10 Spin-off TV Shows That Made It Big

'The Andy Griffith Show'
Actors Don Knotts, Andy Griffith and Jim Nabors on the set of "The Andy Griffith Show." CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

A quaint Southern town. A singing sheriff. A deputy who keeps his only bullet in his shirt pocket. From 1960 to 1968, the "Andy Griffith Show," a CBS spin-off of "The Danny Thomas Show," chronicled the everyday lives of the residents of Mayberry, North Carolina. Episodes focus on relatable experiences in both home and work, such as Sheriff Andy's social life as a single father and his second-in-command's struggle to gain professional respect. In just its first season, the series rose to fourth place in the Nielsen ratings [source: Michalski].

Central to the show is widower Andy, his young son (played by future Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard), and their Aunt Bee. Andy is wise and calm in contrast to his best friend and deputy, the excitable and bumbling Barney Fife, played by comedian Don Knotts. In 1964 there was a spin-off of the spin-off: "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," starring Jim Nabors. Southern charm met military discipline.