“Freaks and Geeks” was cancelled before completing its first season, yet the NBC dramedy continues to remain beloved by fans — to say nothing of providing a launching pad for an impressive roster of talent, including Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, Martin Starr and others.
Could the show have survived for a second season if producers followed network advice to bring in Britney Spears as a guest star in order to boost ratings? We’ll never know, but according to series creator Paul Feig it was a very real possibility.
Speaking to the audience at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of “Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary”, reports the New York Post‘s “Page Six”, Feig explained that he and producer Judd Apatow fought constant battles with the network over their vision for the show, which aired from 1999 until 2000.
This, he revealed, led network execs to pressure them to figure out a way to write Britney Spears into the show with hopes of attracting viewers from her vast fan base.
“One of the things was that [NBC] really wanted us to try and write Britney Spears into this,” Feig explained.
“They were like, ‘She’s really popular now, maybe she could play a waitress or something,'” he added.
That never happened, although Spears did give acting a whirl, guest starring on such TV series as “The Simpsons”, “Will & Grace” and “How I Met Your Mother”, which, in a strange coincidence, placed her on the same series with former “Freaks and Geeks” star Segel.