->''"Rule of thumb: whenever a show does an episode focusing on a bunch of people you've never seen before and never do again, it's a pilot for a new show."''
-->-- '''[[http://poobala.com/emptyandgolden.html Thom Holbrook's Crossover Page]]'''

Episode in which the show's primary characters take a back seat to secondary or, more likely, brand new characters in order to test the waters for a separate show. Differs from the traditional {{Spinoff}} in that the characters are clearly jammed in there just for the sake of the new show; it's not a matter of [[BreakoutCharacter primary characters becoming popular enough to break out on their own]]. Not many of these pilots get picked up, however.

Another common term for this is "backdoor pilot"; however this can refer to other things as well, most notably a pilot broadcast as a special or MadeForTVMovie that will be picked up as a series only if the ratings are good enough.

Much like any pilot, the version of the series that makes it to air may have actors or settings changed. The version of ''Empty Nest'' that made it to TV was much different than the Poorly Disguised Pilot on ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'', and the proposed ''Aquaman'' series would have starred a different actor than the one who guest-starred on ''Series/{{Smallville}}''.

As a general rule, if you're watching a show and you find yourself asking questions like "Where did everybody go?", "What are we doing here?", "Who are these people?", or, above all, "What is going on here?", then you're watching a Poorly Disguised Pilot.

Other symptoms of a Poorly Disguised Pilot include:
* A SpotlightStealingSquad debuting in an episode.
* A character [[PutOnABus moving away or leaving a team]], sometimes with a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute introduced in his place.
* ADayInTheLimelight episode focusing on someone other than the main and supporting characters (usually a third-tier ancillary character or a LivingProp or recurring extra).

Before the concept of the SeasonFinale took off, these were often aired as the last episode of a season.

The {{Opposite Trope|s}} is FullyAbsorbedFinale, when what is functionally the ''last'' episode of a show appears in another show. See also PilotMovie. [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Do not confuse this trope]] with a pilot [[PaperThinDisguise wearing an ineffective disguise.]]


* PoorlyDisguisedPilot/LiveActionTV


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* This is apparently the reason for Ruri being PutOnABus in ''LightNovel/{{Oreimo}}''; so she could receive a spinoff.
* One episode of ''Manga/OutlawStar'' has Gene and co encountering two characters from ''Anime/AngelLinks'', a spinoff series that debuted a year later.
* In ''Manga/FushigiYuugiByakkoIbun'', the legend of the priestess from another world and her chosen warriors is mentioned briefly, but overall has no purpose in the chapter. The supposed protagonist Suzuno doesn't even actively appear, she only shows up as an image on the final page. The chapter barely feels like it has anything to do with Fushigi Yuugi to begin with, with the sole revelation being that [[spoiler: one of the two main characters, the IneffectualLoner Nirusha, is actually the Seiryuu warrior ''Miboshi'']]! ''Manga/FushigiYuugiByakkoSenki'', the proper story of Suzuno, wouldn't begin until 2017, two years after ''Byakko Ibun'' was released.

[[folder:Audio Play]]
* The ''AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho'' spin-off ''AudioPlay/JagoAndLitefoot'' (who appeared on [[Series/DoctorWho the TV-show]] in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS14E6TheTalonsOfWengChiang The Talons of Weng-Chiang]]") started out by testing the waters with a story in the Companion Chronicles range, named ''The Mahogany Murderers'', centering around the Victorian duo trying to get to the bottom of a strange mystery in London, featuring no interference or even appearance by the Doctor whatsoever. This format was well-received, and kicked off what is perhaps ''Big Finish Doctor Who''[='s=] most successful spin-off

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Comicbook/{{Fables}}'', Jack goes to Hollywood and makes a trilogy of LOTR-ish films about himself. He eventually gets caught and exiled from Fabletown, leading into the ''Jack of Fables'' series.
* The first three issues of the ReTool of ''Adventures of the Fly'', called ''Fly-Man'', is basically this for the originally version of the Mighty Crusaders.
* Lampooned in ''ComicBook/CableAndDeadpool'' #38.
--> '''Deadpool:''' "Bob, Agent of Hydra". One would almost think we were forcing you down our readers' throats as some kind of possible limited series pitch or something.
* The "Bloodlines" Creator/DCComics crossover of the early 90s is basically one massive series of Poorly Disguised Pilots, with that year's "annual" issue for each ongoing series showcasing the origin of a new superhero. Although a few of these "New Blood" characters were later featured in mini-series or ongoing series, the only one that managed any kind of success was Garth Ennis's ''Comicbook/{{Hitman}}'', which spun out of ''[[ComicBook/{{Etrigan}} The Demon]]''.
* ComicBook/MarvelComics tried a similar tactic with their 1993 annuals, which each introduced a new character. Of the 27 new characters created, the only one who really caught on was Legacy, who fronted his own series for a while as the new [[Comicbook/CaptainMarVell Captain Marvel]].
* DC tried this again in 2000 with their ''Planet DC'' event, where, once again, a bunch of annuals introducing new characters were launched. Pretty much the only new heroes who saw any real use were Nemesis (introduced in the ''[[Comicbook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica JSA]]'' annual) and Bushido (introduced in the ''[[Comicbook/TeenTitans Titans]]'' annual), and even those two ended up being killed off.
* Likewise, an issue of ''Comicbook/TheMightyThor'' during the "Acts of Vengeance" crossover in Marvel Comics showcases the Comicbook/NewWarriors, who received their own book months later!
* Speaking of Thor, ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' #536 and #537 were used to set the stage for Creator/JMichaelStraczynski's ''Thor'' relaunch. The plot had the FF trying to prevent Comicbook/DoctorDoom from claiming the deceased Thor's hammer, which was revealed to have landed near Broxton, Oklahoma after the events of [[{{Gotterdammerung}} Ragnarok]].
* Season 9 of ''Comicbook/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' introduces Billy, a teenage gay male Slayer-wannabe in his own story ''Billy the Vampire Slayer''. However, Billy has only made a few reappearances since then and is pretty much forgotten about in season 10.
* Heroic Publishing occasionally uses its ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' title in this manner. Likewise, ''Heroic Spotlight''.
* Creator/MarvelComics, at the start of the [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]], had what are now called "tryouts". For instance, one [[Comicbook/FantasticFour Human Torch]] story features a Comicbook/CaptainAmerica impostor and asks the readers if they wanted to bring back the real Captain America. On the other hand, the [[FanDumb fevered imagination of fans]] (and/or the greed of comic book speculators) has been prone to see tryouts in Marvel's pre-superhero era even when links between the precursor and later characters are tenuous at best (e.g., a '50s monster character who happens to be called "Hulk" and was renamed Xemnu the Titan once the ComicBook/IncredibleHulk showed up to avoid confusion).
* Creator/DCComics did the same thing earlier, occasionally trying out the ''idea'' of a character before going forward with "the real thing." DC's first DistaffCounterpart characters to Franchise/{{Superman}} (ComicBook/LoisLane temporarily getting powers and operating as "Superwoman" and ComicBook/{{Superboy}} [[GenderBender turning into a girl]] and operating as "Claire Kent, Super-Sister") were probably not tryouts so much as one-shot story ideas. But 1958's "The Girl of Steel" was clearly a dry run for Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}. In that story, ComicBook/JimmyOlsen uses a magic totem to wish for a "Super-Girl" who would be a companion and helpmate for Superman. It doesn't work out all that well, and Jimmy ends up wishing the girl out of existence at her own request (ItMakesSenseInContext... sorta.) Reaction was positive enough that DC introduced Kara Zor-El, the "real" Supergirl, shortly after in ''Comicbook/TheSupergirlFromKrypton''.
* Both Marvel and DC often launched features from titles that had no "regular" star. Those features would then, if popular enough, get their own titles:
** Franchise/SpiderMan is perhaps the most famous case. He first appears as the cover character of the fifteenth issue of ''Amazing Fantasy'', an anthology series that was being canceled, despite an editor's note promising that ''Amazing Fantasy'' would be continued in a new format with a Spider-Man story every month. That promise would be fulfilled by a new title, ''The Amazing Spider-Man''.
** Marvel would revive ''Amazing Fantasy'' in the 2000s; Anya Corazon got her own book shortly afterwards called Araña: Heart of the Spider. She would later become the sidekick of ComicBook/MsMarvel (Carol Danvers) before being retooled as the new Spider-Girl.
** More successful than her is probably Amadeus Cho, who co-starred in ''ComicBook/TheIncredibleHercules'' and eventually became the ComicBook/TotallyAwesomeHulk.
** Only a few other characters, such as Dr. Monica Rappaccini, Death's Head 3.0, Monstro, and Vampire by Night, ever showed up anywhere after the series, and even then mostly in supporting roles.
* DC's ''Showcase'' launched a large number of successful features, including the [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] versions of ''Franchise/TheFlash'', ''Franchise/GreenLantern'' and ''Comicbook/TheAtom'', ''ComicBook/ChallengersOfTheUnknown'', ''ComicBook/MetalMen'', ''Sea Devils'', and many more. The series lasted from 1956 to 1970, and was briefly revived from 1977 to 1978. The series introduced and/or spotlighted:
** Fred Farrell, Fire Fighter debuts in issue #1 (April, 1956). He didn't make it as a protagonist , but has his share of appearances in crossover stories.
