List of television show casting changes

List of television show casting changes

Casting changes occur on many television shows; either a character is replaced by another actor with a new character, or a new actor takes over an existing role when the original actor is dropped (sometimes in movies). Some cast changes have been significant enough to cause the show to "jump the shark" by detrimentally affecting the quality of the show.

Named forms of casting change

Some of the examples below have given rise to slang phrases, used to jokingly describe similar changes in other shows. These include:
*"Chuck Cunningham Syndrome", when a character disappears" without any further mention. [ [ Courier News Online - TOTALLY TV BLOG: 'The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome' ] ]
*"Darrin Syndrome", when the actor playing a main character is replaced without comment, as with Darrin Stevens in "Bewitched". [Citation
last = Pearson
first = Mike
title = Pearson: Is the world ready for James Blond?
date= November 11
year = 2006
url =,2777,DRMN_23962_5134558,00.html
accessdate = 09/06/2007
*"Character Bounce", when a character leaves (or disappears) only to return later. Beverly Crusher in "" (who was missing in season 2) is an example.

Examples of shows which had significant casting changes

Show casting changes listed here must have a discontinuation of the same character after the actor has left. In fictional shows, the script typically allows others characters to be aware of the absence of the character—usually as a death, which has led to the phrase "killing off a character". This sometimes also occurs when a character leaves the show (and usually the city) to appear in their own spin-off.


Change to main character

**Jackee Harry left in the final season.Fact|date=August 2008
*"8 Simple Rules"
**John Ritter died, so his character died (off screen) as well.Fact|date=August 2008
**Kevin Dunn was replaced as Roy by Robert Hays.Fact|date=August 2008
*"Chico and the Man"
**In 1977, Freddie Prinze committed suicide and was replaced by child actor Gabriel Melgar as a different character nicknamed Chico.Fact|date=August 2008
*"Hermanos de Leche"
**A Spanish 1994 sitcom starring José Coronado and Juan Echanove, who play brothers. Echanove decided to leave the series after the first season, to pursue film projects. His character, also named Juan and nicknamed "Gordi" ("Fatty"), had an accident and underwent important reconstructive surgery. During the second season, Juan was played by El Gran Wyoming (who is not similar to Echanove, though Wyoming jokingly has explained in interviews that he was selected because of his supposed resemblance to Echanove). Although Echanove was clearly overweight and Wyoming wasn't, the character kept his nickname "Gordi"Fact|date=August 2008
*"Mystery Science Theater 3000"
**Joel Hodgson was replaced by Michael J. Nelson as the host. Several other changes were made to the cast (in fact, at the end of the series, every single character had either been replaced with a new character or performed by more than one person), but this was the most noteworthy change in the series.Fact|date=August 2008
*"Northern Exposure"
**Rob Morrow's Dr. Joel Fleischmann left the series. His role as the "visiting" doctor in the community of Cicely, Alaska (the setting of the series) was taken over by Paul Provenza as Dr. Phillip Capra. Capra and his wife Michelle, played by Teri Polo, arguably combined to take over Fleischmann's role as the "outsider" and lead character... to the extent that the ensemble show had a lead character by that point.Fact|date=August 2008
*"Saved By The Bell"
**When the show (originally called "Good Morning, Miss Bliss") was canceled by Disney Channel and picked up by NBC, it was retooled and renamed "Saved By The Bell", resulting in the departure of every character except Zack Morris, Screech Powers, Lisa Turtle, and Mr. Belding. All of the "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" episodes were later repackaged as "Saved By The Bell" episodes in which Zack appears at the beginning, and explains to the audience that the episode "takes place back in junior high".
**Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley both left the show midway through the 1992-1993 season to pursue other career options after NBC doubled the order for new episodes. Berkley and Thiessen simply refused to sign the new contract for the extra episodes, but not before filming the series finale, featuring the class' graduation. To compensate for the loss of two major characters, the show introduced an altogether new character, Tori (Leanna Creel), with no mention of the whereabouts of Kelly (Thiessen) and Jessie (Berkley). The finale aired in May 1993 following the new episodes, with no mention of Tori or the extended absence of Kelly and Jessie.
**Max (Ed Alonzo), owner of local hangout The Max, stopped appearing following the show's second season without explanation.
*"Spin City"
**Michael J. Fox left, in part due to his battle with Parkinson's disease and Charlie Sheen joined the cast as the new deputy mayor.Fact|date=August 2008
*"That 70's Show"
**Topher Grace (Eric Forman) left and was replaced by a character played by Josh Meyers (Randy Pearson). He returned in the series finale.Fact|date=August 2008
**Valerie Harper left the show over a contract dispute after the first season. Her character, Valerie Hogan, died in a car crash. Sandy Duncan was then cast as Valerie's sister-in-law. The show was also retitled "Valerie's Family", later becoming "The Hogan Family".Fact|date=August 2008

