June 8, 2022

Five Series That Became Their Own Spin-off's

 I've talked a lot about spin-offs, when a character is introduced in one series and spun off into their own. Some however are more than spin-off's, they are continuations.

Now a lot of shows will dramatically change focus to spice things up. Empty Nest had Harry go from working in a hospital to a free clinic. Gimmee A Break changed the setting to New York City. Welcome Back, Kotter had a new teacher and focused more on the school. But in the end these were still the same shows. But what happens when the show runners want the show to continue, but one or all of the main stars or even entire cast don't want to come back? The show literally becomes its own spin-off, sometimes keeping the name we love and other times changing to reflect the change. Here are five examples:

Mayberry R.F.D

Andy Griffith was ready to move on from The Andy Griffith Show. So in the eighth season the town became more of the focus with Griffith being seen less and less. Andy Taylor moved away at the end of Andy Griffith and when the show officially becomes Mayberry R.F.D. it was literally the same show, minus Andy and Opie. Who did make appearances. 

Laverne & Shirley

Cheating a little with this one but I think it still counts. You're gonna see that most of these are the result of a long running series not knowing when to stop already. Case in point, after eight years it seemed like this show was done. But Penny Marshall wanted to go on, so they did. Great idea, until Cindy Williams became pregnant and left (there were other reasons but that's another story). So what exactly is Laverne & Shirley with just Laverne? Lame! While the name stayed it was really "The Laverne Show". The final episode wasn't even a regular episode, it was a backdoor pilot! 


Even Saved By The Bell was smart enough to realize this was a stupid idea, and called there lazy spin-off "The New Class". After season 8 most of the cast were ready to move on, but the producer wanted the show to continue. So the final season was a total change in premise and tone, as we focus on a class of interns who are being taught by our series regulars making cameos. It was stupid, it was lame, and the worst part is tahat the show had a perfect;y fine final episode that aired the sesason before and they should have left well enough alobe,

Archie Bunkers Place

This is one were the name was changed and it is considered its own series. But the fact is, everything else was the same. Norman Lear was resdy for All in the Family to end but the network wanted more. Shocking, a network concerned more with ratings than quality. Jean Stapleton also was ready to move on, so a deal was made. All in the Family became Archie Bunkers Place, with a shift in focus, and Edith would pass away after the first season. 

The Hogan Family

Here's the story of how "Valerie" became "The Hogan Family". Around 1987 Valerie Harper was in a brand new series about a mother raising three kids in suburban Chicago. The hook was that her husband was an airline pilot, and was rarely home. It was a harmless show which did pretty well. Then there was a horible contract dispute involving her salary. Which Harper would later win by the way. But by the end NBC fired her but wanted the show to continue. So they put Sandy Duncan as the lead, with the setup now that she would move into help raise the kids as there aunt after there mother had been killed. Honestly, I prefered the Duncan years but you will have people say those episodes sucked. The best part was the title change, at first it was Valerie's Family. Then NBC realized they wanted nothing to do with Harper, and for like an episode it was "The Hogan's" before finally settling on "The Hogan Family". This was a light simple show and has mostly been forgotten, and I miss it to be honest. 

I guess technically “Roseanne” did become “The Connors” does that count? I don’t care. Any others that I missed? Comment and let me know.


  1. I wish they would bring that back

  2. I think people who hated The Hogan Family were holding resentment on the fact that Valerie Harper was let go in a way similar to the actresses who played Aunt Viv from the fresh prince.