** Issue #2 (May, 1956) is a theme issue for stories set in the wilderness, introducing three would-be protagonists. The first is Eagle Feather, a [[UsefulNotes/NativeAmericans Native American]] shepherd who has to hunt and kill the mountain lion which preys on his sheep. The second is an unnamed [[TheRunaway Orphan Runaway]] who manages to bond with a stray dog and save lives in a fire. The third is Billy, a trained circus bear, who is lost in the woods and has to survive in his new surroundings. The issue was not deemed popular enough to have sequels.
** Issue #3 (July, 1956) features Doug the "sardine", a trainee frogman (term for combat divers) who has to prove to his fellows that his short stature is not a liability to the team. Again, not a winning concept for an ongoing series.
** Franchise/TheFlash /Barry Allen debuts in issue #4 (October, 1956). He also headlines issues #8 (June, 1957) and #13-14 (April-June, 1958). The character had enough positive feedback for DC to revive the old ''The Flash'' series with Barry as the protagonist, starting with issue #105 (March, 1959). His ongoing lasted to 1985, making the greatest hit to graduate from ''Showcase''.
** Issue #5 (November, 1956) is another theme issue, featuring "manhunters" (people who take part in an organized search for a wanted man or fugitive). The protagonists are Detective Harry Fowler, FBIAgent Don Reed, and SympatheticInspectorAntagonist Frank Drew who hunts master criminal The Eel around the globe. None of the characters were deemed popular enough to reuse in later stories.
** The ComicBook/ChallengersOfTheUnknown debut in #6 (February, 1957). They also headlined #7 (April, 1957) and #11-12 (December, 1957-February, 1958). They gained enough positive feedback to gain their own series starting in May, 1958. Their original series was published regularly to 1970, and sporadically to 1978 when it was cancelled for good.
** ComicBook/LoisLane headlines issues #9-10 (August-September, 1957). Feedback was positive enough for Lois to gain her own series, starting in March, 1958. Her ongoing lasted to 1974.
** Space Ranger debuts in #15 (August, 1958). This hero of TheFuture also headlines #16 (September, 1958), but failed to generate enough interest to launch an ongoing. He instead became the cover character of the anthology ''Tales of the Unexpected'' starting with issue #40 (August, 1959). He maintained this position to 1964.
** ComicBook/AdamStrange debuts in #17 (December, 1958). He also headlines #18-19 (February-April, 1959). Feedback and sales were not enough to give him an ongoing, but were also too good to discontinue the character. He became the cover character of the anthology ''Mystery in Space'', starting with issue #53 (August, 1959). He was regularly featured there to 1965.
** ComicBook/RipHunter, Time Master debuts in #20 (June, 1959). He also headlines #21 (July, 1959) and #25-26 (March-May, 1960). The {{Time Travel}}er generated enough interest to "graduate" to his own ongoing series, starting in April 1961. His ongoing lasted to 1965. He eventually got revived for television, as the leader of the ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'', played by Creator/ArthurDarvill, who had [[Series/DoctorWho time travelled before]].
** Franchise/GreenLantern /Hal Jordan debuts in #22 (October, 1959). He also headlines #23-24 (December, 1959-February, 1960). Feedback and sales were positive enough for Hal to "graduate" to his own ongoing series, starting in August 1960. His ongoing was regularly published to 1972. It was revived in 1976 and (with a couple of revamps on the way) lasted to 1988.
** The Sea Devils debut in #27 (August, 1960). They also headline #28-29 (October-December, 1960). They are a quartet of scuba-diving adventurers with notable similarities to both the earlier Challengers of the Unknown and the later ComicBook/FantasticFour. Feedback and sales were positive enough for them to "graduate" to their own ongoing series, starting in October, 1961. It lasted to 1967.
** ComicBook/{{Aquaman}} and Aqualad headlined issues #30-33 (February-August, 1961). While the main character was already appearing in anthology series, this trial run established that Aquaman could work with longer stories. He "graduated" to his own ongoing series, starting in January 1962. His ongoing was published to 1971, was revived in 1977 and was cancelled in 1978.
** ComicBook/TheAtom /Ray Palmer debuted in #34 (October, 1961). He also headlined issues #35-36 (November-December, 1961). Feedback and sales were positive enough for him to "graduate" to his own ongoing series, starting in July, 1962. His ongoing lasted to 1969, with a brief revival in 2010.
** The ComicBook/MetalMen debuted in #37 (March-April, 1962) and were reportedly intended as a one-shot concept to begin with. But due to positive feedback, they also headlined #38-40 (June-September, 1962) and "graduated" to their own ongoing series, starting May, 1963. Their series was regularly published to 1970, had revivals in 1973 and 1976, and was cancelled in 1978.
** A revamped version of [[TheForties 1940s]] character Tommy Tomorrow headlined issues #41-42 (November, 1962-January, 1963), #44 (May, 1963), and #46-47 (September-December, 1963). The regular Tommy stories typically featured the character as an experienced officer, while the revamped stories covered his training years and the earliest points of his career. Neither version generated reader interest, so the character landed from ''Showcase'' to ComicBookLimbo.
** Film/JamesBond headlined issue #43 (March, 1963). Basically, DC gained the rights to reprint a British comic book adaptation of the film ''Film/DrNo''. While they also licensed the rights to create their own stories with the character, they never used them and the license expired c. 1972.
** Comicbook/SgtRock headlined issue #45 (August, 1963). He was already the cover character of an anthology series, but DC apparently considered him for "graduation" to his own series. He did not "graduate", and continued dominating the anthology title ''Our Army at War'' to 1977. The series was then renamed after him.
** Cave Carson headlined issues #48-49 (January-March, 1964) and #52 (October, 1964). The character was a spelunker and TunnelKing. Again there was little to no reader interest and the character ended up in ComicBookLimbo.
** King Faraday headlined issues #50-51 (May-July, 1964). In this case the stories were reprints of his [[TheFifties 1950s]] SpyFiction adventures. While it was hoped that the stories would enough to warrant a revival of the character, there was no reader interest and consequently no revival.
** Franchise/GIJoe headlined issues #53-54 (November, 1964-January, 1965). An adaptation of a then-new toy from Creator/{{Hasbro}}, again nothing really came of it.
** ComicBook/DoctorFate and ComicBook/{{Hourman}} headlined issues #55-56 (April-June, 1965). DC had recently revived the ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica and was variously testing the waters for further use of the characters involved. These issues did not generate enough interest for either hero to get his own series. Their lasting mark was a successful revival of 1940s villain Solomon Grundy who would become a recurring character again. As for the heroes, they remained supporting characters of the Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica for several years.
** ComicBook/EnemyAce headlined issues #57-58 (August-October, 1965). He was then a fairly recently-created character and the stories helped flesh him out, but again not enough reader interest and no series for him. At least for a while. He became the cover character of the anthology ''Star-Spangled War Stories'' from 1968 to 1970.
** The Comicbook/TeenTitans headlined issue #59 (December, 1965). Feedback was positive and the Titans "graduated" to their own series in February, 1966. Their ongoing series was published regularly to 1973, was revived in 1976, and cancelled in 1978.
** ComicBook/TheSpectre headlined issues #60-61 (February-April, 1966) and #64 (October, 1966). The character had not been used in two decades and these issues successfully revived him. It took a while to fully re-establish him but he "graduated" to his own series in December, 1967. His ongoing series lasted to 1969.
** The Inferior Five debuted in #62 (June, 1966). They also headlined issues #63 (August, 1966) and #65 (November, 1966). A SuperTeam consisting of inept super-heroes, they were positively received. They "graduated" to their own title in April, 1967. Their ongoing was published regularly to 1968, and then was briefly revived in 1972.
** B'wana Beast debuted in #66 (February, 1967). He also headlined issue #67 (April, 1967). He was a [[TheBeastmaster Beastmaster]] who could create MixAndMatchCritters. The character received mostly negative feedback and a planned third issue was never created. The character fell to ComicBookLimbo.
** The Maniaks debuted in #68 (May, 1967). They also headlined issues #69 (July, 1967) and #71 (November, 1967). The characters were a rock group consisting of three guys and one woman, having wacky adventures. The woman Silver Shannon served as MsFanservice and the GoldDigger in search of rich mates. At the finale of each issue the Maniaks would [[BreakingTheFourthWall Break the Fourth Wall]] and appeal to readers, asking them to support their tryout in Showcase. It didn't work and the Maniaks entered ComicBookLimbo. Silver seems to be the only character actually remembered by later writers, as she was revived as a supporting character in the Power Company (2002).
** Binky Biggs, the 1940s teenage humor character, headlined issue #70 (September, 1967). DC was at the time attempting to revive its defunct teenage humor-line in an apparent attempt to compete with Franchise/ArchieComics. It seems DC didn't really wait long enough to do a proper tryout, as he did "graduate" to his own series after a single issue. His original series ''Leave it to Binky'' was revived with issue #61 (June, 1968) and lasted under this name to 1970. The series was then renamed to ''Binky'', and continued to 1971. It was again briefly revived in 1977, but that was the end of it and the character.
** Issue #72 (February, 1968) reprinted older [[TheWestern Western Stories]], notably including sample stories of the Trigger Twins and Johnny Thunder. They were characters from the classic Western line of DC which had lasted from 1948 to 1961. Whether DC was seriously considering revivals for them, or this was a {{Filler}} issue is unknown. But nothing came of it.
** ComicBook/TheCreeper debuted in #73 (April, 1968). DC did not really wait for feedback and immediately launched an ongoing series for him: ''Beware the Creeper'' (May, 1968). It lasted to 1969.
** Anthro debuted in #74 (May, 1968). He was supposedly the first Cro-Magnon boy born to a [[AllCavemenWereNeanderthals Neandertal tribe]]. His adventures were supposed to chronicle the birth of modern humanity, his descendants. Again DC did not really wait for feedback and launched an ongoing for him in August, 1968. It lasted to 1969.
