Behind the scenes of your favorite shows, there are so many crazy things going on that not many people know about. At times, these occurrences can become a little too much for the network to handle. For instance, if an actor or actress behaves inappropriately off-screen, producers need to figure out a way to get rid of them – and it has to fit the show’s storyline. Which is precisely what happened to all these actors.
McLean Stevenson (Lt. Henry Blake – M*A*S*H)
McLean Stevenson’s story getting kicked off M*A*S*H is a good lesson for everyone to know. Don’t be so ambitious with endeavors. The actor played the role of Lt. Henry Blake. However, he was disgruntled that he wasn’t the main focus of the show.
And so, he told the producers just that, but they weren’t pleased about his complaining. They ended up kicking him off the show. Stevenson went on to pursue another project and it ended up not becoming anywhere near the success of M*A*S*H.
Shannen Doherty (Prue Halliwell – Charmed)
Charmed premiered in the late 90s and continued into the early 2000s. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to watch a show that follows the story of three beautiful sisters who also happened to have magical abilities?
While the sisterhood was strong on-screen, behind the scenes it was completely different. Shannen Doherty was said to be impossible to work with. She caused all sorts of drama with her co-star Alyssa Milano. Ultimately, she was kicked off the show for good.
Thomas Gibson (Aaron Hotchner – Criminal Minds)
Anyone who thinks of themselves as a fan of the popular crime show, Criminal Minds, must be familiar with “Hotch”, the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. Played by the talented Thomas Gibson, the character was a prominent part of the show for years.
While the actor kept it together on-screen, he was said to have some serious mood swings on set. Allegedly, he became abusive to other staff members. Well, that explains why he was kicked off the show…
Columbus Short (Harrison Wright – Scandal)
Despite the fact that the show is named “Scandal”, the producers never meant for the actors to have drama between them once the cameras stopped rolling. The problem was Columbus Short. He played the role of the main character and litigator, Harrison Wright.
He was written off the show due to the fact that he was accused of domestic abuse by his wife. This is a crime he would eventually plead guilty to. He also dealt with substance abuse and allegedly assaulted a man at a party.
Jon Polito (Steve Crosetti – Homicide: Life on the Street)
Portraying the role of Detective Crosetti on the hit crime show for two whole seasons, Jon Polito had people wonder where he went off to after that. The reason behind this is that the show wanted to diversify.
Because of this, the show replaced him with a few female characters. In fact, they told him they would bring him back, but he didn’t believe them and publicly badmouthed the producers. As you’d expect, their response wasn’t a pretty sight. They changed the storyline to have Detective Crosetti die. Ouch.
Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Derek Shepherd – Grey’s Anatomy)
After eleven seasons of stealing the hearts of many, the hit medical series dismissed Patrick Dempsey. While it was a huge shock for fans, it wasn’t unwarranted. It turns out that Dempsey might have had an affair with a staff member on set.
After a while, it was beginning to become a huge liability for the network and the producers. The show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes had her hands tied. She had no choice but to have Dr. Derek Shepard pass away in an accident.
Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper – The O.C.)
One of the most popular shows in the 2010s, the O.C.’s star Mischa Barton was a significant reason for its major success. Playing the role of Melissa Cooper, she was more than convincing on-screen and broke fans’ hearts when the character died in a tragic car accident.
As it turns out, the reason for this rather random storyline is that she was a serious diva on set. Staff members felt that she was too aloof to be working in television. Wow, who could have guessed?
Maggie Roswell (Maude Flanders – The Simpsons)
It’s not often that you have scenarios in which a cartoon character loses their life. Normally, if a voice actor is taken out of the show, they simply find a different person to act for a particular character.
However, when Maggie Roswell, who voiced Maude Flanders, Ned’s wife, was fired from The Simpsons, they figured they would just get rid of Maude altogether. The reason? While negotiating a contract, Maggie was mad at the network for refusing to pay her more money when airline ticket prices were on the rise.
Valerie Harper (Valerie Hogan – Valerie)
How can someone get fired from a show that’s named after them? Well, it turns out that it’s possible. That’s exactly what happened in Valerie Harper’s case. Just like a lot of these other scenarios, the reason for her dismissal was money-related.
