Five Shows Cancelled Before They Aired One Episode

It’s not unusual for new shows to be cancelled before they are given a second season. Many networks will cancel shows that they believe are underperforming in the ratings or are receiving exceptionally bad critical reviews; other factors that go into a show’s cancellation include creative issues, problems with casting or keeping up with actor’s salary, just to name a few.

But there are some shows that are cancelled before they have aired a single episode on TV. These shows are often greenlit for a pilot and entire season, before being unceremoniously yanked by the network. Let’s look at three shows which were cancelled before they ever aired one episode.

ITV’s Sherlock Holmes

TIV's 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Episode 2
TIV’s ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Episode 2

ITV announced that it would be producing a new Sherlock Holmes drama in 2004. The show was set to star Stephan Fry, a well-known fan of everything Holmes, as the titular detective; actor Hugh Laurie was cast as his assistant Watson. However, ITV never got a chance to produce a full season because of the unexpected success of Hugh Laurie in the American medical comedy-drama, House. Hugh Laurie’s success in the show meant that he was unavailable for the ITV production, and it was cancelled.

NBC’s Next Caller

Next Caller was a comedy written by Stephen Falk which was slated to premiere during the 2012 midseason. Next Caller was about a male shock jock that was forced by his radio network to team up with a professional women’s rights activist. The show had been given the greenlight for a 6-episode mini first season and four of those six episodes had already been filmed and fully produced. However, NBC decided to pull the plug on the show before it aired. NBC claimed that there were significant creative difference between comedian Dane Cook, who was to star in the show, and the writing and creative team behind the show at NBC; however, there have been rumors that the show’s premise was considered too controversial due to the frequency of controversial and potentially offensive jokes and punch lines in the show.


Hieroglyph was a historical drama set in Ancient Egypt that was originally give a full season order and was slated to premiere in the fall of 2014. Unfortunately, the show was suddenly cancelled by Fox; some believe the cancellation is related to Kevin Reilly, the entertainment chairman of the network, suddenly leaving his position.


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