** Hawk and Dove debuted in #75 (June, 1968). They were two heroic siblings with opposing ideologies, serving as {{Straw Character}}s. Hawk was a militant guy who advocated violence in support of a proper cause, and let his fists do the talking for him. Dove was a pacifist who advocated finding peaceful resolutions and reaching a compromise. Their solutions to any given situation were supposed to reflect upon the political and ideological conflicts of [[TheSixties 1960s]]. DC once more did not wait for feedback and launched an ongoing for them in September 1968, ''The Hawk and the Dove''. It lasted to 1969.
** Bat Lash debuted in #76 (August, 1968). DC was inspired by the popularity of [[SpaghettiWestern Spaghetti Westerns]] to launch a new Western series, but with a twist. In contrast to the unambiguous heroes of their older series in the genre, Bat was a LovableRogue, a [[TheCasanova Womanizer]], a ProfessionalGambler, and a ReluctantWarrior. He did not actively look for trouble, but his WalkingTheEarth often landed him in troubled places. DC was too confident in the concept to wait for feedback, and launched an ongoing for him in November, 1968. It lasted to 1969.
** ComicBook/AngelAndTheApe debuted in #77 (September, 1968). Without waiting for feedback, DC launched their ongoing series in December, 1968. It kept its name for 3 issues, then was renamed to ''Meet Angel'' to emphasize the female partner of the duo. Under the new name it lasted to the end of 1969.
** Jonny Double debuted in #78 (November, 1968). He was a [[PerpetualPoverty Perpetually Broke]] PrivateDetective who tried to make a living on what his customers were willing to pay him. DC was not eager to give him an ongoing series, so the character went straight to ComicBookLimbo. In this case, however, writers of the [[TheSeventies 1970s]] did find use of him in several series headlined by more popular characters. So Jonny is better known for supporting roles in stories of the Challengers of the Unknown, ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}, Franchise/WonderWoman, and Kobra.
** Dolphin debuted in #79 (December, 1968). She was a mysterious [[ApparentlyHumanMerfolk Apparently Human Merwoman]] with an implied WildChild background. Her first appearance covered her first contact with human civilization and learning basic language skills. Again DC had no real plans for her and she went straight to ComicBookLimbo. In the [[TheEighties 1980s]] she became a member of the SuperTeam Forgotten Heroes, which consisted of other characters who had not been used in a while, took part in the ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths, and had a team-up with Comicbook/AnimalMan. In the [[TheNineties 1990s]], she joined the supporting cast of ComicBook/{{Aquaman}}.
** ComicBook/ThePhantomStranger headlined issue #80 (February, 1969). In this case DC was eager to revive the 1950s character, and launched his new series in June, 1969. It was regularly published to 1976. It had a brief revival in 2010.
** Windy and Willy debuted in #81 (March, 1969). They were actually modified versions of older characters. DC had earlier published a comic book adaptation of ''Series/TheManyLovesOfDobieGillis'' and wished to reuse it, in another attempt to appeal to the market for teen-humor stories. But they weren't willing to pay the owners of the television show just to reprint stories they already legally owned. So, the original protagonists Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs were modified to Willy and Windy. Once again DC did not wait for any feedback ,and launched a new ongoing for the duo in June, 1969. It flopped in sales and was cancelled after only 4 issues. It was the least successful series to come out of the pages of ''Showcase''.
** Nightmaster debuted in #82 (May, 1969). He also headlined issues #83-84 (June-August, 1969). The basic concept was that modern-day rock musician Jim Rook and his girlfriend Janet Jones walk into TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday and find themselves in a [[HeroicFantasy Sword and Sorcery]] dimension. Jim learns that he is a descendant and a LegacyCharacter to a local sword-wielding hero. Inheriting the Sword of Night, a CoolSword with mystical powers, Jim becomes the Nightmaster and gets involved in the conflicts of his new home dimension. The Nightmaster did not sell well enough to "graduate" to an ongoing series, and went straight to ComicBookLimbo. He was revived in the 1990s with cameos in ''Comicbook/AnimalMan'' and ''ComicBook/TheBooksOfMagic'', and more substantial roles in ''Primal Force'' and ''Comicbook/SwampThing''. In the 2000s, he joined the ComicBook/{{Shadowpact}}.
** Firehair debuted in #85 (September, 1969). He also headlined issues #86-87 (November-December, 1969). Firehair was a white boy RaisedByNatives, named for his Red Hair. As an infant in the Old West, Firehair experienced the violent death of his parents at the hands of the Blackfoot tribe of Native Americans. But the leader of the tribe decided to raise the boy as his own son. As a young adult, Firehair finds himself with all the supreme fighting skills of the MightyWhitey, but none of the respect. His own tribe despises him because of his looks, while the White Man sees his as a strange-looking [[TheSavageIndian Savage Indian]]. So he starts WalkingTheEarth, trying to find a place which will truly accept him, and saving some lives in the process. According to his origin story, a shaman predicted that his destiny will be to be constantly despised by both his own people and by anyone he tried to help. The concept did not sell well enough and Firehair went straight to ComicBookLimbo. He was revived in 1971, when he briefly became the second feature of the ''ComicBook/{{Tomahawk}}'' series.
** Jason Grant debuted in #88 (February, 1970). He also headlined issues #89-90 (April-June, 1970). The story had a young man on a personal quest. In a DeathbedConfession, Jason's "father" reveals that Jason is adopted. His real father had been killed by orders of [[TheDon Crime Lord]] Tuborg. The same man who caused the fatal wounds of the adoptive father. Now Jason has to locate his [[LongLostRelative Long Lost Sister]], and the hidden records or evidence of Tuborg's past misdeeds. Armed with a grainy photo, a guitar and a second-hand import motorbike, Jason wonders Western Europe to fulfill his quest. The concept did not sell well and Jason went to ComicBookLimbo. He has had a couple of cameos over the years, but nothing substantial.
** Manhunter 2070 debuted in #91 (August, 1970). He also headlined issues #92-93 (August-September, 1970), which were originally the last issues of ''Showcase''. This version of Manhunter is a space-traveling BountyHunter. In 2053, young Starker witnessed the murder of his father and was himself enslaved by SpacePirates. He spend his years of captivity in secretly studying and learning as many of his captors' skills as he could. Which he eventually used to bargain for a position in their crew. He used said position to destroy them from within, killing all those involved with the murder of his father and delivering the rest to the authorities. This act taught him that one can make a living by hunting outlaws. By 2070, Starker is a veteran bounty hunter with a ruthless streak. The concept did not sell well enough to give him a series and this Manhunter went to ComicBookLimbo. Several writers have since revived him for various space-faring adventures.
** The ComicBook/DoomPatrol headlined issues #94-96 (September, 1977-January, 1978), the first ones of the revived series. With most of the original members dead, these issues got to introduce some new blood. The new version was not popular enough to "graduate" to their own series, though they served well as guest-stars in various titles.
** ComicBook/PowerGirl headlined issues #97-99 (February-April, 1978). Though possibly well-received, the DC Implosion resulted in the cancelling of many of the ongoing titles of the company. It was no time to launch a new title.
** Issue #100 (May, 1978) was a MilestoneCelebration and a change of pace of the series. Instead of a sales pitch for a new series, this featured a MassiveMultiplayerCrossover. A Crisis of some type requires heroes from different eras to join forces and try to rescue reality itself. These heroes happened to include almost every character to ever headline ''Showcase'', in a celebration of the series' history. Most characters get cameos, but the story serves as ADayInTheLimelight for Lois Lane and Angel O'Day who co-operate in actually ending the Crisis.
** ComicBook/{{Hawkman}} /Katar Hol headlined issues #101-103 (June-August, 1978). Basically he had a crossover with Adam Strange, featuring a war between the planets Rann and Thanagar. Nothing came of it, and Hawkman remained a featured player in the Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica.
** UsefulNotes/{{OSS}} headlined issue #104 (September, 1978), with stories set in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and featuring various agents. Possibly a sales pitch for a war-themed series, but nothing came of it. ''Showcase'' itself was cancelled at this point, though there were two more issues awaiting publication. Their material became available later through other formats.
** Deadman would have headlined #105, as a sales pitch to get him an eponymous series. No such luck until 1985.
** The Creeper would have headlined #106, since there were creators campaigning to get him a second series. No such luck until 1997.
** There were known plans for subsequent issues. At least one featuring the ComicBook/{{Huntress}} /Helena Wayne and a ''World of Krypton'' story which would further flesh out the background of Franchise/{{Superman}}'s doomed homeworld. This version of Huntress would get a backup series in the ''Franchise/WonderWoman'' comic which was often more popular than the main feature, while ''World of Krypton'' would be published as a mini-series in 1979.
* DC tried to get a second try-out book off the ground in the mid-70s, partially as a replacement to the by-then-canceled ''Showcase''. It's called ''First Issue Special'', and it started because publisher Carmine Infantino realized first issues sell better and wanted a series where ''every'' issue was the first (seriously). Incidentally, this means that each premise was only afforded one issue, whereas most often in ''Showcase'' a feature would headline for two or three issues. It only ran for 12 issues, and it only launched one comic, ''Warlord''. ''Warlord'' ended up running about ''ten times'' as long as ''First Issue Special'' did -- from 1976 to 1988. About half of the other issues feature established characters like the Creeper or Dr. Fate; the non-Warlord characters created for ''First Issue Special'' mostly disappeared after their headlining ish, though the Green Team received a quickly-canceled revival in 2013.
