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Off With The Show 

When film-to-TV adaptations don't work

So last year's sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding made a fortune and was adored all over the country. If you think that's a successful enough formula to guarantee an instant ratings bonanza when it's transformed into a TV sitcom, think again.

My Big Fat Greek Life, the boob tube's Wedding spin-off, was a ratings disaster that was quickly cancelled after a handful of episodes. Still, its resounding failure won't stop network executives from combing the weekly box office charts to find the next hit flick that could be turned into a weekly series. And to be fair, the gamble often yields huge dividends: M*A*S*H, anyone?

Still, the number of film-to-TV take-offs that didn't work is a substantial one. Here, then, are 10 shows, all based on hit films, that folded so quickly, you probably didn't even realize they had ever existed in the first place.

Adam's Rib (1973). The 1949 Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn classic was briefly turned into a TV sit-com, with Ken Howard (The White Shadow) and Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow's accomplished actress mom) as the husband-and-wife attorneys. The series lasted less than four months.

Anna and the King (1972). The role of the King of Siam in The King and I was such a boon to Yul Brynner's career (including an Oscar victory for the 1956 film version) that it's no wonder he played it several times over the years: on stage, in film and on television. For this prime-time takeoff, Samantha Eggar was cast as Anna, but it was all hardly worth the effort, as the show lasted a scant four months.

The Bad News Bears (1979). After milking the theatrical franchise for all it was worth through one entertaining original and two lackluster sequels, producers brought the Little League team to television for a CBS series with Jack Warden cast as the cantankerous coach and a young Corey Feldman appearing as one of his charges. This lasted eight months during the 1979 season, then was brought back for a couple of summer months in 1980 before finally being put out of its misery.

Barefoot In the Park (1970). Three years after the successful Robert Redford-Jane Fonda film hit theaters, ABC attempted to turn the Neil Simon project into an all-black TV show. Scoey Mitchlll and Tracy Reed portrayed the newlyweds, with Nipsey Russell cast in a supporting role; it ran four months.

Casablanca (1955 & 1983). Yes, you're reading this right. Not only was the immortal Bogie-Bergman flick made into a short-lived television series in the 50s, it was also resurrected a second time in the 80s. The "55 model starred B-movie regular Charles McGraw in the Bogart role; it was shown intermittently over the course of eight months (incidentally, the premiere episode will be included on the upcoming deluxe DVD for the film). The 1983 take featured an eclectic cast -- David Soul (as Rick), Hector Elizondo, Scatman Crothers and then-unknown Ray Liotta -- but it stayed afloat for barely a month.

Delta House (1979). The 1978 smash National Lampoon's Animal House hits the small screen, minus the R-rated hijinks. Four actors from the movie reprised their roles, with an unknown actress named Michelle Pfeiffer joining the cast as "The Bombshell." It lasted three months.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1962). Frank Capra's 1939 movie is a genuine American classic, so somebody had the cojones to decide, decades later, that it could be retooled into an effective sit-com. TV's Davy Crockett, actor Fess Parker, had the unenviable job of walking in James Stewart's shoes, playing the aw-shucks senator who tries to inject honesty into the American political system. The show hung on for six months.

Paper Moon (1974). As a young girl traveling across the Midwest with her con artist dad, Tatum O'Neal won an Oscar for her work in the wildly popular movie version from 1973. Jodie Foster wasn't as successful (at least not yet); she took over Tatum's role for this spin-off that lasted four months.

Semi-Tough (1980). The successful 1977 football flick starring Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson was later transformed into a TV sit-com, though with the two movie stars nowhere to be found, the show folded after a measly four episodes. Bruce McGill (D-Day in National Lampoon's Animal House) and a pre-Knight Rider/Baywatch David Hasselhoff starred in their place.

Shane (1966). Yes, even the 1953 Western classic starring Alan Ladd managed to make its way to TV Land. Instead of Ladd, we get David Carradine (before his Kung Fu days) as the gentle gunslinger who helps protect a farm family against unscrupulous cattle ranchers. It ran approximately four months.

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