16 TV Actors Who Were Replaced Like It Was No Big Deal
Whether due to death or creative differences, these actors' TV roles were suddenly recast.
Actors who think that their television shows would be nothing without them should think again. Whether due to death, behind-the-scenes fighting, or creative differences, TV talent is replaced all the time—and more often than not, viewers barely notice the change. Even starring cast members can see their roles recast while a show continues going strong. Just in case you missed their untimely departures, we've rounded up some of the TV actors who were replaced over the years.
Vivian Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Janet Hubert's incarnation of Vivian Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air only lasted for half the show's run. Following reports that she was feuding with others on set—most notably with star Will Smith—the actress was fired after three seasons. For the remainder of the series, the role of Vivian Banks was played by Daphne Maxwell Reid.
Ann Veal, Arrested Development
When Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz first came up with the idea of Ann Veal, the far-too-forgettable girlfriend of George Michael Bluth, he thought about using a different actress in each episode in order to emphasize just how unmemorable she is. Hurwitz did this for a short period of time, but after using just two actresses, he decided to stick with the talented Mae Whitman for the remainder of the series.
Laurie Forman, That '70s Show
Lisa Robin Kelly's behind-the-scenes struggles led the producers of That '70s Show to replace her with Christina Moore. Kelly, who played Eric Foreman's blonde bombshell older sister, told ABC News, "With That '70s Show, I was guilty of a drinking problem. And I ran." Sadly, Kelly died of a drug overdose in 2014.
Reggie Mantle, Riverdale
It wasn't that Ross Butler was replaced as Reggie on Riverdale so much as he chose to leave. Between Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why, the actor was simply spread too thin—and after one season of the former, he chose the latter Netflix series, leaving the role of Reggie to fellow teen heartthrob Charles Melton.
Jesus Adams Foster, The Fosters
Following the Season 2 finale of Freeform series The Fosters, Jake T. Austin revealed via Twitter that his role was being recast. Not long after, the actor told fans that he was "only asked to return for 3 episodes" and "wasn't going to be able to work on anything else, so I left." Austin's role of Jesus was subsequently filled by Noah Centineo, before he hit it big with the Netflix movie To All The Boys I've Loved Before.
Capheus "Van Damn" Onyango, Sense8
It was alleged creative differences that led to the recasting of Aml Ameen on Netflix's Sense8. While the British actor played the role of Capheus on the first season of the show, it was Toby Onwumere who brought the role to life for the Christmas special and the second and final season.
Morty Seinfeld, Seinfeld
In the second episode of Seinfeld, television veteran Philip Bruns appears as Jerry's father, Morty Seinfeld. However, co-creator Larry David apparently found Bruns to be too soft for the role, so when Morty returned in Season 2, it was Barney Martin playing him instead.
Bobby Draper, Mad Men
Mason Vale Cotton. Maxwell Huckabee. Aaron Hart. Jared S. Gilmore. Honestly, who hasn't played Bobby Draper at this point? The constant recasting of Don Draper's middle son on Mad Men became such a joke among the cast that recurring actors would use nicknames like "Pillow Face Bobby" or "Slurpee Bobby" just to remember which one was which.
Greg Serrano, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Once upon a time, Santino Fontana played one of the bigger roles on the CW musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. During Season 2, however, the actor told the creators that the show didn't work for his schedule, so Rebecca's one-time love interest Greg was written off. For years, the shown continued without the character, but for the final season, the show brought him back—in the form of Pitch Perfect star Skylar Astin.
Morgan Matthews, Boy Meets World
It's hard to watch Boy Meets World without immediately noticing Morgan, the hilarious loud-mouthed sister of protagonist Cory Matthews. But if you pay close attention to the character, you might notice that she looks noticeably different between Seasons 2 and 3. While Lily Nicksay portrayed Morgan throughout those first two seasons, Lindsay Ridgeway took over the role from Season 3 onward. Both actresses returned to play the character (simultaneously!) on Girl Meets World.
Daario Naharis, Game of Thrones
Through Season 3, the love interest of Daenerys Targaryen was portrayed by actor Ed Skrein, but "politics" led to a recasting that put Michiel Huisman in the role for the remainder of the series. "It was a character that I would've loved to have continued to portray, and he's a wonderful character, but you know Michiel Huisman's done a great job taking over the mantle, and that's the way it goes," Skrein very diplomatically told HuffPost.
Carol Willick, Friends
It wasn't just a pregnant belly that made Ross' ex-wife Carol look different on Friends. Perhaps a more significant factor in the change of appearance is that after just a few episodes, the original Carol, Anita Barone, left the show in search of a more permanent role, and was replaced by Jane Sibbett. Oddly enough, Sibbett had originally auditioned for one of the lead roles on the show—and was actually pregnant at the time!
Angie Jordan, 30 Rock
It's hard to imagine the 30 Rock character Angie Jordan being played by anyone other than Sherri Shepard. However, if you start the series from the beginning and happen to catch the character's first appearance, that's just what you'll see: an Angie played by Sharon Wilkins. Though it's unclear why, Wilkins made it only one episode before her part on the Tina Fey sitcom was recast.
Trudy Monk, Monk
Originally, the character of Trudy Monk on Monk only appeared in photos and flashbacks, with Stellina Rusich taking on the part. But when Monk decided to give the deceased spouse a more detailed plotline, they cast Melora Hardin, who "had an angelic quality without being too syrupy or heavy-handed," according to producer Randy Zisk.
Gladys Kravitz, Bewitched
Unfortunately, real-life tragedies are impossible to avoid. In 1966, just as Bewitched was taking off, actress Alice Pearce died of ovarian cancer. Her role of nosy neighbor Gladys was given to Sandra Gould. Pearce's contribution to the series did not go unnoticed, however: She even won a posthumous Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Sara Lance, Arrow
In the pilot of Arrow, fans get a brief glimpse of Sara Lance/Black Canary, played by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood. But when the character reappeared in Season 2, it was not Wood portraying her but Caity Lotz. Though Wood never made it clear why she didn't return, her full-time role on The Bold & The Beautiful might have proved too time-consuming to be pulling double duty.