There’s a rule in Hollywood: never leave a successful TV show. When your work attracts millions of people each week, why would you leave? Celebrities can get paid millions of dollars to work a few hours a week for years.
Sadly. it’s not always that easy. Even though working in Hollywood might be a dream job for most of us, here are some of the cases when actors LEAVE a successful TV show. Sometimes it was their choice and sometimes it wasn’t. Let’s find out what happened, shall we?
Nicolette Sheridan, Desperate Housewives
Sheridan played Edie Britt in the ABC drama Desperate Housewives. First airing in 2004, the show seemed unstoppable and made its cast household names. Nicolette Sheridan even got nominated for a Golden Globe for her work as Edie Britt. So what happened?
It turns out you need to play nice on set! For the first few years, there were countless reports of Sheridan acting unprofessionally on set and even accusing crewmembers of abuse. The writers decided to kill the character in season five.
Alec Baldwin, Up Late With Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin has been a star in Hollywood for many years, appearing in shows like Knots Landing and 30 Rock. He was on his way to late night success with the launch of his own show: Up Late With Alec Baldwin. We don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of it.
In 2013, the show was canceled by MSNBC after only five episodes. A perfect blend of bad ratings and an abusive outburst by the actor caused the network to pull the plug entirely. Baldwin is no stranger to horrible behavior: he often abuses his young children and picks fights in the streets. Regardless, Hollywood still loves him due to his portrayal of President Donald Trump on SNL.
Leah Remini, The Talk
Leah Remini seemed like the perfect person to join CBS’ new chat show, The Talk. It was designed to replicate popular formats like The View and featured talking heads such as Remini, Sharon Osbourne, Julie Chen, and Holly Robinson.
Sadly for Remini, she was removed by the network and quickly replaced by another lady. The actress claims it was because she didn’t ‘play by the rules’ and keep her mouth shut when it came to certain issues. Today, Leah Remini has a starring role on Kevin Can Wait.
John Amos, Good Times
John Amos reached global fame from his portrayal of James Evans in Good Times. The CBS television show ran in the 1970s and contributed to the actor’s impressive 40-year career. However, Evans would be removed due to Amos’ reluctance to follow instructions.
It turns out that John Amos was dissatisfied with the direction that the TV show was taking. He felt that his character was being reduced to a caricature who would scream catchphrases, so he requested to be written off the show. Today, his career is still going strong.
Suzanne Somers, Three’s Company
Three’s Company hit our screens way back in 1977, with Suzanne Somers having a main role on the ABC sitcom. The actress was spotted by ABC’s President, Fred Silverman, as someone who could perfectly play Chrissy Snow – a stereotypical blonde.
As time went on and the show became more successful, Somers became more difficult and demanded an extreme salary to continue on the show. Sadly, her negotiation skills were not strong enough and they ended up cutting her character entirely.
Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear
Once upon a time, Jeremy Clarkson has every man’s dream TV job. Between 2002 and 2015, he co-hosted Top Gear alongside James May and Richard Hammond. Amazingly, it was the world’s most-watched show and BBC’s greatest export. That’s why it was such a big deal when Clarkson entered into a ‘frakus’ with a member of staff.
Producers finally fired Clarkson after he reached his third strike. This resulted in Hammond and May leaving with him and starting a new show on Amazon Prime. Meanwhile, Top Gear has failed to reach the same quality as it once was.
Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley was the wildly successful spinoff from Happy Days that first introduced these two characters. After wowing audiences as friends of the Fonz, Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall got their own show in 1975.
Seven years into the show, Cindy Williams fell pregnant. In 1982, Bill Hudson (the father) gave the producers a bunch of demands to make the filming experience easier for Williams. Unfortunately, it all got rather heated and Shirley was written off the show. This means that the final season of Laverne and Shirley had no Shirley!
Drake, Degrassi: The Next Generation
Today, we all know Drake as the singer/songwriter who touches our hearts with his slow-jam music. Before reaching worldwide acclaim, Drake played Jimmy Brooks in the Canadian teen drama series.
The star always wanted to be a singer and often found himself balancing the two. After a few years, producers realized where his heart was and wrote him off the show. This was so Drake could fully commit to his music career. It seemed like it paid off!
Hunter Tylo, All My Children and Melrose Place
Hunter Tylo first appeared in All My Children back in 1985 and wowed audiences with her portrayal of Robin McCall in the ABC soap opera. After it was revealed that Hunter was having an affair with her colleague, Michael Tylo, she was kicked off the show. It was a happy ending, though, since the two got married.
Hunter Tylo was then cast to appear in Melrose Place before being fired before filming a single scene. This is because the producers found out she was pregnant and it would affect the filming schedules. Tylo sued the producers for millions of dollars and won, so it’s a happy ending all around.
Robert Downey Jr., Ally McBeal
Before he became one of the most loved actors in Hollywood, Robert Downey Jr. had a bumpy start to his career. While battling substance abuse, Downey Jr. was unceremoniously fired from Ally McBeal due to unpredictable behavior.
