You can make the argument that people who watch too much TV lose brain cells. But I don’t think anyone can claim you lose SO many brain cells you can’t tell the difference between two people?
Apparently, that’s what all these shows thought. Each one of the shows on this list re-casted a lead character at some point in the series and just went on with life as though nothing happened.
But something did happen. And you bet your butt we noticed. Here are some of the worst re-casted roles on television.
1. Aunt Viv on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The role was originated by Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv for three seasons. But then season 4 hit and we were given Daphne Maxwell Reid. According to Hubert, Will Smith was hard to work with and tried to screw everyone out of their contracts, which is why she ultimately left.
2. Lily Tucker-Pritchett on Modern Family
Twins Jaden and Ella Hiller were replaced as Lily after season one of the hit show. Aubrey Anderson-Emmons came in and stole our hearts, but we were kind of hoping Modern Family would give us a new set of Olsen twins to love. We get it, though. Sitcoms are dependent on people actually speaking and delivering funny lines, which babies can’t really do.
3. Darrin Stephens on Bewitched
Dick York was replaced as Darrin Stephens after it came to light that he suffered from an excruciating back problem. Scenes would be rewritten so he was sitting or lying down because York was in so much pain. At one point, he collapsed on set which is when the shows producers asked if he wanted to quit. York said yes. Enter: Dick Sargent. The audience didn’t really love the switch, and the show was cancelled soon after.
4. Claire Kyle on My Wife And Kids
Lots of speculation circled when Jazz Raycole was replaced after the first season. People were saying it’s because her skin was too dark to appeal to a wide audience, but the real reason is because her mother disapproved of a teen pregnancy storyline in the second season. Jennifer Freeman replaced Raycole on the show. It was only ever acknowledged once, with her TV dad saying “I don’t know what it is, but you look like a whole new person.”
5. Jesus Foster from The Fosters
Jake T. Austin found himself in a bit of trouble after getting a DUI. Being a family channel, ABC didn’t want to have that image on their network so the character was recast. Noah Centineo replaced him after the character of Jesus spent almost a full season at boarding school so he wouldn’t have to appear in any episodes. Centineo was introduced at the end of the season, with everyone calling his name and embracing him (just in case you’re like me and had no idea who he was supposed to be.)
6. Becky Conner on Roseanne
Lecy Goranson originated the role, but during the 5th season she decided to attend Vassar College. In weird TV happening, Sarah Chalke was brought in to alternate the role of Becky with Goranson depending on the original actress’ availability. Eventually the show brought on Chalke full-time, but not until many seasons of the alternating duo.
7. Morgan Matthews on Boy Meets World
Lily Nicksay played the adorable little sister on Boy Meets World for its first two seasons. Morgan disappeared for a bit and when she reappeared she was played by Lindsay Ridgeway. There was never any real explanation as to why Nicksay left, but we can all agree she was the best Morgan out of the two. More cute, less bratty.
8.Chris Partridge on The Partridge Family
After the first season, Jeremy Gelbwaks was replaced by Brian Forster due to his personality. According to his co-star David Cassidy, Gelbwaks “had a personality conflict with every person in the cast and the producers.” Yikes. He was only 9 at the time, so he must have been pretty snotty to receive that kind of criticism.
9. Carol Willick on Friends
Ross Gellar’s ex-wife/lesbian/baby mama, Carol, was originated by Anita Barone in the pilot episode. According to a few sources, Barone left the show because she was bitter about not getting a leading role (which is what she auditioned for.) The role was replaced by Jane Sibbett for the rest of the series. She was great and frankly more fun.
10. Miss Ellie, on Dallas
Barbara Bel Geddes was the first star signed to the TV show Dallas. She played Miss Ellie until 1983, when she had to have emergency quadruple bypass surgery. She was replaced by Donna Reed for the 1984-85 season. But fans didn’t take to well to the replacement, so Bel Geddes was brought back for the 1985-1986 season. She is the only cast member of the show to win an Emmy for her performance.
Did we miss any of the big ones? Who was your most memorable re-casted TV character?