* For various convoluted reasons, Marvel was limited to printing a certain number of titles in the '60s. When no longer under that restriction, Marvel launched several of its own ''Showcase''-style titles, such as ''Marvel Spotlight'', which launched features such as ''ComicBook/WerewolfByNight'', ''ComicBook/GhostRider'', and ''ComicBook/SpiderWoman''.
** Some of this was due to the introduction of UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode. MoralGuardians convinced comic publishers to ban horror-related subjects like vampires, ghouls, and the undead, and those titles floundered for awhile, eventually throwing out different subjects and characters to see what would stick. This was easy enough to do, as many of them were [[AnthologyComic anthology comics]] with 3-4 stories per issue. ''Journey Into Mystery'' started telling the story of ComicBook/TheMightyThor, and the ComicBook/IncredibleHulk (after his one-shot series was canceled) started to guest star in ''Tales to Astonish''. In ''Tales of Suspense'', the stories introducing ComicBook/IronMan and reintroducing ComicBook/CaptainAmerica spawned their own titles.
** Earlier, in the late 1960s, Marvel did it with ''Marvel Super-Heroes'', a larger-than-normal comic whose lead feature launched such stars as ComicBook/CaptainMarVell, [=KaZar=], and the ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy, with classic 1940s and 50s stories backing it up!
*** The Guardians of the Galaxy got this treatment ''twice''. First they were introduced in Marvel Super Heroes in the late '60s, and nothing came of it. A few years later they made guest appearances in ''Marvel Two-In-One'' and ''ComicBook/TheDefenders'' before they got their own book as the stars of ''Marvel Presents''.
** Likewise, Comicbook/DoctorStrange debuted in ''Strange Tales'', a former horror anthology series that had been turned into a split book featuring various characters like the Human Torch. The feature became so popular that the series was eventually retitled ''Doctor Strange'' with issue #169. Another feature, ''Comicbook/NickFury: Agent of Comicbook/{{SHIELD}}'' (which had {{ReTool}}ed Fury from a [[UsefulNotes/WorldWar2 WW2-era soldier]] to a Film/JamesBond-esque UsefulNotes/ColdWar super spy), was also spun off into its own book.
* Franchise/ArchieComics tried to salvage their failing 1960s superhero line by using "Mighty Comics" as their "Showcase", featuring such heroes as The Web, The Shield, The Black Hood, and Steel Sterling. It wound up killing the line for about 15 years.
* One StoryArc in ''Comicbook/{{Runaways}}'' is this for "Excelsior", a support group for former teen heroes that ended up getting sent to chase the main characters. It was eventually launched as ''ComicBook/TheLoners'', after it turned out that the trademark on "Excelsior" belonged to Creator/StanLee, who had put out a book about his experiences in comics by that title.
* During the nineties, ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' meets during a battle with Hydra a superhero named "Shoc", obviously meant to appear in his own series. It's also pretty obvious who his SecretIdentity was. Fortunately, he was quickly forgotten.
** Speedball first appeared in a ''Spider-Man Annual'' that depicted him on the cover, soaring over both Spidey and Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}. The annual shoehorned Speedball into the main story and featured a solo back-up tale. This led to a short-lived solo series, ''ComicBook/SpeedballTheMaskedMarvel''. Despite this, the character has been around for about 30 years, was a prominent member of Comicbook/NewWarriors, and played a large role in Comicbook/CivilWar.
** ''Amazing Comicbook/SpiderMan'' #86 was meant to set up the short-lived ''Comicbook/BlackWidow'' solo series that appeared in ''Amazing Adventures''.
** ''Amazing Spider-Man'' #92 featured a guest appearance from Comicbook/{{Iceman}} of the X-Men. The story was apparently testing the waters for an Iceman/Doctor Strange split-book that had been planned, but the series never materialized.
* Issue 99 of Gerard Jones's ''Comicbook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' run is clearly an attempt to drum up support for a series about the altered children who took over the issue, the Strangebrood. This didn't pan out, and the Strangebrood never showed up again anywhere.
* Creator/KurtBusiek introduced the ComicBook/PowerCompany in an issue of ''[[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]]'' before quickly spinning them off in their own series.
* In 2005, the anthology series ''Franchise/StarWars Tales'' featured two stories taking place in the ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' era. One is issue sized while the other lasts only six pages. Two months after the release of the issue featuring the first story, a ''ComicBook/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' comic series was announced. It was likely that both ideas were created around the same time, however.
* The notorious 'Comicbook/ThePunisher Goes Black' story arc in 1992 that guest-starred {{ComicBook/Luke Cage|HeroForHire}} served as a pilot for the 1990s Cage series.
* Comicbook/ThePunisher himself has his own pilot in the pages of Comicbook/SpiderMan (man, Spidey is popping up a lot).
* Another famous case is Franchise/{{Wolverine}}. He first popped up in an issue of the ComicBook/IncredibleHulk. The creators wanted to use him in other titles but didn't have a clear idea what they wanted to do with the character. They ended up tossing him onto the ComicBook/XMen, in large part because he had been identified as Canadian and they wanted "international" characters for the new team.
* Chuck Austen's final few issues of ''Comicbook/TheAvengers'' serve as a springboard for the ''[[Comicbook/TheInvaders New Invaders]]''. This is a particularly egregious example, as the finished product reads like an Invaders story that just happens to guest star a few of the Avengers.
* The ''Comicbook/FearItself: The Home Front'' mini-series had a 3-part story featuring Comicbook/{{X 23}}, Comicbook/AmadeusCho, [[Comicbook/AnyaCorazon Spider-Girl]] and the new Power Man Thunderstrike. The story was clearly meant to build momentum for a new teen superhero team featuring the characters, but it never got off the ground.
* The second and third issues of the original ''ComicBook/{{Youngblood}}'' series give one of the flip-sides to ''ComicBook/{{Shadowhawk}}'' and Supreme, respectively. The fourth issue features a prelude to ''ComicBook/{{Pitt}}'', but without the flip-book format.
* The plot for ''ComicBook/TransformersGeneration2'' is kicked off in a {{Crossover}} with ''Franchise/GIJoe''.
* The final issues of the ''Franchise/{{Superman}}: Grounded'' storyline were intended by writer Chris Roberson as (among other things) a backdoor pilot for a "Supermen of America" series.
* [[Creator/ChristopherPriestComics Christopher Priest]] has admitted he only added the Korean heroine Mystek to the ''[[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League Task Force]]'' during his run to set her up for her own mini-series. [[TorchTheFranchiseAndRun When plans for the mini-series were axed, Priest quickly killed her off.]]
* The ''Comicbook/TeenTitans'' Annual #2 introduces us to The Vigilante, who got his own comic book the following month.
* The second-to-last ''Comicbook/TeenTitans'' storyline by Felicia Henderson was meant to be a backdoor pilot for a new ''Comicbook/{{Static}}'' comic book series. The DC relaunch delayed the series, and by the time it launched a year later, it had been retooled to the point that it literally abandoned every bit of set-up introduced in the ''Teen Titans'' arc, and had a new writer as well.
* The ComicBook/BlueBeetle and Comicbook/{{Hardware}} team-up in ''ComicBook/TheBraveAndTheBold'' includes an extremely obvious set-up for a new ''Hardware'' solo series.
* USMarshal J.D. Hart features prominently in issues 42-44 of the original series of ''ComicBook/JonahHex'', essentially acting as a co-star to Jonah in those issues. Hart was going to be spun off into his own book, unofficially titled ''Dakota'', but that book never eventuated and Hart eventually returned as a supporting character in ''Jonah Hex''.
* The ninth issue of the original ''Comicbook/WhatIf'' series was probably intended to be this for a series starring the various heroes from Marvel's 1950s comics. Which did happen, albeit 30 years later, with ''Comicbook/AgentsOfAtlas''. A much later issue of ''What If'' is the basis for the entire ''ComicBook/MarvelComics2'' universe and ''ComicBook/SpiderGirl''.
* ''Comicbook/{{Nova}}'' has a story arc where Sam meets Justice and Speedball, two of the washed-up former members of the New Warriors. Around the same time, ''Comicbook/SuperiorSpiderMan Team-Up'' features an arc where Otto encounters a new heroine named Sun Girl. The characters involved later meet and team up for the Comicbook/MarvelNOW relaunch of ''ComicBook/NewWarriors''.
* ''ComicBook/UncannyXMen'' #358 (August 1998) is a spotlight issue for the OddCouple of Bishop and Deathbird, established earlier, with them gaining a new ally and getting involved in a struggle against another version of TheEmpire in space. The issue is often commented on, in retrospect, as seeming to serve as a pilot or sales pitch for a SpaceOpera series or storyline, but if so the plans never materialized.
* The crossover between ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'' and Creator/ImageComics serves as a pilot episode for writer Ken Penders' incredibly short-lived, creator-owned ''ComicBook/TheLostOnes'' series.
* The final arc of ''Comicbook/UltimateSpiderMan'' features a team-up between Spidey (Miles), Comicbook/CloakAndDagger, ComicBook/SpiderWoman, and Bombshell. This same group appears in the ''[[Comicbook/CataclysmTheUltimatesLastStand Cataclysm]]: Ultimate Spider-Man'' mini-series before being spun-off in their own book as the ''All-New [[ComicBook/TheUltimates Ultimates]]''.
* Early 00's CrisisCrossover Maximum Security is clearly an attempted launching pad for a few concepts, including a cosmic Avengers team and former stand-in Captain America US Agent. Agent did get his own series, but it was short lived.
