Did you know what these shows were going to be called?

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by Ome, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    1. New Girl


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    Original title: Chicks and Dicks

    Yes, really. Pre-Zooey Deschanel, this sitcom was pitched to the network as "a young ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of men and women" with a slightly bawdy title.

    It was never likely, though, that New Girl's original title would stay put. Unless, that is, FOX were willing to employ some serious hyphen/asterix action, à la Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 or The End of the F***ing World.




    2. Married… With Children

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    Original title: Not The Cosby Show

    With its cutesy message of family togetherness and its finger-wagging lessons in morality, The Cosby Show was a model example of the wholesome '80s sitcom (or so we thought). But the dysfunctional Bundys of Married… With Children weren't at all like the loving, thrustingly ambitious Huxtables.

    So the one-time plan to title the series Not The Cosby Show seemed like a bold statement of intent. In the long run, though, it was probably wise to chicken out and go for the more prosaic Married… With Children
    .




    3. Lost

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    Original title: Nowhere

    The questions we were asking at the beginning of Lost were: is this island real, or are the survivors of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 in some kind of purgatory?

    In the end, we found out the island was real, but would we have had that kind of delicious ambiguity had the show been titled Nowhere? Happily, JJ Abrams and co lobbed that one out, going instead with the more satisfyingly plain Lost.




    4. Friends

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    Original title: Insomnia Cafe

    Friends creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman actually pitched their sitcom under the title Insomnia Cafe (which sounds more to us more like a chic, New York-set indie flick than a network sitcom). NBC didn't like that title, and so renamed it Six of One, eventually dumping that one too and opting for the simpler Friends.





    5. Hannah Montana

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    Original title: Alexis Texas

    The makers of Hannah Montana were obviously keen on 'generic first name – rhyming American state surname' for their show's title (and lead character's name), as it was, at one point, going to be called Alexis Texas. Which, though it's a real-life porn star's stage name, at least sounds better than Anna Louisiana or Jane Maine. Hennessy Tennessee? Mona Arizona? Lavinia West Virginia?




    6. Monty Python's Flying Circus

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    Original title: Owl Stretching Time

    Other monikers rejected by the Beeb included Ow! It's Colin Plint!, A Horse, a Spoon and a Basin, The Toad Elevating Moment, Bunn Wackett Buzzard Stubble And Boot and Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus.

    Some of these, including Owl Stretching Time, would later be reused by the boys as episode titles.





    7. The Inbetweeners

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    Original title: Baggy Trousers

    There is, somewhere out there, buried deep in Channel 4's vaults, an unaired pilot for what would become The Inbetweeners.

    Baggy Trousers, as it was called then, shares a fair bit of DNA with the series that followed, but with a few crucial differences – it was set in the 1980s and featured an almost entirely different cast as William, Simon, Neil and Jay (although Jay's not Jay in this one, but a character called Lee, while James Buckley, who played Jay in the series, plays Neil here).





    8. The Big Bang Theory

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    Original title: Lenny, Penny and Kenny


    In the original pitch for The Big Bang Theory, the characters of Leonard and Sheldon were named Lenny and Kenny, leading to this rhythmically satisfying alternative title.

    Trouble is, say it once and it's fine, say it countless times, and you end up wanting to beat it to death. To paraphrase Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, they chose wisely...





    9. Roseanne

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    Original title: Life and Stuff


    As a title, Life and Stuff seems a fitting one for Roseanne Barr's proudly working-class sitcom.

    It probably sums up the series better than its eventual title, seeing as the series was never just about Roseanne, but the entire Conner family. It was, in essence, about life and stuff.

    But all the same, it's not the snappiest moniker, so we're not all that torn up about it getting ditched.




    10. Grey's Anatomy


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    Original title: Surgeons

    The title Grey's Anatomy, as any doctor will tell you, is a cunning play on the 1858 must-have medical textbook Gray's Anatomy (the show's lead character is called Meredith Grey, see). How clever.

    But the original title of the show was a whole lot less pun-tastic. Yes, at one point Grey's Anatomy was to have been titled Surgeons, which rather makes it sound like a bad afternoon soap.



     
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  2. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Dallas was nearly 'Oil' but before that 'The Untitled Linda Evans project'. :eck:

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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    And yet the Bundys were infinitely more appealing.

