Rejected TV Show Ideas


I once had a TV show proposal rejected with the words “I found the characters hard to relate to because they were all of above average intelligence.” To be fair to the exec in question, that sentence continued with the words “and mad.”

Here are some of my TV series proposals. Most of them are not real. None of them have happened.

Adolf Hitler Investigates. The adventures of a crime-fighting Führer. I thought this would be a natural for Channel 5.

It’s The Adolf Hitler Show! A history show for kids where Adolf Hitler, boiling in a cauldron in hell, tells the story of WWII.

They Saved Hitler’s Legs. Sitcom in which a man gets Hitler’s legs transplanted onto him and can’t stop goose-stepping. Alternative title: He Can’t Stop Goose-Stepping.

The Borgias Kitchen. Cookery show without Hitler.

Election Night of the Living Dead. The next General Election, covered live through the night by actors made up as zombies, acting like zombies (shambling movements, incoherent moaning instead of speech). Still think this is potentially a winner.

Dimbledon. Tennis coverage from Winbledon presented by David Dimbleby. Surprised this hasn’t happened.

Crufts Rollerball. In the spirit of Alan Partridge’s desperate suggestion of Monkey Tennis: pedigree dogs from the popular dog show play a violent contact sport on rollerskates.

Invisible Snooker. Snooker played by invisible men wearing night-vision goggles in complete darkness. On other words, a black screen with intermittent clacking sounds. Tense and relaxing at the same time.

Tick Talk. A late night open-ended discussion show about parasites.

A Brief History of Time on Ice. Stephen Hawking’s masterwork of popular science presented as an allegorical ice ballet.

Play it Again, Samurai. Casablanca restaged in feudal Japan. To be played by white actors in yellowface speaking gibberish, dubbed into English with fake Japanese accents. “We’ll always have Hokkaido.”

Battlestar Potemkin. A space opera about refugees seeking the lost planet Earth, made as a silent film in a Russian montage style. I think Dirk Benedict would be up for this.

Frears Sneers. To replace the gap left by Winner’s Dinners, which was a newspaper column about film director Michael Winner eating things, a TV show about Stephen Frears openly scoffing. It shares with its illustrious predecessor the fact that its whole existence is predicated upon a title that rhymes.

John C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Punk poet John Cooper Clarke investigates bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the chupacabra or goat-sucker. He ponders the mysteries of this and other worlds, and tries to find something that rhymes with chupacabra.

Psychic Farmers. Show about dairy farmers with telepathy. Maybe they can communicate telepathically with cows, but I don’t want to stress that part too much.

Finally, to make up for the fact that I once, unknowingly, worked for the company that went on to make Embarrassing Illnesses, easily the most abhorrent show on television anywhere, I propose a show starring the executives and producers of that company, to be entitled Humiliating Deaths.

I’m sure everyone has at least a couple of rejected TV show ideas. What are yours?


13 Responses to “Rejected TV Show Ideas”

  1. The Roy Cohn Show Roy and his co-host Barbara Walters grab people off the street in Union Square and interrogate them as to their membership the Communist party or (for the better-looking makes) whether they would like to have dinner with Roy.

  2. I thought of using candelabra with chupacabra. I figure it’s close enough.

  3. Jeff Gee Says:

    The great thing about the world today: when your show idea is rejected, you can just go ahead and do it anyway

  4. Jeff Gee Says:

    Oops.Something amiss with the link, which was supposed to be this.

  5. “Aaaah you did it, you finally did it!” Pounds sand.

    I like the Cohn idea. Maybe call it Are You Now Or Did You Evah?

  6. I’d probably watch Battlestar Potempkin!

  7. judydean Says:

    Psychic Farmers? It’s been done, only with goats, not cows. Ask Jon Ronson.

    One of my son’s schoolfriends came up with an idea for Farmaggedon which showed some promise.

  8. Oh, I like that! Mutant sheep attack?

  9. Jenny Eardley Says:

    Get everyone who’s ever been on an insurance ad and try to get them a Christmas number 1. So many people would watch I could probably take over the country on a Saturday night without anyone noticing.

  10. Perfect! Needs a snappy title though. Insurance Ad Populace Christmas Number One doesn’t have quite the required panache.

  11. Jenny Eardley Says:

    “Britain’s Got Call Centres”? “Just think how many Billy Wilder films we could have shown you instead”?

  12. BBC4 is to stop making dramas for cost reasons. I’m just waiting until they can’t afford to make documentaries either, and all they’ll show is repeats and old films. (It could happen.)

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