The Corsairs (lost pilot for ABC soap opera; 2002)

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A snippet from an interview with Robert Sean Leonard, in which he mentions the lost pilot.

Status: Lost

The Corsairs, sometimes known as 'Rosebud', 'Rosebud, My Ass', or Untitled Larry Gelbart Project, is a lost TV pilot that was never picked up for a full series. After being ordered by ABC, it most likely aired on the network sometime during the 2002-2003 pilot season. Since its alleged airing, the pilot was not picked up for a full series, and the pilot has never resurfaced online or been reaired. The only evidence of the pilot’s existence is thanks to testimonies from various blogs and interviews with the creatives involved.


Little is known about the plotline of the show. Actor Robert Sean Leonard (who played a lead role in the pilot) mentioned it in a 2008 article with Playbill. He said:

"I did a pilot that Larry Gelbart wrote, 'The Corsairs,' with Martin Landau, John Larroquette, Patrick Dempsey, Balthazar Getty. It was an hour-long drama about a media-mogul family. I was Landau's son, but really Larroquette's bastard son. I loved it, but the network didn't."[1]

From that quote, it can be assumed that the show revolved around a media-mogul family’s interactions and drama. A large plotline most likely revolved around the father of Leonard’s character, since it was a detail mentioned by name. Some sources describe the show as a "primetime soap."

Creative Team

There are multiple sources that list some of the actors and creatives that worked on the show.

The pilot was written by Larry Gelbart, who is perhaps most known for creating the acclaimed series M*A*S*H and for plays such as "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."[2] Gelbart also served as executive producer for the project. Also serving as executive producer was Anita Addison and Ken Topolsky. Michael Dinner, known for his work on The Wonder Years, directed the pilot.

Thanks to an independent blog, we know many of the actors and their character names. These actors include John Larroquette as Brandon; Robert Sean Leonard as Russell; Martin Landau as Jarvis; Patrick Dempsey as Eric; Baltazar Getty as Peter; Gretchen Egolf as Shelby; and Philip Baker Hall as an unnamed role.[3] Another actress named Mary McDonnell has the pilot listed on her resume, though it does not list the role she played.[4]


Not much is known about the development history of The Corsairs, as most information comes from unreliable sources.

It is believed to have aired on the network ABC sometime during the fall 2002 pilot season. One blog potentially has it listed under a list of ABC’s pilots for that season under the name "Untitled primetime soap about a large family."[5] It is believed the pilot was unnamed at that time.

One source shares that the pilot was filmed in many California cities, including Pasadena, Los Angeles, Marina del Rey, Westlake Village, and Montecito. This same website also reveals the name of the location managers: Donna Gross and Jennifer Lung.[6]

A picture of Robert Sean Leonard that was believed to be from The Corsairs, though that was later disproved.

A behind-the-scenes image of Robert Sean Leonard on a beach resurfaced online. For a time, it was believed that this picture could be from the set of The Corsairs. However, after careful examination of the seat next to him, it was confirmed to actually be from the set of A Glimpse of Hell. The name on the chair is Daniel Roebuck, Leonard's co-star in the film.

It is unknown why the show was never picked up. According to IMDb, the show was deemed "too smart" for audiences and thus was not greenlit. However, there is no verified source for this claim. Reviews of this pilot are yet to be found. Given the nature of pilots, it is unlikely that the pilot or any production materials will resurface online.


See Also

External Links