A spinoff in television is a new series which contains either characters or theme elements from an old series. They are particularly common in situation comedy.

Four main types of television spin-off exist:

  • a supporting character or characters in an existing series is given their own show in which they become the main focus. The original series continues and there may be some crossover of characters between the shows on occasion (eg. Rhoda from The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
  • new characters are specially incorporated into an existing series for the sole purpose of being launched into their own show that will feature no regular characters from the original series, except possibly as guest appearances (eg. Empty Nest from The Golden Girls)
  • regular characters from a series continue in their own series after the original series ends (e.g. George and Mildred and Robin's Nest from Man About the House; Frasier from Cheers)
  • a new series is started with the same theme as an existing series, though not with the same characters. Examples of this type are the Star Trek, Law & Order, and CSI series.

Spinoffs include: