In Top Gear, the presenter originally planned for the Vampire rocket-car segment was James May. He had to back out due to a schedule conflict and Richard Hammond did it instead. The car crashed at 288 mph and nearly killed him. The car not only went off the track but rolled over and did an extended slide upside down. Hammond's height, generously listed as 5'7" and for which he is frequently made fun of, may have saved him from being decapitated. May is five inches taller. On the news segment where they watch the footage, notice Clarkson is doing most of the talking; you can see that May knows exactly that fact... his expression says it all. On the other hand, the bulk of the filming had been completed around 5 pm, but they had use of the track for another half hour. Hammond opted to take the rocket-car out one more time, leading to the crash. Had he done the segment, the cautious May (compared to the risk-taker Hammond) might never have taken it out for one last run.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: A plan was scrapped to reveal in the episode "Taken", when Olivia's mother dies, that her mother lied about being raped, followed by Olivia meeting her father. Unfortunately, many fans still haven't gotten the "scrapped" part and think that's All There in the Manual, which must have made for a very confusing Season 8.
For Law & Order: Alana de la Garza's pregnancy was going to be written into Season 21. In spite of Law & Order's tendency to give minimal details about the character's personal lives, both Mike/Connie and Lupo/Connie had fanbases.
Heroes: Forget Peter Petrelli's telekinesis. What really saved the world from getting a virus released on it in S2 was the Writer's Strike. As you might have been expecting, a whole section of the S2 DVD/Bluray release is devoted to What Could Have Been without the Strike ("Untold Stories").
Elle was supposed to be revealed as Claire's sister... and, of course, yet another damn Petrelli. This was luckily dropped. Though the writers briefly decided to imply that Sylar was a Petrelli for no discernible reason instead. Then it turned out Mama Petrelli lied about that.
Being "revealed as Claire's sister" does not mean she would've been a Petrelli - all it required was for them to share a single parent, since they never specified whether the plan was that they be full-blooded sisters or half. As such, Bob Bishop might well have still been intended to be her father, but Meredith Gordon - who is blonde like both Claire and Elle - would almost certainly have been her mother. In turn, if Bob was still her father in this case, it would have made things fascinating if Stephen Tobolowskyhadn't badly hurt his neck and thus had a Bridge Dropped on His Character, instead getting character development regarding his relationship with Elle and her mother that might've seen him Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
Let's all breathe a heavy, sad sigh for the proposed Origins spinoff anthology series.
The first season had plenty of plans that were abandoned, with Sylar originally being a Paul E. Sylar (and much older than the Sylar that was used), and a terrorist plot involving a character named Amid Halebi (who had a connection to Matt), and countless other differences in the plans...
Before the series started, the plan was to have a revolving cast, with only a few characters from previous seasons returning the next. Strangely, that started to happen later in the series, but only with characters who were introduced after season one. Virtually every main character from season one either survived or is survived by a twin, and of now the main cast is still mostly season one alumni and new introductions. Meanwhile, main characters from other seasons, such as Adam, were promptly killed off when their existence wasn't relevant, or like Monica, completely forgotten.
Another early idea was for the show to be about an alien who watched bad movies as a way of understanding Earth's culture.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie was originally conceived as an origin movie, revealing how Joel got to space and built the bots. However, the executives funding the movie wanted little to no riffing and it would lead to Joel's departure from the show.
Now, that's an interesting What Could Have Been there - how the series could have gone if Joel didn't leave!
The last episode for season 6 was originally planned to be Master Ninja III, but a combination of being unable to get it and it being Frank Conniff's last episode lead them to use Samson vs. the Vampire Women instead.
Before Comedy Central cancelled MST3K, they offered the crew the idea to reformat the show to make fun of TV shows under a thirty minute time-slot.
Jerry Seinfeld could have been the host of MST3K, but when Joel Hodgson pitched it to him, he turned it down as he was in the midst of making his own series.
Movies attempted to get but couldn't include the John Travolta and Lily Thomlin "romance" film Moment by Moment (which had the rights yanked at the last minute), the Elvis Presley western film Charro! (which was planned to be aired in Season 4) and the Leonard Nimoy pilot movie Baffled! about a race car driver turned psychic occult detective.
So Weird had its arc all planned out (including episodes about Fi's mom coming to terms with her alcoholism, one about Jack discovering that he was a knight in a past life (with help from Rebecca, who had known his past life), one about Fi helping a wandering spirit get to Heaven, and one where Fi finds a portal to Hell and goes there to rescue her dead father). Sadly, the lead actress left midway through, a replacement was cast, and the show —while still keeping its weird stories and characters — got Lighter and Softer (making it more like a Disneyfied version of Goosebumps) instead of Darker and Edgier.
The X-Files episode "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" was supposed to end with the CSM killing the Lone Gunmen for discovering his identity; the ending was changed because the writers wanted to leave it ambiguous how much of the story was true. In reference to this, one scene has the Cigarette Smoking Man read a story that he had published to a magazine and then complain that the ending had been totally changed.
Once the fans revived Jericho for a second season, only 7 episodes were allotted it. It was originally going to be much broader, with the story in Cheyenne expanded and a story in New York City as well.
Blake's 7 was slated to continue into a fifth season, with the first episode revealing that the only character to die in the dramatic shoot-out at the end of Season 4 was Blake himself. Everyone else would merely have been stunned (aside from any actors who didn't wish to return) and the season would start with the crew as prisoners of the Federation. However, it was generally felt that the series had gone as far as it could go and rather than face the cost of building new sets (since the crew's starship and base had been destroyed at the end of Season 4) the BBC decided to can the show, although ratings were still decent. As a result, everyone dies.
Terry Nation wanted the aliens invading the galaxy at the end of the second season to actually be the Daleks themselves. In fact, the idea of a Doctor Who/Blake's 7 crossover was popular with Tom Baker and some of the B7 cast.
Gene Roddenberry wrote and produced sci-fi pilots that were never picked up for a regular series. Genesis II had six episode concepts written. Planet Earth, aka Gene Roddenberry's Earth or Battleground: Earth, reused characters and concepts, and was the inspiration for Earth: Final Conflict. Concepts from both pilots were reused for a third pilot, Strange New World. Andromeda is based on notes for those series. A fourth pilot, The Questor Tapes, was the inspiration for Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
After the series Andromeda came to an end, its original producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who was forced out midway through season 2, released a "Coda" on his website detailing where he had planned to take the series in its planned five-year run. To say that his original vision was different to what made it onto screen is an understatement. So is saying that it was better.
Tyr would take command of the combined Nietchzean prides, Harper would become the controlling intelligence of the Consensus of Parts (by this time he would have already gotten laid and be over the crude sexual jokes), Rev Bem would become leader of the Wayists, and Beka would take the final action to defeat the Abyss using the Engine of Creation, already being A God Am I by this point due to her prolonged use of the Engine and becoming even more of one when she merges with the Abyss (though this essentially results in both of them disappearing as they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence).
And they'd still be a doctor and a captain! But with Ho Yay!
Also, judging from the shooting script of the first episode, Simon (and possibly, by extension, River) was supposed to have an English accent (Simon uses the word "maths" instead of the American "math"). But, this could also be attributed to show creator and pilot writer Joss Whedon's upbringing and education in the UK.
Kaylee was originally going to be an Asian character, but Jewel Staite was cast instead. Understandable, but with the series' issues with Asian representation...yeah.
Speaking of unfortunate material, there was a proposed episode (that never made it to air) where the audience learns what was in the needle Inara was toting in the pilot during the flight through Reaver territory. Turns out it's a biological weapon that kills anyone who tries to touch her... which is discovered when Inara is gang-raped. Yikes.
If Patrick Duffy had not returned to Dallas, resulting in its "Dream Season" actually happening, these would have been the results of that season's cliffhangers:
Pam would have opened the running shower to reveal a dead Mark Graison (this is what Victoria Principal filmed and believed had happened until the season finale with a returning Bobby Ewing actually aired). Pam would have inherited Graison's ginormous wealth, blamed JR for her new husband's death, and come after JR with everything she had.
Sue Ellen would have survived the bomb explosion but been blinded. She, too, would have blamed JR for her tragedy and sworn revenge.
The Jock Ewing lookalike Ben Stivers would have been revealed to actually BE Jock Ewing: he would have attempted to reclaim his rightful place as head of Ewing Oil, forcing JR out.
Nicholas Brendon initially tried out for the Mike Peterson/Deathlok role, but didn't get it.
Melinda May was originally going to be a white woman named Althea Rice. The role was rewritten after Ming-Na Wen nailed her audition, and the character's name was thusly changed to avoid any Unfortunate Implications.
Isabelle Hartley was originally going to be the girlfriend of the late Victoria Hand. Maurissa Tancharoen claims this idea ended up scrapped since the staff didn't want to deal with the Internet Backdraft the show would've gotten over killing off another lesbian character.
There were plans for a spin-off centered around Mockingbird and Lance Hunter, which would have launched after Season 2. Poor Mockingbird can't catch a break!
Tripp was originally supposed to die in the Season 1 finale, essentially serving as a Mauve Shirt. BJ Britt's performance made the character so popular with the writers and fans that he was kept around until Season 2's mid-season finale, where he was then killed off for maximum shock value.
Before getting picked up by Netflix, Jessica Jones was originally pitched to ABC, which likely would've meant toning down some of the content. Ms. Marvel was also originally going to appear as a supporting character (as she did in the comic), but plans for the upcoming Captain Marvel movie killed any chance of that. Ms. Marvel was subsequently replaced with Patsy Walker.
