The One Thing You Didn't Know About 'Clueless' Will Blow Your Mind
You probably think you know everything there is to know about the movie Clueless . After all, the film is over two decades old, and it's one a bona fide classic; one of the best high school comedies of all time. You also no doubt remember the spin-off Clueless TV show that followed the movie and aired for three seasons; with its first premiering as part of ABC's hallowed TGIF lineup. But here's something you didn't know: Clueless was going to be a TV show before it was a movie. As if!
It sounds crazy, but it's true. As explained in Vanity Fair's oral history of the film by Jen Chaney, in 1993, Clueless writer/director Amy Heckerling began working on the concept of a TV show for Fox Television, with the same plot and all of the same characters that ended up in Clueless. But it wasn't called Clueless, it was called No Worries. Then it received another title change and became I Was A Teenage Teenager (catchy, that one). Eventually, the show became known as Clueless, and there was a chance that it would have been turned into a series and the world would have been denied this all-time great film. But thankfully, before that could happen, Heckerling got a new agent named Ken Stovitz, and when she showed her pilot script to him, he told her that Clueless wasn't a TV show — it was a movie.
Heckerling then reworked her pilot into a screenplay, and Fox's movie division bought the rights to Clueless from their TV division and the film entered development. But the studio and Heckerling didn't see eye to eye on a number of issues. Fox wasn't crazy about Alicia Silverstone as the star, and they gave extensive notes that changed a lot of the plot (they didn't like Josh and Cher being step-siblings, for one). Eventually, Fox decided not to go through with producing the film at all, and it was then picked up by Paramount, whose views ended up being much more in line with Heckerling's vision.
After the film became a surprise hit, grossing over $56 million on a $12 million budget and becoming a huge part of '90s pop culture, Paramount and Heckerling immediately began working on a TV adaptation in order to capitalize on its success — which, you now know, was Heckerling's original plan all along. The show debuted the very next year with the title Clueless, after the movie, instead of the previously considered and downright amazing title, I Was a Teenage Teenager. I suppose it turned out all right in the end.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy