The Star Trek Harry Mudd spin-off that never was

The intergalactic con man almost got his own Star Trek series

Harry Mudd is a beloved Star Trek universe icon known for being a human rogue and trader/smuggler. In the series, Mudd disappeared with his fiancée's dowry during the Federation-Klingon War. Later he shared a prison cell with Captain Gabriel Lorca and Lt. Ash Tyler. 

Mudd was played by Roger C. Carmel.

Although Star Trek fans know him as Harry Mudd, Carmel almost had another big opportunity within the universe.

In the late '60s, NBC expressed interest in giving Carmel his own spin-off. The network wanted to develop a "space-pirate, intergalactic con-man sort of thing." Which leaves many fans wondering what could have been with a description as catchy as that.

The idea was put to rest when the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, turned down the offer when he was too busy working on the flagship series.

Although the idea was floating around in Roddenberry's mind, Carmel wasn't aware of the idea until later. During a past interview with Carmel he said, "You couldn't blame Gene, he didn't want to let somebody take it off in a direction he didn't approve of. Since he didn't have time to handle it all, the Mudd series project died."

There was another plan that never came to see the light of day: put Mudd in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Unfortunately, Carmel fell in poor health and eventually passed away in November of 1986.

Fans can only wonder what would have been with the spin-off and how the series would have portrayed the space-pirate, intergalactic con-man. Despite the missed opportunity, Mudd left a legacy among Star Trek fans for the roles he did play.

Would you have watched a Harry Mudd spin-off?

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Snickers 32 months ago
Would have been fun watching a series with Harcourt Fenton Mudd play a intergalactic con man.
Tresix 35 months ago
I thought if they were going to use Mudd in any current “Star Trek” series or movies, he should have been played by Ron Jeremy. Instead, they went with Rainn Wilson.
JoeSHill 35 months ago
In an interview years ago, Roger C Carmel said that he was among a few of the actors who were considered for the "Dr. Smith" role for CBS's "LOST IN SPACE" TV series before Jonathan Harris was chosen for the role which made him famous. In 1967 before he got the part on NBC's "THE MOTHERS IN LAW", Carmel played "Col Gumm" on ABC-TV's "BATMAN" that aired in March 1967 with guest stars Van Williams and Bruce Lee as their crime-fighting characters, The Green Hornet and Kato, whose 1966-67 series had concluded its 26 episode run. after the first season of NBC's "THE MOTHERS IN LAW", Carmel got into a business conflict with Desi Arnaz, who said that he couldn't raise the salaries for the cast during the second season of the NBC series, the network said that it wouldn't pay out anymore money after the ratings in the show's first season weren't impressive enough, and that ABC expressed interest in picking up the series until NBC had reached an agreement and that the cast all agreed to a salary freeze, except for Carmel, who wanted a salary increase, which got him fired from the series and was replaced by Richard Deacon. The last time Roger C. Carmel played "Harry Mudd" was as the voice of his character in NBC and Filmation Associates' animated version of "STAR TREK" in 1973 in the "Mudd's Passion" segment that Stephen Kendal wrote for the animated series. Later in Carmel's history, the actor worked in a series of commercials promoting a Mexican restaurant chain in a "Col Sanders" spoof, playing "Senior Naugles", a type of spokesman role, but the Mexican restaurant chain went under and was later sold to rival Del Taco. Roger C Carmel was found dead in his apartment on November 11, 1986, a victim of a heart attack, the result of Hypertrophic cardiomyapathy-he wa 54 years old.
OldTVfanatic 35 months ago
The last time Mudd was in Trek was in the 1980s DC series, specifically issues 39 and 40, for June and July 1987.
MichaelSkaggs OldTVfanatic 35 months ago
He was also in a Star Trek graphic novel sometime in the 1990s. "Mudd!! You cassock scoundrel!!" "Nice to see you too."
Also, according to the DC comic, Carmel was to be on a ST-TNG which would have to do with Mudd and his earlier episodes.
StrayCat 35 months ago
I'd watch the Mudd spinoff only if his wife Stella was in it to incessantly torture him.
Deleted 35 months ago
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Deedo 35 months ago
And I needed to know this WHY?
harlow1313 35 months ago
Are you reminding us to practice kindness and acceptance?
35 months ago
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harlow1313 35 months ago
Kindness and acceptance often cross party lines.
Mirramanee 35 months ago
Then why make such a divisive (and totally irrelevant) comment on this site??
TheDavBow3 35 months ago
I would have watched the "Mudd" spinoff. I could only imagine the show would have had a revolving door of the prettiest actresses in the business. As long as he had those super duper vitamin pills! 😉😋
harlow1313 TheDavBow3 35 months ago
Yes! The objectification of women!
TheDavBow3 harlow1313 35 months ago
I didn't mean it in a negative way. Just an appreciation of what's beautiful. Not to mention the talent, brilliance and fortitude to get themselves/actors to a position of being put on film. It's not a sin to appreciate someone/something in an aesthetic way, at least until other wonderful characteristics shine through.
JHP 35 months ago
wasnt he on DVD? (dick van dyke)
ETristanBooth JHP 35 months ago
Yes. He was the guy who explained why Rob could have a raise, but Buddy and Sally couldn't.
JHP ETristanBooth 35 months ago
I thought so - and he was the face (I think) in that Ghost of a chanz EP
ETristanBooth JHP 35 months ago
According to the DVD Show Book, it was Ed McCready
JHP ETristanBooth 35 months ago
thanks for the info :)
Snickers JHP 32 months ago
He also appeared in a Hogan's Hero's episode.
RobertM 35 months ago
Roger C. Carmel didn't "pass away"--he committed suicide!
harlow1313 RobertM 35 months ago
"His death certificate listed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as the cause." - Wikipedia and two other sites.
Moody RobertM 35 months ago
No, he did not. That was a rumor but the cause of death was due to a heart condition.
Moody 35 months ago
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CaptainDunsel 35 months ago
Once again the MeTV Staff display a lack of research. Roger C. Carmel originated Harry Mudd in two original series episodes and one animated outing. But the Mudd actions they describe are from Star Trek: Discovery, where Mudd was played by Rainn Wilson.
No wonder so many commentators don't remember Harry from this description.
Moody CaptainDunsel 35 months ago
That explains why I didn't recognize the comments in the first paragraph. I only remember his character from the original series. I've only watched one episode of Discovery.
Mirramanee CaptainDunsel 35 months ago
I, too, was scratching my head about that part. Obviously, the METV staff writer(s) who penned this particular article have not bothered to watch the two classic TOS episodes which first introduced Harry Mudd to the Star Trek universe. And, since they were writing about a possible spin-off series revolving around Carmel's character being discussed with Gene Roddenberry, it would have been more appropriate for said writer(s) to have referenced the antics of Harry Mudd in "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd", not occurrences from a modern-day iteration of Star Trek.
texasluva 35 months ago
That's too bad. One of my favorite episodes and fun. Punished him with an old battle-axe (fiancée) with 100's android copies "Harcord!" 😣. I'd watch it).
MrsPhilHarris 35 months ago
I don’t watch Star Trek, but that show sounds like fun. 🚀 I
HulkFan02 35 months ago
It's a shame it didn't make it even thou I'm not much with Star Trek sometimes
Andybandit 35 months ago
I like Star Trek, but I never heard of Harry Mudd.
HulkFan02 Andybandit 35 months ago
Same here thou not much on it sometimes. I didn't know there's a cancelled spin off
Andybandit 35 months ago
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dinska stephaniestavr5 35 months ago
Life on Mars (UK) even used his name as a device on that show.
Stoney 35 months ago
I would have been very interested. However, I also would have been even more interested in an "Assignment Earth"/Gary Seven spinoff.
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15inchBlackandWhite Stoney 35 months ago
Me too. I was always a big fan of Robert Lansing and Teri Garr. I think the series would have been great but likely would have strayed into contemporary social topics. In the Vietnam era that idea probably scared the network.
Mirramanee Stoney 35 months ago
Agreed!! I have always thought that was a missed opportunity for a potentially great series! Robert Lansing and Teri Garr (spelled "Terri" in the end credits) would have been a terrific duo.
Mirramanee stephaniestavr5 35 months ago
It was "I, Mudd" where he had all the android females (by the way, there were a number of male androids, but they were not really highlighted in the episode). You really should watch it. It's one of the more humorous episodes in the original Star Trek.
bdettlingmetv 35 months ago
Unfortunately, as beloved by the Star Trek universe and fan base as Mudd and Carmel were, he had a really sour experience with the ill-fated "The Mothers-n-Law" show, when he refused to sign up for another season with no pay raise. That may have been an unwise choice, but according to a paragraph or two in his IMDb bio (also cited on his Wiki page), it appears that Hollywood avarice and greed played just as big a role. From his bio:

