Offshoot (media)

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An offshoot ( English spinoff , spinoff ) is in the area of mass media and entertainment industry a product that was "swapped" from another fictitious business. This is often the case with television series , where popular minor characters are made main characters in new series.


The first example of such an offshoot from a television series was The Andy Griffith Show in 1960 , an offshoot of the Danny Thomas Show (also known as Make room for Daddy ), which also had four other offshoots. Offshoots are also very common in comic series.

Often in the case of offshoots of television series, the storyline of one or more characters that are already known from the original series is continued in a separate series. Most of the time, the figures leave the original series for this purpose. Because of this logical overlap, the original series and the new series act in the same series universe . A classic case is The Empire - The Colbys , which was developed directly from The Denver Clan .

In the case of television series, it can also happen that the original series has already been discontinued and a follow-up series is only then produced in order to build on the success of the original series. An example of this is Joey , an offshoot of the sitcom Friends , in which the storyline around the character Joey Tribbiani is continued.

Special forms


Sometimes the offshoot principle is only used indirectly, if the concept and content are linked to an existing work, but no original actors are used or the title of the new series does not refer directly to the original work. Often the offshoot is not started with an independent pilot film , but with a so-called backdoor pilot (German for example: back door series start). In this way, a series can be expanded into a whole series and film family. This form is also referred to as " franchise " in English . A follow-up series can also establish a franchise. Examples of franchises in which the original title has been retained but the actors have not been taken over are the numerous series and films in the Star Trek series or, more recently, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY , both from CSI: Vegas . The successful Top Model Series America’s Next Top Model has many offshoots and was invented by Tyra Banks . The German version is called Germany's Next Top Model and is moderated by Heidi Klum .

Successor series

Another special form of the offshoot is the successor series. In this case, after the original series has been discontinued, another series is started in the same series universe . Minor or main characters from the original series can again count towards the ensemble of the series, but only completely new characters can be used as protagonists , with essential elements of the original series being adopted.

An example of the latter is the Knight Rider successor series Team Knight Rider , in which neither Michael Knight nor KITT appear (apart from a few references). Instead, a new team of private law enforcement officers is working with new “super cars” for Michael Knight's former employer, the “Foundation for Law and Constitution”.

An example of a follow-up series in which the main actors from the original series are again shown in the lead roles is the Golden Girls follow-up series Golden Palace , in which three of the four main actresses from the original series can be seen again in the lead roles with Sophia , Rose and Blanche .

The distinction between successor series and “normal” offshoots is sometimes difficult and not always flawlessly possible. One example is Joey , who describes the experiences of Friends character Joey Tribbiani after the events of the last Friends season. Since the series was only produced after Friends was discontinued, it can also be viewed as a follow-up series. However, since nothing (no other characters, not the setting ( Los Angeles instead of New York ) and no essential stylistic elements) was taken from Friends apart from the main character Joey , the series can also be classified as a normal offshoot.

There can also be a follow-up series from two previous series. A current example is the Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat . This series is an offshoot of iCarly and Victorious . One figure was taken from each of the two series. Sam Pucket ( Jennette McCurdy ) was removed from iCarly and Valentine ( Ariana Grande ) from Victorious Cat . The two become friends and start a babysitting company.

Examples of offshoots

The offshoot principle can be found in all possible branches of the entertainment industry, as it promises high sales figures given the popularity of the respective original.

TV Shows

Germany, Austria



Novel series

Radio plays


See also


  • Rüdiger Petersen: "Series spin-off" as a strategy for program development . Institute for Broadcasting Economics at the University of Cologne, Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-934156-84-3 (also as online text ; PDF)
  • Rüdiger Petersen, Hans J. Wulff: Spin-Off: Of the importance of “continuing to spin” for program development on television . In: Ludwig Fischer (ed.): Program and program. Cultural and media studies analyzes . UVK, Konstanz 2005, ISBN 978-3-89669-496-6 , p. 339–356 ( PDF, 200 kB [accessed July 19, 2011]).

Individual evidence

  1. ^ spin-off
  2. CSI: Miami - offshoot of the successful CSI series. Retrieved February 22, 2019 .