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Spin-offs & Sequels

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"What shows begat what shows"

Ever since the days of the Bible, people, places and things have been "begetting" the heck out of themselves. So, it's no surprise that TV series would eventually get around to it as well.

This section compiles all series that produced spin-offs (for example, sequels, prequels, TV reunion specials, TV-Movies and Feature Films) based on TV Programs Broadcast from the 1940s to the Present.

In the purest sense, most people think of a "spin-off" as a series that featured a recurring character who was so loved or enjoyed by others that the producer of the original series decided to give that character their own TV program.

A good example is the TV series CHEERS that spun-off psychiatrist Frasier Crane into his own series Frasier. But sometimes, just an idea presented on one occasion becomes popular and a series is born.

Take, for instance, the sitcom HAPPY DAYS which itself spawned four primetime spin-offs. This show got its start as an episode of LOVE AMERICAN STYLE.

An other form of spin-off occurs when a character from a TV show like SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE spins-off a feature film like The Coneheads (1993) or The Blues Brothers (1980).

Still another series like TWIN PEAKS (1990) spawns a feature film like Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) whose storyline begins before the original TV series storyline began (a prequel).

And finally, a theatrically released film such as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (1992) spins-off an equally popular TV series of the same name.

So the term spin-off can be used to describe a number of situations. And not to forget, a "sequel" continues the storyline of a TV program.

For example, a well-loved series like I DREAM OF JEANNIE (1965) returned to TV in the form of a Reunion TV-Movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later (1985).

And the STAR TREK series successfully spun-off a number of "sequel" feature films (for example Star Trek: The Movie (1979); Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982); Star Trek III: Search for Spock (1984); Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), etc.

In general, this section pulls together all such related instances, whether it be a spin-off, a sequel, a prequel, a Reunion special, a TV-Movie or a Feature Film.

The left hand column contains "The Original Series" category; the column to the right lists all of the "Spin-offs & Sequels" derived from the "The Original Series."

Note: An ( * ) indicates a program that predates the start of the original series, such as a TV-Movie Pilot for the series or a Feature Film that inspired the TV show. Use www.imdb.com for more information about the TV shows in this section

TRIVIA NOTE:  With the exception of all the TV shows which were spun-off from existing radio programs of the times, Comedian Jackie Gleason claims the credit for TVs earliest spin-off.

His loudmouth bus driver character, Ralph Kramden first appeared in the fall of 1951 on a series of "Honeymooner" sketches on the variety show CAVALCADE OF STARS/DUM/1949-52 which became THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW/CBS/1952-1970. Then in 1955, the sketch became a half-hour sitcom known as THE HONEYMOONERS/CBS1955-56.

The second show to become a spin-off of an existing series was PETE AND GLADYS/CBS/1960-62. Its main character Pete Porter (Harry Morgan) was a regular on DECEMBER BRIDE/CBS/1954-60 who constantly complained about his unseen wife (played by Cara Williams on the spin-off).

THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW followed suit as the third runner up in the spin-off hall of fame. It was a spin-off from THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW based on an episode wherein Danny Thomas was driving too fast in a small rural town and got pulled over and eventually put in jail by a friendly, law abiding local sheriff (played by Andy Griffith).

The first TV spin-off from a "website" (MoneyWatchTV.com) debuted on the PAX network in 2000. MONEYWATCHTV.COM aired Monday-Friday. It aimed at making families "smart" about finances.


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