"NBC was disappointed by the mediocre ratings of The Mothers-In-Law (1967), and almost canceled it. It picked the show up for a second season after rival network ABC expressed interest in the show, but NBC informed Arnaz that they would not give any additional money for the show. Traditionally, salaries are increased when a TV show is picked up for a new season, and all the actors' contracts specifically called for raises in the event of renewal. Arnaz, who was also producer, director, and writer, called together the cast and crew and told them that although the series had been renewed, there was no money for salary increases.

"According to Carmel's own recollection, Arnaz was already drawing down multiple salaries on the program, and would shortly cast himself as a supporting character in the series, thus drawing another salary, although Carmel didn't know that at the time. Arnaz elicited a promise from the creative people, the crew and the actors to forgo salary increases to keep the show on the air. All the actors agreed but one. Carmel told Arnaz he would quit unless he received a raise, as per his contract. In a contemporaneous account of the incident, Carmel said, "Desi called me and put it on a personal basis. I didn't feel it should be done that way - it was very unfair of him. Then Desi and the Morris Agency threatened I would be replaced. Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden also called me and asked me to go along, but I wouldn't."

"Arnaz's response to Carmel's ultimatum was dismissive. "Where else is he going to make two thousand dollars a week?", the producer asked rhetorically. If Arnaz's Desilu production company gave in to Carmel, it would be faced with giving all the cast members a raise, which was financially unviable with the money on offer from NBC. Arnaz was forced to terminate Carmel, who was replaced by Richard Deacon for the second season. The show had poor ratings and was canceled following its second season."
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I liked The Mothers-in-Law. I have the box set. The mothers were basically copies of Lucy and Ethel in the sense that they got into strange predicaments.
Deedo ETristanBooth 35 months ago
I also really like it!
Deedo bdettlingmetv 35 months ago
Each to their own.
I like it. Too bad they didn't have more money for salaries.
Reportedly Kaye Ballard, who played his wife on the show, said to him months later, "I should have stayed with you on the salaries. You were right all along."
LoveMETV22 35 months ago
He had one of those recognizable faces. Seems he had a long career in television and film.
HulkFan02 LoveMETV22 35 months ago
I didn't know that thou idk about this guy
cperrynaples LoveMETV22 35 months ago
See him in Myra Breckenridge! I have the DVD, it's funnier than its reputation would suggest!
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