Other significant changes

**In 1980, Polly Holliday's character, Florence Jean Castleberry, left to her own short-lived spinoff series; she was replaced by another waitress, Belle Dupree, who was in turn replaced by Jolene Hunnicutt. The workplace setting in this case made the changes more believable.
*"All in the Family/Archie Bunker's Place"
**In 1978, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers left (the Stivic's departure was the intended final episode, but at the last minute CBS and Norman Lear agreed to one more season before the show became "Archie Bunker's Place").
**In 1980, Jean Stapleton announced that she no longer wished to portray Edith Bunker (who had by this time become only a recurring character), the character died offscreen from a stroke during the summer hiatus, with Archie dealing with her death at the start of the season.
*"Are You Being Served?"
**Larry Martyn left and was replaced by Arthur English.
**Arthur Brough retired and was replaced by James Hayter who was replaced by Alfie Bass, who was replaced by Milo Sperber and replaced by Benny Lee.
**Harold Bennett left the series in 1981 (that same year Bennett died) and was replaced by Kenneth Waller.
**Trevor Bannister left and was replaced by Mike Berry.
**Terry Farrell was replaced by Nancy Travis as a new love interest/foil for Becker (Ted Danson).
**The character 'Bob'(Saverio Guerra) left before the final season and was replaced by another character until the series finale, with little or no explanation as to why he vanished. He was replaced by Jorge Garcia as Hector Lopez.
**Gladys Kravitz (Alice Pearce died and was replaced by Sandra Gould).
**Louise Tate (Irene Vernon was replaced by Kasey Rogers).
**Darrin Stephens (Dick Sargent replaced Dick York, who was physically unable to perform the role anymore).
**In 1985, Nicholas Colasanto died; Coach Ernie Pantusso died and was replaced by Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson)
**In 1987 Shelley Long left; Diane Chambers broke up with Sam Malone and Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley) was made manager after the bar was bought by the fictional Lillian Corp. run by Robin Colcord.
** The actor playing Jeff left the series between season 3 and the final 4th season, replaced by the character of Oliver, who shared many of the hang-ups that Jeff had. He also had a girl with whom he'd split up (similar to Jeff) and the beginnings of a relationship with Jane.
*"Diff'rent Strokes"
**Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) was spun-off to "The Facts of Life" and was replaced as the housekeeper by Adelaide Brubaker (Nedra Volz), who was in turn replaced by Pearl Gallagher (Mary Jo Catlett).
**In 1984, Kimberly Drummond (Dana Plato) was written off as going to school in Europe; in actuality Plato was pregnant.
**That same year, Mr. Drummond married Maggie McKinney (Dixie Carter) and became stepfather to her son Sam (Danny Cooksey).
**In the final season, Dixie Carter was replaced by Mary Ann Mobley.
*"The Facts of Life"
**In 1980, four of the original seven girls (Molly, Cindy, Sue Ann and Nancy) were dropped, and Nancy McKeon was added as Jo Polniaczek.
**In 1986, Charlotte Rae left the show; Mrs. Garrett remarried and her sister Beverly Ann Stickle (Cloris Leachman) took over her duties.
*"Family Matters"
**The youngest daughter, Judy, disappeared from the show with no mention of her again.
** Jo Marie Payton left the show and Judyann Elder played Harriette in the final season.
*"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
**Janet Hubert-Whitten was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid as Vivian Banks.
*"George Lopez"
**Carmen (Masiela Lusha) left for college and Veronica (Aimee Garcia) would live with the Lopez family in the final season.
*"Gimme a Break!"
**In 1983, Pete Schrum (Uncle Ed) was dropped and Grandma Kanisky (Jane Dulo) was killed off, while Joey Lawrence and Telma Hopkins joined the cast.
**In 1985, Dolph Sweet died, so Chief Kanisky died as well.
**In 1986, the setting moved from California to New York; Kari Michaelsen (Katie), Lauri Hendler (Julie), Lara Jill Miller (Samantha), and Howard Morton (Officer Simpson) were all written out of the series in its final season (only Miller made any more appearances as Sam went to college in New Jersey), while Matthew Lawrence (Matthew), Paul Sand (Marty), and Rosie O'Donnell (Maggie) were added.
*"Kate & Allie"
**Ari Meyers (Emma McArdle) left during the fifth season to attend Yale University (she returned to guest-star in the show's 100th episode special, her final appearance in the series). Her absence was explained by having Emma spend more time at Columbia University during the majority of the fifth season, then move to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and be with her father in the sixth and final season.
*"Laverne & Shirley"
**When Betty Garrett decided to leave the series after the sixth season, her character Edna Babish De Fazio was occasionally referred to thereafter until it was revealed she had divorced Frank De Fazio, Laverne's father.
**Finally, when Cindy Williams left the series before the start of what was to be its last season, her pregnant character Shirley Feeny was said to be living with her new husband on an Army base.
*"Mama's Family"
**Rue McClanahan's character Aunt Fran was killed off. (The show was cancelled by NBC in 1984 and revived for syndication in 1986; by that time McClanahan as well as Betty White, who played Ellen, were starring in "The Golden Girls)".
*"Married... with Children"
