How Do You Replace Your Leading Man, Anyway?

With everything that’s happened over the last few weeks, I wouldn’t thought I’d be saying this, but Charlie Sheen raises a good point: How do you replace an actor on a television show?

Sheen, as everyone knows by now, has been fired from Two and a Half Men, and the common consensus is that the show will return next year with another actor replacing him. But, for once, Sheen brings up a good point:

Do you have [co-creator/executive producer] Chuck [Lorre], that silly sad troll, talk in the camera and say, ‘Here’s what happened,’ and then Rob Lowe comes out? Or do they just do it, without explaining it, and hope no one notices?

Historically, of course, television shows have tended towards the latter of those two options – Hello, Darren 1 and Darren 2 from Bewitched! – with a tendency in more recent years to drop in snarky asides in dialogue to acknowledge the difference (“I feel like a new man today!” or “Something’s different about you. Have you changed your hair?” to suggest just two options; I know, I know – I could work in network television), as if having cake and eating it is somehow anything other than just annoying. It’s an odd choice, as if ignoring the issue somehow makes it not matter, but one that’s occasionally necessary: How many people could imagine an episode of a sitcom where the producer comes out and says “So, Actor X wanted a payrise and we didn’t want to give it to him. Welcome Actor Y to our show!” to applause and laughter?

That said, the Sheen situation isn’t something that Men can really avoid without looking as if it’s patronizing its viewers. Some way or another, it has to be addressed. Should Lorre (or Jon Cryer, the poor other lead of the show who’s pretty much been screwed by recent events?) open the still-hypothetical next season with a humble “You know what happened, and so here’s the deal” introduction to Sheen’s replacement? Should Charlie, Sheen’s character on the show, be written out entirely and replaced by an all-new character, allowing the show to actually deal with the loss in story (It would make the introduction of a new actor easier, but it’d be a dangerous move, altering the concept behind the show and the dynamic between the characters)? Is there any good way for the show to deal with this situation?

There are many reasons for CBS and Warner Bros. to try to keep Two and a Half Men alive for another season – not least of all the money to be made from another year of what was television’s most popular show, or the contracts that exist requiring another season – but the more I try to imagine what it means to lose one of the leads, and in such a public way, the more I become convinced that it’s a no-win situation for everyone involved. What’s the best way to replace an actor in a television show? In this case, maybe the answer is, you don’t.

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Comments

  • JimMacQ

    In this case, the answer is built into the show’s premise: two men who are related, raising a kid together. The show’s been running for about 8 years now; the kid is grown. He was 10 when the show premiered, and he’s 18 now. So the obvious solution to the show’s problem is to replace Sheen with the kid and bring in a new 10-year-old.

    Here’s the episode: Charlie is gone. He’s in jail, he’s dead, he’s gone to Russia to run an online porn business, who cares, he’s gone. As soon as he’s gone, a kid shows up. It turns out he’s Charlie’s kid, but Charlie never knew about him. Something has happened to the kid’s mom; she’s irresponsible, or ill, or dead or in jail or who cares, she’s also out of the picture. The kid is now an orphan and he moves in with the only family he has left, his uncle and cousin. And the kid is every bit as much of a charming cad as Charlie was. Boom. The show goes on and nobody misses Charlie after the third episode.

  • Jred

    Well it’s a little hypocritical I think. Sheen did this himself by replacing Michael J Fox on Spin City, and the show continued for quite some time with good praise

  • http://tpbtavern.blogspot.com/ Farson89

    I don’t see a re-cast going well regardless of how they handle it, the show is dead in the water now.

  • http://atocom.blogspot.com Atomic Kommie Comics

    Scenario:
    Rose comes back from vacation…alone and depressed.
    Declares Charlie “disappeared”, doesn’t know where he is.
    With Charlie missing, and money all but gone, Alan, son Jake, housekeeper Berta, mom Evelyn, and Herb (Alan’s ex-wife’s second husband) try to convince everyone Charlie is alive and still writing by composing jingles themselves, discovering that none of them can do it solo, but can compose as a group!
    Hilarity ensues when, not only can they write songs better than Charlie did; but they have to, somehow, produce Charlie to sign contracts, make public appearances, etc.!

