Last week, NBC announced its mid-season schedule, which will include a mid-season replacement for "Prime Suspect" in the form of the John Grisham-inspired series "The Firm." While mid-season shows often get a bad rap for being not good enough for the fall premiere slots, many of TV's biggest success stories started off as unassuming mid-season replacements. Here are some of our favorite examples."The Office"
"The Office" debuted on NBC on March 24, 2005, when it replaced the short-lived sitcom "Committed." While the original BBC series ran for 14 episodes, the American version has been far more long-lived. Now in its eighth season, the cast may have changed a little over the years, but most of the main cast are still on the show.
Nathan Fillion hasn't had the best luck with TV shows in the past, with his past project "Firefly" getting canceled after only a handful of episodes had aired. Thankfully, he's had better luck with his current project, "Castle," now in its fourth season. Premiering as a mid-season replacement on March 9, 2009, this ABC show replaced the mostly-forgotten reality series "True Beauty."
Premiering on March 10, 1997, this Joss Whedon project was a staple of the WB lineup for five years, and UPN's lineup for another two seasons. But Buffy and her friends never would have made it to the WB lineup if Aaron Spelling's "Savannah" hadn't been yanked off the air after two seasons.
After the Simpson family made their debut on "The Tracey Ullman Show," the network greenlit this classic animated series as a mid-season replacement for the "21 Jump Street" spin-off series "Booker." The show premiered on Dec. 17, 1989, spawned a theatrically-released film, and is currently on Season 23, which makes it the longest-running prime-time animated series in TV history.
"JAG" started life as an NBC series, but was canceled after just one season. However, CBS bought the rights to the series and aired it as a new addition to their mid-season lineup starting on Jan. 3, 1997. The show went on for a total of 10 seasons, and also inspired the phenomenally successful spin-off series "NCIS.""Grey's Anatomy"
Premiering on March 27, 2005 as a mid-season replacement for "Boston Legal," the medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" has been on the air for eight seasons so far. After an initial season of only nine episodes, it's impressive to see how long the show has remained on the air.
"Happy Days" premiered on Jan. 15, 1974 as a mid-season replacement for the medical sitcom "Temperatures Rising." In addition to running for eleven seasons, "Happy Days" also inspired the spin-off series "Laverne & Shirley," "Blansky's Beauties," "Mork & Mindy," " Out of the Blue ," and "Joanie Loves Chachi." And let's not forget, "Happy Days" itself was a spin-off of another show, "Love American Style."