**David Garrison left the show in 1989; Steve and Marcy divorced. Ted McGinley was introduced in 1991 as Marcy's second husband, Jefferson D'Arcy. Additionally, the child actor who played "Seven", disappeared.
*"The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
**Rhoda (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) each brought their characters to their respective spinoff series; their characters were depicted as having moved to different cities.
**Lt. Col. Henry Blake was killed in a plane crash when McLean Stevenson left the show and was replaced by Harry Morgan as Col. Sherman Potter.
**Trapper John was transferred stateside when Wayne Rogers left and was replaced by Mike Farrell as B.J. Hunnicutt.
**In 1977, Frank Burns (Larry Linville) was transferred, and was replaced by Major Charles Winchester (David Ogden Stiers).
**Bitty Schram left the show and was replaced by Traylor Howard.
**Héctor Elizondo joined the show following the sudden death of Stanley Kamel.
*"The Munsters"
**Pat Priest replaced Beverley Owen as Marilyn Munster.
*"My Three Sons"
**William Frawley left due to declining health and was replaced by William Demarest. Frawley's departure was explained by having his character take an extended trip to Ireland.
**In season two, Julia Duffy ("Stephanie Vanderkellen") replaced Jennifer Holmes (who had played her cousin "Leslie Vanderkellen"). Stephanie had first appeared as a guest role in season one.
**In season three, Steven Kampmann ("Kirk Devane") departed and was replaced by Peter Scolari ("Michael Harris").
**In 1998, Phil Hartman was murdered; his character (Bill MacNeal) died of a sudden heart attack. Jon Lovitz joined the cast as Max Louis.
*"Petticoat Junction"
**Bea Benaderet died; her character ("Kate Bradley") was written out, explaining that she went out of town to care for a sick relative; a new character, Dr. Janet Craig, was introduced, portrayed by TV veteran June Lockhart.
**Two different actresses played daughter Bobbi Jo.
**Three different actresses played daughter Billie Jo.
*"Prison Break"
**John Billingsley, who played Terrence Steadman joined the cast of the series "The Nine" and thus became unavailable to re-appear on "Prison Break". He was replaced by Jeff Perry in season 2.
**Lecy Goranson (Becky Conner) left the show to attend college and was replaced by Sarah Chalke. In Chalke's first episode, the Connor family are watching Bewitched and Roseanne comments 'I can't believe they replaced Darrin like that'. Jackie replies, 'it was a hit show, I suppose they thought they could get away with anything'. Becky wryly smiles and says, 'I have to admit, I kind of liked the second Darrin better'.Goranson returned to the show intermittently near the end of the series, at which point the casting change was frequently mentioned on-screen (see below).
*"Suddenly Susan"
**In 1999, David Strickland committed suicide.
*"The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
**Estelle Harris left, so her character, Muriel, was dropped without any further mention on the show
**As Ashley Tisdale was busy fliming High School Musical 2, Maddie Fitzpatrick was replaced by Nia Moseby (niece to Tipton Hotel manager Marion Moseby, and portrayed by Giovonnie Samuels) for some of the final season, only for both to reappear later.
**In 1979, the character John Burns (Randall Carver) was written out of the show after the first season and was replaced by the character Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd).
**This show had several major characters disappear and reappear throughout its 4-series run.
*"That 70's Show"
**Ashton Kutcher (Michael Kelso) left and was replaced by Josh Meyers (who was also a fill-in for the Eric Forman character). He returned in the series finale.
**In the first season, Donna had a younger sister who disappeared from the show with no explanation.
*"That's So Raven"
**T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh left. Her absence was explained by her character, Tanya Baxter, going to study law in England.
*"The Drew Carey Show"
**Christa Miller left the show and was replaced by Cynthia Watros. The explanation was that Kate, the character played by Miller, got married and moved to Guam.
*"Three's Company"
**In 1979, Audra Lindley and Norman Fell were offered their own (spin-off) series, their characters as Mr. and Mrs. Roper moved out of their apartment and were replaced by Don Knotts as Ralph Furley.
**A contract dispute resulted in Suzanne Somers' contract not being renewed in 1980 (see ). Her character Chrissy Snow was replaced first by her cousin Cindy Snow (Jenilee Harrison), and then by a nurse, Terri Alden (Priscilla Barnes).
*"Trailer Park Boys"
**Michael Jackson and Corey Bowles left the show before the 7th season.
*"The Transformers"
**In the , several characters from the first two seasons of Transformers (including Optimus Prime, Megatron, Ironhide, Ratchet, and Starscream) were killed and replaced with new characters.
**In the early part of the third season Jazz was written out in a non-speaking role when Scatman Crothers died.
**Casey Kasem left the show shortly after the five-part opening of season three.
*"Welcome Back, Kotter"
**John Travolta left the show, and his character Vinnie Barbarino was replaced by a new Sweathog named Beau.
*"What's Happening!!"
**In 1978, Mabel King (Mama) left, and the characters of Big and Little Earl and The Snake were added.
*"What's Happening Now!!"
**In 1986, Fred Berry left over a salary dispute.
**In 1987, Martin Lawrence and Ken Sagoes were added as Maurice and Darryl, two young employees at Rob's Place.
*"Zoey 101"
**Kristin Herrera left, and Victoria Justice joined.