Marvel had plans for a Mockingbird series that was to air on ABC Family. The series would have featured Bobbi Morse as a geeky college freshman who ends up recruited by a spy agency, with a tone that was compared to "AliasmeetsFelicity."
Cameron getting caught in a jeep explosion at the end of the first season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was supposedly written in case Summer Glau wanted to leave the role at the end of the series. If she had, the resolution would have been that Cameron had her skin burned off in the fire and regrew a new one for the new actress, either like Cromartie did early in the series or by having similar abilities to the T-X of the third film.
One vocal part of the series Hate Dom was that the series was set in the present day, instead of being set in Future War as basically Band of Brotherswith cyborgs. The season two cliffhanger indicates this is what the third season would actually have been. But, of course, Fox...
Actually, thanks again to the Writer's Strike, the whole plot for Season 1 had to be dropped and canceled. The Jeep explosion was supposed to be the halfway point. Remember that blonde chick, Cheri Westin who was mysterious, "broken goods" (as Morris called her) and seemed like she'd play a big part, but then suddenly vanished in Season 2, never to be mentioned again? Yeah, she was supposed to have a sub-plot about being the victim of blackmail from the same person who made Jordan Cowan (the cheerleader who killed herself near the beginning) commit suicide. Because John got to know her, he unwittingly got dragged into a similar type of situation where his identity would be compromised. Guess we'll never know who made poor Jordan kill herself, or what dark secrets Cheri had...
The producers of the show Once Upon a Time originally wanted to cast Lady Gaga as the Blue Fairy, but her management never replied back to them.
In an early version of the script for the Quantum Leap episode that introduced Alia, the "Evil Leaper", the major difference from the aired version occurred at the end. Alia has a gun on Sam, and is being ordered to kill him. Sam talks her down, appealing to her better nature, and gets the gun from her. Then, Sam points the gun at Alia! He tells her that he can't let her go, that the "stakes are too high." Al is very encouraging of this development, and Ziggy even says that Sam has to shoot her to protect the timeline. Alia, needless to say, feels a tad betrayed. Then she Leaps out. One can only presume that sanity prevailed, because this out-of-character display of hypocrisy never made it to air.
The producers planned to have Sam leap into Thomas Magnum for the season four finale, but the plan was nixed by reluctance from Tom Selleck (who apparently hadn't been in on the idea until late) and rumors that a Magnum P.I. movie was in the works, so they might not be allowed anyway.
In the beginning, Saban's Masked Rider was supposed to be a very different show. Several big differences included Edenoi exploding, no Ferbus, a different Albee and Molly, different voices for Chopper & Magno, no original villain footage... Yet, Ted Jan Roberts is still Dex. As seen in this pilot.
The pilot for Chuck originally had Natalie Martinez cast as a neighbor and love interest for Chuck Bartowski. The character, Kayla Hart, was dropped because the show's cocreators thought she made the plot too complicated. (They also realized it was unlikely a Nerd Herder would have two women pining over him.) Her photo was released with some early cast promo shots.
Word has it that originally the character of Ellie was either conceived as a friend of Chuck's, not his sister OR that Ellie took on some of the lines from removed Kayla, explaining some of the unintentional Incest Subtext in the pilot.
Torchwood: Children of Earth was originally going to have Mickey and Martha on the team, but this was unfortunately scrapped due to actors' scheduling conflicts.
The original pilot of Dollhouse was quite different and is available as an extra on the last disc of the Season One DVD set. Several scenes from it were placed in episodes 2-5. Interestingly, in this version Saunders almost can't be a doll, indicating that this was not a plot point planned from the beginning. And Topher doesn't approve of altruistic pro bono engagements, whereas he himself is behind one in the aired episode "Briar Rose".
Desperate Housewives had a weird take on an inversion early on. Throughout season 1, there was subtle build-up to a sub-plot, picked up by many fans, that Tom Scavo is a bigamist. When this eventually went nowhere, creator Marc Cherry went on the record, explaining that they didn't feel it was right for Tom's character to be a cheater. Season and a half later, once the audience dropped its guard, a version of the plot - that Tom had a daughter by a pre-marital one-night stand - was bombarded into the show, taking everyone by surprise.
In the late nineties, there was talk of resurrecting the cult Channel Four gameshow Wanted with celebrities as a one-off tie-in for Comic Relief- instead, we got the first Celebrity Big Brother.
Stargate SG-1 would have went down a very different road if the writers had their way. Originally it was planned to end after the fifth season, and be continued with a theatrical film which in turn would lead to a sequel series, and if that wasn't picked up, another film. Another plan was to have a series of SG-1 theatrical films run alongside the sequel series to allow it to have its own characters and plots. The series was cancelled by Showtime, but the Sci-Fi Channel picked it up and gave it a sixth season. The writers then planned that season to be SG-1's last, but the ratings were so strong, MGM and Sci-Fi decided to give it another season and axed their plans for the film. So their script was then reworked into a grand series finale, which would lead to the sequel series. The seventh season ended up doing even better than the sixth, and the series was renewed yet again. So finally the script had to be reworked into the two part season finale "Lost City" with the same basic plot of the film, but a lot trimmed out and removed. The ideas and plot elements written for the sequel series were used to create Stargate Atlantis.
"Lost City" originally was going to have Sam and Jack kiss, when it was planned to be the series finale, as a nod to all the shipping requests and theories among fans, which wouldn't have been the first time. The irony is they were never intended to be a couple, as this was pure fan speculation/wishes, and in fact they had separate love interests intended for them but both characters were eventually axed.
Originally the entire Goa'uld fleet would have been destroyed at the end of "Lost City" as Anubis would have conquered the entire Goa'uld empire and sent a fleet of hundreds of ships to attack Earth, essentially ending the Goa'uld plotline with a bang. After an 8th season was confirmed, the writers decided to extend the Goa'uld story to the end of that season (which they believed would finally be their last).
The original press information for Stargate Atlantis included a scientist called Dr. Benjamin Ingram, African Canadian. They brought back Dr. Rodney McKay from SG-1 instead.
This is because David Hewlett read for the part of Benjamin Ingram and got the part. He then basically said "why don't we just bring my SG-1 character back instead of having me play a different character?" The producers agreed.
Stargate Atlantis was not conceived originally as a spin-off series, but as a sequel to SG-1. The idea of Atlantis being a lost city of the Ancients was an idea the writers had for a long time, and its discovery was supposed to end SG-1, essentially as a way to move the franchise forward. Atlantis would have been discovered under Antarctica, rather than a distant galaxy, and the Stargate would have become public knowledge. The SGC would have been relocated to Atlantis, with the teams and command being less military in orientation and international in membership. Contact with new alien races and travel between galaxies would have been more commonplace, and the Replicators alongside rouge androids the Ancients built would have been the major villains (probably an inspiration for the Asurans), not the Wraith. Most of this was axed when SG-1 looked like it would not end anytime in the near future, and the basic premise had to be reworked into a spin-off that ran alongside SG-1.
Tok'ra characters were planned to have a much larger role in the franchise. Lantash was also originally planned to be a main character in Stargate: Atlantis, and start a romantic relationship with Samantha Carter, which is hinted at in SG-1, but was cut short after the character was killed off. Anise, another Tok'ra, was planned to be SG-1's answer to Seven of Nine and be a potential love interest for Jack O'Neill, but after it was discovered the character had no impact on SG-1's ratings, the writers happily dumped the character.
Had it continued into a third season, the narrative of Stargate Universe might have jumped a few weeks, a few years or a few hundred years into the future. The writers also didn't intend to leave Park blind forever.
Joanne would never have survived that trip to Ireland; the phone booth she was in during her last scene in "Forgiveness" would have been targeted by an IRA bomb - arranged by Jim Profit, of course.
Pete Gracen would have been a senator, then he and Nora would have eventually divorced.
Jim Profit, a full 10 years before Don Draper, would have been revealed to have pulled a Martin Guerre, and gone back to kill the man whose identity he stole.
Jim would have engineered the poisoning of Chaz Gracen (who also would have still been married to Bobbie), and convinced him that his father was trying to kill him. He would then have eliminated Gracen Senior, thus reconciling Chaz and Pete.
David Greenwalt wanted Jim to reappear in Angel as an employee of Wolfram and Hart, but because of Adrian's schedule and rights issues, this was scrapped.
As much as Coy and Vance Duke were disliked amongst The Dukes of Hazzard'' fans, the idea of having all FIVE Duke cousins working together would have been pretty cool.
Creator Dan Knauf dropped a few bombshells during a convention of how the now-canceled season three of Carnivàle would have started:
Both Ben and Justin would have survived their apparent "deaths" from the finale. Ben would have ended up like Management, crippled and surviving on his own magic, manipulating the Carnivale to his own purposes. Justin would have married Sofie, and supposedly had a child with her, though whether he ever found out she was his daughter was not mentioned. He would not have had the power he once had, though: the shrapnel near his heart would have severely weakened him, reducing him to a figurehead and leaving Sofie and Iris as the true powers of the Ministry.
Jonesy would also have survived the gunshot wound. He would have returned to baseball to play for the Yankees, and stayed married to Libby.
The third season's theme would have been Sofie's internal struggle of her good, human, side and her evil Omega side.
The opening scene would have been a small boy of about three, running through the New Caanan camp. He would have approached Justin, flanked by Sofie and Iris, and called him "Daddy". The question of his parentage - Sofie or Iris as his mother, Ben or Justin as his father - would have been a driving plot point.
SupposedlyScrubs initially planned, if the show wound up being canceled after or during its first season to do a reveal in its final episode that the Janitor was actually a figment of JD's imagination; as a result, they tried to avoid having him interact with anyone else. The show resolutely failed to get canceled, and eventually the actor playing the Janitor begged the writers to let him interact with other people, so this idea was dropped.
