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‘Gilmore Girls’ Spinoff: Jess Mariano Almost Got His Own Show

Published on September 7th, 2023 | Updated on September 7th, 2023 | By FanFest

The Lost ‘Gilmore Girls’ Spinoff: Why Jess Mariano Never Got His Own Show

'Gilmore Girls' Spinoff: Jess Mariano Almost Got His Own Show

The Spinoff That Almost Was: Jess Mariano’s Unaired Journey

Fans of ‘Gilmore Girls‘ were once on the brink of receiving a spinoff centered around Jess Mariano, the charismatic yet troubled nephew of Luke and Rory’s memorable boyfriend. Back in 2003, it seemed like a dream coming true when The WB announced a spinoff that would feature Milo Ventimiglia reprising his popular role. However, this dream quickly dissipated. Just a month after the announcement, Variety disclosed that the network had axed the project.

Navigating Financial Hurdles: The WB’s Decision to Cancel

The cancellation wasn’t a result of lack of interest but rather a monetary issue. The WB and Warner Bros. TV couldn’t find a feasible budget to bring the concept to life. Even though the spinoff had received a six-episode order, its high production costs—stemming from the decision to film entirely in Venice, California—became an insurmountable obstacle.

Unveiling the Spinoff Details: Rob Estes and the Ill-Fated Pilot

Rob Estes, known for his role in ‘Melrose Place’ and who portrayed Jess’s dad, Jimmy Mariano, shed more light on the situation. While guest-starring on Scott Patterson’s ‘I Am All In’ podcast, he revealed that they had indeed filmed a pilot. Show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino had even intended for more episodes but wasn’t satisfied with the number approved by the network. As a result, the project never moved forward.

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‘Windward Circle’: The Show We Never Saw

The intended backdoor pilot episode, called “Here Comes the Son,” was part of ‘Gilmore Girls’’ third season. The episode was meant to serve as a launchpad for ‘Windward Circle,’ the proposed spinoff. It took Jess to Venice, California, where he encountered his father’s girlfriend, her daughter, and a group of dogs. The spinoff would have chronicled Jess’s new life in California, where he would become part of a skateboarding community.

Milo Ventimiglia’s Return to ‘Gilmore Girls’

Despite the scrapped spinoff, Milo Ventimiglia did make a comeback in ‘Gilmore Girls.’ He appeared recurrently in Season 4 and was a guest star in Season 6. Fans also had the pleasure of seeing him in the Netflix revival, ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.’

A Time Slot Face-Off: ‘Windward Circle’ vs ‘One Tree Hill’

Alix Kermes, slated to play Lily in the spinoff, indicated that ‘Windward Circle’ was essentially competing with ‘One Tree Hill’ for a final time slot. Given that ‘One Tree Hill’ received the slot, ‘Windward Circle’ was ultimately shelved, despite high expectations and a seven-year contract for the cast.

The Painful Reality: What Fans Missed Out On

While the anticipation for the spinoff had been palpable, it appears multiple factors contributed to its non-realization. From financial constraints to time-slot competitions, it was a confluence of unfortunate events that prevented Jess Mariano from gracing our screens in his standalone series. Although it’s hard to accept, this is a painful reality for ‘Gilmore Girls’ aficionados.

In summary, the untold story of ‘Windward Circle’ serves as a heartbreaking lesson on the unpredictable nature of the entertainment industry. Despite strong fan interest, financial difficulties, and network decisions, the much-anticipated Jess Mariano spinoff remains an unfulfilled dream, leaving fans to wonder what could have been.

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