Children being replaced

For one reason or another, children are often replaced by another child at some point in the early seasons.
*"Family Matters"
**Joeseph & Julius Wright played the roles of Richie Crawford until Bryton McClure in later seasons.
*"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
**George Weeler played Nicky in season 4 then Ross Bagley for the rest of the series.
*"Full House"
**Nicky & Alex were played by Daniel & Kevin Rentera for Season 5 and Blake & Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit played them for the rest of the series.
**Sal Barone played DJ in the pilot episode and was ultimately replaced by Michael Fishman for the series.

oap operas

On daytime soap operas, cast departures and recasts are extremely frequent, and examples are far too numerous to cite individual examples here. On primetime soaps, however, cast changes are less frequent.
*"Beverly Hills 90210", when Shannen Doherty, playing Brenda Walsh, was fired from the cast because of her unprofessional behavior on the set and because of the bad publicity that her drug addiction and her public scandals brought to the show. Jason Priestley later departed in the series' ninth season, though he continued to executive produce. Luke Perry also notably left the series in its sixth season to try to build a film career, but he returned permanently in its ninth season. Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea Zuckerman) was another original cast member who left the show, as did James Eckhouse and Carol Potter, who played Mr. and Mrs. Walsh.
*"The O.C.", when Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) was killed in an auto accident at the end of the third season. It was alleged that Barton was fired for bad behavior though both the producers and Barton maintain her character had gone as far as she could go.
*"thirtysomething", when Gary (Peter Horton) died.


