->''Well, the way they pick the shows on TV is they make one show, and that show's called a pilot. And they show that one show to the people who pick the shows, and on the strength of that one show, they decide if they want to make more shows. Some get accepted and become TV programs, and some don't, and become nothing.''
-->--'''Jules''', ''Film/PulpFiction''

A pilot is a "test run" of a series concept, filmed and assembled to give the network an idea of what it will look like, how it will play, and (via viewer testing) what kind of demographic it will appeal to. Usually the network will turn down the pilot. Sometimes it will throw it back to the producers and say, "try again". There are probably ten pilots made for every one series that actually makes it on the air, at least in American TV - some insiders have snidely claimed that Hollywood is more about making pilots than actually making shows.

(The term "pilot" is used in this sense outside the entertainment industry; a "pilot plant", for example, may be a smaller-scale power plant that's used to test some new generation technology.)

Even when a show is picked up and given a timeslot, there is no guarantee that a pilot will ever reach the air. They often do, usually as the {{premiere}}. Sometimes, usually with those shows whose producers were told "try again", [[WhatCouldHaveBeen the original pilot is so different from what reached the air]] that they don't try to use it (as is the case with ''Series/GilligansIsland''), or they reuse it in an innovative manner later in the series. (A good example of the latter would be "The Cage", the first pilot episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', which was recycled into the two-part episode "The Menagerie".)

Live-action pilots often have somewhat larger budgets than a typical episode of the series, but fewer purpose-built sets. A hospital or school or graveyard in a pilot is likely to be the real thing - no sense building an elaborate set for a pilot that probably won't be picked up. As such, if the series is picked up and purpose-built sets are built to replace these locations, then eagle-eyed viewers might be able to spot differences between the characters' base of operations from the first week to the second.

The writing in a pilot can be significantly worse than in regular episodes. Introducing all the characters and setting up the situation in a limited time can be difficult to do in a natural way, and even the best pilots can be privy to [[AsYouKnow clunky exposition]]. In addition, pilots often are slightly differently-shaped than the series that coalesce if the show gets picked up; for example: in the pilot of ''Series/GilmoreGirls'' Sookie is a CuteClumsyGirl (this trait fades away by the fourth or so episode), Lorelai drives a different car, and many of the sets are not the ones used later in the show, as a real street in UsefulNotes/{{Toronto}} was used rather than the "Main Street" set at Creator/WarnerBrothers Studios which was used as Stars Hollow for the rest of the series. Pilots may also be filmed on a different stock than the rest of the series; the pilot may look more 'cinematic' in film story and cinematography than other episodes in the series. If it's the ''length'' of a film and presented as such, then it's a PilotMovie. The same rules roughly apply to animation, except that pilots in that industry usually never exceed eleven minutes unless it is the aforementioned pilot movie.

Should a pilot be integrated into another series, it's a PoorlyDisguisedPilot.

Most pilots fall into the category of the WelcomeEpisode or EveryoneMeetsEveryone. It'd make more sense to list the exceptions than the examples. They may also contain a FirstEpisodeSpoiler.

Many, many pilot episodes are simply named "Pilot", making "Pilot" [[StockEpisodeTitles the most common episode title among all series]].

!!Notable Pilots:

* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' had one similar in tone to the earlier chapters of the series, with a few key differences: Rukia giving her Shinigami powers to Ichigo caused her to shrink to a miniature size (she's slightly taller than a pack of cigarettes, bathes in a coffee mug full of hot milk, and uses a toothbrush to scrub herself), Orihime's father is the vengeful lonely hollow envious for her attention, instead of her older brother, and Orihime dies and is taken to Soul Society at the end of the pilot.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'' had two in the forms of ''Dragon Boy'' and ''The Adventure of Tongpoo'', both published in 1983. In the former, the main character who would be the inspiration for Goku was named "Tanton" and had bat-wings instead of a monkey tail. The character Bulma was an {{expy}} for was a princess. The Dragon Balls had a small dragon instead of stars on them. The latter pilot was more sci-fi themed, focusing on space exploration, and introduce the Hoipoi Capsules that was a recurring element in ''Dragon Ball''.
* ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' started as a couple of one-shots on ''Fresh Jump'' before being picked up for weekly serialization in ''Weekly Jump'' proper. In this prototype version of the manga, which took place in present-day ([=1980's=]) Japan rather than in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of [=199X=], had Kenshiro as a teenage fugitive on the run from a corrupt police force after being framed for the murder of his girlfriend by the rival martial arts clan of the Mount Tai Temple school.
* ''Anime/LupinIII''
** ''Anime/LupinIIIPilotFilm'' was the first anime adaptation, and has the distinction of being two slightly different pilots. Both are about twelve minutes, and contain the same art. The first was cut at feature film aspect ratio. The second was cut at television aspect ratio, and included an entirely different cast of voice actors. Video was later modified into the opening for ''Anime/LupinIIIGreenJacket''.
* ''Anime/KirbyRightBackAtYa'' had [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXHME5248pM a four-minute clip]] made to celebrate the release of ''VideoGame/KirbyAirRide'' in Japan.
* The [[Manga/Naruto1997 pilot]] for ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' wasn't a ninja series, but instead involved magic. Instead of wanting to be Hokage, Naruto was sent on a quest to find friends under the orders of whom would later become Hiruzen Sarutobi after one prank too-many. Instead of a demon being sealed inside Naruto, the Demon Fox was his father.

[[folder:Audio Plays]]
* The Creator/BigFinish ''AudioPlay/BlakesSeven'' audio "Warship" was intended at first to be another ''Liberator Chronicle'', a two-person story lasting half an hour, but it grew into a 60-minute full-cast special which would test the waters for a full-cast run.

[[folder:Game Shows]]
Needless to say, there's a ''lot''. [[http://www.usgameshows.net/x.php The Game Show Pilot Light]] has reviews on a very large number of pilots, both sold and unsold.