  • http://twitter.com/cr8dv8 Terry

    You’re going to mention Bewtiched, but not Spartacus, as examples of changing leading actors in the same role? Fail, CBR, Fail.

    And, yes, they should have the producer come out and say, “As you folks know, Charlie Sheen is a douchebag, so we fired him and got someone we hope won’t make a complete arse of himself. We know you’ll appreciate the change in quality.”

  • Kidkapow

    Actually, this has happened once before in a front-row center scenario rather than on the side, like Darren Stephens. Back in the 80′s, NBC developed a series for actress Valerie Harper, called simply “Valerie”. She played a suburban mother of two boys (one of whom was Jason Bateman), who was married to a largely absentee commercial pilot father. In it’s first season, the show enjoyed moderate success and was set for renewal. Valerie Harper apparently was not too easy to work with from the get-go, and at contract renewal time wanted an exorbitant salary increase among other outrageous demands. Ultimately, the network let her go and decided to continue the series without her, subjecting her character to a fatal car crash and renaming the show “Valerie’s Family”, making the father more of a stay at home dad and having a whimsical aunt played by Sandy Duncan show up to help raise the kids. The show amped up the drama a bit and moved the focus thusly. Valerie’s lawyers cried foul and the name of the show was changed to “The Hogan’s”, and it stayed on for 4 more seasons. “Two and a Half Men” is over. It does have a pretty strong supporting cast (ironically the women on the show- Holland Taylor and Conchatta Ferrell are the heavyweights with Emmy and Golden Globe nods), and the show would definitely have to be retooled, but it could survive and even pick up a wider audience if the crew and staff have the creative vision to make it so.

  • MrMiracle

    The real problem for the network is that Sheen’s persona is central to the character in the show. You can get away with subbing characters on a show like Bewitched, where all that’s required is for “Darren” to look confused an annoyed. You can’t get away with it on a show built around the personality of the star. Introducing a new character is probably the only workable option for the show. Don’t know if that would work, but it’s about the only shot the network has.

  • http://twitter.com/HeroicTStudios Michael Sacal

    Chuck Lorre has experience with having two different actors play the same character.

    On Roseanne, on which he was a writer and producer, two different actresses played the same role of Becky Conner, Lecy Goranson onsSeasons 1-5 and 8, and Sarah Chalke on Seasons 6, 7 and 9.

    If it came to it, he can do the same thing with the charater of Charlie Harper.

  • Bill Reed

    They’re almost surely gonna pull a Valerie’s Family by suddenly excising the main character, and send ol’ Charlie off to rehab or Vegas or something, never to return (or be mentioned again), and then Uncle Jesse is going to show up. This surely won’t go as smoothly as the time Charlie Sheen replaced Michael J. Fox on Spin City.

    Two and a Half Men is a terrible show, but surely it has fans out there following “the story,” which will now never be seen to a proper conclusion. CBS won’t care as long as people buy into the product, but it must be frustrating for fans and the creative staff. Right?

  • Mr. Sheen

    They can’t replace me and my insane narliness in this show. There will be no audience because they won’t have me dropping bombs of awesomeness in their faces for another season. Parents will have to console their weeping children and the masses will cry out and demand my triumphant return. And after all is said and done, I will be known for one thing: winning. Boom.

  • http://twitter.com/RusDady Russell Dady

    They manage to change the lead actor on Doctor Who pretty well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    That’s a little different….

  • DoubleWide

    When Philip Lobe of “The Goldbergs” was fired to to political & sponsor pressure, he was recast but most of the audience thought that Molly Goldberg was cheating on her husband.

  • Jon

    the show was pretty hackneyed anyway, I don’t see a drop in quality coming from pulling a Bewitched.