Main character changes

*"The Avengers", main character, David Keel (Ian Hendry) left at the end of season one, leaving Steed (Patrick MacNee) as the main character.
*"Babylon 5" between Season 1 and 2, Commander Sinclair is replaced by Captain Sheridan, significantly changing the ending of the series. Sinclair does appear in a few later episodes.
*"Blues Clues", when Donovan Patton replaced Steve Burns as Blue's owner.
*"Charmed", when Shannon Doherty left due to a contract dispute. Her character, Prue, was killed off and replaced with Paige (Rose McGowan), a mysterious half-sister the other girls knew nothing of.
*"Charlie's Angels", when Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson left.
*"CHiPs", after filming the fifth season, Larry Wilcox fell out with producers, feeling that co-star Erik Estrada was getting preferential treatment over him, and left to be replaced in the final season by Tom Reilly who was in turn replaced in later episodes by Bruce Penhall (probationary officer Bruce Nelson).
*"Doctor Who", in which the series' writers invented a process called "regeneration" to allow different actors to play the alien character of the Doctor.
*"The Dukes of Hazzard"
**When contractual and royalty disputes led to John Schneider and Tom Wopat (Bo and Luke Duke) leaving the series for the 1981-82 season. As Bo & Luke were cousins, they were replaced by Coy & Vance (Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer), fellow (and previously unmentioned) cousins of the Duke clan, whom many viewers saw as poor clones of Bo & Luke, and ratings fell as a result. Bo & Luke were explained to be racing on the NASCAR circuit, but the dispute settled a few months later, and the pair returned at the tail-end of the season for the rest of the show's run (with Coy & Vance written out in the original duo's returning episode, never to be mentioned again).
**When Sonny Shroyer's character, Enos Strate, was given his own spin-off, "Enos". Enos was replaced with deputy Cletus Hogg (Rick Hurst). After the spin-off failed, Shroyer returned to "Dukes" as Enos, at which point Hurst was released and Cletus disappeared.
*"The Secret World of Alex Mack", when Meredith Bishop left during the final season to attend college. Her character, Annie Mack, was given the same reason for leaving. Bishop would return for the final climactic episodes, missing only nine in all.
*"Sliders" when Jerry O'Connell left at the end of the 4th season (who was replaced by Robert Floyd).
*"Spooks" in its third season when all the original main cast members besides Peter Firth were killed off, or written out in some way, and then replaced by new characters.
*"The X-Files", Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was abducted at the end of the 7th season, and is included only a few times in the 8th and 9th season. Agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) were added to the cast. Duchovny returned for the series finale.
*"Twelve O'Clock High", in the first episode of 2nd season, Brigadier General Frank Savage (Robert Lansing) is killed in action (although Lansing is not seen on screen in that episode) and is replaced for the remainder of the series by Colonel Joe Gallagher (Paul Burke) who had been a recurring character up to that point.