* The first arc of ''Avengers Assemble'' was set-up for a new ''Comicbook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' series. It brought the Guardians out of ComicBookLimbo, teased the mystery of how Star-Lord and Comicbook/{{Thanos}} had escaped the [[Comicbook/TheThanosImperative Cancerverse]], and ended with the Badoon vowing vengeance on the Earth.
* Whether intended as one or not, the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' three-parter that introduces ComicBook/{{Galactus}} serves as a backdoor pilot for the ''ComicBook/SilverSurfer''. The same run also introduced Comicbook/BlackPanther and Comicbook/TheInhumans, who would later receive their own titles.
* Played with in Creator/DCComics' ''ComicBook/StarRaiders'' -- as a graphic novel, it's rather disjointed, with a RandomEventsPlot filled with numerous characters and details that are left unused. Justified in that it was originally intended as a longer StoryArc (with an option for an ongoing series) that got cancelled halfway through development, with an ending abruptly added to salvage the work that was already done.
* ''ComicBook/MortadeloYFilemon'': Another Ibáñez character, Tete Cohete, is introduced in a ''Mortadelo'' comic of the same name.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/JakeEnglishsMysteriousTheaterOfScientificRomanceFromTheYear3000''[='s=] crossover with ''Fanfic/JusticeSocietyOfJapan'' was meant to be this, as the latter story was in the midst of being written as part of UsefulNotes/NaNoWriMo.
* Many of the entries in the anthology series ''Fanfic/HalloweenUnspectacular'' are open-ended and can easily be expanded into full stories of their own, with the author often suggesting that he might do so one day. In the case of one story from the first edition, [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6447961/1/Eureka he actually did]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
'''Note''': Remember, films that are created with the idea of releasing an AnimatedAdaptation in mind are {{Pilot Movie}}s and should be listed there.
* A large chunk of the plot in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'', such as Harry Osborn's transformation into the Green Goblin and subsequent meeting with Gustav Fiers in TheStinger, was clearly meant to set up the cancelled ''Script/SinisterSix'' movie.
* ''Film/BladeTrinity'' was partially intended as one for Hannibal King and Abigail Whistler's Nightstalker characters. It didn't work out.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'':
** ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'' was stated to be a testing bed for films based on Comicbook/{{Gambit}} and ComicBook/{{Deadpool}}[=/=]Wade Wilson. The fact that the two were the most common points of criticism (Gambit for AdvertisedExtra, Deadpool for TheyChangedItNowItSucks) would tell you it didn't work.
** However, Creator/RyanReynolds' performance as Wade Wilson from ''before'' his disfigurement was very well received, to the point where he really was the only choice to play the lead role in the actual ''Film/Deadpool2016'' movie. But although TheStinger of ''Origins'' did leave its version of Deadpool salvageable (re-opening his mouth and apparently undoing his brainwashing), the ''Deadpool'' film opted for a TruerToTheText ContinuityReboot (restoring Deadpool's [[BreakingtheFourthWall fourth-wall breaking powers]] and ComedicSociopathy, while shedding the EyeBeams, [[BladeBelowTheShoulder Blades Below the Shoulders]], and {{Teleportation}}[[note]]though he's frequently had access to artificial teleporters in the comics, it's nothing like what's depicted in ''Origins''[[/note]]). These differences were (naturally) lampshaded in the film itself, where a scene begins with a close-up of an action figure of Deadpool's original appearance and Wade saying "this is my most prized possession" before it's revealed he's talking about a ''[[Music/GeorgeMichael Wham!]]'' album underneath the action figure.
** Years later, there were plans to have a new version of Gambit (played by Creator/ChanningTatum) appear in ''Film/XMenApocalypse'' to set him up for his own spin-off. The solo ''Gambit'' movie was greenlit, but the planned appearance in ''Apocalypse'' was nixed.
** Subverted with X-Force's appearance in ''Film/Deadpool2'', because it's not "disguised" in the slightest. One of Deadpool's motives for forming the team is to gather a bunch of young people who can carry a franchise for a decade or so. [[spoiler:Further subverted when every member of the team except for Deadpool and Domino end up dying ''minutes'' into their first mission.]]
* Marvel seems to like this a lot, because their first five films of the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse were meant to collectively lead into an ''[[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]]'' [[Film/TheAvengers2012 film]].
** ''Film/IronMan2'' in particular received a ''lot'' of ExecutiveMeddling to make it set up ''Avengers'', with ComicBook/NickFury and Comicbook/BlackWidow's roles in the plot being a good example of this. Creator/JonFavreau was so frustrated by this that he refused to direct ''Film/IronMan3''.
** A big criticism of ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' is that significant chunks of the movie rather blatantly exist to set up ''Film/BlackPanther2018'', ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'', ''Film/ThorRagnarok'' and ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar''.
** With Phase 3, they introduced ComicBook/BlackPanther and Spider-Man in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' before spinning them off into their own movies. Overall, this was better-received than the previous examples, with the characters themselves proving quite popular.
* ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'' was basically [[ExecutiveMeddling hacked to pieces by Fox executives]] to serve as a pilot for the ''Film/{{Elektra}}'' spin-off. When given the opportunity to put out the movie as it was originally conceived, the director cut Elektra's screentime substantially, restored a half dozen missing subplots, and turned it into a movie that was actually worthwhile.
* Before the ''Film/JamesBond'' movie ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'' came out, producers announced that they were planning a spinoff movie series featuring Creator/MichelleYeoh's character Wai Lin. That never happened, but similarly, there was much talk of a spinoff featuring Creator/HalleBerry's Jinx character from ''Film/DieAnotherDay''. The extent to which they were truly serious about either notion is unclear. Some suspect the talk in each case was simply pre-release hype ("The heroine in our next picture is such a great character, we're giving her a movie series of her own!"), although they did seem to at least make effort for the Jinx movie, for which they hired Stephen Daldry as director, got two months into writing the screenplay and had the series' production and costume designers create some early concept art before the poor performances of ''Film/CharliesAngelsFullThrottle'', ''Film/LaraCroftTombRaiderTheCradleOfLife'' and especially ''Film/{{Catwoman}}'' led to it being canned.
* There was talk of a Catwoman movie as a follow-up to ''Film/BatmanReturns''. Creator/MichellePfeiffer wasn't very excited about the project and it never came to fruition until long after the Batman movie franchise had died. Eventually, the project was revived as a vehicle for Creator/HalleBerry, resulting in the notorious 2004 flop ''Film/{{Catwoman}}''.
* ''Film/GodzillaVsMegalon'' was intended in part to launch a new Giant Hero, the robotic Jet Jaguar, for Toho Studios.
** In some ways this is the opposite. It was originally planned as a Jet Jaguar movie and Godzilla was added to attract an audience.
* ''Franchise/IndianaJones'':
** ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade''. The first 15 minutes, featuring River Phoenix as a young Indy in search of a historical MacGuffin, are this for ''Series/YoungIndianaJones''. Though Phoenix declined to reprise the role for TV, and was replaced by Sean Patrick Flanery in the series itself.
** Subverted at the end of ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'', where it looks for a moment like Indy's hat is being passed (both figuratively and literally) to his son... until Indy picks it up and puts it back on.
* ''Film/FantasticFourRiseOfTheSilverSurfer'' is one for ComicBook/SilverSurfer. Many things in the movie don't happen (like the appearance of the BigBad) in order to allow for the ''Silver Surfer'' spinoff, which never happened.
* WonderWoman makes her cinematic debut in ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'' in order to set up a solo ''Film/{{Wonder Woman|2017}}'' movie starring the same actress. The other members of the Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica all appear in cameos to set up the ''Film/JusticeLeague'' movie, with some critics likening the cameo sequence to a trailer within the movie.
* ''Film/TheMummy2017'' has Dr. Jekyll, a character typically ''not'' associated with mummies, show up to explain plot points and make references to a secret society of monster hunters to set up future "Dark Universe" films about classic Universal monsters like the Bride of Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, and Frankenstein's monster.

* You wouldn't think this could happen in book form, but it has. Literature/NancyDrew Files #39: ''The Suspect Next Door'' focuses heavily on Nancy's neighbor, a girl named Nikki Masters. Not too long after, Nikki got her own spin-off, a romance series called ''River Heights''. It lasted about 16 issues before getting run off the face of the earth and is largely forgotten now.
* ''Rinkitink in Oz'' is a book in the [[Literature/LandOfOz Oz series of books]] that was originally written as a standalone fantasy novel in the land of Pilgaree. It didn't get published in that form, but eventually, Creator/LFrankBaum changed it into an Oz book just by putting in what amounts to a gratuitous {{Crossover}} with some Oz characters. Mind you, at this point in his career, Baum was finding that [[FranchiseZombie whether he liked it or not, his books could only be commercially successful if they were Oz books]].
* {{Averted|Trope}} in ''{{Literature/Animorphs}}''. [[spoiler: A large cast of new characters, aptly named the Axillary Animorphs, are introduced into the series near the climax. One would think this would mean shoehorning them into getting a spinoff, right? Nope, they're all unceremoniously killed off.]]
* It may not have been intentional, but the ''Literature/PastDoctorAdventures'' novel ''Corpse Marker'' by Chris Boucher ends up feeling like a poorly-disguised pilot for his ''Kaldor City'' audio dramas, with the Kaldorian characters (and ''Series/BlakesSeven'' crossover characters) getting more page time than the Doctor and Leela.