  • JTRobin

    Lets not kid anyone. The only reason anyone watched the show was Charlie Sheen; not John Cryer, not the tepid bland humor, and certainly not the kid. Lorre and CBS are deluding themselves in thinking they can milk anything more from this show that’s already 3-4 years past its shelf life. Time to call it a day, and maybe come up with something NEW. And Graeme, unless you’re hosting a reality show called “Jumping the Shark”, no, you’ll never work in network television.

  • AFC1983

    That is actual a brilliant idea, I would be more than happen if this happened!

  • http://twitter.com/RusDady Russell Dady

    Graeme McMillan’s argument is that it’s impossible to change a lead actor on a show without it seeming cheesy or out of place. I’m just saying that there are ways; on Doctor Who it’s practically a core concept that every few years we get to play “who’s the next Doctor?”. Is “regeneration” really that different from “I feel like a new man today” or “you look different, have you changed you hair?”

    One way around it is to use it to make the show better: get an actor who’s cooler, funnier, and more appealing than Sheen, and cast him in the show. You always hope that’s what will happen but unfortunately it is a risk. Just because it’s failed before, with something artistic, doesn’t mean it won’t work this time.

  • gr8nana

    I will miss Charlie Sheen on the show but no one is irreplaceable. Charlie could be missing and they realize he drunkenly got on a plane to Vegas and ended up in Brazil where women on the beaches don’t wear tops and liquor is cheaper. He stays there. Alan can’t afford the house himself so he gets his not-so-bright cousin who is an aging but womanizing millionaire athlete to move in, Matt LeBlanc.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    But it’s different because the change is part of the show. It’s part of the character. We look forward to it. When William Hartnell quit and they had to come up with this, I bet there was a lot of apprehension in how it would be received. But there’s nothing like the regenerations in place here. If he’s recast, it will be abrupt and out of place. It could work (there’s plenty of evidence of that), but it would still be a bit different than how Doctor Who handles it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    You’re kinda behind on the times, Sheen’s come out as going insane. He’s publicly admitted he’s losing his mind.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    1: Matt LeBlanc is already involved with another show.
    2: On that show, he proved himself capable of so much more.
    3: Why would Alan need to afford the house? Pretty sure Charlie owns it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    Maybe because Spartacus hasn’t premiered yet? We don’t know how the new guy is going to fare.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    Yea, this is actually a pretty decent idea. It would never work (network shows can’t pull this kind of thing off..) but if it did, it could revitalize the show for years.

  • Nancy

    I say do the whole plastic surgery thing. Charle in a drunken states has an auto accident that totally screws up his face so he picks a new one trying to make himself more attractive and younger looking so he can attract all those younger women he likes chasing after. I vote for John Stamos. I think Charle needs to be put in his place and the show needs to show him that YES Two and a Half Men can go on without you. So get help and straighten out your life and move on!

  • GraemeB

    That’s pretty much how My Three Sons kept going in the ’60s after the original oldest son left: a new younger son, Ernie, was adopted and the show kept on going for another 8 years or so.

  • Pilotdave

    William Shatner would be the perfect replacement for Sheen. The premise would be his playboy father comes and lives with them.

  • LobsterAfternoon

    If this was a superhero or scifi show, it wouldn’t be an issue. Maybe we should only talk about superhero/scifi shows here?

  • p_keely

    I’m pretty sure that they mention that Charlie’s dad is dead

  • Ortiz

    Remember “X-Files”? That’s what gonna happen here if they continue the show without Sheen, he was like the “Two” of “Two and a half men”, I don’t think it’s gonna work.

    Peace

  • MikeMic

    Scott Baio!

  • Oramosperez

    After “Charmed” was able to–VERY successfully, I might add!– produce a whole new sister out of thin air after they fired Shannen Doherty, I was convinced that any actor, in any show, can be replaced…

  • Scott Anderson

    Not just Bewitched and Valerie (mentioned below by someone else where the title character was replaced) but Three’s Company, Charlie’s Angels, Babylon 5, Cheers, Alice, and probably some others I’m forgetting have lost major characters and gone on for seasons without those characters.

  • 2000filmfan

    Character replacement is the answer.

