15 TV Shows That Jettisoned A Main Character (And How They Did It)

We finally got rid of that actor! Now what the hell do we do with their character?!
15 TV Shows That Jettisoned A Main Character (And How They Did It)

Movie productions have it so easy! They only need their actors for a short, specific window of time, and it’s pretty rare that they’d need to swap them out mid-production. Although… It has happened. TV, on the other hand, once they find a core collective of likable actors (with good chemistry), they pray to the heavens that each one of them returns year after year. Because, let’s face it, George Costanza dying in a car crash between seasons would really suck. Seinfeld did handle their “Susan issue” hilariously, so maybe they could’ve pulled it off.

Sadly, that’s the case for a lot of shows. Producers casted the hell out of their shows, and it was clearly a winning recipe, since their show was coming back year after year. Then… It happened. Infighting, social media tirades, or even sexual assault scandals forced their hand, and their star just had to go. The writers were blindsided, but they scrambled to write them or even kill them off immediately. Some did it masterfully, and some cobbled together some crap that really pissed fans off. So here’s why 15 TV shows had to ax a main character, and how they went about it.

Speak up and get killed… Good times.

CRACKED GOOD TIMES CANNED PATRIARCH JAMES EVANS. After actor John Amos complained that white writers weren't realistically writing black characters, his character was killed in an off-screen car accident. They completed 3 more seasons without him.


Kevin Can Barely Wait To Move On.

CRACKED KEVIN CAN WAIT KILLED OFF THE MOM. Thinking that their chemistry could help boost ratings, the show killed off Kevin's wife Donna, and brought in Leah Remini. Fans were upset that the death of his wife and mother of his 3 kids got little mention, and ratings dropped even further.


Roseanne may not have gotten 10 seasons if Twitter existed in the 90s.

CRACKED ROSEANNE KILLED OFF ROSEANNE. C #Ross ROSEANI After her racist tweet likened Valerie Jarrett to an ape, the show's namesake was killed off with an opioid overdose. In 2018, the show rebranded as The Conners (currently in its 5th season).

NY Times

Netflix immediately cut ties with Kevin Spacey.

CRACKED HOUSE OF CARDS KILLED OFF FRANK UNDERWOOD. After several sexual assault allegations (8 from the show's staff), Netflix opened Season 6 with Claire Underwood telling citizens (and viewers) that Spacey's character Frank had died. Later in the season, they reveal that he was murdered.


One of Charlie Sheen’s many headlines in 2011.

CRACKED THEY REPLACED ONE OF THE TWO AND A HALF MEN. After Sheen went on a verbal, anti-semitic tirade of creator Chuck Lorre, his character Charlie Harper was hit by a subway train in Paris. Не was replaced with Ashton Kutcher's character Walden Schmidt from Season 9 to 12.


Diane leaving Sam was the ‘80s equivalent to Pam leaving Jim.

CRACKED CHEERS LET DIANE LIVE HER DREAM. Meantos FINESSANTOOD Shelley Long had constant conflicts with castmates, and chose to pursue a movie career, so even though Diane & Sam had just gotten engaged, Diane postpones the wedding to pursue her writing career.


Anna Faris left before Season 8 of Mom.

CRACKED MOM WITH AN EMPTY NEST. Anna Faris wanted to pursue other opportunities. The 8th and final season opens on Bonnie (Allison Janney) dropping her off at the airport to begin her free ride at Georgetown Law School.


The Expanse frankensteined a lame death scene.

CRACKED THE EXPANSE'S STROKE OF GENIUS. NTE After Cas Anvar was accused of sexual assault, the show easily could've written him out between seasons. Instead, they upset fans by cobbling together existing footage and hasty reshoots to have his character Alex Kamal die of a random stroke mid-mission.

What Culture

Mandy Patinkin literally just walked away from Criminal Minds.

CRACKED MANDY PATINKIN GHOSTED CRIMINAL MINDS. After 2 seasons as Jason Gideon, he inexplicably went M.I.A for a week before quitting. They scrambled to write him out, so ultimately the character ventures off to find himself in a scene that Patinkin later agreed to shoot.

What Culture

House would rather see Kal Penn die than see him walk away.

CRACKED FROM HOUSE TO THE WHITE HOUSE. Dr. Lawrence Kutner's character required a hasty write off, since actor Kal Penn accepted a job in the Obama administration. They chose to kill him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

What Culture

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?