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Actor Replacements That Totally Ruined The Show


When an actor leaves a hit show, it can either
be a blessing or a curse. Sometimes, write-outs are worked into a show
very nicely, like with the revolving door on Grey’s Anatomy that only adds to the drama
factor. In other cases, though, a character is so
essential that their disappearance downright dooms the series — especially when they’re
replaced by someone who doesn’t have the same appeal as the original star. “DUH.” Here are a few TV shows that just couldn’t
recover from the loss and replacement of a major cast member. The Office Steve Carell was a well-known comic force
from The Daily Show and Anchorman before he got his biggest break with the small screen
comedy series The Office. The show was an American adaptation of the
Ricky Gervais BBC sitcom of the same name and became wildly popular with audiences. “I made you what you are and I get nothing
back.” Carell’s film career started to take off shortly
thereafter, with starring roles in movies like The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine,
and Crazy Stupid Love, elevating him to household name status. So, in 2013, when Carell’s contract with The
Office was up, he opted to walk away from the series even though it was still a critical
and ratings hit for NBC. The awkward, lovelorn Michael Scott finally
found love with HR director Holly, and they moved away to Colorado. But Dunder Mifflin still needed a boss, and
that came in the form of oily, unsettling Robert California, CEO of its parent company
Sabre. “Hahaha, well, I will not be blackmailed by
some ineffectual, privileged, effete, soft p—- debutante.” And it was all downhill from there. The show’s critical favor and viewership numbers
took a nosedive, and the series finally came to a close after two Carell-free seasons. The X-Files For its first six seasons, The X-Files was
a huge hit for Fox and made its on-screen pair of paranormal investigators international
stars. But prior to the start of the series’ seventh
season, David Duchovny sued the network, claiming that it had sold rights to reruns of the show
at a discount to its own affiliates and cheated the stars out of profits. While the lawsuit was eventually settled,
it was filed right when Duchovny was negotiating working on future seasons of the show, and
neither he nor Fox were keen to continue working together. So, a deal was reached: Duchovny’s character,
Fox Mulder would mysteriously disappear at the end of Season 7, and would only appear
in a handful of episodes in Season 8. But Gillian Anderson’s Agent Scully still
needed someone to work with in his absence, so producers auditioned dozens of actors and
eventually settled on Robert Patrick to come in as FBI agent John Doggett. Another actress was also hired on in case
Anderson decided to leave the show after her contract ended, too. It didn’t much matter, though, because without
Duchovny in his regular role, viewers tuned out. “You saved me. As difficult and as frustrating as it’s been
sometimes, your goddamn strict rationalism and science have saved me a thousand times
over.” 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter This ABC sitcom was forced to reformat after
the unexpected death of its star. 8 Simple Rules was built around TV legend
John Ritter, who starred as a cranky suburban dad desperately trying to rein in his wild
teenage children. Filming had just begun on the second season
of the series when Ritter fell ill on the set and sought medical treatment. He died later that day of a heart defect that
had never been diagnosed. ABC announced that the show would go on — and
it did, with some necessary changes. No longer a show about a cranky dad, it became
one about a family trying to pick up the pieces after the death of its patriarch. Two new stars joined the cast to fill the
void left by Ritter: cousin C.J. and Grandpa Jim. But without Ritter, the show only lasted another
season before being shelved for good. Blue’s Clues Actor/musician Steve Burns beat out roughly
1,000 other actors in 1996 for the only human role on Blue’s Clues, Nickelodeon’s interactive,
animation/live action hybrid show for preschoolers. Burns played the striped-shirted host and
owner of the cartoon dog named Blue — he’d talk directly to the young viewers at home,
urging them to help solve each episode’s riddle or mystery by yelling things at their screens. In 2002, after about 100 episodes, Burns decided
it was time to leave the series. He wanted to take on other roles as well as
perform music. Nickelodeon hired actor Donovan Patton to
be the new host of Blue’s Clues, playing Steve’s younger brother Joe. So as not to traumatize or confuse the show’s
very young viewers, Steve carefully explained that he was leaving for college, and Joe would
be looking after Blue. Patton as Joe proved to be the gentle and
affable host Blue’s Clues needed, but he just couldn’t replace someone so closely associated
with the role to an army of toddlers. After around 50 episodes with Patton as Joe,
Blue’s Clues was canceled. Scrubs This comedy about medical interns desperately
trying to figure out what they were doing as they worked in a hospital was a critically-acclaimed,