    Shows like “Three’s Company”, removed Suzanne Sommer’s character Chrissie and replaced her with a surrogate and very similar new character. Maybe it’s time for Jake’s uncle and Alan’s cousin Bill to move in.

    “Charlie’s Angels”, “Cheers”, “All in the Family”, “Eight is Enough” and “CSI” all did the same when characters unceremonious left the show or tried to blackmail their employers into a surprise raise. Hiring another actor to fill the role of the character is far more risky for a show that has been around as long as TAAHM in terms of continuity and plays just as badly in syndication.

  • demoncat_4

    Warner’s and cbs are going to risk viewers being up set no matter who they decide to replace Charlie with . and how they address the character being gone like maybe killled off or written out . the risk is great no matter what cbs does to fill the void on two and half men.

  • BEN TINSLEY

    Have Charlie be replaced by his father, Martin Sheen, who has already been introduced on the show as Rose’s Dad. (He’s crazy as a bedbug.)

    The “actual” Charlie would have gone missing at this point. Martin would have inexplicably moved in to the house and started to impersonate Charlie. Right down to the horrible shirts, gambling, drinking habits, slutty girlfriends, and the career writing horrible commercial music. Martin would seem to actually believe he IS Charlie.

    Charlie’s brother, housekeeper and nephew would play along with Martin’s charade because he also seems to be paying the bills and keeping everything afloat financially.

    Martin could continually freak the rest of the cast out by “remembering” things about Charlie, his escapades, and his family that Martin couldn’t possibly know.

    Obviously, the romance with Rose would have to go away since Martin also plays Rose’s father on the show and that would be icky — even if Martin really thought he was Charlie.

    “What happened to Charlie?” could be the next “Who Shot JR?”

  • chris108

    No sheen no show i think!

  • Yanks5179

    You can replace Sheen himself…but NOT without making the show become something different because he was integral to the show as it revolved pretty much around him.

    It’s like when 8 Simple Rules had to do something after John Ritter’s tragic real life death. He was the one enforcing the “8 Simple Rules”, not Katy Segal and the show survived a little while after his passing, but the premise and mood was different.

    That’s not to say this show couldn’t adopt a new premise and have some success, but rather that you can’t replace the lead with a lead “clone” or the character of Charlie Harper with Joe New Guy and hope the show can continue as if nothing happened and have all the chemistry and mannerism intact.

    With Bewitched, what did Darren have to do? Not much. It was Elizabeth Montgomery’s show. With Becky on Roseanne, anyone could have played a whiny teenage girl, but you couldn’t have replaced Roseanne herself.

    Even on Three’s Company, John Ritter was still the hook of the show and that didn’t matter regardless of whether the Ropers or Mr. Firley or Chrissy or whoever was there.

    Heck on Family Matters, they just disappeared the younger daughter after season three with no explanation. (she’s now a porn star going by the name of Crave, mind you).

    But the whole show is built around the character of Charlie Harper and his antics more so than anyone and anything else. Replacing a person is one thing; replacing the character and what it represents to the show is another entirely.

  • Anonymous

    I like the Bewitched approach. Go hire Emilio Estevez, cast him as “Charlie”, and continue on as if nothing has ever happened.

  • darrellsan

    Pull a “Dukes of Hazzard”…have all the lead actors replaced by “cousins”

  • Timmayhall

    If you ask me, they ought to pull a South Park on Charlie and make it a point to toss him a little jab ala zombie-pedophile Chef. Mention that Charlie dies from auto-erotic asphyxiation or was crushed while having sex with a mastiff or something. Guy’s got it coming.

  • WhyNot

    I wouldn’t mind having them confront the topic and make comdey from it by replacing Charlie Sheen with another actor and just playing the same charater. Base the entire episode around replacements in movies and shows. Like how Tommy Lee Jones replaced Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent in the BATMAN franchise, Dick York to Dick Sargent as Darren in BEWITCHED, soap operas do it by using a voiceover stating “the part of John will now be palyed by so and so”, MONK and CSI both did it with Monk’s deceased wife (pictures changed and new actress used) and Brass’ daugther being replaced with a new actress.

