A Forgotten ‘Golden Girls’ Spinoff Was Canceled After Just 1 Season

The Golden Girls has stood the test of time. Although the ’80s sitcom ended nearly three decades ago, fans still relate to the show’s characters. The episodes were humorous, the women were engaging, and The Golden Girls gave viewers a half-hour to sit back and have fun. Today, you can still catch an episode and feel like you’re sitting down at the kitchen table with a group of friends. 

But many viewers might not know the storyline didn’t end when NBC canceled the show in 1992. Though technically, The Golden Girls went off the air at the end of the seventh season, the story continued in a short-lived CBS spinoff. Sadly, the new sitcom ended after only one season. So, what happened? Why couldn’t The Golden Palace build off the success of its popular predecessor?

‘The Golden Girls’ spinoff showed promise 

The Golden Girls spinoff The Golden Palace Empty Nest
‘The Golden Palace’ cast in August 1992 | CBS via Getty Images

The concept of a spinoff is nothing new. Many TV shows have found success with the idea, even years before The Golden Girls came along. 

For example, The Bob Newhart Show successfully generated a long-running spinoff in the early ’80s, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show spawned three spinoffs that lasted more than one season. 

The Golden Girls spinoff — The Golden Palace — followed Rose, Blanche, and Sophia after the three moved out of their Miami home. At the end of The Golden Girls, Dorothy remarried and relocated to Atlanta. The Golden Palace added a few new faces. Don Cheadle, Cheech Marin, and Billy L. Sullivan rounded out the main cast. 

But the new show had one major difference: Its premise involved the three women living in and running their own hotel.

There was just one problem: The women knew nothing about operating a hotel. Making things even harder, only two people from the hotel’s original staff stayed after the purchase, meaning Rose, Blanche, and Sophia were left to do many of the chores themselves, IMDb explains.

Sounds like it could be funny. But was it?

‘The Golden Palace’ failed to match the original’s success 

Audiences had high expectations for The Golden Palace. The series premiere drew 15 million viewers. But after that, ratings quickly fell.

According to E! News, The Golden Palace suffered from poor ratings and a poor concept. So, what went wrong? For many fans, the show wasn’t the same without Dorothy.

One Reddit user wrote:

“I’ve watched the 2 episodes when Dorothy came back for a visit at the hotel and it felt like watching lost episodes of The Golden Girls, but I haven’t watched the other episodes because it’s just not the same without Bea Arthur, not even close.”

CBS producers knew a show without Bea Arthur would be a challenge, but they couldn’t get the star to sign on. However, she returned for two episodes.

Another ‘Golden Girls’ spinoff found success

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However, it wasn’t all bad news for Golden Girls fans. The original generated one successful spinoff.

Empty Nest premiered in 1988 and brought over Estelle Getty to reprise her role as Sophia. The new NBC series focused on a widowed pediatrician, Dr. Harry Weston (Richard Mulligan), and his two adult daughters, Carol and Barbara (Dinah Manoff and Kristy McNichol).

Though Getty appeared in one episode during Empty Nest‘s first season, she didn’t become a regular until the beginning of the sixth. The show aired for seven seasons, with the final episode airing in 1995. 

Empty Nest also spawned a spinoff, Nurses. The show premiered in 1991 and ended in 1994. Though the series didn’t feature any of the main characters from The Golden Girls, two of the cast members made a couple of cameos. Betty White reappeared as Rose in season 1, and Getty brought Sophia back in season 3.