Initially, producers stuck by Downey Jr. because they had faith in his acting abilities. However, you can never trust an addict and they knew they had to let him go. Eventually, he cleaned up and went to star as Iron Man in the most successful film franchise in history.
Valerie Harper, Valerie
Valerie Harper started her career in the 1970s as a television actress. First appearing in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Harper eventually landed the titular role in Valerie. The initial two seasons proved to be wildly successful and earned Harper a Primetime Emmy award.
Sadly, Valerie did not return to Valerie for its third season due to a salary negotiation that turned sour. This resulted in the main character dying and having the name change to The Hogan Family.
Columbus Short, Scandal
This American actor starred in the ABC drama Scandal. The TV show ran for seven seasons between 2012 and 2018, making stars of many of its cast members. Sadly, Short’s time as Harrison Wright would be cut short due to a scandal of his own.
It turns out that Columbus Short has somewhat of a short temper. In 2014, he was put on probation for a bar fight, which initially spiked the ears of producers. Today, Short is in prison for pulling a knife on his wife. Of course, he was written off the show beforehand.
Lisa Bonet, A Different World
Lisa Bonet became a household name after appearing on The Cosby Show as Denise Huxtable. In fact, her character was so popular that it sported its own spin-off series, A Different World. The sitcom hit screen in 1987, but would not have the same success as its predecessor.
During the filming of the first season, Bonet fell pregnant by Lenny Kravitz. Since producers didn’t want its college student character dealing with a pregnancy, Bonet was written off the TV show. It ran for an additional five seasons.
Billy Bush, Today
Billy Bush started working at NBC’s Today in May 2016, just a few months before the Presidential election. His role was to help interview American athletes during the Olympics, but fate would take a different turn.
Billy Bush was a victim of a hit job by the media who released the famous ‘Grab ‘Em By The P*ssy’ tape in October 2016. In an attempt to end Donald Trump’s campaign, the media failed and he went on to win – becoming the 45th President of the United States. Bush, however, was fired for the comments he made in 2006.
Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty
Phil Robertson truly lived the American Dream. In 1972, he invented the popular ‘Duck Commander’ that would replicate the sound of duck noises for hunting. He became a multi-millionaire almost overnight and his family became the stars of their own reality TV show.
For five years, millions of people tuned in to see what the ‘Duck Dynasty’ family was up to each day. That is until Phil Robertson was quoted in GQ magazine talking about his religious beliefs. Many readers perceived it as homophobic and he was booted off the show. It didn’t last long without him and Duck Dynasty was quickly canceled altogether.
Paula Deen, many Food Network shows
For more than 15 years, Paula Deen was a staple to many food cooking networks. Her southern charm helped her build an empire of books, shows, and television appearances. Deen was the star of two shows in particular: Paula’s Party and Paula’s Best Dishes.
In 2013, her empire collapsed like a ruined souffle when she admitted to using racially-charged language. Her shows were canceled and her endorsements were all dropped, costing her millions of dollars. It appears she is attempting a comeback today.
Thomas Gibson, Criminal Minds
In 2005, Gibson was cast in the successful TV show Criminal Minds. The CBS show focused on the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) team. Thomas Gibson portrayed Aaron ‘Hotch’ Hotchner for nine seasons until he clashed with one of the writers and producers on set.
Even though Gibson entered into anger management, his outbursts were too much for the cast and crew and he was let go in 2016. Producers ended his contract prematurely and his character is now in the witness protection program.
Ann Curry, Today
Ann Curry has worked in television for more than 30 years. For 22 years, she had been the co-host of NBC News and a primary substitute on NBC Nightly News between 2005-2011. It appeared that Curry was unstoppable. So what happened?
In 2012, it was being reported in the news that Ann Curry was getting replaced as co-host of Today. For three years, her schedule was frequently moved around to accommodate hosts from more diverse backgrounds. In 2015, Ann Curry formally left NBC News. Today, she appears on PBS.
Star Jones, The View
Star Jones had a successful career as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office in New York, before entering television as a legal correspondent on NBC Nightly News. In 1997, Jones became a co-host on The View, but it would come to an end in 2006.
It turns out that Star Jones was accepting gifts from companies for a mention on the show. Producers condemned the bribes, then they terminated her contract. In 2012, she appeared on the show again, so it looks like there is no bad blood.
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men was one of the most successful and popular sitcoms in recent memory. Its main star, Charlie Sheen, was the highest-paid sitcom star at the time, earning an impressive $2 million per episode. So what happened?
In 2011, he had his famous breakdown in which he referred to himself as having ‘tiger blood’. While most of it was fun and games, he also made anti-Semitic comments against his boss, producer Chuck Lorre. Ashton Kutcher replaced Sheen and the TV show continued for two more years. Later, it was revealed that Sheen was suffering from a recent HIV diagnosis at the time.