Emmy-nominated hit over its first few seasons on NBC. The network dropped the show after seven seasons,
only to see ABC pick it up. The show’s writers and cast prepared a true
series finale at the end of the year, only for ABC to unexpectedly renew the series again
for season 9. But star Zach Braff, the focus of the show
as young doctor John Dorian, was ready to move on to other things. “Onward!” “Eagle!” “Oh good god.” So the show was retooled and rebooted, no
longer taking place at a teaching hospital but at a medical school. Doctor Cox and Doctor Turk were now teachers
instead of active surgeons. “I’m just back to teach some classes.” Replacing Braff as the center of the show
and narrator was Dr. Lucy Bennett, but the big changes were too much to take, and the
ninth season of Scrubs was also its last. Spin City Michael J. Fox returned to regular series
television for the first time since the end of Family Ties with Spin City. On the ABC sitcom, he played Mike Flaherty,
a wheeler-dealer for a New York City deputy mayor. Two years later, Fox announced that he had
been battling Parkinson’s disease and left the show to spend more time raising funds
for research on the disease. Replacing him as deputy mayor was a guy named
Charlie Crawford, portrayed by Charlie Sheen. With Fox out, the show became more of a romantic
comedy surrounding Sheen and Heather Locklear’s characters, but viewership tanked shortly
after the replacement, so ABC cut the cord on Spin City. “Guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.” Designing Women Delta Burke had not been happy on the set
of Designing Women for years. She even claimed that a producer routinely
screamed at cast members and told them they were expendable and criticized Burke when
she gained weight. “Are you serious?!” CBS grew so tired of Burke publicly trashing
the show’s producers and the network in the press that they fired her from the show, and
co-star Jean Smart followed her out the door shortly thereafter. “Every time I look over at the sofa I kinda
miss seeing her.” That meant that Designing Women had lost half
of its main cast, but the show was still a ratings draw, so the network brought in some
replacements. “Now I know our nerves are a little bit jangly
because of the silly ol’ money situation but you know what we gotta do? We’ve got to look for the light.” Julia Duffy arrived as Suzanne’s cousin, and
Jan Hooks came in as Carlene, Charlene’s sister. Despite ratings on par with previous years,
CBS fired Duffy after her sole season on the series, and replaced her with Judith Ivey
as a rich Texan widow named B.J. Poteet. It didn’t do much good, because CBS moved
the show to Friday nights, where it slipped into ratings oblivion — and then cancellation. “And that… Is the night the lights went out in Georgia” That ’70s Show After seven seasons of riding on a high — ratings
wise, at least — two of That 70s Show’s main stars decided to step away from the series. Topher Grace decided to leave the show in
order to more fiercely pursue his blossoming film career and was written out of the eighth
season altogether. Meanwhile, Ashton Kutcher decided his time
in the bell bottoms was done too, but did appear for a few of Season 8’s early episodes. To replace two very big holes in its cast,
producers hired Mad TV veteran Josh Meyers. His character, Randy, joins Hyde’s record
store Grooves and has a brief relationship with Donna. But Randy didn’t have much time to mesh with
the ensemble because the decimated cast led to diminished popularity for the show, and
it was ultimately canned at the end of the season. “You have the right to remain BURNED.” Community Even though Community never had a huge audience
during its five-year run on NBC, it was still a critically-acclaimed comedy with a passionate
cult following. Five seasons was ultimately NBC’s limit, but
internet giant Yahoo! stepped in and renewed Community for a sixth season, intending to
position the comedy as a premiere offering on its streaming service Yahoo! Screen. Original regulars Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs,
Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong, and Alison Brie followed the series to Yahoo!, but the show had already
been losing cast members and left and right, and kept losing them as it transitioned to
streaming. Chevy Chase, Donald Glover, and Yvette Nicole
Brown were not part of the regular cast of Community’s sixth season. New actors were added, including Keith David
and Paget Brewster. But it just didn’t work out, and there was
no seventh season of Community on Yahoo! Screen — or anywhere. Not enough people tuned in and the show didn’t
generate as much advertising revenue as Yahoo! had hoped. The revenue was so small that it effectively
led to the complete shutdown of Yahoo! Screen. “Show may be cancelled and moved to the internet
where it turns out 10s of millions were watching the whole time may not matter. Fake commercial may end with disclaimer gag
which may descend into vain Chuck Lorre-esque rant by narcissistic creator.” Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
YouTube channel. Plus check out all this cool stuff we know
you’ll love, too!

