Currently in its 14th season, NCIS is the second-longest running drama currently on TV. It began life back in 2003 as a spinoff of the military law drama JAG under the descriptive title Navy NCIS. Maybe a little too descriptive: the “N” in “NCIS” stands for “Navy.” The title was shorted after one season.
In the fall of 1995, Fox debuted a comedy about two New York slackers called Too Something. It endured lots of criticism for its nonsensical title, and the show went on hiatus in early 1996 in part to find a new title. Producers of the show ran a contest where viewers could suggest a name. The winning entry, sent in by a fan named Jeri Dobson: New York Daze. (The show only lasted a month with the new title.)
Seinfeld is one of the most popular TV shows ever, but it started off with a different name. When its pilot episode aired in 1989, Seinfeld was called The Seinfeld Chronicles. When it returned to the air in 1990, the title was shortened to avoid confusion with the now-forgotten short-lived ABC sitcom The Marshall Chronicles.
Airing on the broadcast network Channel 4 in England and delivered via Netflix in the U.S., this romantic comedy is told in flashback as main character Dylan remembers his past girlfriends and romantic encounters…because he has to track them down in the present-day to tell them that he has a sexually transmitted disease. In season one, the show had the salacious title Scrotal Recall. For season two, that was toned down to Lovesick.
Valerie, a vehicle for Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda star Valerie Harper debuted in 1986. It was a standard family sitcom about a woman named Valerie Harper juggling family and work. But then Harper got into a dispute with producers and wanted more money. Producers refused her demands and she threatened to quit…and they called her bluff. She walked, and then killed off her character. That necessitated a title change to reflect the lack of Valerie (both real and fictional) but also not confuse loyal viewers. In 1987, Valerie became Valerie’s Family, and then it was changed again to The Hogan Family.