'Roseanne' And 12 Other Shows That Lost A Major Star

>The Conners, a spinoff starring original cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert, airs Tuesday night on CTV and ABC.

But Roseanne Barr, who played the Conner matriarch, will be absent in the reboot. The show was cancelled in May after Barr sent out a racist tweet aimed at former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

A spinoff was greenlit after she agreed to forego any financial involvement.

According to Barr, her character will be killed off in the series premiere after suffering a drug overdose.

“Oh ya, they killed her,” she said during an appearance on Brandon Straka’s YouTube show >Walk Away last month. “They have her die of an opioid overdose.”

The first episode is titled Keep On Truckin’ and it features the Conners dealing with a “sudden turn of events.”

Goodman says that while she is missed, allowing the show to continue will give fans — and the cast — closure.

“Let us finish the story on our own terms,” he told People in a recent interview. “Come along with us and see how we do.”

The Conners isn’t the first show to continue on without its lead.

We’ve rounded up 12 other series that tried to continue without its main actor. As you’ll see, some were more successful than others.

Clayne Crawford & Damon Wayans

Martin Riggs & Roger Murtaugh, >Lethal Weapon

Clayne Crawford was fired from Lethal Weapon after allegations of abuse and disputes with his co-star Damon Wayans on set. Producers refused to bring back the show with Crawford still part of the cast, so his Martin Riggs character was killed off and Seann William Scott was brought in to play a new role. Following the Season 3 premiere last month, Wayans announced he too will be leaving the show. “I’m done. Like Murtaugh said, ‘I’m too old for this,’ ” the 58-year-old actor said. There’s no word yet on if producers will find another co-star for Scott once this season’s 13-episode run is up.

Kevin Spacey

Frank Underwood, >

House of Cards

Following allegations of sexual assault, Netflix parted ways with Kevin Spacey, who played the conniving Frank Underwood on the political drama. It later announced a Spacey-less sixth and final season would air focusing on Robin Wright’s President Claire Underwood. “Each one of us has to defend our destiny. The first female President of the United States is not going to keep her mouth shut,” she says in a teaser for the show, which returns next month. For the final season, Wright is joined by new cast members Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, who play siblings with ties to the Underwoods.

Suzanne Somers

Chrissy Snow, Three’s Company

Suzanne Somers played the beloved dumb blond Chrissy on ABC’s Three’s Company. But as the sitcom was entering its fifth season in 1980, Somers sought a raise on par with her co-star John Ritter (from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode, plus 10% of the show’s profits). After she skipped several tapings, her onscreen time was reduced and she was replaced by Priscilla Barnes. The show continued on for another four seasons, including a spinoff. “Life isn’t fair,” Somers told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “Getting fired for asking for a raise wasn’t fair, but I landed on my feet and I’ve done OK.”

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Harper, Two and a Half Men

After Sheen launched a verbal war of words with series creator Chuck Lorre, CBS terminated his contract and cast Ashton Kutcher as a billionaire who buys Charlie Harper’s home after he was supposedly killed off. Kutcher’s Walden Schmidt led the revamped cast for four more seasons, while Sheen’s Harper (played by a stand-in) showed up in the series finale only to have a piano dropped on his head. Lorre explained Sheen’s absence to viewers in his final post-credits Men vanity card: “I know a lot of you might be disappointed that you didn’t get to see Charlie Sheen in tonight’s finale. For the record he was offered a role. Our idea was to have him walk up to the front door in the last scene, ring the doorbell, then turn, look directly into the camera and go off on a maniacal rant about the dangers of drug abuse. He would then explain that these dangers only apply to average people. That he was far from average. He was a ninja warrior from Mars. He was invincible. And then we would drop a piano on him. We thought it was funny. He didn’t.”