* In 2002, Disney Channel commissioned the Canadian virtual pop duo Music/{{Prozzak}} to write and perform the title song for their TV movie ''Get A Clue'', albeit with some drastic changes: the band was rechristened Simon and Milo after the two animated characters who comprised the act (presumably because they're named after a drug) and had Milo redesigned to be much more conventionally attractive. The channel aired a music video for the song during commercials, which was only unusual because it looked nothing like anything else they were airing at the time and the act had nothing else to their name. As it turns out, Disney Channel was testing the waters for a Simon and Milo animated series, but before that could come about, the network and Prozzäk co-founder Jason Levine clashed over what they each considered "child-friendly" content, resulting only in the music video and a compilation album titled ''Ready Ready Set Go'', released for the sole purpose of putting "Get A Clue" onto a CD.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{WCW}} themselves took a swing at this in late 1997 when the Wrestling/NewWorldOrder "took over" ''Monday Nitro'' on Dec. 22, running it as "''[=nWo=] Monday Nitro''", complete with set changes and a modified ''Nitro'' logo with the [=nWo=] logo in place of WCW's. While on the surface this looked like just another typical [=nWo=] angle, it was actually meant to be a test to see if they could maintain a solid audience with an [=nWo=]-focused show, as WCW was planning to roll out ''Thunder'' as a secondary program the following year, and had originally hoped to run ''Thunder'' as the WCW program and turn ''Nitro'' into a standalone [=nWo=] show. However. there wasn't enough audience interest and the time they took to restructure the show around the [=nWo=] wasn't seen as worthwhile, so the idea didn't go any further than this one episode.
* In 2000 All Pro Wrestling held [[TournamentArc a tournament]] called King Of Indies, which eventually became its own separate event, though the letters KOI remain associated with APW. [[DistaffCounterpart The same thing happened in 2004]] with [=ChickFight=], although [=ChickFight=] did "return" to work with APW.
* Wrestling/{{WWE}} did something like this shortly after acquiring Wrestling/{{WCW}} in 2001, trying to test the waters for a separate WWE-run WCW show during a ''Monday Night Raw'' episode emanating from Tacoma, WA. They covered the ring in WCW logos, replaced their own commentators with Arn Anderson and Scott Hudson, and had Buff Bagwell and Booker T wrestle a match on July 2. Unfortunately the crowd hated this, so the whole thing was thrown under the bus quickly (the infamous "Invasion" angle is what was spawned from the failure of using WCW as an entirely separate entity).
* The World Wrestling League was founded in 2012 with the stated purpose of getting wrestlers/luchadors from all over the Americans and Caribbean to work together. It was initially known mainly for its ''[[WhoWouldWin Dream Matches]]'' tours through Mexico and the Dominican Republic, an "[[EvilForeigner invasion]]" series of New Xtreme Order and a couple other Bolivian enterprises or facilitating smaller [[{{Crossover}} cross promotional]] matches and shows such as between Pro Wrestling Revolution and Wrestling/{{CMLL}}, or the Florida based Coastal Championship Wrestling and Ecuadoran WAR. WWL promoted title belts even at this time and booked their holders to go over champions of participating promotions, particularly Wrestling/{{AAA}}'s, but wrestlers from all over, including AAA, contended for and won WWL belts, and WWL arranged for its champions and other talents to appear on shows they normally would not, such as AAA's ''Triplemanía XXI'', so it wasn't that different from other governing bodies like the Wrestling/{{N|ationalWrestlingAlliance}}WA. Two years in however and the Puerto Rican World Wrestling Council pulled out on account of WWL running [[MeaningfulName an]] ''Insurrection'' event in Puerto Rico that relied not on international or WWC talent but mainly wrestlers from Puerto Rico's independent circuit, particularly those that used to work for WWC's defunct competitor IWA PR. WWL also began running angles similar to IWA's, to the point fans began calling it [[SpiritualSuccessor a resurrection]]. WWL continued to officially bill itself as a coordination facilitator and governing body for awhile but by 2016 it had given up all pretenses of being anything but a promotion intent on running shows exclusive to its own brand and all WWL affiliates besides Wrestling/{{TNA}} and The Crash [[OptOut dropped out]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* One of the major plots you spend time investigating in ''VideoGame/AnotherCode R'' is the mystery of Matt's father and what drove his business into the ground. While the bulk of the mysteries surrounding it are solved and tie in well to the main story, the final fate of his father is unresolved. It was supposed to lead into a separate game where Matt would resolve this plot, but cruel fate had the company go under before it could be produced.
* The nightmare minigame in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' is a tech demo for an original game that was being developed by the ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'' team titled ''Guy Savage''. However, ''Guy Savage'' was canceled and the minigame was removed in later versions of ''[=MGS3=]''.
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand'' and ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand2SixGoldenCoins'' were extremely popular games for the UsefulNotes/GameBoy, so when Creator/{{Nintendo}} decided to create a SpinOff game starring Wario, the villain of the latter, it was titled ''VideoGame/WarioLandSuperMarioLand3'' despite not really being a ''Super Mario Land'' game. When that game proved popular, the sequel was simply titled ''VideoGame/WarioLandII'', and so on for all the later ''VideoGame/WarioLand'' games.
** Similar to the ''Wario Land'' example, VideoGame/{{Yoshi|sIsland}}'s first major starring game is titled ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld2YoshisIsland'' despite being a ''prequel'' to ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' and all the other ''Mario'' games. Also similar to ''Wario Land'', the ''Super Mario World'' part was dropped for all subsequent ''Yoshi'' games.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'' features several mini levels where you control Captain Toad, who can't jump, in a more puzzle-oriented environment. Flash forward to E3 2014, and Nintendo announces ''VideoGame/CaptainToadTreasureTracker'', an ''entire game'' starring the eponymous character and based around these kind of levels.
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII: The Frozen Throne's'' bonus campaign "The Founding of Durotar", with its shift from RTS to RPG gameplay, is this for ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. The quest-driven nature was rare for {{MMORPG}}s at the time, but was planned as a major feature of ''World of Warcraft'', and the campaign even features the Resurrection Stones that were originally going to be in ''World of Warcraft'' before the death system was revamped (the stones would ultimately become Meeting Stones).
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars Eye of the North'' was this for the sequel, ''VideoGame/GuildWars2''. The main storyline had three separate arcs which focused on the Asura, Charr, or Norn, each of which became a playable race in the sequel. The Sylvari was also present in the form of a sapling White Tree. While the primary antagonist was the Great Destroyer, the presence of the Elder Dragons was also foreshadowed, including Kralkatorrik appearing as part of the landscape.
** The ''Beyond'' storylines were introduced to renew interest in the franchise after it had laid dormant and increase awareness of the sequel. ''War in Kryta'' reintroduced the Krytan royal family and Shining Blade while also introducing the all new Seraph, the main human army in the sequel. ''Winds of Change'' similarly sets up the shift of Cantha into a monolithic, xenophobic human state. An additional storyline was planned to show how Elona would begin moving towards its defeat by Palawa Joko but was not completed.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Not Invented Here'' was launched in ''Webcomic/{{Unshelved}}'' in fall 2009. Though it's not even '''poorly''' disguised, since they brought in the NIH artist as a guest artist.
* Prior to receiving her own series and eventually becoming the Website/PlatypusComix mascot, [[Webcomic/{{Mulberry}} Mulberry Sharona]] made some guest appearances in ''Marin Meadow'', a series Peter Paltridge decided to discontinue around the time he came up with Mulberry.
* Although Creator/TCampbell has never said so outright, the ''Webcomic/PennyAndAggie'' arc "The New Reality" appears to have been in part a trial run for a spin-off set in Hollywood and focusing on Sara (like the arc itself). In late 2010, Campbell held an [=eBay=] auction for the privilege of having a character named after the highest bidder, in a new webcomic to be launched the following year. The listing stated that names which appeared in the ''Penny and Aggie'' cast page would be ineligible, as would the names "Lucy, Hilary or Martin," three of the characters from "The New Reality" arc. In the end, Campbell followed ''P&A'' with an entirely different spin-off, ''Webcomic/{{QUILTBAG}}'', which stars Sara and Lisa as college roommates.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The first episode of ''Podcast/TheAdventureZone'' was aired as part of ''Podcast/MyBrotherMyBrotherAndMe''.
* The first episode of ''Podcast/{{Serial}}'' was aired as Episode 537 of ''Radio/ThisAmericanLife'', in a transparent attempt to get listeners. It worked beyond the creators' wildest dreams.
* Parodied in the ''Script/AHDotComTheSeries'' episode "Ze Poorly-Disguised Pilot", which focuses on occasional guest stars The Germans and their adventures for a week instead.
* "El de [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons los Simpsons]]" is a short film about Grasse thinking he is El Burto. It inspired the three main characters from {{WebVideo/DaSuisa}}: Da Homa, La Morgan and Bort. The voices and costumes come from this video too.
* The third episode of the Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses 2013 anniversary special ''WebVideo/TheUncannyValley'', titled "The Reviewers", is actually the pilot episode of a [[WebVideo/TheReviewers potential new series]], which was picked up a year later.
* Ethan originally intended ''Webvideo/TheDoubleAgent'' to be about reviewing other reviewers and also about random topics (as his first episode is about the worse types of Halloween candy) after he left his first show Webvideo/WorstMusicOfTheYear behind, but he slowly warmed up to talking about music again.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Parodied in the ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'' episode "Lawnmower Dog." After Morty's dog, made sentient due to a headset made by Rick, takes other dogs along with him to colonize an alternate universe, Rick starts to talk about how there must be satisfying stories going on in that universe and how he'd watch it for "at least eleven minutes a pop." Doubles as a reference to a failed pitch for a kids' cartoon that co-creator Justin Roiland had before making ''Rick and Morty'', which never got greenlit.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/WaitTillYourFatherGetsHome'' features a {{Crossover}} with ''Series/Car54WhereAreYou'', introducing Gunther as Erma's brother in law. The episode quickly focuses on the officers trying to find a missing kid, with the Boyles shoved into the background.