Valerie felt that NBC should be paying her more after two seasons. The network didn’t feel the same way, and eventually, they got rid of her character in the third season. Without Valerie to hold down the fort, the show got canceled soon after, unsurprisingly.
Jay Thomas (Eddie LeBec – Cheers)
Jay Thomas played the character Eddie LeBec on the show Cheers. Eddie was the hockey player boyfriend – and later husband – of the waitress Carla Tortelli. Carla was a character that was adored by the fans. She was played by Rhea Perlman. However, it turns out that Jay had some issues with her.
He was in the midst of hosting a morning show when a caller asked him what it was like to work on Cheers. He was completely honest, saying that it was brutal since he had to kiss Rhea Perlman. Rhea, who was listening to all this, didn’t appreciate the joke. Immediately after, Jay’s character abruptly was killed off the show.
Brett Butler as (Grace Kelly – Grace Under Fire)
Brett Butler was the star of the hit ABC comedy show, Grace Under Fire. It was about a single mother who had a substance abuse problem in Missouri. The first three seasons of the show had high ratings, but they dropped during the fourth season.
This might have been due to the actress’s own substance abuse problems. As ratings suffered, the network executives decided that they’ve had enough. Instead of getting rid of Brett’s character, they simply canceled the entire show.
John Amos (James Evans – Good Times)
John Amos and Esther Rolle played the married couple James and Florida Evans on the comedy, Good Times. These characters live in Chicago with their kids. In fact, it was the first comedy to ever star African-Americans.
Thanks to that fact, John and Esther thought the show would deal with important issues that were relevant. However, as their son, J.J., became popular, the show’s focus shifted to him. The main actors weren’t happy about it. Before John had the chance to quit, he was fired and his character passed away in a car accident.
Dominic Monaghan (Charlie Pace – Lost)
Dominic Morgan played the character of the troubled musician, Charlie Pace in the hit show Lost. However, it turns out that the Lord of the Rings actor wasn’t too happy while on set. Aside from having to work with his ex-girlfriend, Evangeline Lily, he didn’t like his small role.
When the producers decided to kill off Charlie Pace, Dominic was actually relieved about it. His character also got a hero ending, so that was an extra bonus for the actor on top of it. It’s definitely better than him having to quit.
Nicollette Sheridan (Edie Britt – Desperate Housewives)
The drama-comedy NBC show, Desperate Housewives, had plenty of colorful characters. One of which happened to be Edie Britt. She was one of the main characters. However, it turns out that Nicollette didn’t get along so well with the rest of the cast or the show’s creator, Marc Cherry. This ended up causing problems on set.
By season five, the producers decided to have Edie electrocuted, bringing Nicollette’s time on the show to an end. She then sued Marc Cherry for wrongful dismissal and even claimed she was assaulted by him. She ended up losing the case.
Lisa Robin Kelly (Laurie Forman – That ‘70s Show)
This is definitely one of the saddest reasons a character left a popular television show. Lisa Robin Kelly played Laurie Forman, a regular on the hit sitcom, That ’70s Show. That is, until halfway through the third season.
By that point, the actress was having serious issues with substance abuse, so the writers had the character go away to beauty school. After that, Lisa guest-starred in a few episodes, but the role was recast after season five. In 2013, Lisa passed away.
John Rhys-Davies (Professor Maximillian Arturo – Sliders)
Another Lord of the Rings actor who wasn’t too happy with the show he was working on was John Rhys-Davies. He played Professor Arturo in the show Sliders. While working on the sci-fi show, he was having issues with the writing.
In fact, he called it “incomprehensible gibberish” and said the writer himself was useless and unintelligent. As you’d expect, the showrunners took the hit and had Arturo pass away from bullet wounds. Apparently, John wasn’t even the first choice for the role, but Hector Elizondo wasn’t available at the time.
Michael Pitt (Jimmy Darmody – Boardwalk Empire)
Bad behavior isn’t the only thing that can cause problems on the set of television shows. Actors who aren’t all that professional, who are late constantly, and forget all their lines can cost a whole lot of money for a production.
It’s been said that Michael Pitt, who played Jimmy Darmody, on the popular crime drama Boardwalk Empire was just like that. Not only was his character dramatically written off the show, his agent even dropped him since he was too difficult to work with.
