Guest Post: TV Show Fails and Wins – Replacement actors who made or broke their shows


Hi everyone! Taking a bit of a break from movies, today we have a special TV-related guest post from Lindsay Mcmahon. Her interests are entertainment, television, parenting and health but she is constantly extending her field of view to incorporate interesting news suggested to her by her readers. Her favorite flick is ‘Fight Club’, a great classic combining action and philosophy. When it comes to TV, she’s an absolute Fantasy freak, having ‘Game of Thrones’ sitting at the top. She currently works for Direct2TV.com.


TV shows have the unique problem of cast retention. Unlike most industries, once a TV character is signed onto a show, they are almost required to remain for the entire run of the show. If they do not, or are unable to for some reason, then the TV network must scramble to replace that character. Sometimes, the replacement is able to keep the fans of the show, but in most cases, the show soon ends after the cast replacement.

KutcherThreeAndaHalfMenAshton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men

The most famous replacement in recent years is the replacement of Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. Two and a Half Men is currently in its 10th season, after starting in 2003. The show followed two brothers, one rich and single, one divorced and with a kid. The series focused on the romantic pursuits of the brothers.

Over the years, Charlie Sheen fell deeper into drug addiction, which eventually led to his being fired from the show at the end of season 8. His replacement was Ashton Kutcher. The show has continued for two years after Charlie Sheen left, and has been able to hold its viewer ratings.

DIckSargentBewitchedDick Sargent in Bewitched

Bewitched is famous for its switch of Samantha’s husband halfway through the series. After the 5th season, Dick York quit the show to pursue other interests. The replacement was Dick Sargent.

Surprisingly enough, the show made no mention of the fact that the husband was now a completely different man. While this bothered many viewers, the show continued to run for an additional 3 years, giving the show a total run-time length of 8 years.

CharlieSheenSpinCityCharlie Sheen in Spin City

Charlie Sheen has had many different projects over the years, and one of them was a replacement for Michael J. Fox on Spin City. It was a show about the mayor’s office in New York, featuring the relationships of the various employees- and specifically Fox’s character.

When Fox started exhibiting severe signs of Parkinson’s disease, he had to leave the show. The series made it look like a regular job switch, and replaced Fox with Sheen. The show ran for a total of 6 years, 4 with Fox and 2 with Sheen. The ratings fell dramatically during the last two seasons.

KristieAlleyCheersKristie Alley in Cheers

Cheers featured a fun cast of several characters who own the bar or visit regularly. The show ran for a total of 11 seasons, and was one of the highest rated shows in the 1980s. During the first 5 seasons, Shelly Long played a waitress at the bar. She left after season 5 and was replaced by Kristie Alley. Alley’s forceful personality and charm gave the show new life, and it was able to continue for 6 additional seasons until 1992.

All of these shows had replacement actors with varying success. The shows that did the best were the ones that replaced characters in a logical way with an actor that had an extremely likable personality. The shows that did worst tried to ignore the difference or replaced the original actor with someone who was much less likable.


Thoughts about TV’s cast retention dilemma? Are you a fan of any of the shows and/or actors?

Labor Day Music Break: 80s Workplace Movies

Happy Labor Day my fellow American & Canadian friends!

Hope you are enjoying your day off, but if you somehow have to work today, well hats off to you and I hope you are well-compensated for it! 😀 In honor of labor day, I thought I’d post a couple of soundtracks from two workplace movies from the 80s. I’m sure there are a whole bunch of 80s/90s workplace movie out there, but I just picked these two movies as the soundtrack are quite memorable.

Working Girl (1988)

Just a year after Gordon Gekko professed that ‘greed is good‘ in 1987’s Oliver Stone’s film, comes Mike Nichol’s comedy/drama on what it takes for an ambitious woman to get ahead in a man’s world in Manhattan. If you could get past the 80s fashion of big shoulder pads and big bouffant — not to mention Melanie Griffith’s little girl voice — the movie is really quite enjoyable. It’s a Cinderella story set in Wall Street, with a boss from hell (scenery-chewing Sigourney Weaver) as her wicked stepmother and a handsome radio executive Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford) as her dashing prince.

One of the most memorable part of this movie is the rousing anthem from Carly Simon, Let The River Run. The song, which was also written by Simon, won an Oscar for Best Original Song. I always think of the Staten Island ferry with the Manhattan skyline every time this music is played.

I also like the instrumental version, the beat is just so catchy. Nice touch having Carly humming the theme and the subtle choir in the background.

The Secret of My Success (1987)

I used to LOVE this movie growing up. Even a couple of years ago when I was in a hotel and the movie was playing on TV, I couldn’t help but watch it. It’s a comedy satire about a kid from a small time in Kansas who’ve always dreamed of making it big in The Big Apple. 80s ‘it boy’ Michael J. Fox is just perfect as Brantley Foster, I really can’t imagine anyone else in this role and all his antics pretending to be an executive under the name Carlton Whitfield yields a lot of laughs. But it’s Margaret Whitton as her lustful auntie Vera who steals the show, whilst doe-eyed Helen Slater is relegated to nothing more than eye candy as Brantley’s love interest.

Being a massive David Foster fan throughout high school, of course I LOVE his score, especially his Golden-Globe nominated theme Water Fountain. I used to listen to David Foster’s CDs constantly and I think this is one of my favorites. This music and the movie is just pure 80s nostalgia.


Happy Labor Day everyone! Have you seen either one of these movies?