    Then there is the way that THREE STOOGES replaced Shemp when the actor died before they finished their contract (showing the new actor from the back without seeing his face), this was also done in ANGEL when the Buffy actress wouldn’t appear in the series. Using this idea, they could slowly introduce the new face of the actor towards the end while making fun of replacements.

    Then add little “news” reals on TV/radio (we’d only have to listen to it) about how an actor went crazy and had to be replaced. Then have the cast make jokes about it.

    There are plenty of ways they could go about doing this. It is just finding the right way to do it for this show.

  • CBR Fan

    Is it me or is TaaHM a “male version” of Absolutely Fabulous? With regard to the question raised by the article, it might be tricky, considering Sheen, to a certain extent, is very much like his TV character. I think CBS might carry it off if they were to replace Sheen with an actor who’s also known for his decadence and debauchery, but still sane.

  • B.J. Morgan

    I’m more interested in how The Office is going to handle Steve Carell’s departure. There’s a different set of circumstances as to why he’s leaving, but it’s the same fundamental change is happening.

  • Blazinxdiago

    but i also think somthing fun would be miss the adventures sheen’s character had with girls, wit him gone who could do the same

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514787375 Peter Whitney

    All great examples… I liked Rebecca better than Diane. As mentioned earlier, Hogan Family was a success. Ron Howard left Happy Days and that went on much longer. MASH had replacement characters. NYPD Blue went on a long time after David Carruso. ER had a revolving door after Clooney departed. Charmed, and Beverly Hills 90210 succeeded with the departure of Shannon Doherty.

    Yeah, Charlie Sheen may have been Two and A Half Men, but he was just playing himself on a mediocre at best sitcom. It would be an easy fix. Such an easy character to write off. Bring back Ryan Stiles’ character and have him move in, or create a brand new character… Maybe the father of one of the son’s classmates is getting a divorce and Duckie has him live with them

  • http://twitter.com/tomdaylight tom

    It’s the biggest sitcom on television, it can survive a dip. Especially given they don’t have to pay Charlie Sheen any more.

  • Eldonte

    I see two options(i’m sure there is plenty more). Turn the show into a spinoff of itself. Charlie dies, introduce a new character or two and change the setting. (think Frasier). Or perhaps, just pretend Charlie hasn’t died, and replace him. For a cool spin, replace him every episode. One week it’s Betty White, the next it’s Rob Lowe. Screw that, just replace him with Betty White

  • Michael P

    Unless, of course, they reveal that Charlie is a Time Lord.

  • Justice Gray

    Reading the post and comments here, I have a new respect for the talent of Hollywood writers. Might not be much, but it’s better than these suggestions!

  • jonathan

    That’s why it would be so hilarious.

  • Dave Miller-Lad

    Have it that Charlie has gotten into trangenderism and have the replacement actor in DRAG. Thus, 2 and a half men.

  • Eightrak

    I hope they kill him off like in that Valerie show. ‘You can’t kill you lead character!’ Guess what? They did.

  • Alejandromg1995

    To be a comic book based website, you forgot a simlar case in a Superhero show: SUPERBOY. John Haynes Newton was fired after the first season, due to low ratings and some minor violations to the good behavior clause in his contract. The, Ilya Salkind hired Gerard Christopher as the new lead and the show ran for another 3 seasons (And could be more, if they did’nt lose the tv rigths) and it’ got better with every new season.

  • Red

    Actually it’s been reported that Sheen had a “Micheal J Fox” clause in his contract saying he gets paid even if they replace him.

  • Harpo

    I think the idea of recasting him every episode is hilarious – make it like a season-long “audition” for a replacement. Just say “Screw it! Let’s try whatever we feel like”, similiar to what Drew Carey did during his last season. But what do I know, all my favorite shows get cancelled…

  • R.

    Replacing Charlie Sheen is more trouble than it’s worth in the long run.

