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Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday TV Quiz (with associated legal point)!

OK, here's the quiz: name the two hour-long dramas in the history of television (I think) that were spinoffs of half hour sitcoms.  Answer, and associated legal thing, after the jump.

The answer is (1) Lou Grant, spun off from Mary Tyler Moore; and, more controversially, (2) Trapper John, MD, spun off from M*A*S*H.  Why is #2 controversial?  According to this unbelievably great website, which catalogs all of the spinoffs and crossovers in TV history (a "crossover" being when the reality of two shows intersect, like when the Bewitched characters became animated and appeared on the Flintstones), there was a legal batttle over whether people involved in the original M*A*S*H TV show would share in profits from Trapper John, and so the creators of the latter styled it as a spinoff of the original movie rather than of the TV show.  But still, come on, who are we kidding?

Anyone have any ideas for similar types of spinoffs?  I would actually like to see an example of the reverse situation: "Medevoy," a 1/2 hour sitcom spinoff of the hour long drama NYPD Blue, starring that red headed goofball detective who is always getting himself in wacky situations!

Posted by Jay Wexler on February 23, 2009 at 09:46 AM in Jay Wexler | Permalink


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How about this one? "K-9," a forthcoming UK/Australia sci-fi comedy that is a spin-off of "Dr. Who," which is a sci-fi drama (albeit an often funny one). K-9 is the robotic dog in the original series.

Victory is mine!

Posted by: Kevin Jon Heller | Feb 24, 2009 8:08:18 AM

I suppose it doesn't count, but "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" included a pilot for "Chief Wiggum, P.I.," a drama in which the Chief moves to New Orleans (with Principal Skinner as his sidekick, no less) to clean up the city...

Posted by: Kevin Jon Heller | Feb 24, 2009 7:52:12 AM

Marshall Eriksen, Attorney at Law.

Posted by: Colin Miller | Feb 23, 2009 12:39:43 PM

Great post. The heyday of spinoffs was the 1970's, particularly any show involving Norman Lear. The contemporary "legal show" equivalent would be David E. Kelley. As such, it would be entertaining to have a new show starring William Shatner as Denny Crane, perhaps entitled, "Crane" or "Simply Denny," as a 30-minute sitcom. With Shatner's TV history and Crane's questionable soundness of mind, Kelley could have Denny do a comedic flashback to "Star Trek" and possibly invite members of the cast of "Frasier" (also named "Crane") as guest stars.

Posted by: Kelly Anders | Feb 23, 2009 12:29:40 PM

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