Suzanne Somers (Chrissy Snow – Three’s Company)
Suzanne Somers was a famous name back in the ’80s. However, today’s generation hardly knows who she is. Her role on the television show, Three’s Company, was loved by audiences. Apparently, producers didn’t want to give into all the actresses’s demands.
Suzanne was in talks of renewing her contract when she told the network that she wanted to be paid the same amount as the male actors. The network refused and never renewed Suzanne’s contract. Sadly, this is the reality for many female actresses even today.
T.R. Knight (Dr. George O’Malley – Grey’s Anatomy)
There was plenty of drama surrounding T.R. Knight’s departure from the medical drama series, Grey’s Anatomy. It’s been said that the actor’s co-star, Isaiah Washington called Knight an insulting name during an argument. This led to Knight coming out of the closet.
Knight and producer Shonda Rhimes disagree about what happened next. Knight claims that Rhimes discouraged his coming out, while Rhimes said that wasn’t the case. Either way, it was enough for Knight and he requested to be let out of his contract. And so, his character passed away.
Mandy Patinkin (Jason Gideon – Criminal Minds)
As you might have guessed, Criminal Minds is a crime show in which the main characters work for a specific unit of the FBI that analyzes the minds of criminals in order to stop them before they commit more crimes.
Mandy Patinkin played Chief Jason Gideon for two seasons before realizing that the show simply wasn’t for him. The gory and violent nature of the crimes were too emotionally difficult for Patinkin to handle. Later on, he’d said that he regretted doing the series because “it was very destructive to my soul and my personality.”
T.J. Miller (Erlich Bachman – Silicon Valley)
While HBO called T.J. Miller leaving the comedy series Silicon Valley a “mutual agreement”, that might not have been the case. It turns out that T.J., who played Erlich Bachman, was too unpredictable on set.
Others who’ve worked on the show said he was a genius when he was having a good day, but at times, he would show up late or unprepared with an explosive temper. The character was killed off at the end of the fourth season. Miller also said he wouldn’t be seen on the show again.
Jaimee Foxworth (Judy Winslow – Family Matters)
At the end of the fourth season of the popular family sitcom, Family Matters, Judy Winslow, the family’s youngest child, was sent to her room and was never seen again after that. How and why did this happen?
Once Steve Urkel became the show’s biggest star, the producers decided that the Winslow family had too many kids. And so, they made the decision to cut Jaimee Foxworth. Instead of writing a storyline in which Judy went away, they simply never mentioned her again, pretending she never existed.
Lisa Bonet (Denise Huxtable – A Different World)
Lisa Bonet was a fan favorite while playing Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show. That is until a conflict arose with Bill Cosby who played her dad. It was over a racy film and photoshoot that she had done at the time.
As a result, Bonet was given her own spinoff called A Different World, which was a huge success. However, Bonet, who was married to Lenny Kravitz, revealed she was pregnant. She pitched the network the idea of the character becoming pregnant as well, but Cosby didn’t want anything to do with the storyline and so, she was released from the show.
Christopher Abbott (Charlie Dattolo – Girls)
At times, actors are fired from their television shows, while other times they simply choose to leave on their own terms. In Christopher Abbott’s case, it was the latter. He played Charlie Dattolo on the comedy series, Girls.
Abbott left the show suddenly after season two, which surprised viewers and fans. At first, reports claimed there were creative differences between the actor and the show’s creator, Lena Dunham. However, later, Abbott said he slowly realized he could no longer relate to his character, so he called it quits.
Lee Norris (Stuart Minkus – Boy Meets World)
Stuart Minkus was played by a young Lee Norris. The character was a student alongside Cory, Shawn, and Topanga in the ’90s sitcom, Boy Meets World. The geeky student, however, only ended up lasting one season.
After that, the character sort of disappeared. In the fifth season, the character appeared again to explain that he had simply moved homeroom. We don’t know why the writers decided to get rid of Stuart, but the actor went on to star in another teen series, One Tree Hill.
Elisabeth Rohm (Kate Lockley – Angel)
When Elisabeth Rohm left Angel in 2001, she moved up from playing a detective on the supernatural drama series to playing a district attorney. She played Kate Lockley on Angel who was a tough LAPD detective who worked with vampire Angel to catch demons.
Elisabeth left the show suddenly after two seasons when she was offered the role of Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn in the crime show, Law & Order. In her final episode, Angel saves Lockley’s life and then disappears.
