Why Beverly Hills Cop and NCIS: Red Didn’t Make the Cut

Were you looking forward to NCIS: Red or Beverly Hills cop this fall? Unfortunately, the two primetime CBS pilots weren't picked up by the network

Credit: CBS

Anticipated spin-off NCIS: Red was considered a lock on the CBS fall schedule

When big-name shows like NCIS: Red and Beverly Hills Cop aren’t picked up by major networks, the reasons why aren’t always clear

By mid-May, the U.S. TV networks wrapped their annual upfronts, in which they unveil their new fall offerings to advertisers who will then commit their ad dollars for the coming year. 

With the fall lineups now locked and loaded, most series that were expected to be picked up have been (such as ABC’s Avengers spin-off Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), yet what’s even more interesting is the absence of a pair of can’t-miss CBS pilots that were considered to be no-brainers when it came to securing a spot on the fall schedule: Eddie Murphy’s reboot of Beverly Hills Cop and the spin-off NCIS: Red


Viewers of NCIS: Los Angeles have already seen the “backdoor pilot” of Red in a springtime episode that introduced a mobile team of NCIS investigators, led by former Northern Exposure star John Corbett. Beverly Hills Cop, on the other hand, featured Murphy reprising the role of Axel Foley, now Detroit’s Chief of Police, as an occasional recurring character, with the action focusing on his cop son (played by Brandon T. Jackson) as he leaves Detroit to go work with the Beverly Hills PD. 

Yet when CBS announced its schedule for fall 2013, both shows were conspicuous by their absence. What went wrong? 

As CBS president Nina Tassler told Zap2It, NCIS: Red didn’t make the cut because “sometimes [spin-offs] work and sometimes they don’t.” Clearly, this one didn’t. “Protecting [the NCIS franchise] was really important,” she added, having apparently learned a lesson from short-lived Criminal Minds spin-off Suspect Behavior

Beverly Hills Cop

As for Beverly Hills Cop, the reasons why CBS chose to pass are a bit murkier. By all accounts, the pilot was top-shelf all the way, boasting built-in name recognition, one of TV’s most sought-after writer-producers (The Shield’s Shawn Ryan), and the reteaming of Murphy with co-star Judge Reinhold. 

Part of the decision had to do with the network’s renewed enthusiasm for half-hour comedy (its Thursday-night comedy block, anchored by blockbuster The Big Bang Theory, will be expanded to two hours). 

An even more important factor, however, may simply be that CBS already has too many hit shows and not enough vacant timeslots on its schedule. “We have to make tough choices,” Tassler admitted. 

Then again, the TV reboot of Beverly Hills Cop may see the light of day, since the studio behind the project is reportedly shopping the show to other networks, and I can think of a few desperate networks that would be foolish not to snap it up. Stay tuned.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.