Such an approach is unlikely, for a variety of reasons. For starters, networks (and the executives who run them) might want to do business with the talent involved in the future. Moreover, most executives are too insecure to risk parading their misfires down Main Street -- the sort of perverse logic limited to a personality like the late Brandon Tartikoff, who relished his bombs, like "Manimal," almost as much as his hits, like "Cheers."
Still, there truly is reason to consider televising pilots. Beyond plugging the gaping hole left during the summer for the price of some residual payments, programmers might occasionally find that they've made a mistake -- that a concept catches an audience's fancy despite all those downward-pointing arrows on the focus group test scores.
For now, most of you will have to take my word about "Mr. Ambassador," but maybe not forever. Because based on the casualty rates for new series and the challenge of filling today's heavily trafficked airwaves, honestly, what have programmers got to lose by taking a flier on a few busted pilots?
Brian Lowry's column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.