Bruce Campbell: The lost network pilots unearthed


Bruce Campbell ended his run as Sam Axe on Burn Notice in 2013. After that successful gig, he made a series of pilots for various networks. Unfortunately for his fans, none of them took off. At 1428 Elm we decided to do a little digging and see what we could unearth.

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Night Cap Anyone?

When I was a kid one of the great joys in my life was watching some schlocky 1950s era horror movie on Dr. Shock’s show on WPHL in Philadelphia. For Bruce Campbell that particular program happened to be The Ghoul on local Detroit television.

As luck would have it, the same network (USA) that gave the world Burn Notice was poised to offer Campbell a different kind of return to a weekly series. They offered him the chance to star in a show called Night Cap.

Just like the Ghoul, Bruce would offer up a cultish type movie with witty banter and then do skits. This sounds very reminiscent of the Tea Time Movies segment on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Believe it or not, secretly, Bruce wanted to try his hand at hosting a program.

However, according to him in his new book, Hail to the Chin, “I had always wanted to host something, but in reality, it’s a bit of an odd gig.” The concept of wearing two hats at one time, (one being a host and the other a comedic actor) could seem daunting.

Bruce shot the pilot and then the process of the “waiting game” began. Unfortunately, USA ended up rejecting it. Their parent company, NBC Universal looked for a home but alas no interested parties.

Psych Redux

Campbell, who did a hilarious guest turn on Psych, wound up being cast as James Roday’s bohemian father in a pilot called Good Session. Apparently, despite Bruce’s “whacky supporting mode” (in his words) character this show won’t come to fruition either.

Which is a shame because it would have been fun to see the man that brought Ashley Williams to life go back to his Super 8 roots as a screwball comedian. To think of what might have been….

Houston, Can We Get Picked Up?

Something I learned while reading Hail to the Chin is that Campbell is a huge fan of Will Ferrell. Who would have thought? So, when he heard that Gary Sanchez Productions was looking to cast the role of an “idiot NASA administrator” guess who jumped at that opportunity?

Mission Control took place during the 60s and Bruce likened it to “Mad Men with jokes.” Let’s face it, nobody could rock a Don Draper look better than Campbell. By all accounts, the project looked interesting and it had some talented comedians involved.

According to Deadline, Michael Rosenbaum exited a pivotal role as one of the astronauts in the space program who provided comedic tension with the lead, Krysten Ritter. After recasting, nothing happened with it and thus the show crashed on the launch pad never to see the light of day.

If you are interested in learning more about Bruce Campbell’s varied career, pick up his Hail to the Chin today at You can also opt to see him in person as he makes his way across the US by checking his schedule out at Follow him on Twitter @GroovyBruce to keep up with his shenanigans.

Next: Bruce Campbell: Hail to the Chin – The 1428 Elm Review

Would you have watched any of Bruce’s pilot episodes? Which one sounded the most promising? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you!