I am not quite sure what the first ever TV series spin-off was. One article I have read states that it was the Andy Griffith show, being spun from The Danny Thomas Show. Another resource says that Jackie Gleeson claimed the first spin-off with his show The Honeymooners in 1955 that supposedly came from The Cavalcade of the Stars. Considering that the Andy Griffith show did not air until October of 1960… I don’t know, (both shows were way before MY time)!
Someone along the way somewhere must have thought that spin-offs were a good idea because boy, are there a slew of them! Spin-offs and sequels have become quite popular in the last few years; even prequels are now making their way into the entertainment world! From every kind of genre, movies, TV shows, cartoons, dramas, comedies, and drama-dyes…and why not? If a movie or TV show “cash cow” keeps giving glorious money, why not keep on milking it??
Of course some spin-offs are more successful than others! After Cheers’ long run, which was on the air for 11 years, the show had two spin-offs! Of course Frasier was one of them. Dr. Frasier Crane was a frequent visitor the Cheers bar whom apparently moved to Seattle and became a radio show talk host. The Frasier series was quite successful and lasted another 11 years. Long live Dr. Frasier Crane! Twenty-two years of TV existence and you can still catch both Cheers and Frasier on classic TV networks!
The other spin-off from Cheers is one that I have never even heard of before. It was called The Tortelli’s and featured Carla’s ex-husband and his new wife. It must not have been worth it, because this show was cancelled after only 13 episodes!
I suppose no show would be complete without a spin-off and our Golden Girls were no different! From the beloved GG’s, we had gotten two spin-offs. The first one came before the Golden Girls ended in 1992. Of course I am talking about Empty Nest! When most people think the show Empty Nest, they are thinking of Dr. Harry Weston the pediatrician and his two grown daughters Barbara and Carol whom still lived at home. However, during the second season of The Golden Girls, episode 26 titled “Empty Nests” a precursor for the Empty Nest show was filmed. This episode did not feature Dr. Harry Weston, instead, we met a woman named Renee who was depressed and lonely due to the fact that her children were grown and her husband was a workaholic doctor. Blanche, Rose, Sophia and Dorothy tried to help their friend and give her advice on the topic. Viewers must not have gotten a huge thrill out of this pilot idea for a new show, because the whole thing was scrapped and re-thought. Gone was the workaholic doctor husband, gone was the house wife, the college student daughter was no more and Renee’s brother with the multiple personality disorder were all replaced! Enter Richard Mulligan as Harry Weston, Dinah Manoff, Kristy McNichol and David Leisure as the annoying neighbor, Charley Dietz! Empty Nest had a seven year run and was created by Golden Girls creator and producer Susan Harris.
Of course this goes without saying, but the other spin-off from The Golden Girls is none other The Golden Palace! The Golden Palace first aired on September 18, 1992. After Dorothy married Blanche’s Uncle Lucas and moved left Miami, her friends and her mother, the three remaining friends sold Blanche’s house and bought a hotel. To save on money and make more of a profit, only two hotel staffers were kept on board, enter Roland Wilson and Chuy Castillos, the hotel manager and hotel cook. The rest of the work was left to Blanche, Sophia and Rose.
Several characters from The Golden Girls made appearances at the hotel. Dorothy came back to check out the hotel and visit her mother. Stan Zbornak made an appearance and even Miles Webb showed up, but only long enough to break Rose’s heart when he married another woman, at her hotel!
Sadly, The Golden Palace was not as well received at The Golden Girls, as the show only lasted eight months. Twenty-four episodes are known to have been taped. Upon the show’s leaving the air on May 14, 1993, Sophia moved back to the retirement home she spent so much time trying to stay away from, Shady Pines, where she was later seen on Empty Nest. As for the rest of the cast and crew, what was to become of them is unknown.