* ''Series/CardSharks'' filmed two pilots in 1978 with the same set, which pretty much resembled the show's final product. The only difference was that #1 depicted a Money Cards loss and #2 depicted the highest possible win in the Money Cards (which also happened once in the series). Two revivals (one on Creator/{{CBS}}, one syndicated) aired in the late 1980s, apparently without pilots.
** There was also an unsold 1996 pilot which greatly altered the format, and another in 2000 that eventually became ''upgraded'' to the 2001 revival.
** While it never made it to series, the BonusRound of the February 1975 pilot ''[[http://www.usgameshows.net/x.php?show=KingOfTheHill King of the Hill]]'' (not [[WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill that one]]), called The Money Hill, became the Money Cards on ''Card Sharks''.
* In July 1993, Mark Goodson Productions taped a pilot called ''[[http://gameshows.wikia.com/wiki/Cash_Tornado Cash Tornado]]'' hosted by Jim Perry, which took the ''Price Is Right'' idea of "games based around a central theme" and adapted it to luck. The show was intended for licensing to various state lotteries and, while not selling in this specific form, surfaced in July 1994 as ''Illinois Instant Riches'', spawning a plethora of lottery game shows based on the ''Cash Tornado'' format and changing the face of that subgenre. Even longtime California Lottery stalwart ''Series/TheBigSpin'' began using a variant of the format in 1996 and began to be produced by Jonathan Goodson (Mark's son) in 1999.
** To put this into perspective: before ''Cash Tornado'', lottery game shows were either "spin a wheel for money" or (more often) "pick boxes for money", although a few shows had a twist on the latter [[note]](for instance, Wisconsin's lottery game show had the players stop a light on a row of boxes, while Michigan's had a "reach $1,000 exactly" goal)[[/note]]. After ''Cash Tornado'', lottery game shows became {{Minigame Game}}s and considerably more varied as a result; even shows as recent as ''Monopoly Millionaires' Club'' (2015-16) owe their basic formats to this little pilot.
** ''Cash Tornado'' itself remained pretty much under the radar until ''2014'', when Wink Martindale's group put up the show's sales presentation. Notably, it was taped at Television City, used many set pieces from the 1993 pilots of what eventually became the Doug Davidson ''Price'' in '94, used a vamp of said version's theme as its own theme, and had longtime ''Price'' producer Roger Dobkowitz as a contestant (playing Force Field, which is shown in its entirety on the sales presentation).
* ''Series/{{Jeopardy}}'' had quite a few:
** A "test" episode recorded March 5, 1964.
** Following its 1975 demise, two pilots were made for a revival under original host Art Fleming. The first, in March 1977, used a much different format which started off with each player playing as many questions as possible in 30 seconds apiece (with no penalty for wrong answers) before finishing off the rest of the board normally. After that, the lowest-scorer was eliminated, the two remaining contestants played an unaltered Double Jeopardy! Whoever had the higher score after this moved on to a BonusRound with a 5x5 board, and had to get five right answers in a row within 90 seconds for a bonus.
*** The 1978 pilot omitted the timed portion of Round 1 and eliminated the time limit from the bonus round, but also ended the bonus round if three wrong responses were given. Under these radically changed rules, ''Jeopardy!'' aired just five months.
** The current Creator/AlexTrebek version, which began in 1984, also had two pilots. Both returned to the original format of straight-up answer-question gameplay that's still in use today. The first (1983) had [[Series/LetsMakeADeal Jay]] [[Series/SaleOfTheCentury Stewart]] announcing with the same set layout and music cues as the 1978 version, including pull-card clues in the maingame and (like the original Fleming era) whiteboards in Final Jeopardy! The second (1984) had an ObviousBeta of the Season 1 set. Both pilots also had much lower clue values — the first used the 1978-79 values of $25-$125 and $50-$150, while the second had $50-$250 and $100-$500.
* ''Series/TheJokersWild'' had two pilots in 1968-69 hosted by [[Series/{{Password}} Allen Ludden]], the first having a panel of celebrities asking the questions. A third pilot comprised the last two-thirds of the awkward 90-minute ''The Honeymoon Game'' (1970), hosted by Jim [=MacKrell=] [[note]](the first third of said pilot was axed after the taping, replaced by a pitchfilm with creator Creator/JackBarry explaining that it wasn't good; as it turned out, it was a lame ''Newlywed Game'' derivative)[[/note]]. After airing for three months on KTLA in 1971, ''Joker''[='s=] wheels spun from 1972-75 on CBS and 1977-86 in syndication, an amazing run for a game show.
* ''Series/MatchGame'' had one for the more staid 1960s format and at least two for the more familiar 1970s format (all hosted by Gene Rayburn), a week for a 1990s revival that lasted one year (Bert Convy hosted the pilots, but Ross Shafer hosted the series after Convy was diagnosed with a brain tumor), and an unsold 1996 pilot with Charlene Tilton and a radically-altered bonus round. The last one evolved into a short-lived 1998-99 revival hosted by Michael Burger.
** At least three pilots (one for ''What the Blank!'' in 2004 and two for ''Match Game'' in 2008) have been made since then, but it went nowhere until '''2016''', when the franchise finally saw the light of day again in the States.
* ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'' has had several.