Other character changes

*"The Avengers", Steed (Patrick MacNee) had a series of partners, after David Keel (Ian Hendry) left, Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman) from 1962 to 1964, Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) 1965 to 1967 and Tara King (Linda Thorson) 1968 - 1969.
*"Buffy the Vampire Slayer": Angel (David Boreanaz) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) left after season 3 for the spinoff "Angel".
*"Hannah Montana": Jackson's best friend Coop disappeared after the first season, and was replaced by Thor. Later in the second season, Thor disappeared without explanation.
*"Mighty Morphin Power Rangers":
**In the middle of the second season, Austin St. John, Walter Emanuel Jones, and Thuy Trang left the show due to salary negotiations. They were replaced by Steve Cardenas, Johnny Yong Bosch, and Karan Ashley respectively.
**Near the end of the third season, Amy Jo Johnson left the show and was replaced by Catherine Sutherland.
*"": Midway through the season, Jason David Frank, Johnny Yong Bosch, Catherine Sutherland, and Nakia Burrise were replaced by Selwyn Ward, Roger Velasco, Patricia Ja Lee, and Tracy Lynn Cruz respectively.
*"The Practice", when cast changes were made before the last season.
*"Profiler", Ally Walker starred as Dr. Samantha Waters during the first three seasons (1996-1999), and was later replaced by Jamie Luner during the show's final season.
*"Sliders" when John Rhys Davies left the cast during the 3rd season (corresponding with Kari Wührer joining the cast).
*"Space Cases", the character Catalina (Jewel Staite) is replaced in season two by Suzee (Rebecca Herbst).
*"The West Wing" when Rob Lowe left the show during season 4.
*"Babylon 5" had a number of significant changes (especially since that had an influence on the pre-planned 5-year-storyline.)
**There were many cast changes between the pilot and the first season: The replacement of the station telepath (which was reversed during the run of the series), the Lt Commander and the chief medical officer.
**The replacement of Commander Ivanova at the beginning of Season 5 with Captain Lochley.
**when Dan Woods (Principal Raditch) left and was replaced by Melissa DiMarco as Principal Hatzilakos who was formerly a science teacher
**also when Melissa McIntyre (Ashley) (she came back to the show in season 6, but now in the opening credits),Daniel Clark (Sean) (Who left during season 4 and returned in season 6 and left again), and Christina Schmidt (Terry) left and also when (J.T. Yorke) was killed off because Ryan Cooley who portrayed him left to pursue his education in college.
*"ER", see article; to summarize, literally all of the original cast members, both bit players and main characters, have left the show; a second cycling-out of cast members has begun and, should the show continue on for another season or two, none of the characters who replaced the original cast members will be left either.
*"ER", when Anthony Edwards decided to leave and his character died.
*"Knight Rider", when the character Bonnie Barstow was inexplicably replaced in Season 2 by April Curtis. Bonnie returned in Season 3 without any explanation of April's departure.
*"Law & Order", many. See Regular cast for a list of all the main changes, past and present.
*"", like its parent show, "Law & Order", but most notably, when actress Stephanie March (ADA Alexandra Cabot) left the show.
*"Matlock Police", when Grigor Taylor left and was replaced by Tom Richards, also when Michael Pate left and was replaced by Peter Gwynne
*"seaQuest DSV":
**the series featured numerous cast changes in-between seasons. After season one, Stacy Haiduk (Lt. Commander Katherine Hitchcock), Royce D. Applegate (Chief Manilow Crocker), John D'Aquino (Lieutenant Ben Krieg), and Stephanie Beacham (Dr. Kristin Westphalen) all exited the series. After season two, Roy Scheider (Captain Nathan Bridger and series star), Marco Sanchez (Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz), and Rosalind Allen (Dr. Wendy Smith, who had joined the show after the mass exodus of season one) all left the series as well.
**when the character Natasha Yar was killed off in Season 1.
**or when the character Dr. Beverly Crusher was replaced with Dr. Katherine Pulaski for Season 2 only. (Which was "retconned" as Dr. Crusher taking a temporary position at Starfleet Medical on Earth.)
**when Wesley Crusher left the ship to attend Starfleet Academy.
*"" when the character Jadzia Dax was killed and replaced with Ezri Dax in Season 7.
*"", when the character Kes was eliminated at the start of Season 4 and Seven of Nine introduced.
*"Stargate SG-1",
**when the character Daniel Jackson ascended at the end of Season 5 and was replaced by Jonas Quinn (Jackson returned at the beginning of Season 7, and Quinn subsequently left the show).
**when the character Jack O'Neill left the show at the beginning of Season 9 and was replaced by Cameron Mitchell.
**when the character Dr. Janet Fraiser, played by (Teryl Rothery), is shot by a Jaffa that had penetrated the guards perimeter - the blast killed her instantly. This was just after she had saved the life of another wounded soldier on P3X-666.
**Doctor Elizabeth Weir was played by Jessica Steen in the SG-1 two-parter Lost City and then by Torri Higginson in the spin off Stargate Atlantis.
*"The Streets of San Francisco", when Richard Hatch replaced Michael Douglas.
*"Touched by an Angel", when Valerie Bertinelli joined the cast.
*"In Twitch City", Bruce McCulloch replaced Mark McKinney as Rex Reilly, the host of a TV talk show, in the series' second season. Rex Reilly makes reference to an unseen "on-air cranium transplant" that presumably took place in between the seasons.
*In "Weeds", the explained disappearance of Celia's eldest daughter, Quinn Hodes (Haley Hudson) following the pilot episode. Her disappearance, who was sent her to boarding school in Mexico. She is briefly referenced to throughout the series.
*"The X-Files": A recurring "internal source" character within the show changed several times. The character Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin) was killed in the 1st season, to be replaced by X (Steven Williams) and then Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden).

