9 TV Spinoffs That Outperformed Their Predecessors

TV Spinoffs

Never mind Baywatch Nights, AfterMASH, or Joey: Not every TV spinoff is a blatant cash grab.

Some spinoffs actually do their predecessors proud—think Better Call Saul or Frasier or The Jeffersons. And sometimes, TV networks get lucky with a spinoff that does the original one better.

Scroll down to see nine TV series that didn’t just spin off but spun gold.

TV Spinoffs The Andy Griffith Show

‘The Andy Griffith Show’

This 1960s sitcom, starring the titular comedian as Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor, won six Emmys during its run and made many “Best Of All Time” lists since—though its mothership series, The Danny Thomas Show, was no slouch either.

TV Spinoffs The Challenge

‘The Challenge’

With 35 seasons over the past 20-plus years, this MTV reality competition has outshone its two predecessors, surpassing The Real World and far surpassing Road Rules.

TV Spinoffs Diagnosis: Murder

‘Diagnosis: Murder’

This CBS “action-comedy-mystery-medical-crime drama,” starring Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan (no relation to Grey’s Anatomy‘s McSteamy), lasted much longer than the CBS crime drama from which it was spun off, the questionably-titled Jake and the Fatman.

TV Spinoffs Family Matters

‘Family Matters’

We have the ABC sitcom Perfect Strangers to thank for this ‘90s classic—and its breakout character, Jaleel White’s Urkel. Ultimately, Family Matters aired one season and 65 episodes more than its forebearer.

TV Spinoffs The Flash
The CW

‘The Flash’

The second installment in The CW’s Arrowverse—starring Grant Gustin as the speedy superhero—has outstripped the originator, with almost every season averaging more viewers than its equivalent Arrow season.

TV Spinoffs Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’

No American primetime drama has aired more seasons than this Mariska Hargitay-led NBC procedural, not even the wildly-successful original Law & Order.

TV Spinoffs NCIS


NCIS is the rare spinoff with its own spinoffs, a successor of JAG and a predecessor of NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. Whereas JAG only lasted 10 seasons, though, NCIS just wrapped its 17th.

TV Spinoffs The Simpsons

‘The Simpsons’

With 31 seasons and nearly 700 episodes, this Fox animated hit is currently the longest-running primetime show in the history of American television, but don’t forget: It got its start as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show.

TV Spinoffs Teen Mom 2

‘Teen Mom 2’

The MTV reality show 16 and Pregnant lasted five seasons, but its spinoffs Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 have both stuck around longer. In fact, the latter series has aired nine seasons and 171 episodes to date.