King of Van Nuys (found ABC pilot for cancelled American remake of "Only Fools and Horses"; 2012)

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American Trotters.png

American Trotters and Trigger.

Status: Found

Date found: 11 Aug 2023

Found by: Vincent Dawn's Pilot Showcase

Only Fools and Horses is considered to be one of the greatest British sitcoms ever made. It followed the lives of two dim-witted make money fast schemers who happen to be brothers and share a flat with a much older family member (grandfather at one stage and following the death of the actor, Uncle Albert). The show's brand of humor is based on the British lifestyle and a British sub-culture, thus it is difficult to translate into a foreign market.

There have been many attempts to Americanize the concept, specifically the attempt covered in this article. In early 2012, ABC greenlit the pilot for their Americanization attempt, titled King of Van Nuys, and a script was written by Scrubs writers Brian Bradley and Steven Cragg. The pilot had John Leguizamo taking the role of Del Trotter (the role made famous by Sir David Jason and later portrayed by James Buckley in the prequel series), Dustin Ybarra as Donnie Trotter (originally named Rodney and portrayed by Nicholas Lyndhurst in the original), Brian Jacob Bales as Trigger (a fan favorite portrayed by Roger Lloyd Pack in the original) and Christopher Lloyd as their grandfather, Jackie (originally known as Grandad and portrayed by Lennard Pearce in the first few seasons of the original). The pilot was directed by Ted Wass, best known for his role as Closeau's nephew in Curse of the Pink Panther, and followed the two brothers as they try to get into the business of selling unwanted and damaged goods. One of the items that they choose to buy is a DeLorean monster truck, the purchase does not turn out to be profitable and in order to break even, they have the monster truck go against Robosaurus. In a side story, it seems that Del infuriated the daughter of the owner of Robosaurus by refusing her sexual advances.

ABC's then-president Paul Lee was a fan of the original and had the concept reworked many times in the hope that it would catch on and recapture the magic. Sir David Jason conceded that America can do comedy well but that he believed that Only Fools and Horses would not travel "across the pond"; he also stated that he believed that it could work but that the concept would have to be changed so much that the original spirit of the series would be lost. The Futon Critic stated that King of Van Nuys "plays like a lost Fox pilot from the 1990s... complete with laugh track." In late 2012, the project was shelved after two attempts at the same pilot.


While the full pilot has never been officially released in public in any form, on August 11th, 2023, YouTube user Vincent Dawn's Pilot Showcase uploaded the full pilot onto his YouTube channel.


The full pilot.