It's easy to zone out when binge-watching a television show. But when an actor or actress suddenly leaves a show and is replaced by someone else some of the casting choices are downright insane! What's funnier is when no one from the show even makes a public statement about it. Do producers really think we wouldn't notice?! Read on for a few of the most outrageous casting fails of all time — maybe you didn't even catch some of these!
Actress Lecy Goranson originated the role of Roseanne's sassy eldest child, Becky in 1988. After five seasons she was replaced by Sarah Chalke so that she could attend Vassar College. The next few seasons was a dance between the two actresses over who would play Becky. In what was supposed the be the eighth and final season, Goranson returned to her original role but then left when the show was renewed. The producer then brought Chalke back in. Thankfully the producers didn't expect audiences to be that oblivious. They made noticeable puns about the two actresses appearing on the show and even used an image of Goranson transforming into Chalke in the show's opening credits.
Leah Remini Replaces Erinn Hayes
Spoiler alert! CBS show Kevin Can Wait took some serious heat in the fall of 2017 after killing off Kevin's onscreen wife, Erinn Hayes. Hayes, who was well-liked by fans is killed off to be replaced by Kevin James' old King Of Queens costar, Leah Remini. Remini made a guest appearance in season one of the show and producers loved the chemistry between Kevin and her so much, they decided to bring her on full time. CBS Entertainment President, Kelly Kahl explained the switch saying, "When everybody collectively saw how Leah and Kevin were together in those last couple episodes, there was an undeniable spark there. Kevin, the studios and the network all got together and wanted to keep that magic and chemistry going forward."
Bob Saget Voiced Old Ted Mosby
Although How I Met Your Mother is a beloved series that ran successfully for nine seasons, there's one small casting choice that still has fans confused. Actor, Bob Saget, famous for his role in Full House voices all of the narrator portions of the show. He's supposed to be old Ted Mosby. But the real Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor is also a fully-grown adult whose voice wouldn't have miraculously changed in the 10 to 20-year gap between present day and retelling his life stories. Adults don't really go through a second round of voice changes after puberty. So why couldn't Radnor act in and narrate each episode? Verdict's still out on this one.
Two Aunt Vivan's On The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Actress, Janet Hubert-Whitten was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid in season four of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Aside from the obvious physical differences between the women, the personality of the character changed as well. Hubert-Whitten's version of Aunt Viv was career driven, sassy and stern while Reid's is more of a soft-spoken homemaker. Turns out there was some major drama behind the replacement. In a 1993 radio interview, Will Smith 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." Yikes.
The Tale of Two Ann Paul Veals
Ann Paul Veal is the love interest of Arrested Development lead character, George Michael, portrayed by Michael Cera. The character is first played by actress Alessandra Torresani in season one then replaced by actress Mae Whitman for an additional fifteen episodes. Although this seems like an unbelievably noticeable swap, there are many theories circulating the internet that the swap was obvious on purpose. Ann Veal is described as bland and boring looking with little to no personality. Fans claim producers swapped her out on purpose to emphasize the point that no one really notices or cares if she's a different woman entirely.
What Really Happened To Lisa Robin Kelly?
Actress Lisa Robin Kelly (left) played the role of snarky sister, Laurie Forman to That '70s Show lead, Eric. The actress eye-rolled her way through five seasons before being asked to leave the show, sadly due to a self-admitted drinking problem. She was replaced by Christina Moore who stayed with the show until its end. Unfortunately, Kelly's expulsion from the show was the beginning of a downward spiral that included DUIs, domestic disturbances, and arrests. Tragically, Kelly died in 2015 from cardiac arrest while in rehab for her drinking. She was only 43 years old.
Up next: another actor whose addiction cost him his job.
Joseph Fiennes Portrayed Michael Jackson And People Were Not Happy About It
In an extremely radical and inappropriate casting choice, Joseph Fiennes, a Caucasian actor was cast to play Michael Jackson, an African American icon, in a TV film, Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon. The short comedy was produced by Sky TV and is based on an urban legend of a road trip that included Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brandon. Audiences were outraged to hear about Fiennes' casting. The actor even expressed his shock and confusion around the choice in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. He said, "I'm a white, middle-class guy from London. I'm as shocked as you might be." Sky TV received so much backlash that they actually canceled the program.
