Early Warning Signs: 4 TV Flops That Were Recycled into Hits

1. Sons and Daughters (2006)

Lasting just one month, Sons and Daughters was doomed from the start. It was partially improvised, it dealt with a large, extended family, and its sense of humor was frequently weird. Plus, NBC was the master of the clever comedy and it was run against American Idol. ABC had yet to be able to compete.

Until…

2. Brother’s Keeper (1998)

Brother’s Keeper was a terrible show set in San Francisco, though not the only one. ABC brought it in as a replacement for the startlingly decent Teen Angel. The main element of the show is that strait-laced William Ragsdale has to keep his douchebag brother out of trouble, but most of the show focused on reaction shots from the chubby, lovable Justin Cooper.

Uh-oh.

3. The Ben Stiller Show (1991)

Looking back now, it’s impossible to imagine that MTV was genuinely cool. They still played music videos, the original programming was terrific, and it was a tastemaker that united some unlikely groups of young people. For one glorious year, that repertoire included The Ben Stiller Show. Sadly, this version of the show has never been released on home video, but the edgy upstart network Fox was eager to turn it into…

4. The Ben Stiller Show (1992)

Yes, it’s a different version. This time, young Ben Stiller (who?) brought along the enjoyably sour Jeanine Garofalo, perennial man-behind-the-curtain Bob Odenkirk, and a not-yet-hated Andy Dick. The show was cancelled after 11 episodes and as a joke they put it up for Emmy consideration. They won, causing HBO to take an interest in two of the show’s writers…

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