After being accused of sexual harassment by former assistant Van Barnes and actress Trace Lysette, Jeffrey Tambor quit the hit Amazon show, saying that it was “no longer the job I signed up for four years ago.” The Emmy winner has vehemently denied each allegation, but Amazon began investigating the accusations, and the writers reportedly started considering how to continue “Transparent” without him.
It remains unclear how or if the show will proceed now that he’s voluntarily taken himself out. While many feel the show should just end, some feel that the show has plenty of family drama and other issues to explore. Casting an actual trans actress in the lead role is another option that some have considered to fix the previous representation problem of casting a straight, cis man in the lead role of a trans woman.
In Season 3, “Downton Abbey” had already killed off one major character, but they had forewarning and gave her a proper, tearful send-off. Unfortunately, when Dan Stevens decided he also would not renew his contract, that left little time in the season to write his character Matthew out.
During “Downton’s” Christmas special, it appeared that the ultimate happy ending was in the works. After a rather tempestuous courtship and eventual marriage, Matthew Crawley and his wife Mary (Michelle Dockery) became the proud parents to a new son George. Unfortunately, after visiting his wife and son at the hospital, Matthew died in a car accident on the way home. Fans were outraged that the show’s central romance was so summarily destroyed. The show went on for three more seasons, but it took a while to get back on its feet before contriving a happy ending for all.
As the ineffectual but good-hearted boss Michael Scott, Steve Carell provided the guiding heart and soul to the show full of misfits. When he departed for his film career after Season 7, many believed that NBC should have closed the doors of Dunder-Mifflin for good, and the decreased ratings indicated that fans certainly felt that way. Although Andy (Ed Helms) technically became the regional manager and rotating guest stars such as James Spader and Catherine Tate were brought into Season 8 to provide that extra oomph, but Michael’s void was never satisfactorily filled. The series eventually came to a close in Season 9.
After suing 20th Century Fox and receiving a settlement of $20 million, David Duchovny decided to quit full-time participation on show after the Season 7 finale in which his character Fox Mulder is abducted by aliens. Creator Chris Carter and fans felt that the departure of Duchovny would mean the natural end of the show, but it lasted two more seasons with “Terminator 2” star Robert Patrick coming in as John Doggett to replace Mulder, with Gillian Anderson scaling back her role an Agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) instead stepping up to serve as Doggett’s partner. The show has since returned as a revival season with another in the works, starring both Duchovny and Anderson.
Denise Crosby had starred as chief of security and tactical officer Tasha Yar, but as her role became more and more diminished, she became disillusioned with the part and left at the end of the first season. Her character was killed off with a psychokinetic blast. The spaceship sailed on fine without her, and at some point Crosby must have had second thoughts. She approached the “TNG” production team to return, and therefore she was written back in as an alternative timeline Tasha Yar and later as her own half-Romulan daughter Sela.
Star Cory Monteith, who played singing jock Finn Hudson, died after five seasons from a heroin and alcohol overdose. His death delayed production while the show tried to figure out what to do while also mourning its star. His character was killed off in “The Quarterback,” a special tribute episode during Season 5 that did not specify his cause of death.
The actor left the retro sitcom “That ‘70s Show” along with his co-star Ashton Kutcher by the end of the seventh season to pursue their film careers. Since Grace portrayed central teen Eric Forman, who had brought this group of friends together and often smoked out in his basement, the show faltered without his grounding presence. The show tried to replace Eric’s idealistic outlook with a new friend Charlie (Bret Harrison), but he had to be killed off when Harrison landed the lead role in “The Loop.” The show also tried adding Josh Meyers, Judy Tylor, and bringing back Tommy Chong to fill the “dimwit” void left by Kutcher’s Kelso. The show called it quits after the eighth season.
Although production had already started on Season 6 of Netflix’s flagship series this fall, sexual assault allegations levied against star Kevin Spacey couldn’t be ignored. While Netflix had suspended production on what it said would be its final season, a few days later it announced that Spacey had been fired from the show. Netflix hasn’t revealed its plans going forward yet, but given the popularity of the show and star Robin Wright’s talents, it’s very possible that the show could continue without Spacey.
John Ritter played the patriarch in this sitcom about a father who lays down strict rules when he’s left to parent while his wife is at work. After the show began production on its second season, Ritter died suddenly while having surgery to repair an aortic dissection. The show killed off his character Paul and wrote in two other male family members, but it never really worked. The show was canceled after three seasons due to low ratings.
Lecy Goranson, the original Becky for the first four seasons of the show, went off to Vassar College midway through Season 5. Although the character was written in sparingly to allow the actress to appear sporadically, this became unsustainable in the sixth season when the show wanted the character back. Over the course of the next four seasons, Goranson alternated with actress Sarah Chalke, who became known as “Second Becky.” Although most seasons featured only one actress playing the role per season, occasionally, they would swap out for one-off episodes if Goranson had a scheduling conflict. It got to be so ridiculous that the show actually made cheeky jokes about it in the script. The “Roseanne” revival will pay homage to this wacky time by bringing Goranson back as Becky and Chalke back in another unspecified role.
David Caruso played John Kelly on the first season of “NYPD Blue,” which earned him a Golden Globe. By the second season though, he only lasted four episodes before leaving, not having received the raise he wanted. The show wrote his character out when he’s first transferred out of the 15th squad and then leaves the department altogether. Fans were incredibly upset with Caruso for his departure.
Connie Britton made it through four seasons of "Nashville" and even followed the shows it transitioned from ABC to CMT for its fifth season before leaving a few episodes in. The show killed off her character Rayna James after she suffered injuries from a car crash. The show is ending after its sixth season.
Bill Paxton starred as Det. Frank Rourke during the first season of CBS' adaptation of the hit film. The actor died from complication during heart surgery at the age of 61. The show was canceled after airing its 13 episodes.