John Ritter

Paul Hennessy, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

John Ritter died in the midst of shooting the second season for ABC’s 8 Simple Rules, which also featured a baby-faced Kaley Cuoco. Producers decided to write Ritter’s death into the script, killing off his character Paul Hennessy and adding James Garner and David Spade to the cast. But sagging ratings led to its cancellation after the third season.

Steve Carell

Michael Scott, The Office

In 2010, Steve Carell announced he was leaving the Emmy-winning TV series The Office, after seven seasons of playing the goofy manager of a paper company. At the time, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family. But in the years since, he has reinvented himself as a dramatic actor. The sitcom continued on for another two seasons adding James Spader’s Robert California to the mix. Carell did end up returning for the Season 9 finale, but he said it’s unlikely he would take part in any proposed reboot. “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Carell told the New York Daily News last year. “Fans of any show think that they want to see more of that show but I don’t really (believe) that’s the case, because they want it to be exactly what it was, and there’s no way it can be exactly what it was.”

Michael J. Fox

Mike Flaherty, Spin City

After going public with his nearly decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease in 2000, Michael J. Fox exited the Emmy-winning sitcom at the end of its fourth season. Charlie Sheen was brought in as his replacement and the show continued for another two years. In the years since, Fox has committed himself to raising awareness for Parkinson’s. “It’s not about being noble, it’s not about being anything,” he told the New York Times in 2000. “It just seems like this is the right thing to do. You know, it’s not denial but I feel okay now. And things are good.”

Farrah Fawcett

Jill Munroe, Charlie’s Angels

Farrah Fawcett was on top of the world in 1976. She was the breakout star of the detective series Charlie’s Angels and she appeared scantily clad on a swimsuit poster that sold 12 million copies. But after one season on the show, Fawcett bolted hoping to kickstart a career in the movies. “When the show was No. 3, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be No. 1, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra,” she said. After she was sued for breach of contract, Fawcett returned for guest spots during the show’s third and fourth seasons.

Connie Britton

Rayna Jaymes, Nashville

When CMT revived the cancelled ABC show, Connie Britton decided she wanted out of Nashville. Producers ended up killing her character Rayna Jaymes. But Britton reluctantly returned in a flashback scene for the series finale. “I’ll admit: When they first called me to do it, I was a little against it,” Britton told TV Line. “Because I thought, ‘Rayna’s gone. And I don’t like the idea of having her come back as a ghost.’ ”

Cory Monteith

Finn Hudson, Glee

Following his real-life overdose death, Glee mourned the loss of Cory Monteith’s Finn Hudson on the third episode of its fifth season. But Finn’s cause of death wasn’t revealed to viewers. “That doesn’t matter,” insisted Kurt (Chris Colfer) in the episode titled The Quarterback, which took place “three weeks to the day” after Finn’s funeral. Monteith’s girlfriend and co-star Lea Michele showed up in the episode’s closing moments to sing Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love. In Monteith’s absence, Glee lasted another season and a half.

David Caruso

Detective John Kelly, NYPD Blue

Most people forget that the long-running cop series featured David Caruso as the first partner for Dennis Franz’ Andy Sipowicz. But after a breakout first season, Caruso demanded a hefty raise, which fell on deaf ears. “He never said it to me directly, but the simple truth was, Caruso felt he was too good for television,” producer Steven Bochco wrote in his memoir. In the end, the volatile actor was written out of NYPD Blue four episodes into Season 2. When his movie career failed to take off, he went on to star on CSI: Miami. Meanwhile, NYPD Blue lasted another 10 seasons.

Valerie Harper

Valerie Hogan, Valerie

Entering its third season and riding a wave of popularity, Valerie Harper was looking to cash in on her sitcom Valerie. But NBC didn’t blink. Her character was killed off and the show was rebranded as Valerie’s Family and then The Hogan Family after she sued for wrongful termination.

Honourable mentions: Shannen Doherty (Charmed); Shelley Long (Cheers); Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace (That ‘70s Show); William Petersen (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation).

Twitter: @markhdaniell

mdaniell@postmedia.com

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