** In 1956, the show was originally called ''Auction-Aire'', but when the pilot proved disastrous NBC wanted to buy out the show's contract and cancel it. Creator Creator/BobStewart asked for a leap of faith — 13 weeks, and if the show didn't click, NBC could cancel it. NBC agreed...and slotted ''Price'' at 10:30 AM Eastern, opposite CBS megastar Arthur Godfrey; barely a month later, on New Year's Eve 1956, ''Price'' was moved to 11AM against the second half of Godfrey's hour-long show (ABC had no programming in either slot). Despite negative initial reviews, ''Price'' managed to develop a following and was beating Godfrey pretty bad in the ratings by the end of February 1957.
** While Creator/MarkGoodson was developing the ''New'' version in 1972, he and host Dennis James taped a pitchfilm on February 16 that consisted of the two discussing the revival, playing two mock pricing games (which eventually became Take Two and Ten Chances), and showing a clip of Dennis filling in for Monty Hall on ''Series/LetsMakeADeal''. Very few of the eventual show's elements were in place at this point, and neither CBS nor Bob Barker were involved yet.
** Per the show's official records, the revival taped a pilot on August 15, 1972, one day after the set was put up for the first time. Neither Bob nor Dennis served as host (and it's not known who ''did''), and the footage has seemingly been lost to time. It's pretty much become a HolyGrail as a result.
** The short-lived 1994-95 version hosted by Doug Davidson taped two pilots in July 1993: one hosted by Davidson, the other hosted by local Los Angeles weatherman Mark Kriski.
* ''[[Series/{{Pyramid}} The $10,000 Pyramid]]'' evolved from an unsold pilot called ''Cash on the Line'', whose bonus round became the maingame of ''Pyramid''. Supposedly, the bonus round of ''Cash'' was the only part of the format that execs liked.
** The franchise would later have no fewer than '''ten''' pilots recorded between 1996 and 2010 that went unsold. Several of these pilots strayed very far from the format, including two in 1996-97 with one celebrity for each category, one in 1999 with a rock & roll format (perhaps inspired by ''Rock & Roll Jeopardy!''), and two in 2010 hosted by Andy Richter. And this isn't counting the three revivals that ''did'' make it to air - ''Pyramid'' in 2002-04 (hosted by Donny Osmond), ''The Pyramid'' in 2012 (hosted by Mike Richards) and a ''$100,000'' revival in 2016 (hosted by Michael Strahan).
* ''Series/SecondChance'' taped three pilots in November 1976, which led to a short-lived run in 1977. The most notable difference is that there were no ways to get extra spins.
** The show's revival, ''Series/PressYourLuck'', taped a pilot in May 1983. It had only a single Whammy animation (redrawn for the series), a Big Board color scheme mostly consisting of blue and green slides, a different logo, and a similar-sounding theme ("Flash", by Keith Mansfield).
** ''Series/{{Whammy}}'' taped two pilots in February 2002: one with Peter Tomarken hosting, the other with Todd Newton at the helm. While Todd was chosen for the series, the editing job on the Tomarken pilot has led some to theorize that he was never actually being considered for the revival.
* The original pilot of ''Series/ToTellTheTruth'' in 1956 was called ''Nothing But The Truth'', with Mike Wallace as host and a different mascot.
** The 1990-91 revival had two pilots, and Creator/{{NBC}} accidentally aired the second one on the east coast instead of the series premiere. This was notable as Richard Kline hosted the pilots, but Gordon Elliott was the actual host of the series (for a few months, at least) and the set was entirely different.
* ''Series/WheelOfFortune'' had three pilots.
** The first was ''Shopper's Bazaar'' (1973), hosted by Chuck Woolery. It featured a vertical Wheel, a much larger emphasis on prize-buying over gameplay (even in comparison to the shopping rounds used until 1989), a phone that delivered clues to the contestants, no Bankrupts, a confusing scoring system, and a rather easy first attempt at a Bonus Round. More info on this pilot can be found [[http://gameshowgarbage.com/ind128_shoppersbazaar.html here.]]
** The second and third (1974) were much closer to what made it to air, but were hosted by a drunk Edd "Kookie" Byrnes. When the show finally made it to air in 1975, it used a slightly altered Byrnes format with Chuck as host.
* ''Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego'' had two pilots: "The Purloined Pooch" and "The Disoriented Express"). What made these relatively unique was that they were aired during Season 1 (as episodes 58 and 62, respectively) with a disclaimer at the start noting that there were some differences. Among the differences...
** Rockapella wore street clothes. They continued to do so in the first few tapings of the actual series.
** Host Greg Lee was introduced as "The man who will lead the investigation", instead of as "Special agent in charge of training new recruits".
** Lee also didn't have his hat off for the main game, and was standing to the right of the main monitor as opposed to the left.
** The gumshoes started off with 125 points, and a correct guess would cost them 10 while an incorrect one would cost them an additional 5. The wagering for the final clue was 0-5-10-15-20-25 instead of 0-10-20-30-40-50.
** Pilot #1 featured a ransom note from Patty Larceny (one of the crooks on the show, and the one responsible for stealing the Lhasa Apso from the East African Kennel Club Dog Show). It was never used again, being replaced by a phone tap conversation between Carmen and the crook.
** In the final round, there would be audience members supporting the gumshoes. This trend continued in the first few tapings of the actual series.
** In both pilots, it didn't matter which order the gumshoe had to find the loot, warrant, and crook in for the final round. As long as he or she found them in one turn, that was all that mattered. By the time production began on the actual series, it was changed so that the gumshoe ''had'' to find them in the right order, as police officers do the same thing in real life when looking for a stolen person, place, or thing.
** In both pilots, the gumshoe sending the crook to jail wasn't used at all. Instead, it just cut to Greg and the winning contestant at the final round.
** The United States was the only map used for the endgame in the pilots, and state flags were used as markers. The likes of the maps of Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America would eventually be added to the show. One episode of the actual series was shot so early that they didn't have the Africa map ready it, and the endgame had to be filmed a few weeks later into production of Season 1.
** In the pilots, the endgame featured sound effects from the Nickelodeon game show ''Double Dare''.
** Instead of "Do it, Rockapella!", the pilots used "Hit it, Fellas!"