Bellamy Young (Dr. Grace Miller – Scrubs)
Dr. Grace Miller’s departure from the sitcom Scrubs is another one of those times in which a character simply disappears. This tends to be done with no explanation at all. The doctor was played by Bellamy Young who showed up in season three.
Well, it turns out that viewers didn’t like the character much. So, she walked out of the hospital one day and just never came back again. She wasn’t even mentioned again by the other characters. That is until she showed up in a fantasy sequence a few seasons later.
Gavan O’Herlihy (Chuck Cunningham – Happy Days)
Speaking of characters that disappeared, there is a phrase that is used to describe this phenomenon. “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome” is when a sitcom character vanishes with no explanation. It just seems like they never existed.
This phrase came from Gavan O’Herlihy’s character, Chuck Cunningham in Happy Days. Chuck was the oldest Cunningham child, but Gavan wanted to leave the series in favor of the big screen. As a result, the writers had him walk upstairs one day and was never seen again. Creepy…
Sasha Mitchell (Cody Lambert – Step by Step)
Actor Sasha Mitchell played Cody Lambert, Frank Lambert’s goofy nephew on the ’90s sitcom, Step by Step. The fans loved Cody’s silly antics. He lived in a van in the driveway and was dimwitted but sweet.
As a result, the character became a source of comic relief in many scenes of the show. Off-screen, however, Mitchell was involved in some serious problems at home and was even sentenced to time in prison. The accusations got even worse and when he was sentenced to prison a second time, he was written off the series completely.
Robbie Rist (Cousin Oliver – The Brady Bunch)
By the time the hit family comedy The Brady Bunch got to its fifth and final season, all the kids in the cast were over the age of 12. So, in order to bring back some youth to the family, the writers added nine-year-old cousin Oliver who was played by Robbie Rist.
Well, it didn’t work out the way producers hoped. Cousin Oliver wasn’t as endearing as the rest of the cast, and viewers even thought of the character as annoying. However, there wasn’t even enough time for him to be written off since the show itself was canceled.
Charlie Sheen (Charlie Harper – Two and a Half Men)
Charlie Harper, played by Charlie Sheen, was one of the funniest and most dysfunctional characters on television. The over-indulgent jingle writer was so rich that he could spend all his time simply chasing girls and partying.
However, Charlie Sheen’s behavior seemed to be rather close to his character. He had a meltdown at one point in which he called the creator of the show a “maggot” and said that he hates him. Clearly, that wasn’t a smart move. After that, Charlie Harper was written off and replaced with Ashton Kutcher.
Taylor Momsen (Jenny Humphrey – Gossip Girl)
Taylor Momsen played Jenny Humphrey on the famous show, Gossip Girl. Her character began as a “good girl” before she began on a downwards spiral. Momsen seemed to mimic the character in real life.
She began wearing dark makeup and making surprising statements to the press. After four seasons on the teen drama, Momsen was asked not to return. One source said that her role ended due to her behavior on set, which was “unreliable and erratic.”
Raymond Cruz (Tuco Salamanca – Breaking Bad)
This is one actor that actually requested to be written out of the show. Raymond Cruz played the part of the manic criminal Tuco Salamanca in Breaking Bad. Apparently, the mad energy the character required was too much for the actor.
He then asked the producers to write him out. When they asked him for eight more episodes, he refused. He got what he wished for and the character dramatically died after a run-in with a DEA agent.
Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase – Angel)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a massive hit while it was on, and its spin-off about the brooding vampire Angel fed off the show’s success for a few seasons as well. Charisma Carpenter played Cordelia Chase, the mean cheerleader who matured into an ally.
The character made the transition to Angel as a main cast member. When Charisma Carpenter became pregnant, it was written into the show, but once she gave birth, Cordelia went into a coma and never woke up.
Michelle Rodriguez (Ana Lucia Cortez and Cynthia Watros as Libby Smith – Lost)
Serious fans of the sci-fi drama series Lost were absolutely shocked when Ana Lucia and Libby were fatally shot at the end of season two. While it might have seemed like a “creative” decision at the time, that wasn’t really the case.
Apparently, the actresses who portrayed the characters, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros were given DUIs around that time. And here we were so sure it all had to do with their character arcs…