With the success of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., NBC, the network carrying the series, decided that a spin-off was in order. The producer, Norman Felton, was asked to create another show but this one was to be centered around a female agent. According to legend, Felton went along with the idea but not with a lot of enthusiasm which clearly shows in the results.
The original premise of the offshoot would be that an aging agent, Mark Slate, forced into retirement by passing the mandatory retirement age of 40, is asked to help train a young female agent. Slate was the man who had broken in Napoleon Solo and was grateful for a chance to remain in service. The episode in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in which this took place was The Moonglow Affair. It starred Mary Ann Mobley, former Miss America, as April Dancer and Norman Fell as Mark Slate.
When the green light on the new series was given, a few changes were made. The character Mark Slate was made considerably younger to make him appealing to young viewers. Additionally, the actors playing both leading roles were changed. Stephanie Powers was the new April and Noel Harrison got the nod as Slate.
This show was considerably different that its sire. It took a great deal from the popularity of the campy Batman and became just as full of camp. The plots were far more outlandish than MfU, which is saying something, and the dialogue was far hipper. Most of the fans of MfU were not as enthusiastic.
The show lasted but one year, running from September, 1966 to April, 1967. In all, only 29 episodes were made.
Whether it was intentional or not, the relationship between Dancer and Slate bore a considerable amount of similarity to Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin. It was a shame that the quality of the plots and the writing were not of the same caliber.
Interestingly, Leo G. Carroll reprised his role as Alexander Waverly and became one of the first actor to be in two series at the same time.
By the way, the name of the character, April Dancer, was thought up by Ian Fleming when he was helping Felton draft the basic idea of MfU. At that time, the name was to be used for a secretary of Waverly, much like Miss Moneypenny was to M in the Bond series. That character was never used in the television series but Felton liked the name and, when the Girl From U.N.C.L.E. was created, he resurrected it.