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'': Rather mediocre pilot and quite possibly the worst episode of the whole series. Creator/TinaFey herself has said "if I never see that pilot again, it will be too soon". Also notable in that the scenes with Jenna were refilmed before it aired, [[TheOtherMarty replacing Rachel Dratch with Jane Krakowski]].
** Ironically, ''Series/Studio60OnTheSunsetStrip'', [[DuelingShows another NBC show that started in 2006 and takes place behind the scenes at a sketch comedy show]], is generally considered to have had a great pilot and quickly gone downhill from there.
** Incidentally, in her book ''Bossypants'', Creator/TinaFey, while proclaiming her own negative opinion of the ''30 Rock'' pilot, cited ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' as an example of a sitcom with a great pilot.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/{{The 100}}'', viewed in light of the rest of the series, seems like a LighterAndSofter version of the show, with very clearly defined good guys and bad guys, and a lot more focus on the teen characters having the fun and getting the hots for each other. Standard advice from fans of the show is not to judge it based on the pilot, but watch until episodes three, four, or five to see what the show's really like.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/{{Alias}}'' was 69 minutes long, and originally aired commercial-free.
* ''Series/AreYouBeingServed'': Its "Pilot" was originally an episode in the Creator/{{BBC}} {{Anthology}} series ''Comedy Playhouse'' in 1972.
* The pilot of ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' was shot in an actual model home which featured an elegant sweeping curved staircase leading to a barren unfinished attic.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Name a problem a PilotMovie could have, and it's there. The creator re-edited it several years later to make it stink less. (The radical changes in characterization and the transformation of Delenn from an androgenous UncannyValley dweller to an [[GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe exotically attractive female]] are the major differences.)
* ''Series/BarRescue'' taped one in 2010. It aired in 2014 as "The Lost Episode"; of note is the fact that star Jon Taffer didn't wear his usual sportcoat.
* ''Series/{{Being Human|UK}}'': Notable in that two of the three main characters, as well as the big bad of the first season, were recast between the pilot and the start of the series.
** Also notable for having been broadcast ''as'' a pilot: it was among three pilots shown on Creator/{{BBC}}3 before any of them had been commissioned as series. The public response to ''Being Human'''s pilot ensured it was picked up.
* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' had two pilots, the second one being the first episode of the series and the only characters to transfer over is Leonard and Sheldon. The "genius characters" premise was still intact, but the story had them meet a girl named Katie on the street having a hard time and invite her to have dinner with them, eventually taking her in as a roommate. They have another female friend and co-worker Gilda, who is just as intelligent as them, and has an admitted crush on Leonard. Katie has a tough exterior and rooming with Leonard and Sheldon would help her to soften up. Test audiences ''hated'' Katie, but Leonard and Sheldon were extremely well received. Many lines of dialogue were reused in the first few episodes and much of the series proper was taking consideration for the failure of the first pilot:
** They made Penny as a new neighbor (making the dinner invite more natural) and is warm, friendly and bubbly to avoid the UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist that was Katie.
** Leonard and Sheldon were a hit, so they made two more with Howard and Raj. Gilda was dropped, presumably to offset the gender balance more, but some of her traits were given to recurring character Leslie Winkle.
** Sheldon was very similar in personality to Leonard, just more neurotic and once had sex with Gilda. The series made him asexual, TheComicallySerious and with a "blinders on" approach to social conventions.
** The set design was overhauled, creating the spiral stairway with the broken elevator and making the guys' apartment very clean and tidy. The original set was a standard sitcom set with an "L" shaped hallway and was more run down.
* The pilot for ''Series/TheBobNewhartShow'' gave Bob Hartley the extra job of heading his apartment building's Action Board when the writers feared his psychologist practice wouldn't supply enough storyline possibilities. Also, Bill Daily was not in the pilot, but interestingly the actor who filled his position of Wacky Neighbor would later return to play his brother Warden Gordon Borden in an episode of the series.
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'': Notable in a bad way, with dialogue that clunks like a jackhammer and lead characters that come off as completely psychotic. These problems rapidly improve in the regular episodes.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' was made with virtually no budget and was never intended for the airwaves; it was just to give the WB network an idea what the show might be like. The pilot's been widely circulated online, but series creator Creator/JossWhedon has kept it from being officially released. He ''really'' [[OldShame thinks it's a piece of crap]].
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' had a pilot episode (actually several, since they re-made it several times, using the same script) which, despite being a British show from 1963, survived. It was similar to the first episode, but with different costumes, a scene with Susan drawing a bizarre inkblot, and a statement that the Doctor and Susan come from the 49th Century. Because it was produced after the series was accepted rather than to sell the series, it may not technically be a pilot by some definitions.
** "Invasion of the Bane", the first episode of another Franchise/{{Whoniverse}} series, ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'', aired as a stand-alone story ''like'' a pilot, but, again, the BBC had already agreed to make the first season.
* The unaired ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' pilot was deemed too confusing, so a more linear version was shot. It could be said to be a case of ViewersAreMorons, but it could also be said that throwing the viewers in the deep end wasn't the best idea for [[AudienceAlienatingPremise a high-concept show in which they were essentially asked to cheer for slave owners]].
* ''Series/{{ER}}'': Written in 1974 and filmed in 1994 with only minimal changes to the script, this is an extreme example of the gap between pilots and regular episodes. A male doctor was even changed into a woman - without altering his dialogue.
** Notable also in that it ends with the suicide of a character--Nurse Carol Hathaway--who would turn up alive and well in the fall and stay with the show for six seasons.
* The pilot for ''Series/EveningShade'' is notable for being double the length of an average episode, something normally reserved for dramas rather than sitcoms. (Although few series nowadays of any type go for the extended pilots, with ''Series/{{Lost}}'' the most high-profile exception.)
* "Serenity", the two-part pilot episode of ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', is notable in that it was not the episode the network first aired. The consequence of this action was that viewers didn't get introduced to the characters, the universe, and the plotlines the proper way, and ''Firefly'' was canned halfway through its run.