** ''Wait Till Your Father Gets Home'' is one of two animated segments of ''Series/LoveAmericanStyle'' prepared as potential pilots (this was titled "Love And The Old Fashioned Father"). The second, ''Melvin Danger'' (as "Love And The Detective"), didn't get past its initial airing on ''Style''.
* The WesternAnimation/AndyPanda short "Knock Knock" is in actuality a vehicle short for Creator/WalterLantz's intended new star WesternAnimation/WoodyWoodpecker, with the bird getting much more screentime than Andy and his poppa.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' has "Pendragon", which ends with a resurrected King Arthur heading out to wander the world in search of Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. This is in fact a Poorly Disguised Pilot for a show that never came to fruition.
** The World Tour arc is rife with these. There's "The New Olympians", one for... ''The New Olympians''. "Sentinel" is a more subtle predecessor to ''Gargoyles 2198''. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in the creator's "ramble" on the episode:
---> '''Greg''': The way this ended, you'd almost think we were setting up yet another spin-off. "That wacky alien Nokkar teams up with a doctor and two archeologists to save the world from invasion and learn a little something about getting along... all in one hotel room!"
** Other episodes set up elements that would lead to spinoffs:
*** "Future Tense" with [[AppliedPhlebotinum the Phoenix Gate]] being thrown into the timestream, setting up "Timedancer" (which also never came to fruition).
*** "Walkabout" , "Bushido", "Kingdom" and "The Journey" all have elements that feature in the ''ComicBook/BadGuys'' series.
* Fan speculation ran rampant that the ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]'' episode "Far From Home" was designed as a Poorly Disguised Pilot for a ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' series that would have starred Supergirl and taken place in Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse continuity; however, [[http://adventure247.blogspot.com/2009/03/bruce-timm-on-alleged-pilot-episode.html Bruce Timm denied this]]. The fact that a ''Legion'' cartoon started up the next year, starring Franchise/{{Superman}}, is apparently just a coincidence.
* Two episodes of ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'''s sixth series push the engines into the background, to focus on a group of construction vehicles called Jack and the Pack. The proposed series was not picked up, but 13 episodes were filmed and a few years later went straight-to-video (albeit with the titles altered to make it seem Thomas and Percy are the stars of most episodes).
* The last episode of ''WesternAnimation/HongKongPhooey'', "Comedy Cowboys", uses its full half-hour length to introduce a bevy of new characters (Honcho, The Mysterious Maverick and Posse Impossible), all evidently itching to get their own cartoon. (Only one, ''Posse Impossible'', succeeded when it appeared on ''WesternAnimation/CBBears''.) Lampshaded in that Phooey does hardly anything in the episode, as they point out at the end.
* Curiously, the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' episode "Zeta" was ''not'' originally intended to be a pilot for ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject'', but it was deemed a good enough premise that it got its own show, albeit one CutShort by cancellation. They did completely redesign Zeta for the spin-off to look more human-like, which doesn't stop Batman from recognizing him in the crossover episode.
* The episode "The Fear" from ''The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians'' is acknowledged by its writers as having been intended to lead into a solo ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' series. And in a way, it eventually did, since it's written by Alan Burnett, who went on to produce ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' episode "All Growed Up" features an odd "vision into the future" where all the characters are about twelve years older and have their adventures grounded in something resembling reality, as opposed to the usually surreal and fantastic nature of the exploits of their toddler incarnations. Sure enough, the episode was quickly transformed into a series, ''Rugrats: WesternAnimation/AllGrownUp'', which shows the Rugrats as junior high schoolers.
** The episode where Suzie celebrates Kwanzaa with her family was meant to be this, as it was planned to have a spin-off focusing on Suzie and her family. It never materialized.
* Parodied in the DVDCommentary of the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' episode "The Western Air Temple", where they joke that Haru, Teo, and the Duke messing around in the temple is one of these for a spin-off called ''The Last Street Luger'' with a lost pilot episode that consists of [[LeaveTheCameraRunning 22 minutes of Teo riding around in his wheel-chair while passing various kinds of plants]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS7E2122ShortFilmsAboutSpringfield 22 Short Films About Springfield]]" is a backdoor pilot for a Simpsons spinoff called "Tales from Springfield", [[ADayInTheLimelight which would showcase the lives of every character on the show who wasn't a member of The Simpson family.]] The crew decided it would be too much work, and the idea was abandoned.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' has an episode in the fifth season that's an episode of the ShowWithinAShow ''Crash Nebula'', where main characters Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda appear purely as a FramingDevice for what is actually a pilot for a proposed spin-off. Plans never got off the ground, partly due to the creator already juggling another show [[WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom that also happened to be an action series starring a teenage boy learning to be a hero]].
** The episode "Spellementary School" was pitched as a spin-off starring Poof and [[EvilTwin Foof]] attending school in order to hone their fairy magic, with the concept being rejected as an stand-alone series but later reused.
* There's a two-part episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}'' called "Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century", which is clearly designed as a backdoor pilot for a potential new series that never entered production because Creator/{{Filmation}} had fallen upon hard times by this point (''Bravestarr'' ultimately went on to become Filmation's final, fully produced series). This bears no relation to the later Creator/DICEntertainment series ''WesternAnimation/SherlockHolmesInTheTwentySecondCentury'', which, like the two-part episode in question, is set in "New London" (''Bravestarr'' is set on the planet of "New Texas").
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' had a "Postcards from Buster" special a while before the series started.
* Inversion: The Sector V kids from ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' were actually supposed to be the supporting characters in a different series pitched by creator Tom Warburton. Creator/CartoonNetwork saw potential in this group of neighborhood children, and had him create a second pilot alongside "Kenny and the Chimp" that focused purely on them. Viewer response lead to the "Kids Next Door" being chosen over "Kenny", and the rest is history.
* WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob|Squarepants}}:
** "vs. The Big One": Notice all the named characters introduced, including one whose name (or rather, a viewer-friendly anagram of his name) is shouted by [=SpongeBob=] every time he appears. Note the utter absence of the show's usual style of humor. Note the fact that [=SpongeBob=] and the gang don't act out of character so much as they act ''without'' character, like blank slates that could have been any character from any show, with everything playing out the same way.
** "The Bad Guy Club for Villains," which consists entirely of [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick watching an episode of ''[[ShowWithinAShow Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy]]'' (similar to the "Crash Nebula" pilot above).
* ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'': The "Spacecataz" cold openings that aired during the third season were, when put together, intended to be the pilot of a spinoff miniseries featuring the Mooninites and Plutonians; the idea never got off the ground, and the show dropped the cold openings before the short could be aired in its entirety (though it's available on the volume 4 DVD.)
* ''WesternAnimation/ThundarrTheBarbarian'' did an episode where the heroes meet a male and female pair of younger adventurers; it's likely an example of this trope.
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'':
** The episode where Uncle Scrooge becomes the crime fighting "Masked Mallard". It wasn't originally intended to be one, just a one shot story, but fans and writers liked it so much they started coming up with ideas for a sequel episode. They finally decided there were just too many good ideas that they wanted to do and created ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''.
** The episode "Double-O-Duck", where Launchpad gets mistaken for a James Bond-style secret agent, seems to be the set up for a spin off, though the Film/JamesBond right-holders weren't too thrilled with the "Double-O" part. F.O.W.L. ('''F'''iendish '''O'''rganization for '''W'''old '''L'''arceny), introduced in the episode, became the main villains for Darkwing Duck.
* Not really a pilot, but Cleveland got more attention than normal on ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' after [[WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow his spin-off]] was announced.
* PlayedWith in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' with "Butters' Very Own Episode." It seems like ADayInTheLimelight episode, but actually set the stage for Butters to become an AscendedExtra after Kenny's [[TheyKilledKennyAgain longer-than-average]] death.
* ''Tijuana Toads'', a 1970s series produced by Creator/DePatieFrelengEnterprises, did this with Crazylegs Crane, Japanese Beetle, and the Blue Racer. The Blue Racer got his own series immediately after the Toads ended (with the Japanese Beetle appearing as a recurring character). Crazylegs Crane, however, had to appear in several Toads shorts (and even a few on the Blue Racer) before he finally got his own series in 1978, as a segment on the ''[[WesternAnimation/ThePinkPanther All-New Pink Panther Show]]''.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'' is rife with crossovers with the rest of the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, and [[WordOfGod the writers]] have since revealed that the two-parter with Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} was meant to launch another series, which ended up not being made. Also the last episode of season 4 really seems like they were trying start a Prowler TV spinoff.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManAndHisAmazingFriends'' also features various episodes where the PowerTrio encounters several other Marvel heroes, including the Franchise/XMen. Notably, Wolverine uses the same Australian accent he uses on the later ''WesternAnimation/PrydeOfTheXMen'' pilot, even though he's Canadian.
** It was meant to be a backdoor pilot for an X-Men show that never got off the ground, but strangely enough, [[WolverinePublicity did not include Wolverine]]. It would've had Comicbook/{{Cyclops}}, ComicBook/{{Storm}}, ComicBook/KittyPryde, ComicBook/{{Nightcrawler}}, ComicBook/{{Colossus}}, Thunderbird and ComicBook/MsMarvel ([[AdaptationNameChange renamed]] "Lady Lightning") as [[HighSchoolAU teenagers attending a public high school]] rather than the Xavier Institute. The idea was finally successfully used in 2000's ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution''.
