Backstage Issues And Other Drama That Resulted In The Ending Of A Television Show

Even when actors seem like their best friends on screen, that means absolutely nothing about how their relationship is in real life. It can be shocking at times to learn which cast members despise each other in real life when they appear to have such good chemistry on screen. It’s easy to forget that this is nothing but a job for many actors, directors, writers, and producers. Do some friendships blossom from a project? Yes. But enemies are also made. See the kind of drama behind the scenes that resulted in these shows ending.

Charmed – (1998-2006)

Girls from Charmed
WB
WB

Although WB’s Charmed was popular in its own right, the tension between the cast backstage was so bad that they had to break the show’s run into two different parts. In 1998, when the show debuted, Alyssa Milano and Shannen Doherty co-starred as two of the three witch sisters, making the show a clear hit.

Unfortunately, the two actresses developed a deep hatred for one another, making things so uncomfortable that Doherty had to be replaced. Rose McGowan was then brought on and had issues of her own with Milano. It’s a miracle the show lasted eight seasons, but there’s no doubt that the pitfalls between the actresses brought it to its end.

The West Wing – (1999-2006)

Cast of the West Wing
NBC
NBC

Aired on NBC, The West Wing is considered to be one of the greatest television shows of all time, but that didn’t stop it from collapsing on itself. The creator of the show, Aaron Sorkin, was involved in almost every script from the show’s inception until Season 4, which shook things up when he left.

Sorkin, as well as the executive producer Thomas Schlamme quit right before the fifth season unexpectedly due to concerns about the show’s budget. After the two left, the show had almost no chance of survival.

Fantasy Island – (1977-1984)

1Picture of main characters
ABC
ABC

Beginning in 1977 on ABC, Fantasy Island was produced by the legendary Aaron Spelling. In addition, it simultaneously launched Hervé Villechaize to stardom, who co-starred next to Ricardo Montalbán. The pair play a duo that runs a questionable island that grants their guests’ wildest wishes.

While the show seemed to be doing well for itself, things started to go downhill when Villechaize argued for a bigger salary. This resulted in the show being canceled just a year later.

Roseanne – (2018)

Cast of Roseanne
ABC
ABC

Although there was a previous version of Roseanne that lasted for nearly a decade, executives figured it might be a good idea to bring back the classic show. Unfortunately, they were wrong. The revival of the show fell apart after a series of issues caused by the lead character and executive producer, Roseanne Barr.

The actress had foolishly tweeted a questionable message which resulted in ABC canceling the show after just one season. The other cast members went on to create a new series titled The Conners, which killed off Barr’s character.

Moonlighting – (1985-1989)

Cast of Moonlighting
ABC
ABC

First debuting on ABC in 1985, Moonlighting’s Cybill Shepherd was regarded as the star of the show over her co-star, Bruce Willis. While the characters might have seemed to have chemistry on the screen, the two had a different relationship behind the camera.

Constantly arguing between takes, things became even more heated between the duo after Bruce Willis starred in Die Hard and became a true Holly wood star. Impressively the show still managed to last five seasons, despite the internal conflict.

Melrose Place – (1992-1999)

Cast of Melrose Place
Fox
Fox

Considered to be one of the bigger shows of the 1990s, Melrose Place had just as much action both behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera. This prime-time soap opera had an impressive cast that led to some inevitable budget issues as it grew in popularity.

Five prominent cast members quit at the end of the fifth season after the show’s writers grew tired of the ridiculous storylines and quit as well. This was the show’s ultimate downfall.

Three’s Company – (1977-1984)

Cast of Three's Company
ABC
ABC

As it turns out, “Three’s Company” was no company at all. The three main actors included John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, and Suzanne Somers, who had such tension between the three of them that they continued even decades after the show had ended.

Many believe that Somers had been the cause of much of the drama, as she despised the fact that Ritter had earned the spot as the show’s top-billed star. Somers finally demanded a salary increase and quit the show after Season 5, resulting in the cancellation of the show.

House Of Cards – (2013-2018)

Picture of Kevin Spacey
Netflix
Netflix

When the #MeToo movement dominated the United States, we saw an unprecedented amount of males in power being removed from their positions for their past transgressions. One of these men included Kevin Spacey, one of the main antiheroes in Netflix’s House of Cards.

When allegations arose against Spacey, he was immediately fired from the show, and his character was killed off. Spacey’s co-star, Robin Wright, took over as the show’s main character, and the show’s final season proved their relationship in the show is what drew audiences in.

Growing Pains – (1985-1992)

Cast of Growing Pains
ABC
ABC

A classic sitcom, it appeared that everything was going well with the cast when that was far from the truth. Behind the scenes, the young star Kirk Cameron began going behind his co-star’s backs and producers in the final seasons of the program.

Cameron became a devout evangelical Christian around the third season, and his attitude towards his co-stars after would end in many of them leaving or being fired from the show. Three of the producers also quit after Cameron called them names, causing them to leave and the show to fail.

Two And A Half Men – (2003-2015)

Cast Of Two And A Half Men
CBS
CBS

Two and a Half Men was a major hit in the early 2000s and had a cast that included Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen, and Angus T. Jones. Interestingly, it seems that Cryer was the only one of the three to not cause any major issues throughout the show’s 12 season run.