The sci-fi series Odyssey 5 was supposed to end up with humanity changing into human-AI hybrids, which is certainly bold. Given the uneven writing of the show, I'm not sure if they could have pulled it off. Anyway, it was cancelled after one season.
In the book Batman Begins and the Comics, released in 2005, Julian Darius talks about a proposed Bruce Wayne spinoff series. The show would have run for five to six seasons, and followed Wayne as he matured from a rambunctious 17-year old kid to a serious young man, and follow his travels from Gotham City to various parts of the world (where he would train). At some point late in the series, he would discover a large cavern under Wayne Manor, and he, Lucius Fox and several Polish workers in blacked-out buses would construct the Batcave. Wayne would have also met early versions of The Joker, Harleen Quinzel, Jonathan Crane and Edward Nygma, as well as Clark Kent. In the end, the rise of the big-budget superhero film (X-Men came out in 2000) and an aborted plan for a film adaptation of Frank Miller's Year One script, as well as the reboot of the film franchise in 2005 killed this series stone-dead. Instead, Alfred Gough and his production team chose to create Smallville instead. Almost ten years later, a "young Bruce Wayne" series actually did materialise.
The cancelled TV adaptation of the Global Frequency comic book series would have seen storylines and concepts from the source material being adapted (including the Le Parkour one-shot, where a female member of the organization must race across London and stop a madman who plans to infect the city with the Ebola Virus) as well as episodes scripted by heavyweight comic writers, including series creator Warren Ellis.
If Defying Gravity had lasted beyond the first season, several plot threads would have been revealed. The team would obtain all of the "fractal objects" (like Beta) over the course of the show. Earth would have been revealed as a very messed-up place. Season three would have taken place either partially or completely on Mars, with two characters (Sharon and Walker) still alive on the planet when the team arrived. Nadia would have been revealed as a hermaphrodite (explaining fan theories) and would have turned into a man because of exposure to the fractal objects, and Goss would have a change of heart and end up helping the team at one point.
This isn't mentioning the thousands of Jalex fics, a fandom that supports this incestuous pair in a childrens show, a bunch of viewers who obtained unwanted No Yay, and two teenage actors who can't help their UST.
Sonny with a Chance was originally intended to play up a Nico/Sonny/Chad love triangle. For example, the pilot doesn't include Chad, and has Nico kissing Sonny's hand. A few hints of the Nico/Sonny side of the triangle survived into the 1st season scripts, but on the whole the show is only ever going to be Sonny/Chad.
Before that, the series was going to be called Welcome To Mollywood, and Sonny was originally called Molly.
It was also briefly Welcome to Holliwood with Demi Lovato's character being named Holli (yes, it was spelled with an "i") before they settled on the final show title. YMMV on whether or not they chose the best title.
Dan Schneider has implied that he believes that Sonny with a Chance was based on an idea he created and pitched to the Disney Channel a long time before that show actually aired. Had he ended up doing his version of the show he would probably still be working for Disney, it probably would have stopped him from making Drake & Josh, and that would have ended the successor shows iCarly, Victorious, Sam & Cat and Gibby. That would have left gaping holes in Nick's schedule, torched the finances (as iCarly was an unexpected mega-smash hit) for at least 5 years and would likely have killed the careers of Miranda Cosgrove, Victoria Justice and Jennette McCurdy before they ever got off the ground.
One other potential alternate future would've been Dan making his Sonny With A Chance show, but still doing Drake & Josh, just on Disney. Which would have meant Cosgrove (who was an accomplished singer even back then) becoming a Disney starlet around the same time Disney were trying to figure out what to do with Development Hell project for what eventually became Hannah Montana.
Speaking of iCarly, the title characters name was meant to be Sam, with the sidekick being named Kira. They couldn't get the website address for iSam though. So Sam became Carly and Kira became Sam. With Freddie keeping his name, it has the humorous consequence of swapping around what the Portmanteau Couple Name for the two main couples are. The Just Friends main character/male lead ship would have been called Seddie (instead of Creddie) and the Jerk Ass sidekick/male lead would have been called Kreddie (instead of Seddie) instead. Funnily enough, the Les Yay ship on the show would almost be the exact same name, except it would be Kam (Kira/Sam) instead of Cam (Carly/Sam).
Jim Broadbent was John Sullivan's original choice for the role of Del Boy. While failing to get the role, he did still appear within the show as DCI Slater, who made three appearances - all highly memorable.
Enn Reitel, Robin Nedwell, and Billy Murray were also considered possible candidates for the role of Del Boy Trotter, before it went to David Jason.
John Sullivan intended for Chas & Dave to sing the series' theme song due to the success from their "Rockney" style of music (a mixture of rock 'n roll and cockney). However, they were unavailable having just recorded their hit record "Ain't No Pleasing You", so Sullivan was persuaded by Ray Butt to sing the song himself, which he did.
In 1986, David Jason told John Sullivan at a dinner that he wanted to leave the show and further his career elsewhere, so the fifth series finale "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was written as the final OFAH episode, and would have seen Del leaving England with his friend Jumbo Mills to run a car business in Australia. A spin-off entitled Hot-Rod was planned, which would've been all about Rodney running Trotters Independent Traders with Mickey Pearce. However, Jason changed his mind and decided to stay on, and Sullivan rewrote the ending to show Del rejecting Jumbo's offer.
In the first chapter of the early 2000s Christmas trilogy, "If They Could See Us Now" (2001), The BBC wanted to get the rights from ITV to use the actual Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? gameshow with a special guest appearance from Chris Tarrant, but ITV refused because a plot point was that Del gave a correct answer and the quizmaster said it was wrong due to an error. They ended up with a blatant expy called Goldrush, hosted by Jonathan Ross.
Not only was Glee originally going to be a movie, it was a bit more dark with actual drug use and a sexual student-teacher relationship. Also there was going to be an Indian character named Ranjit. When Chris Colfer came in to audition, the writers made up a character for him and Ranjit was completely written out. Sure, Chris is great as Kurt, but you can't help wondering what Ranjit would have been like...
The original pilot script for Glee also did not include Sue Sylvester or any analogous character. She was written in because a higher-up suggested that the story needed an antagonist (a rare occasion of Executive Meddling getting something right?) and was not originally intended to be a regular character until another project of Jane Lynch's fell through.
Rumors have it as well that Sam was originally was supposed to be Kurt's football-playing boyfriend, but Ryan Murphy scrapped that idea after it got spread around the web. Eventually Blaine was written in as a potential love interest for Kurt.
Another reason the Sam/Kurt story arc was dropped was after Murphy noticed Chord Overstreet's chemistry with Diana Agron, and decided to pair up their characters instead. So the popular season 2 Quam/Fabrevans ship was never meant to happen at all.
Tina was originally meant to be a much bigger character than she turned out to be, with a plan for her to sing "Erotica"/"Justify my Love" in the Madonna special, and for her to have a season 3 adoption storyline with her adoptive mother portrayed by Margaret Cho. It was scrapped.
Fans speculate that the writers simply lost interest in Tina and decided to put more focus on Kurt.
Fandom-wise: One of Kurt and Blaine's portmanteau couple names would probably have been Burt, if it hadn't been for the fact that that is the name of Kurt's dad.
The biggest one right now: What if Cory Monteith lived instead of died, and thus Finn doesn't get killed off?
Through this isn't confirmed, it is likely that Glee 5x03 did reveal a bit of what would have happened had Cory lived. Rachel would succeed on Broadway and maybe do a Woody Allen movie, while Finn would become a Teacher, and they would reunite in what would have been a distant finale.
After the finale of Ashes to Ashes aired, producer Matthew Graham gave an interview (and you can consider yourself warned for massive spoilers) where he talked about the three possible endings the writers had considered, and one alternate version to the third they almost shot before going with the version they chose:
Ending #1: Alex woke up in 2008, the world of 1981-1983 was all a dream. Discarded because "we didn't think anyone would want that because we didn't want that with Sam".
Ending #2: Alex woke up, but chose to "go back" by killing herself, which would have been a repeat of how Life On Mars ended.
Ending #3: Alex is dead and has to move on with her existence, which is the one they chose. There was almost a cameo from John Simm, reprising his role as Sam Tyler, which they storyboarded and apparently everyone liked. Sam would have walked out of the Railway Arms at the end, instead of Nelson, and the ending was ultimately discarded because "it would steal all of Keeley's thunder, it would undermine Ashes as a show and also Sam's supposed to be dead, so he should be in heaven. It suddenly made him seem like a superhero – he could go from purgatory to heaven and back again."
In 1969, The Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, and Curly-Joe) filmed a pilot episode for a TV series called Kook's Tour, which would have featured the "retired" Stooges traveling around the world, with every episode filmed on location. Larry Fine, however, suffered a stroke in 1970, that killed his acting career and plans for the TV series. Larry died in January 1975 after a second stroke that left him in a coma. Moe planned to continue The Three Stooges, with Emil filling in for Larry, but Moe died in mid-1975. As a result, the pilot episode of "Kook's Tour" is the last Three Stooges short.
A Venezuelan one: the (in)famous early ninetiesSoap OperaPor Estas Calles originally was, and was promoted in the pre-air sales as, a typical pink soap named "Eva Luna", about a Wrongly Accused girl who had to hide and change her name, taking the titular name for herself. They even had filmed several chapters when the 1992 coup attempt against the president happened and suddenly there wasn't the right atmosphere for a "normal" soap. Then the head writer decided to retool the story to take place in The Present Day instead of the atemporal Soap Opera Time, and go for realism and cynicism, expanding the cast and introducing Loads and Loads of Characters. The Exceutives loved it so much that they immediately ordered the erasure of the already filmed chapters. The only things that survived from the original were the already cast actor, and the plot about the heroine being wrongly accused and changing her name while hiding, now made gritty and dark.