* The first pilot of ''Series/FullHouse'' was largely identical to the first official episode ("Our Very First Episode") with nearly the entire cast in place, with the very obvious exception of John Posey (essentially a stand-in for an unavailable Bob Saget) as Danny Tanner.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'' had an original pilot, the script for which made it online. In it, we get a few scenes viewers wished had been retained, such as a heart-to-heart between Arya and Jon Snow, a confrontation between Robb and Joffrey that was heavy with foreshadowing, a less "rapey" wedding night for Daenerys and Drogo, and a scene in which Jon Arryn actually utters his infamous final words. However, Sansa had no lines whatsoever, Hodor is not included and the scene where John asks Benjen to take him with him to the wall dissatisfied many fans. Also, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen Jennifer Ehle played Catelyn, Tamzin Merchant played Daenerys and Roy Dotrice played Pycelle]]. Guest stars included such names as Ian [=McNiece=] and Jamie Campbell Bower.
* The pilots for both ''Series/GetSmart'' and ''Series/HogansHeroes'' were filmed in black-and-white; all of the other episodes were in color.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/GhostWhisperer'', also titled "Pilot", focused on the ghost of a Vietnam War pilot.
* The ''Series/{{Heroes}}''' pilot was an hour and a half long, and many of the "lost" scenes and characters that didn't make it into the premiere were recycled in modified ways (the Terrorist character of The Engineer was changed to the neurotic Ted Sprague, for instance).
* ''Series/{{Hobocop}}'' had a Pilot called "Nose Corruption" which was mistakenly aired in the TPH children's cartoon block.
* ''Series/KidsIncorporated'' shot a pilot featuring most of the actors who became the first season cast but very different sets and a radically different format, using only the flimsiest of plots to link together not entire songs, but a series of medleys, mostly not by the main cast. The pilot was never aired, but it was intercut with some new footage in the form of bridging sequence with Rassan Patterson (who had not been cast for the pilot) and released as a direct-to-video feature with a framing story of how his character came to join the band - in the final sequence, quite obviously filmed much later than the rest of the episode, we're offhandedly told that three members of the pilot cast had suddenly moved out of town, leading to the Kid's invitation to join the band (no similar explanation is given for Stacy and Renee, who in the pilot had clearly been meant as supporting characters rather than band members).
* The pilot episode for ''Series/KyleXY'' was reshot at a later date because it was considered to be too downbeat and dragging. This led to a difficult scenario where all the cast were a year older. Josh, for instance, had to have all his lines redone because his voice was an octave lower.
* The pilot episode for ''Series/LawAndOrder'', "Everybody's Favorite Bagman", was filmed a couple of years before the series, and later incorporated into the series... eight episodes in. This led to the rather amusing continuity error in which Detectives Logan and Greevey met A.D.A Robinette for the first time when they've already worked with him for seven episodes.
** Worse yet, this pilot featured a different District Attorney (Wentworth) from the rest of the season. Thus, if you watch the episodes in order, you see D.A. Schiff for several episodes, then Wentworth for this episode, then back to Schiff for the next 10 years.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': One of the most expensive pilots ever made, but worth every penny for both the critical reaction and the ratings success.
** Also notable for being one of the few times "Pilot" has independently made sense as an episode title.
** Ranked by TV Guide as the [[http://www.tvguidemagazine.com/feature/tvs-top-100-episodes-of-all-time-10-1-1467.html?page=2 fifth best television episode of all time]], the only pilot in the top ten.
** Funnily enough, the guy who approved it (and its budget) was fired before the show was aired for investing such a large amount of money into a risky project.
* The original pilot for ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' has never been aired on TV, and featured different actors playing Bud/Kelly.
* ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' has two pilots. One was aired as a TV special on Creator/FoxKids in 1999, though in an edited form and another pilot remains unaired but some scenes were used in "Big Sisters". The former had differences from the final version:
** Trini was played by Audri [=DuBois=] rather than Thuy Trang.
** The local hangout was not the Angel Grove Juice Bar but a bowling alley.
** The Rangers used physical violence towards the bullies.
** Skull was played by Bobby Val than Jason Narvy.
** Kimberly was far more self-absorbed and had little to no martial arts or gymnastic talent that was shown.
** Bulk and Skull were part of a gang of five bullies.
** Alpha's appearance was more boxier.
** King Sphinx was the primary monster the Rangers confronted.
** Billy's glasses were thick framed than wire framed.
** The morphing sequence resembled more like its Sentai counterpart.
** Zordon was originally named Zoltar and the Power Morphers were referred as the Transmorphers.
** In its unaired and unedited form, Zords were originally called Droids.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/TheMonkees'' ("Here Come The Monkees") was filmed in 1965. It is very different from the later episodes. In it, the band has a manager played by Bing Russell, Davy plays a guitar (which is bigger than he is!), the band wears yellow shirts and brown vests as stage costumes, Micky Dolenz is credited as Micky Braddock, etc. When the series got picked up, it was edited and aired as the tenth episode! As an added bonus, Davy and Mike's audition tapes were tacked on to the end of the episode.
* The original unaired pilot for ''Series/{{Moonlight}}'' featured different actors for three of the four main characters. Aside from Mick St. John (Alex O'Loughlin), the roles of Beth Turner (Shannon Lucio), Josef Kostan (Rade Šerbedžija), and Coraline Duvall (Amber Valletta) were recast for the re-shot pilot to Creator/SophiaMyles, Creator/JasonDohring, and Shannyn Sossamon, respectively. The change doesn't affect much for the characters of Beth and Coraline, but Josef's character underwent a radical change from an elderly Eastern European man full of Old World wisdom to a brash [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld youthful]] power businessman, whose occasional bits of wisdom come as a surprise.
* ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'': Somehow manages to painlessly explain a convoluted backstory in only 22 minutes and still be funny.
* ''Series/ThePeoplesCourt'' had its first pilot episode taped in October of 1980 (a bit under a year before the first episode aired), as well as a second pilot episode which was taped in January of 1981.
* ''Series/PoliceCameraAction'' had an interesting case with its pilot episode(s). The first-ever episode was called ''Series/PoliceStop'' but the NamesTheSame as the VHS series (which caused confusion), so it quickly switched to the better-known title of ''Series/PoliceCameraAction'' from November 1994. The pilot episode had a sort of visual pun; Alastair Stewart in the police helicopter with his name captioned in Helvetica Bold. Also, [[CreativeClosingCredits the end credits were on a blue background with white Futura Condensed font on]]. Two edited versions were then re-shown in 2006-2007 as "Danger! Drivers Ahead" and the opening titles re-edited to ''POLICE CAMERA ACTION!''.
