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The All-Male Charlie's Angels Spin-Off That Failed Miserably

Television spin-offs can be a toss of the dice when it comes to lasting commercial success. The character or characters from the original show really have to be appealing enough that audiences will want to watch them in a whole different series.

The gold standards for spin-off success are long-running shows like "NCIS," "The Simpsons" — which came from animated shorts on "The Tracey Ullman Show" — as well as the Emmy-winning sitcom "Frasier." Thirty-plus years later, "The Tracey Ullman Show" isn't remembered as well as "The Simpsons," while "Frasier" lasted nearly as long as its parent show "Cheers." Both series found ways to stand out to a potential audience and remain popular and culturally relevant to this day.

On the other side of the coin are flops like "Joey" and "That '80s Show," series that notoriously couldn't capture the magic of parent projects "Friends" and "That '70s Show," and were quickly canceled. These spin-offs are now cautionary tales for wary television producers. But have they ever heard of the all-male "Charlie's Angels" spin-off?

Toni's Boys only got a backdoor pilot

In 1980, the action drama "Charlie's Angels," focused on a crime-fighting team of female private investigators directed by the mysterious Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe), had been running for four seasons. Producer Aaron Spelling decided it was time to see if the formula of the series would work with a gender flip (via MeTV).

In the backdoor pilot "Toni's Boys," which aired near the end of "Charlie's Angels" Season 4, Antonia "Toni" Blake (Barbara Stanwyck) runs a rival agency to the Angels that employs U.S. Olympic athlete Bob Sorenson (Bob Seagren), rodeo expert Cotton Harper (Stephen Shortridge), and "master of disguise" Matt Parrish (Bruce Bauer). Toni's Boys and the Angels eventually solve a case together, working through tensions between the agencies. Despite obvious similarities between "Charlie's Angels" and the potential spin-off, agency leader Toni was actually a visible presence, which would have been a big change if "Toni's Boys" had become a series.

But that wasn't meant to be. "Toni's Boys" wasn't picked up for a full series order in the fall, and "Charlie's Angels" wasn't faring as well in the ratings by then either (via Ultimate Classic Rock). Season 5 would be the last one for the show, though a successful film adaptation starring Cameron Diaz would release in 2000.