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Drawing Board Hiatus

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So this channel has just premiered what was meant to be the biggest series of the season... and it has flopped badly. Maybe the scripts turned out to not be that good, or the acting was poorer than expected, or the viewers simply couldn't be bothered. Despite this, network execs still believe the show has a chance to hit the right notes and don't want to issue its Cancellation order just yet, but there's no room for it any longer in the schedule thanks to its poor ratings. The solution? Time to go on a Drawing Board Hiatus!

A Drawing Board Hiatus theoretically means the show has been taken off the air to rest, got a Retool, and came back when the time was right. However, there are many cases of Drawing Board Hiatuses that end up with the show back in Development Hell and/or canceled for real thanks to execs losing interest in it, or maybe realizing the idea wasn't that great in the first place and they're better off doing away with it.

As mentioned, this is directly related to Retool and Executive Meddling, and might overlap with Screwed by the Network (or, in very rare cases, with Network to the Rescue). Not to be confused with the Trope Repair Shop.


Fan Works

Live-Action TV

  • Los Hombres de Paco had its first season interrupted on December 2005, two months after premiering, went through a rework, and became a massive success upon returning on February 2006, running for nine seasons until May 2010.
  • The 2011 Spanish remake of Cheers was pulled from the Telecinco schedule after three weeks on air (in which, for whatever reasons, two consecutive episodes were aired each Sunday). The station attempted to hire a new team of writers to improve the show, but eventually the remaining episodes were kept as they had been filmed and the series was ultimately canceled after the first season finished airing on Telecinco's sister channel FDF on July 2012.
  • Telecinco's Los 80. After the first six episodes aired in the summer of 2004, it was canned for a rework and eventually quietly canceled.
  • Just days after the premiere of the Spanish adaptation of British show Gogglebox, titled Aquí mando yo, on April 2016, Antena 3 announced it was going off because it needed some work — and probably because of its poor ratings too —. As of 2021 it remains a One-Episode Wonder and a comeback looks unlikely.
  • American sitcom Up All Night received a Retool for its second season. This wasn't received well by viewers and ratings declined. After 11 episodes of season 2 were aired, the show was pulled from the NBC schedule to be retooled again into a multi-camera sitcom with a laugh track (when it originally was a single-camera sitcom with no laugh track). These changes caused co-star Christina Applegate to quit the show and the executives decided not to bring it back.
  • The Muppets's winter 2015 hiatus became one of these as well. Among other things, the Retool resulted in Piggy becoming less antagonistic, Pizza (pronounce Pache) being introduced to replace Piggy as the "villain", Camilla getting brought back and Rowlf returning for a Veterinarian's Hospital sketch. It wasn't enough to avoid Cancellation after season one ended in March 2016.
  • Several instances in Doctor Who:
    • After Patrick Troughton exited the series, it went on a year-long hiatus, after which its format was changed from adventures in time and space to grounded thrillers about protecting the Earth from alien invasions.
    • During the Sixth Doctor's tenure, the show went on a nine-month break (although some sources claim it was twice as long) during which its format was changed from two-part serials of 45-minute episodes to a season long-arc split into fourteen 25-minute episodes.
    • It could be argued that the show went back to the drawing board as well in the lapse between the 1989 cancellation and the 2005 revival, as it went from serialized stories to one-episode, cinematic ones more focused on character interactions.


  • Older Than Radio: The first performance of The Rivals back in 1775 received such a dismal reception from both the audience and the critics that the production was put on hold for a couple of weeks while Richard Brinsley Sheridan retooled the script and one of the parts was recast. The revised production went on to be one of the biggest hits of Sheridan's career.
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark suffered this as part of its Troubled Production: the script underwent several reworks, Bono and The Edge from U2 were brought in to write new music, original director Julie Taymor either quit or got fired after rejecting the changes from said reworks and the musical had the longest preview period in Broadway history with an astonishing 182 performances before the official premiere. It became one of Broadway's biggest flops due in part to its $65 million budget, huge for Broadway's standards.

Web Original

  • The Crash Course miniseries Human Geography was taken off YouTube to be reworked after viewers pointed out multiple thematic issues in its pilot. It eventually started airing on November 2020 under the name Geography.

Western Animation