** Episode 2 was closer to the show as we know it today; the CreativeClosingCredits were in the white-text-on-black-background that we know today, and the only major difference was there was no EpisodeTitleCard with police clip background; and Alastair Stewart's name was rendered as ALASTAIR STEWART in Gill Sans MT Bold, rather than the later Frutiger Italic and Futura Condensed that would be seen from 1995 onwards. The actual 1995-1996 series was BritishBrevity (unless [[WildMassGuessing you consider them as Series 1 as a whole, and not Series 1, 2 etc...]]).
* The pilot episode of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' is not only considered the worst in the series, but the producers can't even agree on the title. The current decision is "The Seinfeld Chronicles", which was the original title for the show. TV Guide gives it as "Pilot", but that was changed to avoid confusion with the Season 4 finale [[IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming "The Pilot"]]. The most unusual name for it is "GoodNewsBadNews". Don't ask me how they got there.
** Also, this pilot aired over a year before the first season began, which kind of showed how much hope NBC had for what would later become one of their biggest cash cows.
** And Elaine isn't in it. Instead there's a DeadpanSnarker waitress at the restaurant who was going to be the show's moral center. But she proved to be wildly unpopular with test markets. So when the show was picked up a whole year later, Elaine was created to add a female character to the show.
** And Kramer's name is "Kessler", which was used as an InJoke later in the series.
* ''Series/SesameStreet'' had [[http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Sesame_Street_Pilot_Episodes five pilots]] produced and shown to children in early 1969. The biggest difference between these and what would eventually air is that the Muppets are kept separate from the humans, but since kids paid more attention to the Muppet and animated segments, they were integrated into the street once the show got off the ground, arguably for the better.
** One segment that never made it into the actual show but was heavily advertised even before the street segment was set in stone was [[http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/The_Man_from_Alphabet "The Man from Alphabet"]], a spoof of detective shows. It failed in testing due to the lesson never getting across to the kids.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' has a 60-minute pilot version of "A Study In Pink", with the idea of this being the first episode of a series of 60 minute episodes. Instead, the BBC, despite loving the pilot, asked for three higher-budget, 90-minute episodes. This led to the pilot needing to be scrapped and a new version of the same story being written. The 90-minute version is considered much stronger than the pilot, as it spends more time establishing the characters, fixes some elements of the sets and plot that didn't work the first time, and also added the "archnemesis" subplot. Though the pilot version of "A Study in Pink" never aired, it is included in its entirety on the home release of the series.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' had two pilots, which was unusual back then. The first one ("The Cage") didn't sell because Gene Roddenberry produced a dramatic show instead of the action show he had promised. It was later worked into the two part "The Menagerie". The second pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" lacked Dr. [=McCoy=] and was aired (in a slightly re-edited version) as an early episode of the series.
** One of the things that changed between the pilot and the regular series was the design of the Enterprise - due to the high cost of special effects and the low resolution of 1960s televisions, many of the special effects shots from the pilot were reused in the series, even though the ship looked subtly different.
** By the time of the spinoffs, the franchise was so large that any pilot was pretty much guaranteed a green light for a season. In fact, ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' was picked up for multiple seasons right off the bat. (This is presumably why they felt safe with having the main character, Commander Sisko, openly express contempt for the beloved [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Captain Picard]] - they knew they had time to win audience sympathy for Sisko.)
** The pilot for ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', "Caretaker", is notable for its TroubledProduction and its cost to produce. There were numerous issues during production, including rewrites of the script, arguments over whether the captain should be male or female, and [[TheOtherMarty roles being recast]], which resulted in many reshoots and delays. The following four episodes were completed before the pilot was finished, resulting in jokes about whether or not the pilot would be shot by the time the series was over. As a result of all these complications, the final budget of the episode ended up being ''$23 million'', making it the most expensive episode of ''Franchise/StarTrek'' ever produced. For some perspective, when adjusted for inflation, this is more than it cost to make ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', and ''twice'' as expensive as the next most costly episode, "Broken Bow" from ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''.
* After the pilot of ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'', significant alterations were made to the sets. For example, the entrance to the apartment became the door to Dick's bedroom and a staircase was added. There was also an earlier, unaired version of the pilot in which Dick's love interest was a secretary. It was felt that the character wasn't working and needed to be more of a ComicallySerious type. She was subsequently split into two separate characters, Mary and Nina. Thus, Creator/JaneCurtin and Simbi Khali joined the cast for the second pilot.
* The six-minute test pilot of ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' has never been made public in its entirety, as it was merely meant for the execs at Creator/{{BBC}} to watch and decide if they should fund the project. It featured (to modern eyes) rather crude animations of the dinosaurs ''Eustreptospondylus'' and ''Cetiosaurus'', a flock of flying ''Rhamphorhynchus'' and a swimming ''Liopleurodon'' that later gets beached. Although most of the animal designs and the special effects quality differed greatly from those in the finished product, apart from the ''Cetiosaurus'', just about every element of the pilot was carried over into the series' third episode. A few of these clips can be watched on the ''Series/WalkingWithMonsters'' DVD.
* The pilot of ''Series/TheXFiles'' had NoThemeTune. Scully also had longer and darker hair, and laughed out loud with Mulder in one scene, which ends up being an out of character moment for her until at least the 6th-7th season.
* ''Series/CrazyExGirlfriend'' had two pilots. One was created in a half-hour format intended for the premium station Creator/{{Showtime}}, but ended up being rejected. Creator/TheCW picked up the show, but the pilot had to be remade due to being ordered in an hour-long format and The CW being a broadcast station and thus having much stricter standards.