More fun: one of the characters of Por Estas Calles was "El Hombre de la Etiqueta" (The Tag Man), a ex-policeman turned vigilante Serial Killer after the murder of his son, going for common crooks and placing a morgue tag with the word "Irrecuperable" ("unreedemeable") on his victims. Despite being the main enemy of the heroine (whom he mistakenly believed the real murderer of his son), the character gained a Misaimed Fandom of his own. Had the soap not had enough Executive Meddling to make the original head writer resign, he would have had a Redemption Equals Death destiny, instead of the Karma Houdini ending he eventually got.
At one point, there were plans for the Grand Finale of Seinfeld to end with a scene where the Main Characters, after spending a year in prison, would gather at the coffee shop, Kramer having become a religious freak, Elaine having a mohawk and piercings, and George wearing a dress, before Jerry walks in, looking completely ordinary, sits down and says cheerfully, "Well, that was tough.
During the summer of 1993, when Jerry Seinfeld was answering fans' questions on the Prodigy bulletin board system, someone asked who had won the infamous Contest. Jerry notes that it was George, and that he and Larry David were tempted to have a scene early in the next season where George would discover that the contest had ended a year earlier and no one had bothered to tell him.
Farscape: Chiana was originally intended to have been killed by Durka in her very first episode, but the writers liked Gigi Edgley so much that it was Only a Flesh Wound. Zhaan was originally a male character called Zen. Also, in very early versions of the storyline, Scorpius would have been a puppet character, and Crais's sidekick.
Reported possibilities for the aborted Season Five as well as the main Scarran-Sebacean arc that got wrapped up as "The Peacekeeper Wars": return appearances by previous villains Furlow and Natira, and the long-awaited Chiana-centric plot arc picking up on the Nebari and their plan for galactic domination through VD.
The original plan for Rygel was that we would see him take back his empire from his traitorous cousin, like he promises to do one day in the pilot. Unfortunately, an episode with just one more Hynerian puppet caused so many filming issues that everyone realized there was no way they could do an episode with a whole planet of them. Luckily, this plot thread did get wrapped up in the comics.
Young Jeezy, not Saigon, was the rapper originally slated to be managed by Turtle on Entourage.
In Survivor, Shane Powers was intended to be on Heroes vs. Villains, but was dropped in favour of Russell Hantz, who more or less wound up continuing his Samoa adventures (while somehow knowing he didn't win the latter) and had the advantage of nobody actually really knowing who he was, similar to how Amanda and James had the advantage in Micronesia and Rupert in All stars.
A player quit Fiji before filming even began so it was the only cast to be an odd number.
Similarly, Shane and Sandra amongst others were intended to return in Micronesia.
The fourth season, which ended up taking place in the Marquesas Islands, was originally supposed to have taken place in the country of Jordan. Due to the fact that 9/11 had occurred less than two months before the contestants were supposed to be shipped out, the idea of sending civilians to a Middle Eastern country to play on a game show was scrapped for obvious reasons.
In Big Brother 12 US, there was a fourteenth houseguest named "Paula" who quit during sequester and wasn't replaced. It's likely this is why the first head of household competition had to have Andrew sit out as the odd-man out. (He got immunity for the first week, though.)
And in Big Brother 8 US, Jessica had a completely different nemesis who quit and was replaced with Carol. This nemesis was actually a dance rival of hers; rather than Carol who was an ex friend from high school and not as much of a nemesis compared to the other two. (i.e., Carol's response was just a shrug when she saw Jessica, and Jessica had to think of what they had against each other.)
The famous TelenovelaLa Señora de Cárdenas by the late Jose Ignacio Cabrujas was going to end with the titular Mrs. Cardenas going back with the terrible husband she had left, after his presumed redemption; but then, in a strange variant of But I Play One on TV, many fans began to write and even tell Cabrujas in the supermarket queue "Please, don't make her come back with that Jerk Ass". Cabrujas then decided to get his protagonist to hook up with another love interest instead.
Several different people could've been the host of Family Feud. Geoff Edwards (best known for Treasure Hunt) confirmed on the newsgroup alt.tv.game-shows that he had been tapped to host the original Feud in 1976, but he was committed to a pilot at the time, so Richard Dawson got the job. Dawson confirmed in a 2010 interview that William Shatner got a crack, and it is believed that Jack Narz of Concentration fame was in the running at one point. Joe Namath auditioned for the 1988 revival, which went to Ray Combs. And Dolly Parton auditioned for the 1999 revival, for which Louie Anderson got the nod. (Anderson was replaced by Richard Karn, then John O'Hurley, then Steve Harvey.)
After The Price Is Right announcer Johnny Olson died in 1985, the show held on-air auditions with Gene Wood, Rich Jeffries, Bob Hilton, and Rod Roddy. Bob Hilton was apparently tapped to take the role, but he declined since he was hosting a pilot that ultimately never sold, so Rod Roddy got the job instead. Given that Hilton is only in his early 60s now, he could still be announcing today had he gotten the nod in 1985. (By comparison, Charlie O'Donnell announced Wheel of Fortune until his death at age 77, and Johnny Gilbert still does Jeopardy! in his early 90s.)
Phil Hartman, of all people, also auditioned to be Price announcer after Olson's death. But unlike the men mentioned above, Hartman never actually got an on-air audition.
Similarly, the rotation of announcers after Rod's 2003 death included a radio news anchor named Art Sanders. Host Bob Barker really wanted Art to become the new announcer, and almost hired him on the spot. Had either of these situations come to be, then Rich Fields (who announced from 2004-2010) likely wouldn't have gotten his big break.
After Bob Barker's retirement in 2007, several people auditioned for the show, including Mexican TV personality Marco Antonio Regil (who hosted Mexico's version of Price years before), Rosie O'Donnell and experienced game show hosts Todd Newton, Mark L. Walberg and Marc Summers. Drew Carey got the part.
The producer's first choice for Barker's replacement? Dan Patrick, who turned the job down.
One of the first things that comes to mind when one mentions Wheel of Fortune is longtime hostess Vanna White — she was ridiculously popular in the 1980s, and no doubt helped entrench it as one of the longest-running game shows ever. One wonders how things would've panned out if original hostess Susan Stafford hadn't quit. (Interestingly, Wheel was not originally intended to have a hostess. The board was supposed to be mechanical and self-revealing like the original Concentration board, but they didn't have time to finish it before taping of the pilots, so they simply brought Susan in to turn the letters.) Furthermore, host Pat Sajak took over from Chuck Woolery about a year prior; one wonders where the show would've ended up today had Chuck stayed.
From 1981-89, Sajak was hosting the daytime (NBC) and syndicated nighttime versions concurrently. He stepped down from daytime to host a talk show for CBS which didn't go anywhere. Merv Griffin had several worthy candidates in mind for daytime host, but went with the completely inexperienced Rolf Benirschke, a former place kicker for the San Diego Chargers who was completely out of his element. After a mere six months, the daytime version hopped over to CBS with new host Bob Goen. While daytime game shows as a whole fell out of favor in the early 1990s, one can't help but wonder what would happen if a more capable name had helmed the last few months of NBC Wheel.
Card Sharks: If Jim Perry's version ended early, would we have eventually seen Bob Eubanks, Bill Rafferty or even Pat Bullard?
Password Plus: This would have been Allen Ludden's final show anyway as he would permanently retire in October that year. If this show went, we wouldn't have seen Tom Kennedy take his place. Super Password may never have come to pass.
And perhaps the biggest example, Wheel of Fortune which had been airing for five and a half years by that point. Believe it or not, Wheel escaped cancellation twice during this time due to the hemorrhaging ratings of Letterman's show. Silverman eventually reduced Another World from 90 minutes to 60 and later gave up on Letterman altogether. The questions still remain: Would Wheel had ever been proposed for syndication? Would the world ever be introduced to Pat and Vanna? Would there have been another syndicated smash after Family Feud?
Had Titus not been Screwed by the Network, the fourth season would've featured Dave and Tommy in their own Neutral Space episodes, as they did with Papa Titus in season 2, and with Erin in season 3.
Originally, Divine (yes, that Divine) was going to play Peggy's mother on Married... with Children, but that plan was quashed by his untimely death. This is why we never actually see Peggy's mom on the show; out of respect.
It was also planned to be a dual role. Divine in his male persona was going to play Uncle Buck. The family dog being named Buck was also a reference in honor of the role that never was.
Originally, the British panel game QI was to be hosted by Michael Palin, with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies as team captains. Fry would have captained the "Clever-Clogs" team each week while Davies would have been captain of the "Dunderheads".
Several unsuccessful attempts have been made to spin off a TV series from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries got as far as a concept pilot created using CGI (it's available on the DVD release of the movie), but it never got off the ground.
Degrassi has a few. Two which revolve around Adam are: He was supposed to be an androgynous lesbian named Zoe, and his birth name was originally not Gracie (it was Chelsea).
YMMV on Zoe: only Word of God would confirm it, but that might've been a way for them to audition different girls for the role while remaining tight-lipped about their plans to introduce a transgender character.
Heck, if they had stuck with the original concept of Ready, Willing and Wired there'd be no adults with backstories, the Emma character wouldn't necessarily have been product-of-a-teen pregnancy Emma and the setting would've been quite explicitly a tech magnet school, forcing them to stick with the sort of kids who could get into a somewhat selective school...