Unsurprisingly, the show fired Sheen after he went off the rails before the ninth season, resulting in a casting change that hurt the show. Jones then suddenly quit after season 10, following a newfound devotion to Christianity.

Luck – (2011-2012)

Picture of the characters from Luck
HBO
HBO

In a time when shows started becoming big productions such as Game of Thrones for HBO, a lot of people had high hopes for the show Luck. Starring Dustin Hoffman and centered around horse racing, production ran into some major problems.

Three of the horses used to make the program ended up having to be euthanized for injuries they suffered while shooting, which is not a good look. For this reason, the show was quickly canceled after the first season.

Sports Night – (1998-2000)

Cast of Sports Night
ABC
ABC

Before the iconic show The West Wing aired, writer Aaron Sorkin was working on a project with ABC tiled Sports Night. The show was a dramedy that followed the crew of a fictional sports news show that was initially hailed for its dialogue and acting, constant bouts between Sorkin and ABC executives caused a major rift backstage.

Eventually, these arguments became so bad that Sorkin happily left after just two seasons so he could get started on The West Wing.

Lethal Weapon – (2016-2019)

Picture of Lethal Weapon cast
Fox
Fox

Initially, Lethal Weapon was a successful film franchise starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, which was resurrected in television form by Fox. The show had troubles behind the scenes from the start. When it debuted, the buddy cop show had Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford as the two detectives that the show focuses on.

However, Crawford’s character was killed off after the second season on accounts of his unprofessional behavior on set that caused major issues between the two actors. Wayans then quit the show after the third season, leading to the show’s demise.

Deadwood – (2004-2006)

Picture from Deadwood
HBO
HBO

Created by the renowned David Milch, people had high hopes for Deadwood, although they had no idea what was happening behind the camera. Actors that worked on the HBO series admitted that it was difficult to learn Milch’s almost Shakespearean dialogue, particularly on top of Milch’s constant re-writes.

Yet, these weren’t the only reason the show failed. The show was produced by Paramount and aired on HBO. The two couldn’t see eye-to-eye before the third season, causing it to get canceled.

The Ren & Stimpy Show – (1991 -1996)

Picture of the animated series
Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network

Typically, children’s shows aren’t all that well known for backstage dramatics, but that certainly wasn’t the case for The Ren & Stimpy Show. This Nickelodeon cartoon began having issues almost as soon as it became a surprise hit on the network in 1991.

John Kricfalusi, the show’s creator and one of the main voice actors, ended up being fired by the network during the second season for many issues that included more adult content and slow production. Kricfalusi’s firing would create a divide in the production staff, and the show only lasted 52 episodes.

Firefly – (2002)

Picture of Firefly cast
Fox
Fox

Airing on Fox in 2002, Firefly was a sci-fi drama that lasted for just one season. Showrunner Joss Whedon blamed the cancellation of the show completely on the network.

Apparently, the executives at Fox questioned Whedon about some of his characters. When Whedon refused to take any of their advice, the show was moved to Friday nights, a spot that was usually saved for doomed shows. Whedon also blamed the network for airing some of the episodes out of order, including the second episode as the premiere.

Titus – (2000 – 2002)

Cast members from Titus
Fox
Fox

Titus was a dark comedy on Fox that was co-created and starred comedian Christopher Titus, who plays a fictional version of himself. The series went on to be a success among both critics and fans, even becoming a top-five comedy for Fox in the same year that it was canceled.

Christopher Titus claims that he was having frequent run-ins with the network and that when he refused a suggestion from the network’s president, they ended up pulling the show from the air.

Ally McBeal – (1997-2002)

Picture of Calista Flockhart
Fox
Fox

For its first two seasons on Fox, Ally McBeal was considered by many to be a cultural phenomenon. The show’s ratings began to falter during the third season, with some on-set issues killing any of its potential to have a comeback.

Yet, when Robert Downey Jr. joined the cast as the love interest of the lawyer played by Calista Flockhart, audiences began returning to the show. Not long after, Downey Jr. was arrested for a parole violation, and his character was written out of the show in the fifth season. The show was no more six months later.

Transparent (2014-2019)

Jeffrey Tambor
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video

Although Politicians, HBO, Netflix, and the film industry received the brunt of the force, Amazon Prime Video also suffered in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Amazon’s Transparent was affected when the star, Jeffrey Tambor, was accused.

Tambor, who was known for his lead role in the show, was subsequently fired after the fourth season. Because Tambor was the show’s protagonist, the series would only air a feature-length final episode with the character’s death being written off-screen.

Martin (1992-1997)

Photo of Tisha and Martin
Fox
Fox

When Fox was first coming up as a major network, Martin was one of the shows that helped them into the mainstream. The show featured comedian Martin Lawrence as a radio host in Detroit. It only lasted five seasons until it fell apart due to internal drama.

Tisha Campbell, who played Lawrence’s wife, quit the show in the last season, claiming that Lawrence harassed her, and their off-screen relationship was unbearable. She came back for the series finale, although she demanded their scenes be filmed separately.