* The long-running weekend series ''Radio/{{Monitor}}'' (1955-75) did a test hour on NBC Radio's closed-circuit feed on May 2, 1955, just over a month before the show's debut on June 12 and a month after then-network president Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver outlined his ideas for the show.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutronBoyGenius'' originally had the pilot short "Runaway Rocketboy", but Nickelodeon was so impressed by it that they funded a whole [[WesternAnimation/JimmyNeutronBoyGenius feature length film]] based on it. But unlike the film or the series, the short had stiffer CGI, the characters had four fingers instead of five, and Jimmy wore a red and white stripped shirt instead of his red atom symbol shirt.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'''s [[Recap/AdventureTimePilot pilot]] was made for and aired on Nickelodeon's ''Random Cartoons'', making it the rare show which aired on a [[ChannelHop different network]] than its pilot. Finn was named Pen in the pilot, presumably after creator Creator/PendletonWard. The main character's voice was also different, as the former voice actor is actually the older brother of the current one.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' had a pilot (known as "[[http://theamazingworldofgumball.wikia.com/wiki/Early_Reel Early Reel]]"), in which Gumball and Darwin had markedly different designs. The pilot was on YouTube for quite a while before the show was made, but Cartoon Network pulled it in 2010.
* The Pilot Episode of ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' was 16Min instead of the usual 11. Frylock was more robotic & subservient to Shake.
** Following ATHF's success, the shelved ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhostCoastToCoast'' script "Baffler Meal", featuring the original conception of the Aqua Teens was dusted off and made into WhatCouldHaveBeen a PoorlyDisguisedPilot had the script been used when it was originally written. Shake is even bossier (but humorless), Frylock is a completely different design and personality with a chipper high pitched voice, and Meatwad, looking closest to the actual character is less naive and much more an exaggerated TheEeyore.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': The famous opening sequence where Batman foils some bank robbers is similar in the general style of their animated pitch.
* The original and unaired pilot for ''{{WesternAnimation/Ben 10}}'' had Gwen as Ben's friend instead of his cousin and depicts her sporting a ponytail and a pink shirt. One scene from the pilot managed to appear in "Washington B.C.", though with Pilot Gwen replaced by her finalized version.
* ''WesternAnimation/CountDuckula'': "Unreal Estate" was very obviously the pilot, but didn't air until the third season. Among other things, it had Dr. von Goosewing discover that there was a new Duckula around, and heavily implied that his assistant Heinrich was real but quit. The episodes that did air first had the protagonists already familiar with von Goosewing, and didn't exactly do a good job at explaining that the castle automatically teleports back to Transylvania by dawn.
* ''WesternAnimation/DangerMouse'' had two pilots, but only one exists. "The Mystery Of The Lost Chord" featured different voices for the characters and would be retooled in 1980 as series 1 episode "Who Lost The Bagpipes?"
* The pilot for ''{{WesternAnimation/Doug}}'' was "Doug Can't Dance", which is noticeably different from the series proper, specifically, the SquiggleVision animation style. Nickelodeon aired it as the second episodes of the series, with a new scene added in to extend its length from 7 to 11 minutes.
* The Pilot Episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheDrinkyCrowShow'' is the only episode not in HD.
* The original short to pilot ''WesternAnimation/{{DuckTales}}'' was "Sport Goofy in Soccermania".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{The Fairly Oddparents}}'' had a few of these on ''WesternAnimation/OhYeahCartoons''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'''s pilot had a notable title, "Space Pilot 3000". (The second episode was named "The Series Has Landed".)
* ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' had a pilot episode which originally shown in theaters with Nickelodeon's first movie, Harriet the Spy. This episode would later be remade into "24 Hours To Live".
* The finale for ''WesternAnimation/HongKongPhooey'' was a full half-hour episode ("Comedy Cowboys"), a thinly disguised pilot which featured characters that Hanna-Barbera hoped to groom for a separate series. One set of characters, Posse Impossible, would become a segment of ''WesternAnimation/CBBears'' three years later.
* ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget'''s pilot had the inspector himself with a mustache and a British accent (provided by Creator/GaryOwens). When the show was picked up as a series, they had to throw in a HandWave in the aired version explaining the mustache. US tropers, however, can see the aired version [[http://www.hulu.com/watch/83128/inspector-gadget-original-series-winter-olympics#s-p5-so-i0 here]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Invader Zim}}'' had a pilot episode which never aired on Nickelodeon, but was aired on Nicktoons on December 24, 2011 as part of Nicktoons' Winter Funderland.
** But interestingly, the pilot was never aired in its original state. [[TheOtherDarrin Zim was originally voiced by Billy West in the pilot,]] [[ExecutiveMeddling but Nickelodeon had many lines redubbed by Zim's official actor Richard Horvitz in the version aired on Nicktoons.]] However, the original version of the pilot with all of Billy West's lines is up in its original 1999 version as a bonus feature on the Invader Zim: Vol 1 - Doom Doom Doom DVD release.
* ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam'' had "Your Real Best Friend!" for Sniz and Fondue, Prometheus and Bob, and Henry and June, "WesternAnimation/KaBlam Gets Results!" had the Life with Loopy pilot, and the WesternAnimation/ActionLeagueNow pilot aired as part of ''Series/AllThat''.
** Sniz and Fondue's REAL pilot is a rarely-seen short called "Psyched For Snuppa", directed by [[WesternAnimation/CouragetheCowardlyDog Jon R. Dilworth]]. Aside from starring Snuppa and Bianca and featuring Sniz and Fondue (called "Squeaky") as supporting characters, it pretty much is identical to the eventual show. The pilot can be viewed [[http://www.stretchfilms.com/ here]].
* The pilot for ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'' was shown on ''WesternAnimation/OhYeahCartoons''. It was known as ''My Neighbor Was a Teenage Robot'' and had a different art direction. It was eventually remade as the episode "It Came from Next Door".
* ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'': Did not have a pilot because of the expense of CGI hardware back then. It was an entire season or nothing.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' pilot, "The Break In" was made in 1996 and was aired as the first episode in 1997...at least the altered version. The "pilot" version had ''very'' different character designs, such as no one wearing their main outfit (except Mikey and the non-main six cast), T.J. being tall and skinny, Vince looking like a teenager, Spinelli looking like a kindergartener, and Gretchen with black hair (Gus wasn't in the pilot). When it aired as the first episode, it was re-drawn to look more like the series proper. Clips of the pilot version were seen in an ABC Saturday Mornings promo on the 1997 VHS to ''[[Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians 101 Dalmatians]]'' (live-action), as well as certain station identifications for Creator/OneSaturdayMorning (depending on the ABC station). The pilot gave a good example of the show's setup and character personalities while ''not'' giving clunky exposition dialogue.
* The pilot for ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' is "Big House Blues". Unlike most pilot episodes, pretty much everything, from Ren and Stimpy's designs, voices and personalities to the animation is fine-tuned from the get-go. {{Creator/Nickelodeon}} aired it several times, albeit with some sexually-suggestive footage removed.
* ExecutiveMeddling forced the Pilot Episode of ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' to be broadcast as the 11th Episode.
* The pilot for ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'' ("Trash-O-Madness") aired as the sixth episode. [[WordOfGod According to the creator]] he wanted the pilot to be just another episode that can be placed in any order without continuity issues. That said, the animation style is very different due to it being animated in-house rather than being outsourced to Korea.
** Joe Murray intended for Rocko to be a light yellow, and animated him as such in the pilot. However, MerchandiseDriven-based ExecutiveMeddling forced him to change him to his final beige color, which required the pilot to be recolored digitally.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' originally had "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing".
* Depending on who you ask, ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' either had several pilots or no pilot. First, there was the unofficial "Season 0," which aired as random shorts on ''Series/TheTraceyUllmanShow'' (the very first of those was "Good Night," for the record). Then, when it became a series, the proper pilot, "Some Enchanted Evening," was so poorly animated that it had to be completely scrapped and redone, while the ChristmasSpecial "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" was picked at random to fill the air date, simply because it was finished sooner, making for some odd continuity when Santa's Little Helper was absent for most of the rest of the season. The episode after, "Bart The Genius," was the first episode of the show proper to air, while the pilot was bumped to the end of the season.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has three pilots. In the first one (''Jesus vs. Frosty'', 1992), Cartman is called Kenny, [[NoNameGiven no name is given to the other three]], and both "Kenny" (Cartman) & Nameless Kenny die. In the second pilot (''Jesus vs. Santa'', 1995), the town of South Park is firmly established and the characters have personalities, to the point where Kyle is Jewish. All of the characters have the names they currently have (all except Wendy, who didn't have a name yet), and Kenny's the only one who dies. This could be considered {{Canon}}, but in Season 4, the kids made it themselves, to provide example of something kids would make. Creator/ComedyCentral saw the second pilot, and they asked Trey Parker & Matt Stone to make a 22-minute pilot. They made it with cutout animation just like the previous two, and it was accepted (although alterations were made before it actually aired, such as dropping Kenny's BackFromTheDead stunt from the ending). Later episodes used Maya instead for ConspicuousCG.
* The pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay", is markedly different from those that follow. The larger budget allotted to pilots typically allows for better visual effects compared to those found in "normal" episodes; that is inverted here, as "Turtle Bay" is the only episode of the series to be animated using Adobe Flash. As a result, animation appears choppy and uneven when compared to later episodes, which are hand-drawn. Some characters are drawn in a different style or act with different personalities than in the main series; Dr. Venture, for example, is depicted as a successful, competent scientist rather than a neurotic failure. Several supporting characters from the series also appear, although they are [[NoNameGiven unnamed]] at this point. The Venture Brothers themselves also have a pet dog named Scamp (based upon Jonny Quest's dog Bandit), which is never seen outside the pilot; a later episode mentions in passing that Scamp has since died.
* A number of Creator/{{Cartoon Network}}'s original series have debuted as pilots on ''WesternAnimation/WhatACartoonShow'', including ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'', ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'', ''WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken'', ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'', ''WesternAnimation/MikeLuAndOg'', and ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog''. In 2000 came "The Big Pick", which was where ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'', ''WesternAnimation/WhateverHappenedToRobotJones'' and ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' got their start. For more ''Big Pick'' shows that never came to be, see "Never got beyond pilot stage" below.
** A similar project called ''The Cartoonstitute'' was planned, but it never got off the ground and only a few shorts were completed. However, ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' was spawned from the failed project. The ''Regular Show'' pilot was {{Re Tool}}ed into the Season 2 episode "First Day". In 2013, ''WesternAnimation/UncleGrandpa'' became the second show to rise from ''The Cartoonstitute'''s ashes.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': The show started out as a three-minute short for Annecy 2007, which turned out to be so popular it was turned into a show.