The S11 character conceived as "Noah" was renamed Jake when Justin Kelly was cast in the role note His character on The Latest Buzz had been named Noah.
Idol Singer Shoko "Shokotan" Nakagawa, a big fan of Sentai, has auditioned to play a Pink Ranger on the show several times but never been cast - reportedly due to a lack of gymnastic ability. She did make a guest appearance as an alien in Dekaranger.
Hideaki Tsukada, who was one of the producers on Dekaranger, confirmed in an interview that he had tried to interest Toei in making a sequel or second series; but the idea wasn't picked up.
Naruhisa Arakawa, writer of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, stated in an interview that his original idea for Don's backstory was for Don to have witnessed his father's horrific death at the hands of Zangyack. This was dropped in favor of having Don be "an ordinary guy."
Speaking of Gokaiger, it originally wasn't meant to have that many returning characters. It was said that the only returning characters would have been those connected to Gokai-Oh-related toys (which mean those from Gorenger and the series between Gaoranger and Gokaiger). One of the returning actors expressed how awesome it was on a Twitter post and it didn't gain traction until the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, where a special Twitter set up by the original actors to calm the children, inspired others to try to return to their roles, even if they had retired from acting.
Gai Yuuki of Choujin Sentai Jetman nearly didn't get to show up in the Great Legend War. One of Gokaiger's writers was one of the writers for Jetman and actually got into a fist fight with one of the other writers over the man's fate and if he should come back.
Thanks to owners fiddling around with the Mobirates toy, they had learned that it had already been preprogrammed with the cry of "Kamen Rider OOO!" a year before Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen was even announced. It is highly possible that they had planned for the Gokaigers and OOO to team up while OOO was still airing, but was scrapped.
Chouriki Sentai Ohranger was meant to have been a much darker season, but had to have a Re Tool early in its run after the Tokyo sarin gas attacks. Some elements of the show involving superpowers and ancient civilizations were felt to be too similar to the claims made by the Aum Shinrikyo cult.
Kagaku Sentai Dynaman was originally planned to be a baseball-themed Sentai team before it was changed to be about science and Stuff Blowing Up. However, the team's suits still somewhat resemble baseball uniforms.
In Dai Sentai Goggle Five, a different actress was initially cast as Miki, and she filmed several episodes before being replaced by Megumi Ogawa.
The Blue Ranger of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger was initially conceived by writer Riku Sanjo as a 40-something man with a wife and children, but Toei rejected the idea. Instead, the character is in his early 30s and lives with his sister and young niece.
Nao Nagasawa, known to Sentai fans as Nanami Nono in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, stated after the announcement of Kyoryuger that she had signed on for a guest role in the series; but she never appeared, possibly due to scheduling conflicts.
After Torin was revealed on the show as KyoryuSilver, Sanjo claimed in an interview that he'd had trouble deciding whether Silver should be Torin or Dantetsu Kiryu, and that it could have gone either way. Dantetsu does ultimately become Silver at the end of the show.
Before Kyoryuger began, producer Takahito Ohmori stated in an interview that the production team had decided the show should have only one female Ranger in order to make the team look stronger. However, Koichi Sakamoto later convinced him to have Yayoi join the heroes as the second Kyoryu Violet (and later, Nossan's sister Yuko briefly becomes the second Kyoryu Cyan, making three women on the team.)
Sometimes, early promotional material will mention character titbits that ultimately never made it into the show (such as Samurai Sentai Shinkenger's pre-release material stating that Kotoha worked in a wood carvings shop before becoming a Shinkenger) or planned character details later changed in on-screen canon (early Tensou Sentai Goseiger information stated that Blue Ranger Hyde was to be the team leader, but they ultimately didn't have one, even going so far as to base an episode around the characters agreeing that they don't need an official leader.)
Kenji Ebisawa, who portrayed Go-on Black in Engine Sentai Go-onger, stated in an interview that he struggled to play the character as the tough guy originally written in the scripts. As a result, the character became The Comically Serious and later sided with the other Go-ongers against the more uptight and no-nonsense Go-on Wings.
Gosei Sentai Dairanger originally cast Keisuke Tsuchiya as Ryō and Keiichi Wada as Kazu, and they filmed early promotional material before it was decided to switch their roles because of Wada's martial arts skills.
VR Troopers was originally titled Cybertron. It would have starred Jason David Frank in the same role Brad Hawkings would play later on. The karate master would have been the one to give Jason's character the Cybertron powers and Jason's character would have been bothered by a Bulk and Skull-type duo. The villain Grimlord would have still been there. However, the popularity of Jason's role as Tommy on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers would lead him to return to the series and Brad Hawkings would take his role. Cybertron's theme song ended up being reworked as the MMPR theme "Go Green Ranger Go" and Cybertron itself would be renamed to the well-known VR Troopers after Hasbro complained.
When VR Troopers reached their third season, Saban realized they were running out of Metal Hero series and picked up the more recent Juukou B-Fighter. However, Saban got cold feet about doing a major retool with VR Troopers and decided, in the end, to cancel VR Troopers and turn B-Fighter into Big Bad Beetle Borgs
John Le Mesurier was initially approached to play Mainwaring and Arthur Lowe for Wilson, but it was decided they worked much better in the opposite roles.
Writer Jimmy Perry wanted to play Walker, but worried that it might cause friction with the rest of the cast. Instead he made a guest appearance as a pierside entertainer in a series 1 episode.
Jack Haig was considered for the role of Jones, and did end up taking over the role for part of the stage show tour while Clive Dunn had other commitments.
The show was to include a character called Private Bracewell as a member of the main cast. He did appear in the first episode, but was cut because the writers felt his character was too much like Godfrey's.
Miss King, a character who appeared in the first series, was intended to have had a larger role as the Fanservice character of the cast. For whatever reason, it didn't work out and she vanished after series one, with the fanservice position largely taken over by Mrs Pike.
An American adaptation of the show called The Rear Guard was planned, but scrapped when the pilot wasn't successful.
Bottom: A fourth series was written in the mid-90s, but rejected by, according to Rik Mayall: "Some fat lesbian bitch" at the BBC. In 2012 Mayall and Adrian Edmondson began writing a Bottom spin-off called "Hooligan's Island", which was picked up by the BBC. Edmondson would later pull out after a change of heart. With Mayall's death in 2014, one can only wonder what could have been.
The Lois and Clark episode "Soul Mates" was fun, but the Reincarnation Romance would have made a heck of a lot more sense if John Shea had been available to play Clark's eternal archenemy who wants to marry Lois. The fact Tempus doesn't really fit the role is even lampshaded:
Lois: I'm not saying I'm buying into any of this stuff yet, but it is kind of bizarre that Tempus, of all people, is behind the curse. I mean, Lex Luthor, I could understand, but...
Also, Kevin Sorbo was considered for the role of Superman.
Rome had plans for five full seasons. If not for the cancellation at the end of season 2, the second and following seasons could have depicted history with the same eye for details as the first one. To quote creator Bruno Heller:
"The second [season] was going to end with the death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end."
She was also cast in a "Suite Life of Zack and Cody" spinoff called Arwin, following the misadventures of the Man Child repairman. Again, a pilot episode was filmed, but the show was not picked up.
The Adam WestBatman was cancelled by ABC, but NBC was willing to pick up the show for a fourth season. Unfortunately, all of the sets had been destroyed just a week before and NBC was unwilling to pay for new sets.
During the crossover with The Green Hornet, Robin was originally supposed to defeat Kato, but Bruce Lee got really angry, so it was changed to a draw. Even though Burt Ward was a legitimate martial artist, he was nowhere near Lee's level, and a lot of fans found it hard to believe Kato didn't outright win.
An outline for an episode featuring Two-Face was submitted, where Clint Eastwood would have played a news anchor who was disfigured by an exploding TV, but it did not go through as the character was considered too grotesque to be made campy. The story would be adapted into an issue of Batman '66.
The original Batsuit was much different in the test pilot than the one seen in-series. It sported a more-purpleish cowl with two different eyebrow expressions and longer ears and a Bat-emblem resembling the old comic emblems.
The 1996 TV movie adaptation of Generation X was supposed to be a pilot for a proposed TV series, but the movie's negative reception killed this idea in its tracks. Considering the quality of said movie, this is probably a good thing. Still, a live-action TV show based on an X-Men spinoff would have been interesting.
The Malcolm in the Middle episode in which the family took a vacation to a water park leaving ear-infected Dewey behind with a babysitter (played by Bea Arthur) was originally going to culminate with the sitter dyeing Dewey's hair black and calling him "Pepe" as they head for the Mexican border. The producers found this too dark and disturbing, so they instead had the sitter die of a sudden heart attack during a dance together.
According to a lawsuit filed against Disney by a writer who claimed the show was his idea, it would have originally featured a male protagonist and was called Rock and Roland. How much of that is true isn't clear, but the possibility is there.
In its development stages, the show was to be set in school and involve a movie star, not a pop singer. It was to be called Better Days and be a star vehicle for Alyson Stoner of Camp Rock fame. JoAnna "JoJo" LeVesque, Jordan McCoy of American Juniors, and Taylor Momsen of Gossip Girl were also considered for the role.
Miley Cyrus had originally auditioned for The Lilly Truscott role, which went to Emily Osment. And Lilly's last name was to be "Romero".
"Anna Cabana", "Alexis Texas" and "Samantha York" were to be the names of the pop singer alter ego, until Miley suggested "Hannah Montana".
