9 Summer Camp TV Shows That Never Made It


July will mark the debut of a pair of summer camp-themed television shows in USA Network’s reality show Summer Camp and the NBC hour-long dramedy Camp both making their debuts. Whether they succeed or not, they will join a long line of summer camp-themed television shows to make it to network and cable television – shows like Camp Runamuck, Camp Candy, Salute Your Shorts, Bug Juice and the more recent British show Beaver Falls.

But for every show that makes its way to television there is a trail of pilots never aired or turned into one-off specials. These are the shows that never made it and there are at least nine of them that were inspired by summer camp.

Trailblazers was a 1952 adventure show about campers Spike, Jim, Feathers, Ben and Pudge at North Oaks Boys Camp and the camp director Roger Stone, a man with a vast knowledge of the wilderness. A pilot was made but never aired.

Camp Grizzly was a 1980 comedy that aired as a special on ABC on June 30, 1980, but was never picked up for a full series, The show showed life at Uncle Bernie’s Camp Grizzly, a rundown summer camp with decrepit facilities and incompetent counselors. Missy, Nick, jean, Furman and Garafala were the counselors; Joey, Charlie, Bryan, Timmy and Steve the campers.

Little Darlings was a 1982 comedy based on the 1980 movie of the same name starring Pamela Segall, Tammy Lauren, Heather McAdam, LaShana Dendy, Anne Schedeen and Michael McManus. A pilot was produced for the show but never aired.

Evil was a serial like spoof of horror films that used the real-time aspect like in 24 to details what happens as a mysterious figure terrorizes the members of a summer camp reunion. Eric McCormick and Michael Foreman produced the pilot, which never aired, for the CW in 2006.

Cheerleader Camp was a comedy horror spoof about a group of beautiful girls at a cheerleader camp who are plagued by a mysterious killer. The pilot was produced for MTV in 2007 but never aired.

Four Play was a comedy about adult friends Derek and Drew who met at Camp Tumbleweed as kids and end up sharing an apartment, work as business partners and are in many ways like a married couple though Derek is straight and Drew is gay. The pilot was produced by David Kohan for ABC in 2008 and starred Josh  Cooke, Alan Tudyk and Ayda Field.

Camp Sunnyside was a comedy about life at a children’s summer camp as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy attending camp with two siblings. Scott Lew produced the unaired pilot for ABC in 2004.

Acting Out was a Glee at summer camp type comedy produced for CBS in 2010 about the antics of counselors at a faltering summer camp. The unaired pilot was produced by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Summer Camp was a half-hour Nickelodeon comedy that didn’t follow in Salute Your Shorts foosteps. The pilot, produced but unaired in 2010, was created by Peter Barsocchini, writer of the High School Musical movies, and starred Sharon Brathwaite-Sanders, Al Calderon and David Castro.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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