For every 'M*A*S*H,' there's a ton of mush
February 5, 1998
Web posted at: 9:29 p.m. EST (0229 GMT)
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- "The Ties That Bind," starring Ralph Macchio. "Secret Service Guy," starring Judge Reinhold and Michael McKean. "Rewind," starring Scott Baio.
Ever hear of these TV shows? Probably not.
They are TV pilots that hit the dirt without hitting the TV screen.
Many TV pilots are made. Few ever make it to prime-time.
"It starts every year with something like 3,000 ideas and comes down to about 1,000 that are taken seriously," says TV Guide's Mark Schwed.
"Then they make maybe a few hundred scripts. They actually make about a hundred pilots, and then only about 40 get bought and put on the air. And of those, maybe only two are hits," Schwed said.
The Macchio show was a sitcom that was shot more than two years ago as a midseason replacement for NBC. Six episodes were shot, but the show never made the schedule.
The Fox network thought it had a hit with "Rewind." It was actually on last fall's schedule, but just weeks before its debut, Fox scrapped the show. "Secret Service Guy" was dead before the pilot was ever seen by the public.
"You don't know before you actually make the thing whether or not you have chemistry between and among members of the cast, whether or not this thing is really gonna take off," said Allan Horn, CEO of Castle Rock Entertainment.
"It normally costs a million-plus to shoot a pilot, even a million-two, a million-three for a half-hour comedy pilot," Horn said.
Schwed says there are a "gazillion" TV program ideas for next fall.
One is about 113 souls that escape from hell. The devil hires an ex-cop to hunt them down and bring them back, Schwed says.
"There's some wonderful ideas in here," he said playfully.
If the devil and the ex-cop had to hunt for every TV pilot ever made, the show would be on forever.
Who knows? Maybe that would be another "Bonanza" for the TV industry.
Correspondent Ron Tank contributed to this report.