    It was DYNASTY which was almost called "Oil".

    While 'The Untitled Linda Evans Project' was obviously not a serious suggestion -- it was always a temporary thing jotted down when the DALLAS pilot script was completed because CBS had been looking for a show for Evans when she was under contract, and she had just done a mini-series for Lorimar.
     
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  4. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Beverly Hills 90210 was almost called Class of Beverly Hills. They were lucky they changed it.
     
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  5. Emelee

    Emelee Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Good call to change the titles in all these cases!
     
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  6. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Life And Stuff is a far more attractive to me than Roseanne. I find self-titled sitcoms a little off-putting.

    Nowhere, too, is a great title.

    I hadn't realised The Inbetweeners was set in the Eighties, and the original Baggy Trousers nicely suggests that.
     
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  7. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Yes aware of the Linda Evans Project not being serious (can you imagine?!), and whoops to the Oil. Obviously said before coffee ahem...:fp:
     
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  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    I find names (people or animals or places) more unique and catchy. "Life And Stuff" could be anything - an educational programme or a daytime talkshow or even a daytime soap parody.
    But I've never understood why actors choose to use their own names.
    When I read something like "Mary Taylor Moore Show" I don't think of a sitcom. To me it suggests an adult muppet show with sketches, singing and guests - hosted by Mary Taylor Moore, of course.

    Here's another example, probably the best if I may say so.

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    vs.

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  9. Gabriel Maxwell

    Gabriel Maxwell Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I used to think the same since the word 'show' is often used in Europe to indicate a variety type of program with singing and dancing, whereas scripted programs would be called series or serials. People here are often surprised when I refer to scripted programs as "shows".

    The most unusual however is using the name of a star of a scripted program in its title (as opposed to, say, the name of the character they're playing), which often happened with classic scripted comedy series like The Dick Van Dyke Show or The Andy Griffith Show.
     
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  10. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Champian

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    I always thought The Vintage Years would have been a great title for Falcon Crest although I can see why they changed it as it could give the impression it was sent in the past.
     
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  11. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Maybe for a prequel movie, like Dallas The Early Years.
    The name of a long running soap series has to be powerful. Dallas! Falcon Crest! Dynasty! Peyton Place!
    The Vintage Years sounds too soft, it's more like a daytime soap (Days Of Our Lives etc).
     
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  12. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In 1968, Agnes Nixon created a soap opera she wanted to call Between Heaven and Hell. The network (ABC) bought the show but forced a name-change to One Life to Live.
    In 1983, she co-created another soap she wanted to call Love Without End. Once again, ABC forced a name change, this time to Loving. When sold overseas, it got names like Lovingly Yours (France) and When Someone Loves (Italy).

    When Russell Davies was working on rebooting Doctor Who and needed to keep it a secret, he gave the project a working title that was an anagram: Torchwood. Does that count? :D
     
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  13. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

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    Life and Stuff seems more descriptive, too.

    The odd thing about that one is that although it's universally referred to as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the words "The" and "Show" don't appear on screen.

    "Torchwood" is an anagram of "Doctor Who"? I never realised. How intriguing.
     
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  14. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Fan

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    Coronation Street was originally titled Florizel Street until one of the cleaners of Granada said it sounded like a cleaning product.

    Brookside was originally titled Meadowcroft.

    One of the titles considered for Neighbours was One Way Street.

    Never Say Goodbye was the name that Aaron Spelling originally wanted to call Sunset Beach but it didn't test well with viewers.
     
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  15. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Back in the 1950s, CBS developed a new daytime soap titled The Storm Within. Unfortunately the chief sponsor they lined up for the program was an antacid product, so they had to change the title to The Secret Storm.
     
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  16. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I agree, I think. I don't like overly-literal self-descriptive titles like "Scandal" or "Dirty Sexy Money" -- it's like calling a scripted cop show "Procedural Law Enforcement" (which sounds like a mini-doc series) or a sitcom "Funny Situations" (which does, too).


    Many have made that same point over the years. But naming a sitcom after the lead star seems to have been '60s/'70s/'80s convention. Today, it would sound even more bizarre than it did then, and they don't really do it.

    Reportedly, consideration was given to calling Moore's sitcom "Love Is All Around" based on the theme song.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
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