his dad, Charlie. The show sure didn’t make FOX any richer, and it was yanked after just over a month.

#5: “AfterMASH” (1983-85)
Spinoff of “M*A*S*H” (1972-83)

“M*A*S*H”’s remains the most watched American TV finale ever, so we understand people weren’t ready to say “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”. We also understand it’s hard to produce a satisfying spinoff to one of the most-loved shows ever. Unfortunately, you can see where this is going. Made decidedly more “sitcommy” than “M*A*S*H” ever was, this new series followed Colonel Potter, Klinger and Father Mulcahy in their after-war lives. It completely failed to pay off, and was canceled during its second season after also failing to compete with “The A-Team.”

#4: “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” (1993-94)
Spinoff of “Saved by the Bell” (1989-93)

“Saved by the Bell” wasn’t the most well-written or highbrow show going, but it had a certain je-ne-sais-quoi viewers loved. That je-ne-sais-quoi stayed at Bayside. This sequel showed many of the series’ original characters as they entered post-secondary education. But sequels are rarely as good as originals: the show’s corny humor didn’t translate to more mature situations. Competition from “Full House” and “Rescue 911” didn’t help either, and it was canceled after one season. But at least Zack and Kelly finally got engaged.

#3: “Joanie Loves Chachi” (1982-83)
Spinoff of “Happy Days” (1974-84)

As “Happy Days” raged on in popularity, creators tried to capitalize on its success and Scott Baio’s appeal by spinning him and Richie Cunningham’s sister Joanie off into their own sitcom. The two lovebirds set off for Chicago, where they tried to make it as a rock band – which meant singing in just about every episode. Needless to say, they didn’t succeed, and after 17-episodes Joanie and Chachi took their lack of chemistry back to “Happy Days” for its final season.

#2: “The Tortellis” (1987)
Spinoff of “Cheers” (1982-93)

In the middle of “Cheers”’ super-successful run, creators took two recurring characters and made them the focus of their own sitcom. “The Tortellis” trails “Cheers” waitress Carla’s uncouth ex-husband Nick as he moves to Las Vegas with his latest wife. And that didn’t work? Despite guest appearances by some “Cheers” vets, “The Tortellis” suffered from poor ratings and was finally put out of its misery after 13-episodes. “Cheers” creators learned from their mistakes though, and produced a much more successful spinoff on their next attempt with “Frasier.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” (2005-06)
Spinoff of “Law & Order” (1990-2010)
- “Grady” (1975-76)
Spinoff of “Sanford and Son” (1972-77)
- “Living Dolls” (1989)
Spinoff of “Who’s the Boss?” (1984-92)
- “Mr. T and Tina” (1976)
Spinoff of “Welcome Back, Kotter” (1975-79)
- “Enos” (1980-81)
Spinoff of “The Dukes of Hazzard” (1979-85)

#1: “Joey” (2004-06)
Spinoff of “Friends” (1994-2004)

When “Friends” ended, everyone’s story was neatly resolved – that is, with the exception of Joey Tribbiani. The following fall, his spinoff saw him move to Los Angeles to pursue acting away from the people and places that helped make him funny in the first place. It’s almost always a mistake to give one member of an ensemble cast a solo show, because it can’t live up the group as a whole. “Joey” was clichéd comedy at its most formulaic, and it was mercifully shelved after two seasons.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the worst spin-off of all time? With new Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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