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11 clunky original titles of TV shows that were wisely changed

Would you watch a sitcom called 'Cool'?

What's in a name? More than you might imagine. Without a doubt, casting, writing and acting plays a big part in a TV show's success — but you have to get audiences to tune in. Branding played a big part in some shows. Happy Days immediately signals that it is about warm nostalgic vibes. From The Flintstones, you can perhaps guess the family lives a primitive life.

Yet, both of these iconic series almost went under different titles. Let's take a look at some classic series that dodged having clunkier handles.

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1

'Happy Days' was almost 'Cool'

Snoopy's alter ego Joe Cool premiered in comic strips in 1971, a few years before his spiritual twin the Fonz came along. They almost had more in common. As creator Garry Marshall once explained, "I wanted the show to be called COOL, but test audiences thought it a brand of cigarette, so my producer said: 'How about Happy Days? That’s what we’re going to show.'" Here are a dozen things you never knew about Happy Days.

2

'Car 54, Where Are You?' was almost 'THE SNOW WHITES'

The working script and pilot episode curiously went under the title The Snow Whites, which probably delighted the show's sponsor, detergent manufacturer Proctor & Gamble. Yet that name would undoubtedly lead to confusion, considering the show's Sunday night lead-in on NBC — Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Too many people would have expected fairy tales and dwarves with that name. Stumped for a title, producers decided to use the closing line of the freshly written theme song, written by creator Nat Hiken and composer John Strauss.

3

'Leave It to Beaver' was almost 'It's A Small World'

Speaking of Disney confusion, how different would this charming sitcom have been under the name It's a Small World? The pilot for the series, titled "It's a Small World," aired as an installment of the anthology series Heinz Studio 57. Harry Shearer, of This Is Spinal Tap and The Simpsons, appeared in the episode as the character "Bicycle Punk." Another potential title was Wally and the Beaver, but the corporate sponsor worried that it sounded too much like a nature program. Here are 15 more fascinating facts about Beaver to make you say "Gee Whiz!"

Image: The Everett Collection

4

'The Beverly Hillbillies' was almost 'The Hillbillies of Beverly Hills'

Not terribly different, no, but it just feels a little clunkier and less clever. Find out seven more things you never knew about The Beverly Hillbillies.

5

'The Flintstones' was almost 'The Flagstones'

While we're on the topic of hillbillies, Hanna-Barbara almost made the Flintstones about a family of hillbillies. Other considered concepts included a Roman family and a clan of Pilgrims. The animation studio settled on the Stone Age. A short pilot of "The Flagstones" introduced Fred lounging in a pool. The name was perhaps changed to avoid confusion with the Flagstons, the family from the daily comic strip Hi and Lois introduced to newspapers in 1954.

Image: The Everett Collection

6

'Mannix' was almost 'Intertect'

Imagine if Mannix was called Intertect. Sound familiar? Intertect was the sterile, surveillance-riddled Los Angeles detective agency Mannix worked for in season one. A gruff non-conformist, Mannix never fit in at the 1984-inspired detective agency, and, luckily, the name didn't stick.

Image: The Everett Collection

7

'Mister Ed' was almost 'Wilbur Pope and Mister Ed'

Alas, poor Wilbur. When the George Burns–produced pilot was in the works, he had a place in the title. In the end, perhaps rightfully, all the attention went to the talking horse. 

Image: AP Photo

8

'The Wild Wild West' was almost 'The Wild West' or 'The Wild West West'

Early in production, the pilot was called The Wild West. Playing off the character's name, The Wild West West was also up for consideration and thankfully scrapped. That's just confusing.

9

'Gilligan's Island' was almost 'Gilligan's Travels'

Throughout development, creator Sherwood Schwartz was constantly butting heads with Jim Aubrey, chief of programming at CBS. Aubrey was not crazy about the notion that the castaways would never leave the island. Hence, he pushed for the show to be called Gilligan's Travels. Fortunately, Sherwood Schwartz won the argument and kept his original vision. Aubrey, meanwhile, created a competing show with his idea, The Baileys of Balboa. If you haven't heard of it, it's because it flopped. Check out 22 other things you never knew about Gilligan's Island.

Image: The Everett Collection

10

'Saved by the Bell' was originally 'Good Morning, Miss Bliss'

This one made it to air, as NBC's iconic teen sitcom originally aired for one season on the Disney Channel under the name Good Morning, Miss Bliss. Screech and Zach were there in the beginning, students in an Indiana high school under the tutelage of Miss Bliss, played by Hayley Mills. When the show jumped networks, it moved settings from Indianapolis to sunny Southern California and ditched the teacher.

Image: Wikipedia

11

'Friends' was almost 'Insomnia Cafe' or 'Six of One'

The ultimate '90s sitcom would have felt far more '90s with a name like Insomnia Cafe. That's how the show was originally pitched. As the script evolved in development, it shifted to Six of One and later Friends Like Us before smartly going simple with it.

Image: Warner Bros. Television

SEE ALSO: YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS HAVE SOME STRANGE TITLES IN OTHER COUNTRIES

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