Successful TV shows only become successful as a result of great casting decisions, intriguing plot, and collaboration during the filming process. However, sometimes the producers of wildly popular TV shows have no other choice but to fire the actors that make their show a success.
The difficult decision to fire an actor from a TV show is usually made after the actor has been involved in a huge scandal that could taint not only the show but also the studio or the channel that airs the show.
As you can imagine, these decisions pretty much ruin the reputation and career of the actors who are fired. After all, would you want to work with an actor that was involved in a huge scandal or was notorious for erratic behavior and causing tension on set? We didn’t think so. And neither do studios and producers. Here are 15 TV Shows That Were Forced To Fire Lead Actors.
15 Selma Blair Was Fired Because She Criticized Charlie Sheen’s Work Ethic
The actress Selma Blair was fired from the TV show Anger Management and replaced by the actress Laura Bell Bundy. Apparently, Charlie Sheen dismissed Blair via a text message in which he called her a c**t after he learned that she was going behind his back and criticizing his work ethic.
However, Sheen gave a different reason as to why Blair had to leave the show – “One of our primary characters, Selma Blair, who played Kate, was written out because [the show] was not about our relationship, and the problem was too many people were still excited about the Two and a Half [Men] character and thought the Anger Management character was a little dull. So, um, that is not the case anymore. Her character leaves, and I start circling the drain. So it's really fun to watch and hella fun to play."
14 Janet Hubert Was Fired For Wanting Fresh Prince To Center Around Her Character
The actress Janet Hubert played Aunt Viv in Fresh Prince of Bel Air in the first three seasons only to be replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid in the last three seasons of the show. So what happened? Why was Hubert replaced?
Apparently, Hubert was not the easiest person to work with and was often difficult on set. In addition, it seems that the actress had a feud with the actor Will Smith which resulted in the termination of her contract.
Smith later said – “I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be “The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show” because I know she is going to dog me in the press. She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She’s mad now but she’s been mad all along. She said once, 'I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.'”
13 Thomas Gibson Was Fired After He Kicked One Of The Show’s Writers
Sometimes it’s not verbal abuse but physical abuse that lead to actors being fired from major TV shows. Take the actor Thomas Gibson, for example. In 2016 he was dismissed from Criminal Minds – a TV show that he had starred in for 11 seasons – because he kicked one of the show’s writers.
Apparently, violence ensued after Gibson got into an argument with one of the show’s writers when he was directing an episode for season 12 of the show – “There were creative differences on the set and a disagreement. I regret that it occurred. We all want to work together as a team to make the best show possible. We always have and we always will."
12 Kevin Spacey Was Fired After Assault Claims Surfaced
House of Cards fans were shocked to learn earlier this year that the actor Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual abuse. According to Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp, Spacey acted inappropriately towards him when he was only 14 years old (Spacey was 12 years older than Rapp at the time). Spacey apologized and came out as gay, however, that did not save his career.
To the shock of many, Spacey was fired from House of Cards. However, Netflix soon decided that it wanted nothing to do with Spacey whatsoever – “Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey. We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show. We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey."
11 Nicollette Sheridan Sued Marc Cherry After She Was Fired From Desperate Housewives
After Desperate Housewives actress Nicollette Sheridan was fired from the hit TV show, she was quick to sue the show’s creator Marc Cherry. According to Cherry, the reasons they decided to fire Sheridan included cost-saving as well as the actress’s unprofessional behavior.
However, in court, Sheridan claimed that the reason Cherry fired her was due to a physical altercation they had. According to Sheridan, after a funny line was taken out from her script she approached Cherry about it. However, he was in no mood to discuss script changes – “Mr. Cherry approached, he took his right hand, and he hit me upside the head. I was stunned I couldn’t believe he just hit me.” The case has since been dismissed due to lack of proof.
10 Isaiah Washington Was Fired For His Anti-LGBT Slurs
Grey’s Anatomy’s fans were outraged after they learned that the actor Isaiah Washington had called his co-star T.R. Knight, who later came out as gay, a “fag**t”. Later, Washington once again used a homophobic slur at the Golden Globes.
As you can imagine, Washington was fired shortly after the two incidents took place. This, in turn, pretty much ruined his career – “After the incident at the Golden Globes, everything just fell apart. I lost everything. I couldn't afford to have an agent …I couldn't afford to have a publicist …I couldn't afford to continue."
9 Columbus Short Was Fired After He Threatened To Kill His Wife
In 2014, the actor Columbus Short was fired from Scandal as a result of his domestic violence. Of course, Short did not reveal the reason for his dismissal from the show.
He merely said – “At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I've called home for 3 years, with what is the most talented ensemble in television today. Everything must come to an end and unfortunately, the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast..."
However, the reason for Short’s dismissal was publicized shortly after. Apparently, the actor had put a knife to his wife’s throat and threatened to kill her. She then took out a restraining order against him and pretty much ruined his Scandal career.
8 Charlie Sheen Was Fired For Substance Abuse And Derogatory Remarks
The actor Charlie Sheen was the star of the TV show Two and a Half Men. However, he was fired from the show due to his erratic behavior which included making derogatory remarks about the show, drugs and alcohol abuse, and his inability to continue on with his duties on the show. As a result, Sheen was ultimately replaced by Ashton Kutcher.