Disappearing characters

Sometimes a character simply disappears and is never mentioned again. It can be a major cast change, as a major actor/actress leaves the show, and is not referred to again. Most often, it occurs when a minor character is no longer deemed necessary to the television show's plot,cite web |url= |title=TOTALLY TV BLOG: 'The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome' |accessdate=2007-11-07 |last=Waldlow |first=Brad |coauthors= |date=November 7, 2007 |work= |publisher=Courier News] and the actor/actress playing the character is sacked. It is commonly referred to as "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome" or being "Brother Chucked", after Richie's older brother on "Happy Days", who goes out to play basketball in an early episode and is never seen or mentioned again.


* Eugene Barkley on "The Big Valley".
* Karin Argoud and Eric Brown (Sonja and Buzz) in "Mama's Family".
* Samantha Molly on "Life With Bonnie".
* Sara Spooner and Richie Iannucci on "King of Queens".
* Warren Ferguson on "The Andy Griffith Show".
* Yeoman Janice Rand on "".
* Lana Shields and Cindy Snow on "Three's Company".
* Cletus Hogg on "The Dukes of Hazzard".
* Brendan Lambert on "Step by Step".
* Kim McFarlane, Dan Ferreira and Sasha Perkins in "EastEnders".
* Tina Pinciotti on "That '70s Show" is revealed to be Donna Pinciotti's younger sister, after Fez hits on her she is never seen again.
* On the "Mathnet" segments of "Square One TV", the character Kate Monday disappeared after the third season and was replaced with Pat Tuesday.
* In "The West Wing", the character Mandy did not return after the end of season one, even though the first two episodes of season 2 included flashbacks to the campaign she also worked on. The term Mandyville was coined for her character.
* In "The Doris Day Show", Day's character had originally been depicted as a widowed mother of two small children working as a secretary at a publishing firm. At the beginning of the show's fourth season the character abruptly became a "swinging single" journalist and all the supporting characters disappeared. The departures included her coworker, played by Rose Marie, her boss, played by McLean Stevenson, and her two small children. No effort was made to explain this change.
* On "Barney Miller", the original concept of the series was to show the title character's home life as well as his job as a police captain. The "home" portion of the series was quickly dropped however; Barney's children weren't seen after the first episode, and his wife Liz appeared less and less frequently, finally becoming an offscreen character from Season 3 onward. In the police station, meanwhile, the character of Detective Sgt. Chano Amenguale vashined without a trace after the first season.
* Benny Hawkins, the slow-witted repairman on "Crossroads", was last seen in 1987 climbing up a ladder to change a light bulb.
* Because of the nature of the show, "24" does this often. The characters Adam Kaufman and Tom Baker both disappeared after the third season. Several characters such as Lynne Kresge, Evelyn Martin, and President John Keeler, were last seen in serious condition but their fate has never been revealed. Milo Pressman appeared in the first season but was dropped partway through. He returned in season 6, 105 episodes later.
* The first season of "M*A*S*H" had several characters that were carried over from the novel and film of the same name, but subsequently dropped, including Spearchucker Jones, Ugly John, Lieutenant Dish, and General Hammond.
* Miles Goodman on "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch".
* Claire Simms of "Boston Legal". Also Sara Holt and Garrett Wells disappeared during the second season with no explanation.
* Wendy Goldman on "ER" vanished without explanation after the third season.
* After the first season of Gerry Anderson's British science fiction TV series "UFO", Alec Freeman, Gay Ellis and Peter Carlin disappear. Their absence is never explained.
* Similarly, Victor Bergman, Paul Morrow and David Kano vanish after the first season on Anderson's subsequent series "Space: 1999".
* Kevin Swanson and Cleveland Jr. from Family Guy have both vanished after the third season for unexplained reasons, both have had quick cameos in The Perfect Castaway and haven't appeared since.
* Judy Winslow in "Family Matters"
* The character of Boxey in the "Battlestar Galactica" TV series.
*Sean Hunter's sister Stacy, who was only spoken on a phone in an early Boy Meets World episode.
*Topanga Laurence has an older sister who Eric flirted with in an earlier season of Boy Meets World. Much later, when Cory tries to reunite Topanga's parents, they mention that they had one child together.
* Holly Ellenbogen (Lucy Punch) on "The Class".
* Grace Santiago (Valerie Cruz), who served as a consulting psychiatrist for McNamara/Troy, disappeared without any explanation after the first season of Nip/Tuck
* Pip from South Park
* Papi from THE L WORD
* Agent Nathan Brubaker from Profiler
* Luke Ventura from Married...With Children"
* A flamboyant housekeeper named Coco (played by Charles Levin) disappeared without explanation after the first episode of "The Golden Girls"
* Sylvia Horne (played by Jan D'Arcy), wife of Benjamin Horne and mother of Audrey Horne was in two early episodes before disappearing without explanation on Twin Peaks"
* Tommy Gavin's brother Timmo, on the FX series "Rescue Me" never appears again after being asked for help during the first season.

