When execs were putting together the upcoming CW network’s schedule, they pulled a bunch of shows from the WB and the UPN. They also added a couple new shows that had been in development for the networks. Several promising shows were not picked up because, presumably, the CW wanted to play it safe and renew shows that had an existing audience like Smallville, One Tree Hill, and 7th Heaven, etc.).
One of the more famous contenders was a show called Mercy Reef, which was created by the Smallville folks and would have focused on a teen Aquaman searching for his roots in Florida and the nearby Bermuda Triangle. (Though it doesn’t look promising, the show is still a midseason replacement possibility.)
One of the lesser-known rejectees was a sitcom called Nobody’s Watching. This offbeat show from Bill Lawrence (creator of Scrubs) centered around two twenty-something friends from Ohio that loved sitcoms. In the show, the guys wrote the WB network and told them that they could easily make a better show than what the network was airing. The WB execs decided to take them up on it, brought them to Hollywood and set them up with their own set and studio audience and then filmed them as they developed their idea. A somewhat surreal show to be sure.
Now, this wouldn’t have anything to do with this site except that James Michael Tyler, the guy who played Gunther on Friends, makes a cameo as the perennial Central Perk employee. Based on the format of Nobody’s Watching, I’m guessing other sitcom character cameos would have been forthcoming. But, because the show wasn’t picked up by a network, only one episode exists.
The episode won’t be seen on TV but the producers have released Nobody’s Watching on YouTube. It’s become quite popular. Said Lawrence, “It’s validation for me because it proves that we weren’t completely crazy. I don’t think any network likes the idea of a show that they passed on being out there for people to see so viewers can say, ‘Look at the crap that they put on TV and they passed on this one?’ It makes them look dumb.”