    Better to cancel the show now than to have it jump the shark with Sheen’s replacement.

  • JMC

    I’d watch that in a heartbeat but the Shat is already commited to Sh#t My Dad Says. What’s James Spader doing? He could be the older, recently discovered half-brother!

  • JMC

    The Office is a different matter, as it was always preordained (from the UK version) that the main character would eventually trip himself up and be forced out/ leave the Paper company. Hopefully they will let the series end soon after and not do a desperate Scrubs scenario.

  • Azaatar

    I think if they are to replace Charlie the best person that comes to my mind is Vince Vaghn. In so many ways they are alike. I would say he would be th elong lost brother of Alan and Charlie from the days of their mother going around from one man to another experimenting. He could be the 3rd son to Evelyn and only Charlie knew of him and had his will made out to him and that the secret had died with Charlie cuz his plane crashed in the show while going to France with Rose. This way it would ba joke that alchol and woman didnt kill him like they alwasy say it would in the show. And Vince Vaghn would be able to use his own way to create his own chracter asid from being Charlie Harper

  • Azaatar

    I love ur idea and as a huge fan it will work, however can John Stamos be able to play the character of Charlie Harper on the show to a Tee? with the sarcasim, jokes, and smooth talk. I guess will wait and see. But that aside I love ur idea

  • Anonymous

    I personally like an idea I saw somebody bring up on another site… open up with Charlie’s funeral. Explain that one of the girls he scorned came back and got some revenge. Then have it revealed that Charlie had a will and left absolutely everything to Jake while Alan gets nothing. So it is now Jake’s house and Alan is living in it. Have Judith and Herb divorce and Herb needs a place to live so he moves in with Jake and Alan. Meanwhile you have Judith’s new boyfriend be whoever actor they get to replace Charlie and then make Jake, Herb and Alan’s resentment towards him more of a focal point. Then you have Jake with all the money becoming a womanizer and following in the footsteps of his late uncle. It could actually breathe a little new life into a show, that while still funny, wasn’t doing much different plot wise over the course of the past few years

  • Sigerson

    Hartnell didn’t… exactly quit. It’s more complicated. He was… legendarily hard to work with, (he could be a prima donna, and a bigot, but he was right in suspecting the producers were trying to undermine him) and the early years of Doctor Who were actively filled with very much this kind a drama.

    Hartnell knew full well it was the part of a lifetime and cared about it madly, but as time went on, the real problem was his health. By year 3 they experimented with several stories that involved minimizing his part in different ways, (Q-like superbeings, mind transplants, etc.) but around this time he was diagnosed with a form of arteriosclerosis that increasingly affected his memory. He left because he was having to get written out of episodes on 24 hours notice, and only did a handful of other acting jobs. Doctor Who has had a lot of cast changes, and more than a couple were firings, (Pertwee essentially quit by asking for a pay raise he knew he wouldn’t get, Colin Baker was fired, largely because the head of programming was sleeping with his ex-wife) but the mechanism to replace cast was in place.

    Two other shows as other examples. In the 70s, when Peter Falk was the highest paid actor on TV there was a real attempt to justify getting other actors in to play the part. Have Falk do 2 or 3 a year and have the rest played by other actors. (Bing Crosby and Orson Welles were suggested. It… didn’t happen. Stars get their pay raises sometimes.)
    And then there’s the backbone of the Scottish economy, Taggart. A cop show that’s genuinely been running since 1983. Despite the fact that the actor playing Taggart died in 1994, and the show promoted other cops to fill the lead role. Despite this the show is still called Taggart, after a character who has been dead 17 years.

  • BKM

    Turning the show into a spinoff of itself like “All in the Family” did in becoming “Archie Bunker’s Place” may work.

  • Kilburna

    I think Matt Leblanc is the only one that could really replace Charlie without loosing viewers.

  • http://tpbtavern.blogspot.com/ Farson89

    Charlie Sheen IS Two and a Half Men, he’s the lead and the primary reason most of the audience tunes in, with him gone the show won’t last. It might be able to drag itself along for another season, two if it’s very lucky, but then it’ll die.