In-show references to actor changes

**When Kevin Dunn was replaced by Robert Hays as Roy, at the beginning of the episode, Bette and Oscar are discussing the replacement of an actor in a soap that they are watching. When Bette asks Roy his opinion, Roy is fully seen and revealed to have had an actor change.

*"Blake's 7"
**When Brian Croucher replaced Stephen Grief as Space Commander Travis, Travis in his first episode played by Croucher, makes an offhand comment concerning his confusion following his recent rehabilitation. However, the change in appearance is never actually referenced but often assumed by viewers to be part of the "rehabilitation".Fact|date=August 2008

*"Doctor Who"
**It is well known that when The Doctor is near death he can regenerate into a new form to save his life (see The Tenth Planet & The Power of the Daleks for the first instance), but that he is only able to do this twelve time before he dies (revealed in The Deadly Assassin), but a more contraversial change was the portrayal of Romana. Throughout the 16th Season of Doctor Who, Mary Tamm played the role of The Doctor's fellow Gallifreyan Romana, but after being impressed with Lalla Ward's performance of Princess Astra in Season 16's final story, she was asked to come back to play the role of Romana in Season 17. A scene was then written-in to the beginning of Season 17's opening story, Destiny of the Daleks, showing Romana "trying on" new bodies before settling on the likeness of Princess Astra. In effect, she regenerated multiple times on a whim because she couldn't decide which body she wanted, thereby reducing her life expectancy by 1/13th for each change!

*"Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
**In the first episode of the fourth season (Where There's A Will, There's A Way (Part 1), when Daphne Maxwell Reid replaced Janet Hubert-Whitten as Vivian, Jazz remarks that since having Nicky, there is something different about her.

*"Home and Away"
**In an early 2003 episode, Alf Stewart says to Flynn Saunders, "Your Face looks different, Mate" after he returns from holiday.

*"My Wife and Kids"
**In the second season opener, Michael Kyle mentions that his eldest daughter Claire looks like a totally new person.

**Early in the final season, Van walks into the kitchen to see Kira (the actress had been off of the show for the entire previous year due to a medical issue), and asked where she had been for so long.

**When Lecy Goranson (the original Becky) returned to the show, Darlene remarks, "Where the hell have you been?" in reference to the casting change. Becky responds with "Why does everyone keep asking me that?"
**Also, on the show's opening credits during its final season, still photos of each character in past seasons are shown transitioning into current photographs. One of the photos used for Goranson is actually Sarah Chalke (the replacement Becky), an intended joke the producers made blatantly obvious.
*"Boy Meets World"
**In the 4th Season, Lindsay Ridgeway replaced Lily Nicksay as Morgan Matthews. The Morgan character had been absent for all of season 3, so when the new Morgan enters the kitchen and is asked, "Where have you been?" she says, "I've been in my room for a long time." Also, Topanga and Shawn both have sisters in Season 1, but they are never seen or mentioned again.


* When Nick at Nite was promoting "The Brady Bunch" being added to the timeslot in the late 90's, commercials claimed that there was a lost Brady named Phoebe and was edited out of the show due to bad behavior.

External links

* [ More instances of "Same Character, Different Actor" on Jump The Shark]


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