UNSOLD PILOT OVERVIEW
The story, as reported in a 1986 issue of Starlog magazine, was that Stephen J. Cannell was being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrating his career in television. At this function he was sitting next to NBC's Brandon Tartikoff, as clips of various Cannell programs played for the audience Tartikoff stated "ABC made a big mistake in cancelling that series" when clips of TGAH rolled by. Robert Culp has also stated he had the idea to bring back the show, which was also confirmed by Cannell in interviews. It's not known in what order these events happened, but the stage was set for TGAH's return.
A short pilot presentation was shot using material lifted from what was a 2-hour script written by Babs Greyhosky. The choice of only shooting various parts of the script obviously meant many great scenes were lost, including a huge battle with Ralph fighting commandos and their helicopter at a highrise, which leads to a young woman being thrown out a window...all to expose Ralph to the world.
William Katt had already signed on to appear in a series of Perry Mason TV movies, 2 of which were already in the can by the time the 2-hour Heroine script came in dated April 15, 1986. He declined to appear in a new GAH series, but he does appear in the first half of the Heroine pilot, as does Connie Sellecca who by this time was starring in Hotel on ABC. This meant Robert Culp, as Bill Maxwell, would be teamed up with a new partner: Holly Hathaway, portrayed by newcomer Mary Ellen Stuart. The scenes featuring the original trio proved the magic was still there, but unfortunately NBC passed on the show so fans were never able to see what magic might have developed between Stuart & Culp. It wasn't really a fair test, in my opinion, because the 2-hour script reads much better than the mish-mash of scenes that end up onscreen. Eventually, the presentation film was padded out with the 3rd season opening credits, and bits of film from the original series to form a full episode and the show was added to the series syndication package in the late 80s.
According to various press materials released, had the series been picked up, it would have been scheduled on Sunday night opposite the CBS ratings juggernaut 60 Minutes. This seems like deja vu of the whole ABC scheduling the 3rd season of the original series again, Dallas!?! I can't imagine Sunday going up against the news program not being a "death slot" for Heroine as it was for many other series. We will never know since NBC passed on the program.
As late as 1989/90, ABC considered bringing the series back as a cartoon. A pilot script was written, but in the end the project never went anywhere at the network.
NBC Details and Los Angeles Times Article
The NBC hierarchy must have had great faith that TGAHeroine pilot would sell. They were already sending out press material on the series before the fall schedule had been announced. Below is a series of photo's shot on location and one with the original press sheet attached.
I've seen it written that 2 years after the series ended on ABC, "NBC picked up the show and ran it in a Sunday night, post-primetime time slot". Not true, as the NBC network never ran TGAH, (or I would have recorded it yet again), at least not on a national level. However, it IS possible that NBC in preparing to buy Heroine, ran the original series on it's NBC O&O's (owned and operated stations) but that would have been in their local cities only. If anyone out there has any episodes recorded from their local NBC station as described above, please contact me using the form at the bottom of the home page.