Every year, scores of TV pilots are filmed -- but the vast majority never make it onto the air. And once a show is rejected by network executives, chances are that would-be first episode will never see the light of day. Here, from industry insiders, are 10 TV series that DIDN'T premiere this season:
ABDUL'S HEROES: Loosely modeled on the TV classic Hogan's Heroes, and set in Camp X-ray on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, this sitcom pokes fun at a ragtag band of suspected Al Qaeda fighters and the U.S. soldiers who reluctantly guard them. In each episode, the bungling-but-lovable leader Abdul and his men hatch another wacky plot to escape, which is foiled -- usually through pure accident -- by their equally incompetent American captors. "The show was created as an irreverent war comedy," explains an industry insider. "Unfortunately, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the pilot now comes off as an exercise in bad taste." FATHER FLANAGAN AND ME: This sitcom about a precocious, wisecracking boy from the "hood" being raised by a Catholic priest sounded like a surefire winner when it was first pitched to producers a couple of years ago. "Now -- in light of the Church sex abuse scandal -- some of the dialogue makes your skin crawl," the insider reveals. McFAGGOT: "San Francisco's toughest cop just happens to be gay," trumpets a synopsis provided by the show's producers. But the backlash against gay marriage torpedoed any chance that this series, featuring a homosexual sleuth and his feisty male mate, would ever air. SCREENERS: This drama about America's "unsung heroes in the war on terror" -- the security guards who frisk you at airports -- sounded exciting when it was originally conceived shortly after 9/11, but not anymore. "Test audiences literally fell asleep," reveals the source. THE ANIMATED ADVENTURES OF HUMPTY: A hyperactive cartoon dog who keeps humping his mistress' leg and everything else in sight made test audiences uncomfortable. McMAGGOT: "Bad guys can't kill New York's first zombie cop -- because he's already dead," is how the show is described in PR materials. But TV execs deepsixed McMaggot. THE DRILL: What's life really like behind the scenes in L.A.'s hottest dental practice? Questionnaires filled out by a test audience revealed that no one cares. WHO CUT THE CHEESE?: A reality show about five ordinary people from varied backgrounds who must share an apartment with a chronic flatulence sufferer and try to figure out which cast member is the culprit, was a real stinker, network execs decided.