Series stars Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton — who played Lucas and Peyton, respectively — both left after Season 6. Their central romance left a huge void in the show, which had already made a narrative leap earlier by fast-forwarding the show four years. For their departures, “One Tree Hill” kept the story vague and only said they were “traveling,” which left the door open for possible returns. Robert Buckley and Shantel Van Santen were hired on to replace them, while Austin Nichols was upgraded to series regular status.
Later in 2017, Burton and other women from “One Tree Hill” claimed that showrunner Mark Schwann had created a toxic atmosphere and alleged ongoing sexual misconduct. She revealed that after that experience, she had a hard time bouncing back and that she was very wary of any TV show she auditioned for.
Mandy Patinkin played the BAU Unit Chief Jason Gideon in the first two seasons of "Criminal Minds," but decided to leave a few episodes into Season 3 because he claimed he was disturbed by the show's content. He left letters for his fellow castmembers informing them of his choice and wishing them luck. The show echoed this departure with his character. After a a series of troubling cases, Gideon becomes burned out and retreats to a cabin, where he leaves a letter, his badge, and firearm to be found. Much later, his character is killed off by a suspect off-screen in Season 10.
Warner Bros. Television and CBS fired Sheen abruptly for “moral turpitude,” but the move was a long time in coming. He’d been acting erratically and coming late to set, was in and out of rehab, and would publicly insult series creator Chuck Lorre in interviews. Also the shortened Season 8 cost the production millions and at least 200 jobs. He was costing them more by keeping him on but not actually getting the work out of him. By Season 9, the show had hired on Ashton Kutcher to be the other “man” in the title and killed off Sheen’s character.
Suzanne Somers played the snorting, dimwitted Chrissy for four seasons, but then demanded a 500 percent increase in her salary and a share in the profits. As a compromise, execs allowed her to appear in the one-minute tag scenes of only a few episodes, taped separately from the rest of the cast. Eventually though, tension between her and CBS and a producer led to her being fired. Her character was written of the show by moving to Fresno to care for her ailing mother. She was replaced by Cindy Snow (Jenilee Harrison), Chrissy's clumsy cousin.
Valerie Harper made history in notorious fashion after she tried to negotiate for a significant per-episode salary bump after the first two seasons of her family sitcom started to take off. She threatened to leave if NBC didn't meet her request, a strategy that had worked for her on "Rhoda" before. The network refused, and in an unprecedented move, fired the star the show was named after and then hired Sandy Duncan to take he place. Harper's character was killed off the show, which went through a series of new titles, including "Valerie's Family," "The Hogans," and finally "The Hogan Family." Harper sued Lorimar-Telepictures for breach of contract, won $1.82 million in damages, which was then donated to charity.
Shelley Long played intellectual snob Diane Chambers, who becomes a cocktail waitress at Cheers after she's abandoned by her fiancé. Her on-and-off relationship with bartender Sam Malone (Ted Danson) was central to the humor and cast dynamics on the show. Long left in part to spend more time with her toddler daughter but also because she feared the storylines were repeating. In 1987, she was written out of the show when Diane moves to Los Angeles to become a writer. Kirstie Alley came on as business manager Rebecca Howe to become the new love interest for Sam.
Nina Dobrev started out playing the human Elena Gilbert who was the object of affection of the two vampire Salvatore brothers. She also played Elena’s doppelgänger Katerina, and another one, Tatia, in the “Vampire Diaries” spinoff “The Originals.” When Dobrev decided to exit the show after Season 6, the writers got creative. They put Elena in a sort of stasis sleep that was tied to the life of another character. She was stored away in a warehouse in Brooklyn, and by the season finale two seasons later, she came back to be awoken and finally pick her Salvatore mate for life.
Brett Butler’s comedy about Grace Kelly, a single mom who picks up the pieces after divorcing her abusive ex-husband, started off strong and was the highest-rated new comedy for the its first season. After Season 3, rumors spread that 12-year-old actor Jon Paul Steuer was pulled from the show by his parents, after Butler allegedly flashed her breasts at him. That role was recast. During the fourth and fifth seasons, Butler struggled with painkiller addiction, acted erratically, and missed tapings. ABC abruptly canceled the series in 1998 for a truncated final season.
The star of two Aaron Spelling shows — “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Charmed” — Shannen Doherty was fired from both shows for bad behavior, showing up late, partying too much, and fighting with co-stars on set. On “90210,” her character Brenda Walsh was written off by moving to London, whereas on “Charmed,” her character was killed off and replaced by Rose McGowan as a younger, hitherto unknown sister.
Michael J. Fox played Deputy Mayor of New York on the ABC comedy but had to leave after the end of Season 4 due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease. At first, Heather Locklear as Caitlin Moore came on to help share the workload, but eventually Fox had to quit the show. His character was written out of the show by doing something noble: taking the blame for a Mafia link that the Mayor unknowingly had. A coda later revealed that his character moved to Washington, D.C., became an environmental lobbyist, and met a senator named Alex P. Keaton, a nod to Fox’s character on “Family Ties.” The show declined afterwards, with Charlie Sheen coming in to play Deputy Mayor Charlie Crawford for two seasons before ending due to low ratings.
Although Farrah Fawcett had signed a five-year contract with ABC, she wanted to leave the show after only one season to focus on her film career. Believing the show would falter after the loss of its most iconic sex symbol, the network and Aaron Spelling tried to negotiate with her but to no avail. She finally agreed to do six guest appearances to honor the other four years of her contract. The show then cast Cheryl Ladd as another “angel” working in a private detective agency in Los Angeles. The ratings didn’t drop significantly, and the show went on to rotate various “angels” in and out through its five seasons.