The Disastrous “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” TV Series

On August 23, 1990, NBC attempted to bring the high school hijinks of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to the small screen with the series premiere of Ferris Bueller. Even before the show hit the airwaves, there were plenty of red flags from production. John Hughes, the legendary director who had famously been at the helm of the 1986 film, wanted nothing to do with the project. In fact, he refused to even have his name attached to the series in any way. The actors from the film also refused to reprise their roles for the television version. Instead, actor Charlie Schlatter would star as Ferris, while Richard Riehle played his adversary, Principal Ed Rooney. Ami Dolenz would portray Ferris’ love interest, Sloan Peterson, while Brandon Douglas played Cameron Frye. Newcomber Jennifer Aniston — four years before her breakout role on Friends — was cast as Ferris’ older sister, Jeannie, a role memorably played in the film by Jennifer Grey. Ferris Bueller desperately wanted to prove that it was different than its cinematic predecessor, yet almost everything in the series called back to the original film. Ferris, who was lovable and confident in the film, was arrogant and tiresome in the series. Jeannie, who famously showed she truly loved her brother despite their differences in the film, was nothing more than a spiteful sibling in the show. Even the TV series’ location made little sense, as Ferris now lived in Los Angeles, rather than Chicago. Ferris Bueller only lasted one season and was canceled prior to airing its last episode.