The creators early on believed that it would be hard for then 13-year old Cyrus to remember so many aliases, and changed the protagonist's name from Chloe to Miley to make it easier. And it was Zoe before that. The name was changed because it was too close to the name of the title character in rival network, Nickelodeon's Zoey 101.
Billy Ray Cyrus only turned up to offer moral support and help his daughter with her lines at the audition. He did not want to play the dad, but Disney felt his Real Life rapport with Miley was convincing and entertaining enough for him to get him the role of Robby Ray.
Had Veronica Mars gotten a fourth season, the plan was a Re Tool into "Veronica Mars: FBI Trainee.". The new season would fire everyone except Kristen Bell and go with an all new cast. A short was included on the Season 3 DVD set.
Benson's eighth season would've fetured Gene Gatling winning re-election and Benson moving on to become a senator (it wasn't made clear whether this meant "state senator" or "U.S. senator").
Sliders: The idea was thrown around of revealing that Maggie's biological parents were Colonel Rickman and her universe's version of Wade (this would have meant Maggie's universe was in the future compared to ours).
There was a proposed episode that would have shown what happened to Wade after she was taken to a Kromagg breeding camp without Sabrina Lloyd having to return to the show, via the gang coming upon a device that made them experience past events from the perspective of other people. Maggie would have been Wade, Diana would have been Mrs. Mallory, Mallory would have been a Humagg soldier in love with Wade, and Rembrandt would have been a sympathetic Kromagg scientist.
Forever Knight's writers wanted to take the focus off Nick's redemption in season 3. They tried to write out both Janette and Natalie, but Geraint Wyn Davies threatened to quit if Natalie was taken out. There was also going to be a promotion to captain for Schanke, but John Kapelos turned it down.
The ending was originally to have Lacroix saying the last few lines of Romeo and Juliet at the very end, but this was nixed because the producers wanted the show just open ended enough to avoid major hurt in syndication.
Highlander wanted a spinoff with a new female immortal, and pitched quite a few of them in season six. But none clicked and despite initially not wanting Amanda as the lead, they got her anyway. The Raven title came from a plan to make immortal Alex Raven, from one of those eps, the spinoff lead, but that fell through.
The season six plot was originally going to be made as a movie, set 20 years after Richie's death.
Methos was originally a short-term character for season 3, but the fans liked him so much he was kept.
Tessa's death wasn't originally planned, but had to be written in when Alexandra Vandernoot chose to leave the show.
Adrian Paul could have played a re-cast Connor MacLeod. The writers throw this around for a while in the beginning, and even Adrian didn't know after casting whether he'd play the movie character or a new one.
Also, Ron Perlman auditioned for the part of Duncan. He did show up in season 5's "The Messenger" as the false Methos.
Tracker was originally written with Mel and a younger sister, but the sister was replaced by Jess.
Fox at one point had plans to turn MyNetworkTV into an over-the-air version of Fox News. Is it no surprise that this didn't happen?
ER: Carol Hathaway was supposed to die from her drug overdose—indeed, dialogue in the episode indicates that chances of recovery are slim—but test audiences liked her character and were intrigued by the hints of a romantic past with Doug Ross, and so, she was revived. The character went on to be one of the show's most popular, Doug & Carol one of its (and TV's) best pairings, and her portrayer received an Emmy. This was even lampshaded by Carol's portrayer, Julianna Marguiles, upon accepting her award, who noted, "A year ago at this time, I was dead."
The $10,000 Pyramid originally had ten boxes on the big Pyramid, each with a subject the contestant had to identify in 60 seconds (which is what TV Guide printed in their synopsis the week it premiered on CBS). Two nights before taping the pilot, creator Bob Stewart realized that there was no way anyone could get ten subjects in 60 seconds, so he had a 2x4 plank nailed over the bottom four squares.
In the 1980s, there was going to be a TV movie that would unite the casts of Marvel's two biggest live-action shows of the previous decade: The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man.
On the 1984-86 revival (titled The All-New Let's Make a Deal), announcer Dean Goss hosted two deals. According to Goss himself, this was a trial run to see if he had the chops to take over for a retiring Monty Hall should the show be picked up for a third season. It wasn't.
Likewise, Hall stepped out of retirement to attempt an Author's Saving Throw on the 1990 revival, mainly because new host Bob Hilton was poorly received. Hall's plan was to carry the show to the end of its first season, then seek a replacement for Season 2, but Season 2 never came.
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Had Series Five been completed, the final three stories would have included one where Mr Smith (Sarah's alien computer) became human, one that involved a secret thirteenth floor at Rani's work experience, and a big finale that would have revealed Sky's true identity and written out the Trickster permanently. Beyond that, had there been a Series Six, Russell T Davies wanted to bring Ace back for a story (as with the Brigadier and Jo previously). This story would possibly also have seen a cameo from the Seventh Doctor, as it would have depicted how Ace eventually left the TARDIS.
After Elisabeth Sladen had been diagnosed with cancer, the production team considered a Halloween special to help maintain the series' presence (at first wanting something interactive, then deciding to do an animated adventure).
Also, a lot of ideas were considered for Series Four which never came to fruition. Half of Doctor Who Magazine's "The Sarah Jane Companion: Volume Three" is devoted to what might have been for the series one way or another.
However, the production team never considered continuing the series without Lis, or replacing her.
In 1980, Stephen J. Cannell and Glen A. Larson joined forces to create, write and executive produce a pilot about night workers called Nightside - imagine if J. J. Abrams and Joss Whedon collaborated on a TV series and you'll get how awesome this prospect was. Unfortunately the pilot, though made, didn't sell (Cannell: "It was funny as hell, but it just didn't work").
The LA Complex was planned as a spin-off of Degrassi following Manny Santos to Hollywood, but they chose to make it a freestanding franchise.
Blue of Blue's Clues was supposed to be a cat, but they said that there were too many TV shows where the main character was a cat on when the show was produced (Garfield and Friends and Eek! The Cat, to name two), so she was changed into a dog.
I Dream of Jeannie was originally planned to have Jeannie with — guess what? — light brown hair, mainly to avoid comparisons with the blonde Samantha from Bewitched. However, Sidney Sheldon, the show's creator, couldn't find one, so the role — and TV stardom — fell to blonde-haired Barbara Eden.
In Leverage, Hardison's arch-rival hacker Chaos was originally going to be played by Zoe Saldana. Wil Wheaton got the part, but the alternative makes quite an interesting thought.
Michael Jackson's 1995 Primetime Live interview, the first he granted after his 1993 child molestation scandal, could have been a lot different if all of his ideas for it were used. According to Esquire, Diane Sawyer wouldn't have been the only person interviewing him — she would have been joined by Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings, Oprah Winfrey (who interviewed him before the scandal broke), and Howard Stern!Vanity Fair noted that Jackson also appealed to the Royal Family to have Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II make appearances — the former to support his complaints on the tabloid press and the latter to knight him for his charity work.
In Smallville the character of Adam was originally going to be revealed to be Bruce Wayne, but the producers couldn't get permission to use the character because of the then-in-production Batman Begins. They salvaged their plans in later seasons by transferring Bruce's role in the comics to Oliver Queen.
In a DVD Commentary for Merlin one of the writers mention that they were going to try and bring back Guinevere's treacherous-yet-sympathetic hand-maiden Sefa back for an episode. They didn't manage it, and she became an example of What Happened to the Mouse?
On Charmed, the character of Prue was killed off due in part to difficulties Shannen Doherty had with several people on set, including costar Alyssa Milano (Phoebe.) It finally reached a breaking point when Shannen allegedly said "either she goes or I go." How different would everything have been post Season 3 had Alyssa went instead? Phoebe would have died instead of Prue, Piper's character development from mousy middle sister to Badass oldest sister wouldn't have happened, and the Cole storyline would have likely been very different. Similarly, Constance M. Burge left around the same time.
Jim Broadbent was originally slated to play the role of Lord Whiteadder in the Blackadder II episode "Beer", but was unable to do so due to scheduling conflicts. This would have had the pleasing symmetry of all Miriam Margoyles's roles (the Spanish Infantia in The Black Adder, Lady Whiteadder in Blackadder II and Queen Victoria in Blackadder's Christmas Carol) being opposite Broadbent (who played the Infantia's interpreter and Prince Albert).
There was serious talk of Mike Brady dying if The Brady Bunch had got a season 6, due to Robert Reed's constant conflicts with the producers and writers.
Carl Reiner originally wrote The Dick Van Dyke Show as Head of the Family starring himself. It bombed, but the pilot was retooled with Van Dyke in the lead role and was a hit.
Betty White and Rue McClanahan switched roles on The Golden Girls. White was offered Blanche due to playing Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Mclanahan had played a ditzy character named Vivian on Maude which lead to her being offered Rose. However, there was fear of Blanche being too much like Sue Ann and Rue didn't feel comfortable with Rose and they swapped.
Also, this original iteration might not have had Bea Arthur at all. When the show was first pitched to her, Arthur declined, saying, with her as the Deadpan Snarker, McClanahan as the ditz, and White as the maneater, it sounded too much like "Maude and Vivian meet Sue Ann Nivens." It was only after they decide to swap roles that Arthur said, "Now that sounds interesting."
Additionally, the series was supposed to be about the three ladies and a gay cook named Coco, with Sophia only supposed to be a recurring Drop-In Character. However, the positive reaction to Estelle Getty as Sophia led to them writing her in as a regular and writing Coco out (hence the reason he disappears without a word after the pilot episode.)
Being Human had several cast changes between the pilot and the first series. Mitchell was originally played by Guy Flanagan, Annie by Andrea Riseborough, Herrick by Adrian Lester, and Lauren by Dominique Mcelligott.
