The Inspiring Journey of Famous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

Famous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

In the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, the journey from conception to success is often riddled with challenges. Some of the most iconic TV shows and movies faced rejection before eventually becoming cultural phenomena. Let’s delve into the stories of resilience behind these now-celebrated creations.

Stranger ThingsFamous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

The Duffer brothers, creators of “Stranger Things,” initially faced rejection when pitching their nostalgic teen horror show set in the 1980s. Despite encountering resistance from 15 to 20 networks, they persevered until finding a home on Netflix. The Duffers recall an executive’s misguided advice to turn it into a kids’ show or shift the focus to the detective character. Fortunately, they stuck to their vision, leading to the blockbuster success we know today.

Squid GameFamous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

Hwang Dong-hyuk’s “Squid Game” became a Netflix sensation, but its journey wasn’t swift. Conceived over a decade ago, Hwang struggled to find support until Netflix embraced the project in 2019. The series’ monumental success within 28 days on the platform serves as both encouragement for aspiring creators and a cautionary tale for executives who initially passed on this cultural phenomenon.

The Walking DeadFamous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

The Walking Dead” faced skepticism from NBC and HBO, who requested a toned-down, less violent version. Producer Gale Ann Hurd’s refusal to compromise on the show’s content led to rejection by these networks. Undeterred, Hurd explored other options and found a perfect home for the series on AMC, where it thrived as a graphic and intense portrayal of a zombie apocalypse.

E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialFamous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

Initially titled “E.T. and Me,” Steven Spielberg’s script faced rejection from Columbia Pictures. Undeterred, Spielberg took the project to Universal, turning “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” into the most successful movie of its time within a year. The iconic film showcased the resilience of a visionary against initial setbacks.

Back To The FutureFamous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s original script for “Back to the Future” encountered multiple rejections due to concerns about sexual content. Universal eventually approved the script, leading to the creation of a timeless classic. The film’s success stands as a testament to persistence in the face of initial resistance.

The Sopranos

David Chase’s groundbreaking series, “The Sopranos,” faced rejection from Fox before finding a groundbreaking home on HBO. The network’s initial pass on the show turned out to be a missed opportunity as “The Sopranos” went on to redefine television storytelling and became a cultural phenomenon.

Breaking Bad

Considered one of the greatest TV shows, “Breaking Bad” faced rejections from FX, TNT, and HBO due to concerns about green-lighting a story about a teacher turned drug dealer. AMC took the risk, and the show became a critical and commercial success, showcasing the unpredictability of the entertainment industry.

Orange Is The New BlackFamous Rejected TV Shows and Movies

Jenji Kohan struggled to convince traditional network executives about the potential success of “Orange Is The New Black,” a show exploring life inside a women’s prison. Netflix, however, recognized its groundbreaking potential and changed the viewing landscape by releasing entire seasons at once. The show’s acclaim and numerous awards validate Netflix’s trailblazing decision.


The entertainment industry’s history is dotted with stories of persistence, resilience, and the triumph of creative vision over initial rejection. These TV shows and movies, now celebrated as cultural milestones, serve as inspiration for aspiring creators and a reminder to industry executives about the unpredictable nature of success.

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