17 TV Actors Who Were Replaced Like It Was No Big Deal
Blink and you might miss these sly and subtle switches.
Actors who think that their television shows would be nothing without them should think again. Whether it’s due to death or a difference in opinion, TV talent is replaced all the time—and more often than not, viewers don’t even notice the change. Surprisingly, even TV show protagonists can be replaced without ruining a show entirely. (Just ask Charlie Sheen if you don’t believe us.) Herein, we’ve rounded up some of the TV actors who were replaced just in case you missed their untimely departures.
Charle Sheen on Two and a Half Men
When Charlie Sheen went off the rails back in 2011, Warner Bros. Television responded by firing him from the hit show Two and a Half Men. However, Sheen’s publicized departure didn’t bring an end to the sitcom. Rather, the network decided to replace the star with Ashton Kutcher, who joined the show as a suicidal billionaire named Walden Schmidt. With his help, the series was able to go for another four seasons.
Janet Hubert-Whitten on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Janet Hubert-Whitten’s incarnation of Vivian Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was extremely short-lived. Following reports that she was feuding with others on set—most notably with Will Smith—the actress was fired after a few seasons, and for the remainder of the series, the role of Vivian Banks was played by Daphne Maxwell Reid.
Alessandra Torresani on 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—or Ann no. 2—for the remainder of the series.
Lisa Robin Kelly on That ’70s Show
It was ultimately a substance abuse problem that led to the replacement of Lisa Robin Kelly with Christina Moore on That ’70s Show. Robin Kelly, who played Eric Foreman’s blonde bombshell older sister, told ABC News back in 2012: “With That ’70s Show, I was guilty of a drinking problem. And I ran.”
Ross Butler on 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 ultimately chose the latter Netflix show, leaving the role of Reggie to fellow teen heartthrob Charles Melton.
Jake T. Austin on The Fosters
Following the season two finale of Freeform series The Fosters, Jake T. Austin revealed via Twitter that his role was being recast. Not too 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 To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before star Noah Centineo.
Aml Ameen on 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 in the first season of the show, it was Toby Onwumere who brought the role to life for both the Christmas special and the second and final season.
Phil Bruns on Seinfeld
In the second episode of Seinfeld, television veteran Philip Bruns appears as Jerry’s father, Morty Seinfeld. However, it has been said that co-creator Larry David found Bruns to be too soft for the role, and so when Morty returned in season two, it was Barney Martin playing him instead.
The Role of Bobby Draper on Mad Men
Mason Vale Cotton. Maxwell Huxabee. 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.
Santino Fontana on 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 two, however, the actor told the creators that the show didn’t work for his schedule, and so his character Greg was ultimately written off. For years, the shown has continued without Santino/Greg, but since this upcoming season will be the show’s last, the creators have decided to bring Greg back—except this time he’ll be played by Pitch Perfect star Skylar Astin.
Lily Nicksay in 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 questionably different between seasons two and three. That’s because while Morgan was portrayed by Lily Nicksay in seasons one and two, Lindsay Ridgeway took over the role from season three onward.
Ed Skrein in Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones has gone through its fair share of replacements. Take the character Daario Naharis, for instance. Through season three, 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 show. “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,” the actor told The Huffington Post.
Anita Barone in Friends
It wasn’t just a swollen, pregnant belly that made Ross’ ex-wife Carol look different in Friends. Perhaps a more significant factor in the change in appearance is the fact 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, but due to a very real pregnancy of her own had to hold off on actually taking anything.
Sharon Wilkins on 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 few appearances, then that’s just what you’ll see: an Angie Jordan played not by Shepard, but by Sharon Wilkins. Though it’s unclear why, Wilkins only made it one episode before her part in the Tina Fey show was recast.
Stellina Rusich on Monk
Originally, the character of Trudy Monk in Monk was only meant to appear in photographs and flashbacks—and for that minor role, the showrunners thought that Stellina Rusich was perfect. However, when the creators of the series decided to give the deceased spouse a more detailed plotline, they decided to cast Melora Hardin, who “had an angelic quality without being too syrupy or heavy-handed.”
Alice Pearce on Bewitched
Not even Hollywood execs with all the money in the world can control unexpected tragedies. In 1966, just as the show Bewitched was taking off, actress Alice Pearce died of ovarian cancer. Her role of nosy neighbor Gladys was given to Sandra Gould.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood on Arrow
In the pilot of Arrow, fans get a brief glimpse of Sara Lance/Black Canary, played by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood. However, when the character reappeared in season two, it was not Wood portraying her, but Caity Lotz. Though Wood never made it entirely clear why she never returned, people speculated that her full-time role on The Bold & The Beautiful was just too time-consuming to take on something else. And for more surprising recasting decisions you never knew, here are 50 Iconic Movie Roles That Almost Went to Someone Else.
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