Initially, the show wasn't going to be made at all. It was one of several pilots aired by the BBC in 2008, with the plan to choose the most successful to make into a full-length series. They went with Phoo Action, a "dramedy" based around futuristic antics, kung-fu, and They Fight Crime. However, its commission was cancelled when the BBC decided the scripts weren't good enough, and Being Human was then commissioned instead after fans successfully petitioned for it to be Phoo Action's replacement.
Kirstie Alley is the only actor from Cheers to not reprise her role on Frasier, reportedly because Scientology does not believe in psychiatry, and Frasier is a psychiatrist. In the later episodes of Cheers, around the time Lilith and Frasier were going through their separation, Frasier and Rebecca nearly ended up in bed together. Wasting a perfectly good UST plot...
Kirstie Alley claimed in one interview that her being a Scientologist had nothing to do with her never appearing on Frasier, and at least one of the show's writers (Ken Levine) said in a radio interview that they never considered having Kirstie Alley on, mainly because they weren't sure how to write her in, as Rebecca and Frasier hardly interacted on Cheers. Alley also said once she auditioned to play one of Frasier's girlfriends of the week, but was turned down, because the producers thought that would be kind of weird.
Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz, however after the first few days of filming the producers decided that her quirky humor didn't fit the part and they hired Peri Gilpin instead (according to Kudrow, Gilpin was their first choice, but switched her for Kudrow for some reason, then simply restored order by bringing Gilpin back.) Plus, imagine how this would have affected Friends if Kudrow had remained on Frasier.
Frasier's brother Niles wasn't in the original concept and hadn't been mentioned on Cheers. The inspiration for the character came after the producers saw a headshot of David Hyde Pierce and noted his brotherly resemblance to Kelsey Grammer.
There were talks about having Maris make a physical appearance on the show, but the idea was scrapped when they realized that no human alive would be able to fit the bizarre descriptions of the character's appearance.
Most of the cast of Moonlight was different in the original pilot. Josef was supposed to have been played by Rade erbedžija and have a more older-and-wiser look (plus an Eastern European accent fitting an Old World vampire), rather than Jason Dohring's snarky young-looking businessman with a Gordon Gekko feel. To be fair, though, Dohring does a good job nonetheless. Also, Beth and Coraline were originally played by Shannon Lucio and Amber Valletta, respectively, before being replaced by Sophia Myles and Shannyn Sossamon. Alex O'Loughlin is the only main actor to avoid being recast.
Peep Show was originally conceived as a "live action Beavis and Butt-Head" with Mark and Jeremy commenting on clips from various TV shows, never leaving their front room and using point-of-view shots to show their view of the TV set. After a pilot was made, Mitchell and Webb wanted to get more from the characters, which led to writers Armstrong and Bain opening up the world away from the sofa and turning the idea into a sitcom - but keeping the POV shots.
Teen Wolf had several of these, mostly changed thanks to actors being unavailable or becoming unexpectedly popular.
The Alpha Pack was meant to have come to Beacon Hills for the Kanima, but due to Jackson's actor leaving very abruptly in between season, they had to hastily write him off along with any prospective plots.
Isaac was meant to die in the finale of Season 2, but his unexpected popularity with fans caused him to live on.
Erica and Boyd were meant to have a storyline of their own which included them becoming a couple, but Erica's actress leaving along with contract issues with Boyd's actor led to them both being killed off, Erica especially abruptly.
Kate Argent's return was meant to happen earlier, but along with the actress being unavailable the writers decided season 2 was packed enough as it is.
Chris Argent and Isaac Lahey were meant to develop a father-son bond in the fourth season, but thanks to Isaac's actor leaving that isn't happening. There is potential for it to happen at a later date since his actor specifically asked to be written off in a way that allowed him to return.
According to actor Dwight Schultz, he read for the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus on St. Elsewhere. However, before he went in to read, he ran into producer Bruce Paltrow, who had several years earlier gotten into a fight with Schultz because of their disparate politics, and Paltrow told him in no uncertain terms that "there's not gonna be a Reagan asshole on this show." Thankfully producers of The A-Team didn't care about Schultz's politics.
Aaron Sorkin and company originally had Sidney Poitier in mind for the role of the President on The West Wing. One can easily imagine the line, "They call me Mister President ..." However, Poitier's agent quoted a salary figure that was so massive Sorkin figured it was a backhanded way of saying "not interested," so they turned to Martin Sheen instead.
The original plan was also for the President to be more or less a supporting character, appearing for only a scene or two each week. This idea died as soon as Martin Sheen knocked his first scene right out of the park.
Storylines abandoned or changed on EastEnders over the years have included:
The storyline surrounding Ronnie switching Kat's living baby with her own dead one was cut short both because of a flood of viewer complaints, and because Ronnie's actress claimed to have hated the storyline.
"Mad" May was originally to have kidnapped Dawn's baby Summer, but this was changed due to the then-recent disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Instead, May kidnaps Dawn with the intention of delivering and stealing the baby for herself; but Dawn escapes.
In a similar example, an episode that was to have shown Lucas Johnson murdering a prostitute was changed to him kidnapping a random woman from a club, because of the high-profile murders of several sex workers in Ipswich along with complaints that the episode was going to be shown before the 9pm "watershed". He did later murder a prostitute to pass off her corpse as Denise's, but the murder wasn't shown onscreen.
A series of special episodes sending the Mitchells to Spain had to have them going to a seaside resort in the UK instead, because it would have been too expensive to film on location overseas.
The Ferreira family was going to be the centre of a huge storyline where bullying patriarch Dan was murdered by the rest of the family, who would then have to cover up the death. This had to be changed when Dan's actor (an Indian citizen) ran into problems with his permit to work in the UK, and was forced to leave the show. The others were given a new storyline where when Ronny needs a sudden kidney transplant, the family discovers that their friend Tariq is really their half-brother. This storyline, which fans called "Kidneygate", became very unpopular and contributed to the Ferreiras being written out shortly afterwards. Elements of Dan's planned murder were recycled for Den Watts's death the following year.
Barry Evans was to have killed Janine when he forces her onto a cliff to make her confess that she married him for his money. Instead she accidentally kills Barry, who falls and hits his head after she pushes him away.
When Suzy Branning's actress departed at the end of 2008, some of her planned storylines for the following year were given to Janine instead, including her being the one to accidentally kill Danielle.
A storyline involving Grant Mitchell raping Tiffany at Christmas was dropped because Ross Kemp refused to shoot it.
Lorna Cartwright was supposed to have become a prostitute and been gang-raped; but her actress was worried about the effect the public response would have on her young son, and chose not to renew her contract.
Peggy Mitchell was planned to have an affair with a much younger man: initially Alfie, but it was then decided to set him up with Kat and have Peggy get together with Dennis Rickman instead. However, the whole storyline was dropped when Barbara Windsor left the show for health reasons.
During Mike Gibbon's run as the show's producer there were plans for a massive cast cull which would have included, controversially, one of the show's few characters of colour being killed by an armed robber and several characters dying in an IRA bombing. The BBC feared public backlash and being targeted by the Broadcasting Standards Council, so the scripts were rejected and Gibbons demoted.
In the 1980s, there were plans for Nick Cotton to have begun an affair with Lofty Holloway. Nick's actor John Altman felt that this would be out of character, and objected; so the show's co-creator had Nick written out.
Peggy Mitchell was the original choice to have been guilty of Archie's murder, but when Barbara Windsor left the show, it was changed to Stacey instead. Several alternate endings featuring different suspects confessing to the murder were filmed, including one with Peggy as the culprit.
About two years before shows like The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman became front and center, there were actual plans for a series involving Black Widow and Daredevil. Angela Bowie, then-wife of David Bowie was to be the Widow and Ben Carruthers was to be Daredevil. However, all that came out of that was just photo shoots of the two actors in costume.
Had Bill Bixby not passed away due to prostate cancer, there would have been another installment of The Incredible Hulk TV movies following The Death of the Incredible Hulk where the titular creature would have been resurrected, but it would have caused him to gain Banner's intelligence.
Beane’s of Boston, an Americanization of the popular Britcom Are You Being Served?, was developed by series creators Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft in collaboration with producer Garry Marshall. It never got past the pilot stage, and the pilot has never aired anywhere. The cast included John Hillerman (Magnum, P.I.) as Capt. Peacock, Tom Poston (Newhart) as Mr. Rumbold, Alan Sues (Laugh-In) as Mr. Humphries, Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life) as Mrs. Slocombe and Lorna Patterson (the TV series version of Private Benjamin) as Miss Brahms.
It was planned to have Loretta's friend Chrissy arrive on the show and reveal that as children they had murdered another child, and were now living under police-protected identities. This was abandoned because the mother of James Bulger, who died in similar circumstances, objected to the storyline. The whole thing was scrapped, Chrissy never appeared (though her actress was cast in a guest role) and Loretta left the show shortly afterwards.
Clare Devine had storylines planned for a longer run on the show, but when her actress quit, Clare was killed off and replaced with her sister Grace, who took over some of the plot intended for Clare.
A reported storyline for 2010, which would have involved an intersex character coming to terms with their gender identity and going through gender reassignment surgery, never took place. However, the show introduced its first trans character (Jason Costello) at the end of that year.
The idea of Robbie Roscoe raping John Paul McQueen was changed to make Finn O'Connor the perpetrator, since it was felt that Robbie had been introduced too recently to write him out by having him jailed for the crime.
Nancy's storyline in the 2010 series of Hollyoaks Later was originally intended for Michaela McQueen, whose actress came into conflict with the producer so her contract was cut short and she was written out of Later.
