Screenwriter John August does a post-mortem on his aborted Fox pilot OPS. His post provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of television development.
When a pilot is announced, it shows up in Variety. Everyone knows about it.
When a pilot dies, it dies quietly in the corner…
… the show was announced as a “put pilot,” which means that when Fox
made the original deal with Jordan and me, one of the conditions was
that they basically promised to shoot the pilot. In reality, I’m not
sure there is such a thing as a put pilot.
In the case of Ops, there was a substantial penalty that Fox agreed
to pay in the event they didn’t end up shooting the pilot. In a few
months, I’ll get a check with a few zeroes for my trouble. Given how
much time and money it would have taken to shoot the pilot, it’s almost
certainly for the best the train stopped where it did. There’s no sense
producing a pilot if the network didn’t want the show.