TV’s 6 Worst Character Replacements
Sometimes actors and actresses decide to move on from a TV show when their contract is up even though the show is still going strong. Other times, they are fired and don’t have a choice but to move on. These characters are almost always replaced, but audiences aren’t always happy with the replacement character. Here are 6 of the worst character replacements in television history:
6. Kaitlyn Cooper – The O.C.
Although Taylor Townsend was made a series regular so that she could replace Mischa Barton’s character Marissa Cooper as Ryan Atwood’s love interest on The O.C., Kaitlin Cooper (played by Willa Holland) was also brought in to replace the character, but she ended up being even more annoying than her sister. It felt like the writers didn’t really know what to do with her character, which is probably why she received such lame storylines. After her joining the cast full time during season four, the show’s ratings continued to drop and it was cancelled in January 2007, a month before the fourth season had concluded.
5. Cindy Snow – Three’s Company
When Suzanne Somers’ contract was not renewed because of a salary dispute, actress Jenilee Harrison was brought in to replace her on Three’s Company. Her character, Cindy Snow, was introduced during season five as Somers’ character Chrissy Snow’s clumsy cousin. Rather than make Harrison’s character unique, producers used the scripts that were already written for Chrissy with Cindy and they primarily relied on her character’s clumsiness to elicit laughs from the audience. During season six, Harrison’s character was replaced with actress Priscilla Barnes without any explanation.
4. Walden Schmidt – Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men really could have ended when Charlie Sheen was fired from the show during season eight, but rather than let the series die, Ashton Kutcher was brought on to replace his character. Kutcher’s character Walden Schmidt was introduced with a ridiculous premise – Walden (who is a billionaire) buys Charlie’s house after his death and lets Alan and Jake Harper live with him. This didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it didn’t help that Kutcher’s performance wasn’t all that interesting either. It was like Michael Kelso from That ‘70s Show had landed on Two and a Half Men. Somehow the show ended up going for another four seasons before it finally went off the air in February 2015.
3. Coy and Vance – Dukes of Hazzard
At the beginning of Dukes of Hazzard’s fifth season, the show’s stars, Tom Wopat and John Schneider, were involved in a salary dispute with Warner Bros., which prompted them walk off set and refuse to film. Warner Bros. wasted no time looking for replacements and quickly hired Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer to play their replacements, Coy Duke and Vance Duke. Their job was to emulate Wopat and Schneider’s performances as Luke and Bo Duke. This resulted in a significant drop in ratings, which forced Warner Bros. to negotiate with Wopat and Schneider. When they returned to the series, Cherry and Mayer were written out and never mentioned again.
2. Randy Peterson – That ‘70s Show
After Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left That ‘70s Show at the end of season seven, Josh Meyers was brought in to fill the void with the character Randy Peterson. Unfortunately, Randy was intensely disliked by fans and his presence became a sign that the show had clearly jumped the shark, and would probably have been better off had it just been cancelled at the end of season seven. Thankfully after season eight, the show finally went off the air, so producers didn’t have to scramble again to find a replacement for Eric and Kelso.
1. Tiffany Wells – Charlie’s Angels
The character Tiffany Wells (played by Shelley Hack) joined Charlie’s Angels during the show’s fourth season as Kate Jackson’s replacement. Producers were using Hack’s character to bring the glamour back to the show; however, it ended up having the opposite effect. Critics were not impressed with Hack’s performance and neither were viewers. Charlie’s Angels ended up losing 40% of its audience during her time on the show. Hack was let go from her contract in February 1980, three months before the series four finale aired. For season five, Hack was replaced with Tanya Roberts who played the character Julie Rogers, but even she couldn’t save the series from cancellation. Ratings continued to disappoint and the show was finally cancelled in the spring of 1981 after five seasons.