[[folder:Never got beyond pilot stage]]
* The pilot for ''ComicBook/TheAmazingScrewOnHead'' animated series. Though the series was not picked up, the (awesome) pilot is avaliable online and on DVD.
* ''Series/BabylonFive: Legend of the Rangers'', which was intended to be the lead-in to a new spinoff series (similar to the earlier TV film ''A Call To Arms'', which led into ''Series/{{Crusade}}'').
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bamimation}}'', a cartoon starring and created by Bam Margera, was pitched to MTV in 2006.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Battletoads}}'', an animated pilot based on [[VideoGame/{{Battletoads}} the video game]] which aired in 1993.
* The unsold shows of Creator/CartoonNetwork's ''Big Pick'':
** The first one, in 2000, had ''Trevor!'', ''Nikki'', ''Foe Paws'', ''Uncle Gus'', ''Lucky Lydia'', ''Longhair and Doubledome'', ''Lost Cat'', and ''Prickles''. At least ''Longhair and Doubledome'' can [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes can currently be found on YouTube]]. Its two competitors were both picked up for series: ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'' and ''WesternAnimation/WhateverHappenedToRobotJones''
*** ''Longhair and Doubledome'' has two pilots, "Good Wheel Hunting" and "Where There's Smoke, There's Bob," released a couple years apart[[note]]resulting in a noticable AnimationBump: the first short used painted cels and the second one was colored digitally.[[/note]] and was one of two pitches from Gavrilo Gnatovich, the other being "Maktar." Gnatovich apparently really liked these characters, as he's been trying to [[https://www.facebook.com/LonghairDD/ get a graphic novel funded on Kickstarter]].
** The second ''Big Pick'' produced these unsold shows: ''Captain Sturdy'', ''Yee-Haw and Doo-Dah'', ''Imp, Inc.'', ''My Freaky Family'', ''Major Flake'', ''Utica Cartoon'', ''Swaroop'', ''WesternAnimation/FerretAndParrot'', and ''A Kitty Bobo Show''.
** ''WesternAnimation/WhatACartoonShow'', aside from the successful pilots that ended up becoming CN's signature shows, ended up with a series of unsold pilots as well, including ''Gramps'', ''Yoink of the Yukon'', ''The Fat Cats'', ''The Adventures of Captain Buzz Cheeply'', and ''Tales of Worm Paranoia''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bubsy}}''.
* Both Creator/CartoonNetwork and Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} irregularly upload various pilots onto their websites to gauge interest. Most of these pilots naturally end up in this category.
* Micah Wright, a writer for ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBeavers'', created a pilot called ''WesternAnimation/ConstantPayne'' that never sold.
* In 2006, ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' writer Derek Drymon completed a 12 minute pilot for Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} called ''Diggs Tailwagger'' in which he voiced the title character. It never got picked up for series, and Drymon now works at Creator/CartoonNetwork.
* The ''ComicBook/GlobalFrequency'' pilot episode was leaked online after the series was shelved, where it garnered widespread rave reviews. Unfortunately, the leaking pissed off the executives so much that any chance of greenlighting the series, or releasing the pilot properly, went up in smoke. You'd think that, the illegality of the leaking aside, the fact the show had such good and widespread word-of-mouth would give it a better chance of success as a series than most other untested pilots, but given the execs' response to the leaking it seems they never wanted to make the series in the first place.
* {{WebVideo/Googlebrains}}' The Nonsense Show. He probably just didn't feel like expanding it.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGroovenians''.
* ''Series/HeatVisionAndJack''
* ''{{Series/Lookwell}}'', a sitcom pilot written by Conan O'Brien in 1991 starring Adam West.
* ''Lupin VIII'' was a potential France-Japan studio teamup featuring the great-great-great-grandson of Lupin III. Negotiations with Maurice Leblanc's estate failed, and Creator/{{DiC}} ended up making ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget'' instead.
* Creator/AlexTrebek was the host of an unsold GameShow pilot called ''Malcolm'' that was meant to be sold to NBC. The real star was the titular animated character who would sometimes help the contestants answer questions whose answers always had two parts to them. Malcolm would often make wisecracks at the questions a la ''Series/TheHollywoodSquares'' before giving the right answer (though he always gives the right one in the end). A review can be seen [[http://gameshowgarbage.com/ind098_malcolm.html here.]]
* There is a pilot out there for a "show" called ''Mercy Reef'', starring Justin Hartley as Aquaman, and Adrianne Palicki as the villainess. To the enragement of many a fan, it wasn't picked up, but it was leaked onto iTunes for free download. It is awesome.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheModifyers''.
* ''Nobodys Watching'' was a Bill Lawrence pilot built on unbridled ShowWithinAShow UpToEleven. Ready? It was a sitcom within a reality show within a sitcom within a reality show within a sitcom. Despite being brilliantly written and unquestionably hilarious, its somewhat confusing "which show is it now?" plotline made it difficult to follow.
** It lampshaded its own existence as a pilot both with a title card...
-->''Slick, very funny,''\\
''explanatory title''\\
''sequence to come, if''\\
''show is picked up.''
** ...and then again with a theme song by its stars.
-->'''Derrick:''' I don't think there's a theme song yet...\\
'''Will:''' (singing) ''[[DoItYourselfThemeTune Derrick and Will go to Hollywood! They're gonna make a show that is really]]'' [[MusicalisInterruptus nah]].
* ''Pass the Line'' is an abysmal 1954 "game show" created and hosted by Cliff Saber in which a professional artist drew something which was copied line by line by several panelists. Possibly the only redeeming quality is the presence of a very young Jonathan Winters.
* Creator/DavidLetterman hosted two pilots of a game show called ''The Riddlers'' in November 1977. The first pilot was shown on Creator/{{GSN}}, and Dave talks about it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHJDu-hPhDo here.]]
* ''Anime/SonicTheHedgehogTheMovie'' is two back-to-back pilot episodes of an anime that never got off the ground. Ironically enough, a large contingent of Sonic fans consider it better than [[WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog the]] [[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM other]] [[WesternAnimation/SonicUnderground four]] [[Anime/SonicX shows]] that ''did'' get picked up.
* ''Virtuality'' is an ''unfinished'' MindScrew of a pilot which one can only describe as ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' meets ''Anime/SerialExperimentsLain'' meets ''Series/BigBrother'' [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE]] (with some ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' and ''Film/{{eXistenZ}}'' for flavor) from the producers of ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}''. It's bad enough the crew has to pilot an experimental ship ''and'' be RealityTV stars in space for 10 years, but then mysterious "malfunctions" kick in, the VR goggles start to blur the lines between fantasy and reality [[spoiler: the captain gets killed yet his consciousness seems to have survived; a crew member gets raped in her own simulation by a man who may or may not be a computer virus]]. Notable in that it was aired despite the show itself being cancelled.
* There was a 21-minute long pilot for a ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' television series called "Winter Dragon" that aired in February 2015, but the ensuing legal issues with the author's estate make it exceedingly unlikely as of this writing that it's going to continue.
* Before he ended up making an actual show with ''WesternAnimation/BillyDilleysSuperDuperSubterraneanSummer,'' veteran cartoonist and storyboard artist Aaron Springer had attempted to create some shows before, with the silent-slaptick comedy ''Periwinkle Around the World'' and much more famously with ''WesternAnimation/KorgothOfBarbaria,'' a hyper-violent, well-animated parody of Conan the Barbarian.
* The unaired ''Series/WonderWoman2011Pilot''.