Beloved 1960s show Bewitched is about a witch marrying an average guy named Darrin. The show's producers pulled some magic of their own when they recast Darrin after five seasons. Dick York first portrayed the role of Samantha’s husband for five whole seasons but a back injury that had gotten progressively worse throughout his time on the show forced him to leave. That's when the show's producers brought in Dick Sargent to play the role instead. Ironically, Sargent had been the first choice for the role of Darrin but producers felt he was ‘too normal.’ Despite the replacement, ratings didn't suffer at all and the show stayed on the air for three more seasons
This Swap Out Is Cuckoo
SNL alum, Andy Samberg starred in the popular BBC series Cuckoo about a happy-go-lucky hippy named Cuckoo that a traditional English girl marries and brings home to her parent's house. Audiences fell in love with Samberg but their adoration was cut short. Samberg left the series after only one season due to a conflicting schedule with his Emmy-award winning series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. So as all shows do, they killed him off and brought in Twilight star Taylor Lautner instead. Lautner plays the role of Cuckoo's son. As if that isn't enough change, the actress portraying Cuckoo's wife was replaced for the second series as well without any mention of a change.
So Long Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers originated the role of cute and quirky Chrissy Snow on mega-hit Three's Company. The show launched Somers to incredible fame. But her career came to a screeching halt with Somers asked ABC for a salary raise to be on par with her castmate John Ritter. Somers was paid $30,000 an episode while Ritter was paid a whopping $150,000 per episode. Eventually, her contract was terminated and she was replaced by her character's goofy cousin named Cindy Snow and later a new character named Terri. Neither replacements were met with as much success as Somers' role.
The Forgotten Friend's Actress
Everybody knows the infamous storyline of Ross Gellar being dumped by his wife, Carol, while she's pregnant with his baby. Spoiler alert: Carol's a lesbian and doesn't love Ross anymore. All mega fans know this but what they might not know is that Carol was played by two different actresses. In Season 1, Episode 2, Carol is played by actress, Anita Barone. In this episode, we find out Ross' wife is pregnant. The next time the character appears in Season 1, Episode 9, she is noticeably thinner and blonder. She was replaced by actress Jane Sibbett. Turns out Barone is the one who asked to leave the show to pursue a more permanent career in Hollywood.
Out With The Odd, In With The New
Amy, wife of Raymond's brother Robert in Everybody Loves Raymond is known for her oddball family. In particular, her older brother, Peter. Originally the role of Amy's brother was named Russell and portrayed by Paul Reubens, also known as Pee Wee Herman. But in season seven a new brother named Peter, played by Chris Elliott, is introduced in place of Russell. Without any explanation as to where Russell went. It turns out shortly after Rueben's episode aired as the loving brother, he was arrested on child pornography charges and Ray Romano didn't want that associated with his family-friendly show. Yikes.
The Two Leading Men of Two and A Half Men
Charlie Sheen was booted from his beloved comedy Two and A Half Men in 2011 after igniting a war with producers offscreen with Twitter rants and inappropriate antics. At the time he was the highest paid actor on primetime television — earning a whopping $2 million per episode. After Hugh Grant turned down the replacement role, it was offered to Ashton Kutcher. Thankfully Kutcher did not completely fill Sheen's place as there's a thirteen-year age gap between the men. Instead, producers killed off Charlie's character and introduced Kutcher, who plays the billionaire who bought his mansion. Despite Kutcher's efforts the show never received as many ratings as when Sheen was the star.
What Happened To Mark Brendanawicz?