100 Comments

  1. METerrell Author

    You make it sound like Jean Smart left for the same reasons as Delta Burke was fired. That wasn't the case. Jean left after she had her baby. Her departure was much more amicable and she was even on when Jan Hooks started as her sister, Carlene.

    Reply
  2. Yi Long Author

    Didn't care for Spin City after Michael J. Fox left, but that had little to do with Charlie Sheen, but more with terrible Heather Locklear and an even worse (and very obvious) laugh-track imposed after every sentence.

    Reply
  3. Git Awake Author

    Season Six is when That 70's Show crashed and burned for me, Lisa Robin Kelly left Christina Moore just didn't have the same, well, anything to make her Laurie Foreman. It would have been best if she simply hadn't returned from her honeymoon with Fez. It wasn't the worst of the problems with that season though. The writing had reached new levels of melodrama.

    Reply
  4. Frank Cordova Author

    Two and a Half Men went down hill after Charlie Sheen was fired along with Ashton Kutcher replacing him as well Angus Jones not being on the show full-time.

    Reply
  5. Thales Pessoa Author

    You know the end of Scrubs was bad when they don't even bother searching for the face of the protagonist, and show the face of a side character.

    Reply
  6. XenosLangley Author

    I remember that Becky's character was changed on Roseanne in the 90's…Thought that was odd when they brought the original one back later on. 🤣

    Reply
  7. Dianne B. Dee Author

    There was nothing wrong with the addition of Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish as Doggett and Reyes on "The X-Files". They would have taken the show forward with Mitch Pileggi had the fans not been so stupid in not accepting them. Both actors were more than capable and added something amazing to the show. I always hoped it would be found out that Reyes was the missing Samantha Mulder. I hated the last two seasons and what was done to Reyes by Carter.

    Reply
  8. SethBlizzard Author

    I'm glad they still managed to write Eric and Donna ending up together into That 70's Show. Still can't figure out how they kept going after Topher Grace left, his deadpan face was the backbone of the show.

    Reply
  9. deeshmond Author

    James Spader was literally the last person from the season 7 finale that I’d hoped would replace Carell. Man, season 8 was an absolute disaster

    Reply
  10. spartus Author

    Bewitched TV show had to replaced Dick York ..got ill with back pain … changed characters after 5 seasons … dropped from 8th place ratings down to 11 th with SArgent actor replaced …

    Reply
  11. Richard Dobson Author

    A new one to add to the list is the TV series of Lethal Weapon. How can you have lethal weapon without Riggs ?. As much as Damon Wayans is a good actor the show has failed now that Clayne Crawford has gone.

    Reply
  12. pp playstation player Author

    The worst one is lethal weapon series replacement for Martin Riggs is Shaun William Scott what a load of bullshit show will be cancelled soon trust me

    Reply
  13. Fonz Author

    You forgot Spartacus. That show was amazing with Andy Whitfield as the lead, but the actor was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer continue. He sadly passed away and was replaced by a generic actor who couldn't come close to the performance of Whitfield. While Whitfield seemed genuine and battle tested, watching the new Spartacus seemed like a bad imitation. They had to cut the series down and end it sooner than expected for unknown reasons. Probably because they too realized the new Spartacus sucked.

    Reply
  14. themrssheen Author

    I was waiting for two and a half men to be #1, I can't believe they actually kept running for a few seasons after they replaced Charlie. I can honestly say it's the worst piece of television i have ever watched.

    Reply
  15. Kevin Meixner Author

    Robert Patrick was a decent casting choice for a new character to work with Scully. It is too bad the writing for the show was very lackluster for the last two seasons, it's like they ran out of ideas (which I guess happens for such a long-running show) and had some very similar episodes to earlier ones but while trying to pretend that they were different. Also, Fox and Mulder had good chemistry and Patrick's character was decent but he did not have the same chemistry with Scully.

    Reply
  16. da5idnz Author

    On the flip side, Dukes Of Hazzard didn't seem to lose any popularity when the actors who played Bo and Luke Duke left because of contract disputes. Two new better-looking "cousins" joined the show and it seemed to be even more popular than ever before Bo and Luke returned.

    Reply
  17. LeahDino32 Author

    This should have been called "character replacements." "Actor Replacements" makes it seem like they cast new actors to play existing characters. x)

    Reply
  18. Kiya Lee Levy Runaya Author

    It's funny how many "regular" shows were saved by other networks only to, predictably, fail.

    While so many actual good shows get cancelled, aren't saved and become huge cult classics and fans crying for new seasons or reunions etc

    Just shows you how little the people working in showbizz actually know what we, the audience, enjoy.

    Reply
  19. kittycatspow Author

    i REALLY disagree about office being put on the list i thought the robert spiced things up with being so odd and dwight and jim were in the same space sooooooooooooooo

    Reply
  20. hydrolito Author

    I only liked the women on Scrubs the guys always acted to stupid to be Doctors. Even then I liked the blonde better on Roseanne and the other Becky better.

    Reply
  21. Jaqui Greenlees Author

    X-Files didn't lose rating because of Duchovny leaving, they lost ratings starting the first episode AFTER they moved principal filming from Vancouver BC to Hollywood Ca.
    The drastically different lighting between the two locations is what drove fans away from the show.

    Reply

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