* Comicbook/IncredibleHulk appeared in backdoor pilots in both ''WesternAnimation/IronMan'' and ''WesternAnimation/FantasticFour'', before being spun off into his own [[WesternAnimation/TheIncredibleHulk cartoon]] (which aired on UPN rather than Creator/FoxKids).
** Comicbook/GhostRider appeared in an episode as a backdoor pilot for his own cartoon on UPN, which was not picked up. This had the effect of preventing the character from appearing in ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'', as the Fox execs did not want to promote a character who was going to be used by a rival network.
* The ([[InNameOnly alleged]]) ''WesternAnimation/BettyBoop'' short ''[[ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} Popeye The Sailor]]''. While Betty is in the cartoon for about 30 seconds, a certain one-eyed sailor takes up most of the screentime, and then got his own cartoon series.
* Before starting their Little King shorts, Creator/VanBeurenStudios made two shorts based on the Little King's companion strip, "Sentinel Louie", which were both released as part of their Aesop's Film Fables series of shorts.
** "Plane Dumb" feels like a prototype for the two Van Beuren Amos 'n' Andy shorts, since the bulk of the cartoon has Tom & Jerry disguised in blackface makeup and acting like Amos 'n' Andy. They even talk, often--something they almost never do in previous shorts.
* The "[[ComicBook/JohanAndPeewit Adventures of Sir Johan and Peewit]]" episodes in Season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' come off as this. This is the opposite of the original French language comic, where the Smurfs originally appeared in the ''Johan et Pirlouit'' album ''La Flute à Six Schtroumpfs'' ("The Six Smurf Flute") before getting their own series. This also explains why the Smurfs take so long to turn up in the movie ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfsAndTheMagicFlute'' (based on the aforementioned album).
* Disney produced a CG/hand-drawn animated hybrid movie that served as the pilot to the TV series ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'', book-ended by the CG characters from ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' actually watching the movie in Andy's room.
* ''Disney/PlutosJudgementDay'', despite being labeled as a WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse short, is actually one of the first WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts to focus almost entirely on WesternAnimation/{{Pluto|thePup}}.
* ''WesternAnimation/FluppyDogs'' was intended as a pilot for a television series. The movie was not well-received, and the series was never picked up.
* The {{WesternAnimation/Pixar Short|s}} ''Air Mater'' actually [[{{Pun}} appears to be this]] to the spinoff film ''WesternAnimation/{{Planes}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'':
** The Halloween special "Underfist" relegated the show's main trio of characters to cameos in order to focus on five of the show's supporting cast members as they form the titular superhero team. It never got off the ground, with the creator later explaining that the executives interested in the project had left the company while the special was being produced, and the new ones weren't interested.
** When the show was still known as "Grim & Evil," and featured ''WesternAnimation/EvilConCarne'' shorts, one episode features the character Max Courage and his family in what was apparently intended to be the pilot for a spin-off that never materialized.
* ''WesternAnimation/WonderPets'' has an episode featuring Ming-Ming visiting a cousin of hers that is a poorly disguised pilot for a possible spin-off series with Ming-Ming as the lead character, but said spin-off was never made.
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'' put the characters of Gwen and Kevin [[PutOnABus on a bus]], but three episodes focus on how they're doing at Gwen's college. Those episodes have Gwen take up her old Lucky Girl identity from the original series and feature supporting cast members like Professor Xagliv, [[AlmightyJanitor school janitor/secret master magician]] Bezel, a [[HeelFaceTurn reformed]] Hex, a [[TheRival Charmcaster]] in a position to [[HeelFaceTurn reform and become a friend]], and set [[EvilOverlord the evil alien turtle Adwaita]] loose to become a potential BigBad to Gwen. WordOfGod stated that these episodes could be spun off into a ''Lucky Girl'' show for CN Asia ([[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff where Gwen is immensely popular]]), but it never materialized due to the lackluster reception of ''Omniverse'' as a whole, and the entire franchise was subject to ContinuityReboot [[WesternAnimation/Ben102016 two years]] after its end.
* Given the theme song is entirely about the Boo Brothers, with Franchise/ScoobyDoo hardly mentioned, it's hard to believe that ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMeetsTheBooBrothers'' wasn't intended as a pilot for a Boo Brothers series.
* ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures:''
** Two episodes of the series focus on Elmyra's previously unseen and unmentioned family. The first one introduces us to Mr. Skullhead, as the subject of Elmyra's imaginary TV show. He went on to become a recurring character in ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''. Although the episodes never got picked up for a series, Elmyra did eventually end up starring in [[WesternAnimation/PinkyElmyraAndTheBrain another show]], which her family (and even Furrball) are left out of.
** "The Return of Batduck", which is a homage and tie-in to the 1992 Tim Burton film, ''Film/BatmanReturns'', is a pilot for the short-lived spin-off, ''The Plucky Duck Show'', which otherwise wound up airing only as a package of previously-aired Plucky Duck cartoons from ''Tiny Toons'' (though some shorts aired on ''The Plucky Duck Show'' first).
** "Fields of Honey" and "Two-Tone Town" are also suspected of being this; the latter even lampshades the show's eventual replacement (with "ACME Oop!", a.k.a ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'').
* Speaking of ''Animaniacs'', "Spellbound" gives WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain a full half-hour story before getting their own show, and "One Flew Over The Cuckoo Clock" was a pilot for a ''Slappy Squirrel'' series. The credits for the latter episode also feature different end credits music than the other episodes of ''Animaniacs''.
** The episode "Plan Brain From Outer Space" from the actual ''Pinky and the Brain'' series was another example of this. It was intended as a pilot for a show called ''Zalgar, The Brain Eater'', which featured the alien from the Animaniacs episode "PottyEmergency" trying to go after different brains of people. Most of the episode's dialogue had to be altered to remove references to the show.
* ''WesternAnimation/SecretMountainFortAwesome'' may be the most interesting version of this. At the end of its run, it had the episode "Uncle Grandpa", starring a completely different cast and only brief appearances from the main characters. Eventually, ''WesternAnimation/UncleGrandpa'' was greenlit for its own series. What makes this interesting is that, similar to the ''Kenny and the Chimp''/''Codename Kids Next Door'' situation above, Uncle Grandpa was the star of the pilot ''Secret Mountain Fort Awesome'' was based on, with the Disgustoids only having a brief appearance and were seemingly mindless monsters.
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' has "In Brightest Day", an episode that focuses primarily on the origin of the Kyle Rayner version of Franchise/GreenLantern, and does a pretty good job of establishing his mythology and arch-enemy Sinestro. Superman is a secondary character at most, and a victim of TheWorfEffect. Ultimately, though, no new GL show came of it and when ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' came along, John Stewart was used as the team's Green Lantern rather than Kyle. Kyle would not appear again (save for a silent cameo in the ''Justice League'' episode "Hereafter") until many years later in the ''Justice League Unlimited'' episode "The Return," where it was revealed that he'd been stationed on Oa after the events of "In Brightest Day," thus explaining why John was acting as Earth's Green Lantern instead.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':
** The episode "Doof 101" is so obviously this, with all the focus on Doof, Vanessa and Perry and only a brief glimpse of the title characters, plus the fact that it had its own theme song, no running gags, and an inexplicable subplot about talking bugs.
** "The OWCA Files" features the same talking bugs and Perry assembling a new team of agents, including Doof. This is particularly obvious as it premiered after the show's GrandFinale.
* ''The Henry and June Show'', a half-hour ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam'' special, was produced in hopes of spinning ''[=KaBlam=]!'' hosts Henry and June off into their own series and premiered in Summer 1999 (around the same time Nickelodeon started using the duo as hosts for various programming blocks, replacing Stick Stickly). Due to low ratings, the spin-off never happened and the special was [[MissingEpisode never aired again]].
* ''WesternAnimation/StreetSharks'' has an example that's like an odd cross between this and a ReTool. It introduces a trio of evil velociraptor-like aliens from outer space in "Ancient Sharkonauts," and introduces their counterparts, the heroic Dino Vengers, in the following episode, "Sharkotic Reaction." The dinosaurs then proceed to stick around for the next six episodes, which, as it turned out, are the FINAL six episodes of the series. The opening title sequence even changed to call the show ''Dino Vengers Featuring Street Sharks'' in the original airings. This resulted in the Dino Vengers and raptors, heavily retooled and having cut continuity with ''Street Sharks'', getting their own show the next year: ''WesternAnimation/ExtremeDinosaurs''.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/SofiaTheFirst'' has Sofia rescue a princess named Elena. Sure enough, ''WesternAnimation/ElenaOfAvalor'' made it to television screens later that year, making this one of the most successful examples of this trope.
* The ''WesternAnimation/SkylandersAcademy'' episode "Crash Landing" features VideoGame/CrashBandicoot as a special guest star. Here, he is SuddenlyVoiced, much more intelligent than normal, and everyone thinks he's extremely cool, especially Spyro, who begins trying to mimic him and essentially becomes his FanBoy. The idea of Crash getting his own show is outright lampshaded in the episode itself.
-->'''Eruptor:''' That dude was so cool. I wish we could have gotten to know him better.\\
'''Master Eon:''' Yes, Eruptor, Crash was quite the aspirational hero whose wacky adventures would make for addictive weekly viewing.
* Halfway through Season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/TheLoudHouse'', Bobby and Ronnie Anne move with their extended family, the Casagrandes. This happens during a full 2-parter episode where we meet the entire family that is an obvious way to launch a spin-off. And indeed, in early 2018 Nickelodeon announced ''Los Casagrandes''.