Louise Summers was to have been the one to try to kill Warren Fox in The Loft fire, with the reveal that he hadn't really killed her after all. The producers could not get her actress back, so Clare Devine was used for the storyline instead and Louise was considered murdered by Warren.
Emily Lawrence was originally cast as Sienna Blake, but quit the show before the character's introduction, and was replaced by Anna Passey. Early promotional pictures and trailers featuring Lawrence were released before the role was re-cast.
A planned storyline involving Ste's affair with a stripper who looks like his old flame Brendan was dropped. Instead, Ste has a one-night-stand with a guy who resembles Ste's late husband Doug; leading to a later storyline where Ste finds out that he caught HIV from this liaison.
Charles, Margaret, and Nancy Hayton were originally to have been named John, Andrea, and Zoe. Their original names appeared on Becca's profile on the show's official site, as she was introduced before the rest of the family. Several other characters have had their names changed between the casting and their appearance onscreen: e.g. Grace Black was originally named "Kate" in casting sides, and Lisa Loveday was named as "Lauren."
It was announced in early 2015 that Danniella Westbrook would reprise her role as Trudy Ryan for a storyline later in the year; but later confirmed that Westbrook had dropped out before filming. A Trudy Expy called Ashley was used instead.
One idea reported to have been considered was that Phoebe McQueen would trace her biological father, who would fall in love with Myra. It never got past the story conference stage.
At one point, Amy Barnes was going to die in the Dog In The Pond fire. Her actress announced her exit and a death scene for Amy was filmed; but the character got a reprieve and survived, remaining on the show for another two years.
When Lindsey Butterfield was revealed as the "Gloved Hand Killer", executive producer Bryan Kirkwood claimed in an interview that they considered making Tegan Lomax the killer and had discussions about this before deciding to go with Lindsey.
Phoebe McQueen was to have died in the "End of the Line" storyline, when Sonny Valentine knocks her out and stashes her in a bathroom to prevent her from telling anyone she saw him; she was to have been trapped and killed during the explosion on the train. Instead, she was found and rescued in time, and lasted until summer the following year when she was murdered by Lindsey.
Scenes relating to Cindy Cunningham's flirtation with her daughter's boyfriend Jason were previewed in the press and TV guides (including a scene where she tries to give him a massage), but never aired.
A planned storyline would have involved Kathy Barnes returning to the village, being homophobic towards Ste, and then being murdered by Ste's daughter Leah (Kathy's granddaughter.) However, Kathy's actress was too busy to return so this was scrapped. It's possible this was re-worked into a later plot where Nico Blake murders her grandfather Patrick.
Ricky Campbell's exit was supposed to involve him leaving town after failing his exams. This was filmed, and preview stills of him tearfully saying goodbye to his friends were released online and in several TV magazines, with members of the cast also speaking about it in interviews. All the viewers knew what was supposed to happen to Ricky - but ultimately, none of his final scenes were ever aired, and he simply vanished from the show without a trace.
Due to the departure of Stephanie Davis (who played Sinead O'Connor), Sinead's current storyline involving a Love Triangle between her, Ste and Harry was cut short; and she leaves town after discovering via text messages that Ste has been cheating on her. Davis has stated that she had filmed a different exit that was ultimately not used in the show.
The TV special Julie Andrews: One Step Into Spring was to get a DVD release by Legend Film Group by April 2013, but it was cancelled for whatever reason. It was initially thought to be postponed to March 2014 to tie in with Muppets Most Wanted (The Muppets were costarring in the special), however, no reason has been given for this sudden cancellation.
In a Disney Channel example, there was originally to be a duet in the first High School Musical that was basically a song fight between Ms. Drabus and Coach Bolton. Ms. Darbus was played by Alyson Reed, a former Broadway actress, and this cut meant that she didn't get to sing a note in any of the three movies.
Spartacus: Blood and Sand: It's now really difficult to watch the first season without wondering what the rest of the series would have been like if leading man Andy Whitfield hadn't died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in September 2011. His performance in Season 1 is also so commanding and sympathetic that you have to wonder how his career would have turned out had he lived. Liam McIntyre did a fantastic job stepping in as Spartacus, especially considering the circumstances, but Author Existence Failure is never fun.
When Adam Goldberg created The Goldbergs based on his early life, executives told him the show would probably be funnier if his younger self had a brother and sister instead of two brothers like in real life. So, Adam's real life brother Eric became his sister Erica. Although you have to wonder what if they hadn't said anything or Adam chose to Gender Flip Barry instead.
In 2007, NBC ordered a pilot for an American version of The IT Crowd which failed to get picked up. While unsold pilots are commonplace, the American IT Crowd would have featured Joel McHale in the cast. If the show had gotten picked up and renewed through the 2009-2010 season, who would have played Jeff Winger on Community?
When Nashville was being set up, the original idea was for Juliette Barnes to be much more of The Rival to Rayna Jaymes, to the extent of her being the Big Bad of the series. But after Hayden Panettiere was cast, the producers liked her sympathetic reading of Juliette so much that she was changed from being an antagonist to being joint lead with Connie Britton.
David Tennant tried out for the part of Lecter. He didn't get it (obviously), but Bryan Fuller was so impressed by his audition that he expressed the desire to write him a part as a psychopathic serial killer later in the series.
Apparently, Fuller initially considered Lee Pace as Will Graham (The Pie Maker as a profiler?) and as Mason Verger, but there's the possibility Pace still might appear in future...
Bryan Fuller originally wrote Dr. Du Maurier as an older woman and hoped to cast Angela Lansbury. When scheduling conflicts made this impossible, NBC recommended Gillian Anderson. This modified the storyline slightly; instead of being retired due to age, she left her practice for other reasons.
Fuller has stated multiple times (and has extended an offer) that he'd like the incomparable David Bowie to play Hannibal's artist uncle Robert, the only stable parental figure in Hannibal's life after his parents were slain by Nazis. It would have been terrific to see Bowie interacting with Mikkelsen, for sure. Unfortunately, this was made impossible both by the show's cancellation in 2015 and Bowie's death in January 2016.
Fuller has mentioned that, assuming everything lined up properly, Chi McBride would be his top choice for the role of BarneyMatthews. He has expressed interest in working with a number of actors with whom he has past experience, specifically naming Anna Friel and Kristin Chenoweth. Fuller wanted Friel to appear in Season 2 (likely as Margot Verger), but she had already signed onto an adaptation of The Odyssey at the time.
Caroline Dhavernas was offered her choice of Freddie Lounds or Alana Bloom.
Tobias Budge was originally intended to be Jame Gumb, a.k.a Buffalo Bill (much as Franklin was supposed to be Benjamin Raspail), but when they couldn't get the rights to the character, they decided to rework him into somebody completely original.
Fuller originally intended Beverly Katz to die at the end of Season One instead of Abigail Hobbs, but was so impressed by her actress that he changed the script and story to give her more time for Character Development.
The role of Peter Bernadone was originally offered to Patton Oswalt.
A relatively minor example, but occasionally minor bits of the script that are missing from the final cuts of the episodes show up in the closed captions.
After being impressed with her performance in The Wolverine, Fuller cast Tao Okamoto as Lady Murasaki from the novels. He changed the character to Chiyoh after becoming worried that Tao was too young to believable as Mads Mikkelsen's aunt. According to Fuller, this worked out for the best, since bringing Hannibal's childhood friend into the plot opened up new storytelling avenues the writers hadn't previously considered.
Fuller actually wanted Zachary Quinto to play another character, but due to Quinto's schedule and desire to work with Gillian Anderson, the role of Bedelia's patient was written for him instead.
Disney at one point was very close to taking control of NBC from General Electric, as part of Disney's massive expansion plan spearheaded by then-Disney-chairman Michael Eisner. However, Eisner's ego got the best of him and demanded total control of the network, and General Electric objected to giving up its stake in the network. Thus, the deal was scrapped and Disney took over ABC instead (probably helped by Eisner's relationship with that network during much of the 1970s).
The role of Archie was originally offered to Mickey Rooney, who turned it down because he thought the show wouldn't last a season. Caroll O'Connor accepted the role, but didn't think much more of the show's chances.
Penny Marshall and Sally Struthers both read for the role of Gloria. Everyone, including Struthers, thought the role would go to Marshall, who did the stronger readings (She was also Rob "Meathead" Reiner's girlfriend at the time). Norman Lear chose Struthers because he wanted Gloria to be a "daddy's girl" and Struthers closer resemblance to Carol O'Connor emphasized that better than Marshall (who looked more like Jean Stapleton, Edith's actress).
The producers originally intended to adapt The Wiz as a The Wonderful World of Disney TV special, starring Anika Noni Rose as Dorothy Gale. However, rights issues with Universal, the studio that distributed the 1978 movie of The Wiz, caused the project to fall through. The producers eventually obtained the rights to have the musical performed on NBC, except Noni Rose had become too old to play Dorothy by then. A talent search for a new lead resulted in then-19-year old Shanice Williams landing the role.
NBC approached Beyoncé to play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, but she turned the offer down. The part ended up going to Uzo Aduba instead.
Aduba's Glinda originally sported blonde curly hair, as shown in early promo pictures and videos. By the time the special aired, she boasted brunette braids instead. According to Shanice Williams, the crew decided that letting Aduba show off her natural hair color would provide a stronger expression of African-American beauty.
Lyle Waggoner was considered for the lead part on Batman, and got as far as doing a screen test with juvenile actor Peter Deyell as Robin. Waggoner's line readings are a little more tense than the cool style favored by Adam West. He'd play a DC Universe character in the next decade as Steve Trevor on Wonder Woman.