Remember him? Mark Brendanawicz? The leading love interest in Parks and Rec? Actor Paul Schneider portrayed the heartthrob for two seasons before he mysteriously disappeared to only be replaced by characters Ben Wyatt and Chris Traeger played by Adam Scott and Rob Lowe respectively. Schneider seems as confused as fans. In a 2014 interview with Screencrush, he said, "That experience was very strange for me. You know I signed up for a specific character that was changed in mid-season. And it became a character with a lot less to do. And, all of a sudden, I was kind of confused and kind of having a lot less to do." For what it's worth, we miss you Mark Brendanawicz!
The Bobby Quad
Did you know Don Draper's son Bobby was played by not one, not two, but four actors?! While Bobby's sister, Sally, played by actress Kiernan Shipka, shone brightly throughout the seasons of Mad Men, Bobby was always a background piece swapped in and out season after season. In a recent interview, Shipka recalled there actually being eight total Bobbys throughout the series run, but only four of the eight were credited. While Kiernan was given difficult scenes to tackle like seeing a psychiatrist and underage smoking and drinking, Bobby was more of the annoying kid brother. His big scenes include burning his mouth on a pancake skillet, breaking the record player, and shouting the occasional "Hi Daddy!" when Don arrives home.
Randy The Replacement
After starring on That '70s Show for seven seasons, Topher Grace departed the series in 2005 to pursue a career in films. His costar, Ashton Kutcher, who played Kelso also left the show that same year. They were replaced by Randy, played by Josh Meyers, the baby brother of funnyman Seth Meyers. Randy joined the cast for the eighth and final season as Donna's lost love interest. He's also a coworker of Stephen's at the record store, filling the BFF void left from Kutcher's departure. Randy's character was a blend of both Eric and Kelso — he was the group ringleader like Eric but beloved by women like Kelso. Unfortunately, fans hated Randy. Ratings were horrible and the show was canceled.
Megan Fox Fills In For Zooey Deschanel
Although both Megan Fox and Zooey Deschanel are blue-eyed, brunette beauties, their similarities end there. Which is why Fox's filling in for Deschanel on her show New Girl during her maternity leave left fans confused and disappointed. Fox didn't entirely take over Deschanel's role just her place in the loft and her man, Nick Miller. She joined the cast as Nick Miller's new girlfriend Reagan in season five while Jess was stuck on jury duty and living in a hotel. In reality, Zooey had just given birth to her baby girl, Elsie Otter. Thankfully Zooey returned later that season in time for the series' 100th episode.
Diane Vs. Rebecca
Every Cheers fan has an opinion of the showdown of the series two leading ladies — Diane played by Shelley Long and Rebecca played by Kirstie Alley. Long originated the show's powerful female lead as Diane, a wealthy, well-educated woman who falls for bartender Sam. Diane charmed audiences for five seasons before leaving to pursue a career in films. She was quickly replaced by younger actress Kirstie Alley. Alley played Rebecca Howe, another love interest for Sam. Viewers panicked, fearing this would throw off the whole dynamic of the show but it actually did the opposite. Ratings increased and the show stayed on the air for another six seasons!
Shannon Doherty Replaced Rose McGowan
Actress Shannon Doherty has always been surrounded by controversy and her role on Charmed was no exception. The show initially followed the adventures of Prue, Piper and Phoebe Halliwell (played by Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano respectively). The whole premise of the show was "the power of three," but after the third season, tensions between Doherty and Milano reached an all-time high and producer, Aaron Spelling, gave Doherty the boot. She was replaced by Rose McGowan who played Paige, the long-lost half-sister of the group. Ratings didn't waiver at all and the series stayed on for another three seasons.
The Dads of Seinfeld
Seinfeld showcases the lives of Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer, but due to the show's success, even the smallest of characters became stars. But mega fans might be surprised to know that both Jerry and George's fathers were played by two different actors. Actor, John Randolph played Frank Costanza in one episode only. To cover up the recasting, the scenes were reshot for syndication with infamous comedian Jerry Stiller, who replaced Randolph for the remainder of the series. Phil Bruns initially played Jerry Seinfeld’s dad but was later replaced by Barney Martin. His scenes, however, were not reshot.