Warner Bros studios sent Sheen’s attorney, Marty Singer, a letter in which they explained Sheen's dismissal – “Your client has been engaged in dangerously self-destructive conduct and appears to be very ill. For months before the suspension of production, Mr. Sheen’s erratic behavior escalated while his condition deteriorated. His declining condition undermined the production in numerous and significant ways. Warner Bros. would not, could not, and should not attempt to continue ‘business as usual’ while Mr. Sheen destroys himself as the world watches.”
7 Jessica Biel Was Fired Because Of A Raunchy Photo Shoot
The stunning actress Jessica Biel rose to fame after playing Mary in the TV show 7th Heaven. However, Biel never got to finish the show because she was written off. So what happened?
Well, in 2000, Biel posed for the cover of Gear. In the shoot the actress was scantily clad which caused her TV show dad, the actor Stephen Collins, to call the photo shoot “child pornography.”
As you can imagine, the show wanted nothing to do with the shoot and thus wrote Biel's character off in the fifth season. Biel has since confessed that she regretted the photo shoot – “First of all, I wasn’t happy with those pictures either. I saw pictures that were different from the ones that ran in the magazine. We thought the layout was going to be much more subdued. I’m talking about how much was shown of my chest area. So I was shocked and my family was heartbroken about the pictures that ran. It was really difficult, but you know, it’s over now and I’m OK with it and my family knows that that’s never ever going to happen again.”
6 Lisa Bonet Was Fired After She Appeared In A Film Containing Graphic Scenes
The actress Lisa Bonet played Denise Huxtable in the 80s TV show The Cosby Show. Fans of The Cosby Show loved Bonet and considered her character one of the best. But apparently, the actress wasn’t that easy to work with. She often turned up late on set and sometimes failed to show up at all.
So it is no surprise that Bonet was eventually fired from the wildly popular show. However, it wasn’t just her unprofessional behavior that led to her dismissal. During the show’s run, Bonet also appeared in graphic sex scenes in a film called Angel Heart. By doing so, she broke the moral clause of The Cosby Show contract and thus had to be fired.
5 Robert Downey Jr. Was Fired From Ally McBeal Because Of His Substance Abuse
In 2001, the actor Robert Downey Jr. was fired from the TV show Ally McBeal due to his drug problems. The actor was fired only a few hours after he was arrested by the police on suspicion that he was under the influence of drugs.
Before the incident that caused the actor to be written off, Downey Jr. was already pardoned once by the show’s producers for his drug problems.
Naturally, the producers did not want more scandals and thus decided to let the actor go – “We are wrapping up the stories on the final few episodes of Ally McBeal for the season without him. Robert is a unique talent and a very special person. And we wish him the best and hope for his full recovery."
4 Taylor Momsen Was Fired From Gossip Girl Due To Her Erratic Behavior On Set
Who can forget the shocking transformation of the actress Taylor Momsen? It wasn’t just her appearance that changed – her behavior changed also. So it is no surprise that the producers of the popular TV show Gossip Girl decided to fire her.
Apparently, Momsen’s behavior on set was erratic and unpredictable which made it increasingly difficult to work with her – “Taylor wasn’t on set filming much this season, but when she did show up she wasn’t very level-headed. The show’s executives didn’t trust that she was really giving it her all, so they dismissed her as a regular.”
3 Kim Delaney Was Fired From CSI: Miami Due To A Lack Of Chemistry With David Caruso
The actress Kim Delaney was fired from the TV show CSI: Miami only after 10 episodes. According to the show’s producers, they decided to fire Delaney due to lack of chemistry between her and the actor David Caruso.
While that may be true, other sources suggest that Delaney’s drunk driving and arrest may have contributed to the producer’s decision to write the actress off the show.
However, Delaney apparently believes that it was Caruso who is to blame for her being fired. Apparently, the two constantly argued – “Kim thinks David went to the producers and had them choose between them. David obviously is the one the producers are sticking with."
2 Shannen Doherty Was Fired Twice During Her Career After Fights With Co-Stars
The actress Shannen Doherty was actually fired twice from TV shows she appeared in. In 2011, Doherty and the producers of the TV show Charmed decided that it was best if they ceased working together due to tensions on set.
She also apparently caused tension on set on the show Beverly Hills, 90210. Doherty played Brenda, a character that was supposed to remain on the show for its entire duration.
But her erratic behavior and her feud with Jennie Garth, which led to physical violence, made the atmosphere during filming unbearable. Tori Spelling later admitted that she rang her father, the show’s producer, and asked him to fire Doherty.
1 Jamie Lynn Was Fired From Zoey 101 After Getting Pregnant
Britney Spears’s little sister Jamie Lynn Spears would have probably become a famous actress had she not gotten pregnant at the age of sixteen. You see, back then Spears was starring in a TV show called Zoey 101 where she played the main character.
However, as we all know, in the midst of filming she got pregnant with her then-boyfriend Casey Aldridge. Naturally, the show could not continue – Zoey 101 was for kids after all and a plot line that involved pregnancy would not have been suitable. Naturally, Spears had to be fired.
But because Spears was the main character, the show couldn’t go on without her either and the whole show had to be canceled.