  • Cwcomics

    Great idea. You can not have another actor playing Charlie Harper it just won’t work. Adding a kid who is Charlie Harper’s offspring might work. The problem is Alan Harper is a leach living rent free at his brother’s place. Also Alan’s character is a loser. Even if his life is golden he will do something stupid and he’s back in the toilet again. You could have Jake come in some money and have things work out for him as it did for his Uncle Charlie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Russell-Burlingame/28406407 Russell Burlingame

    While I think he’s the central character by virtue of his fame, I disagree tht he’s not replaceable, actually for the same reason you cite. All “Charlie” has to do is be a drunk, self-indulgent cad. Alan could wake up one day with another drunk, self-indulgent cad sleeping in Charlie’s bed, who has for whatever reason taken possession of the house and its inhabitants, and the dynamic wouldn’t be appreciably changed. It’s not as though the brothers had anything remotely resembling a real relationship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Russell-Burlingame/28406407 Russell Burlingame

    It’s an interesting dynamic that’s kind of unique to television; after all, if this were a stage show that played five times a week and was the same story as opposed to a continuing narrative, would anyone think twice about a new actor being subbed in? If the show’s making too much money for the loss of an actor to be the last word, then that’s what would happen.

  • Anonymous

    Many of these suggestions were based on actual events, you know.

  • Anonymous

    A full reboot would be best in my opinion: replace EVERYBODY and start over. They could even get a young kid again! And recycle scripts!

    However, more likely they’ll just put Estevez’s- err, I mean Sheen’s- character on a bus and replace him with a new one.

  • LeftyFJB

    And I liked how they handled the switch between Beckys. In the closing tag of the show, the Conner family was debating Darrens. The consensus was that the first Darren was better. The lone supporter for the second Darren was Sarah Chalke.

  • Murray

    All this talk of replacement actors and nary a mention of Donna Reed’s ill-fated stint as Miss Ellie on Dallas? Forget Darren – that was a way bigger deal as Dallas was still a top rated show at the time and it didn’t work at all. Heck, it was so bad and so different, that on her IMDB summary it doesn’t even show that Barbara Bel Geddes left for a year!

    I think that’s a lot more in line with what would happen on Two and Half Men if they cut out Sheen. Viewers will get a year of something they just hate and then CBS either cancels or grovels to get Sheen back. Larry Hagman threatened to leave Dallas if they didn’t get rid of Donna Reed – would Jon Cryer do any less if the replacement Sheen is a disaster? No Sheen and no Cryer – see ya #1 show ad revenue.

  • http://atocom.blogspot.com Atomic Kommie Comics

    On CSI, the guy who left, William Petersen, is one of the producers.
    He wanted a break from weekly television and the chance to go back to live theatre, where he’s had several well-reviewed shows, and is still collecting a paycheck, as a producer, from CSI.

  • Reid76

    Maybe because more people are aware of Bewitched than Sparticus. Fail, Terry, Fail.

  • Summer

    Isn’t that a little too Cousin Oliver, though?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    Wouldn’t that be some shit? The Doctor would be disappointed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    Sorry, I retract my statement about Hartnell quitting. I was unaware of the circumstances behind it and (incorrectly) assumed that he left because he didn’t want to do it anymore. Either way, the point still stands. They had to make it up, right then, on how to replace him. They were lucky it was a sci-fi show where it was perfectly believable that something could alter his appearance.

  • Charlie’s Fan

    I agree, Charlie is th eonly reason that I watch Two and a half men. He’s what makes the show funny.

  • a. non. amous

    try as you might, when things like this happen on a highly rated show, things tend to go downhill from the point of actors being fired/replaced. in the 80′s,it happened on the ‘dukes of hazzard’, when john schneider and tom wopat were replaced as luke and bo (respectively) by byron cherry and christopher mayer as coy and vance (respectively) after a contract holdout by tom and john for more pay. ratings dipped until they returned, and many fan letters written in demanding their return. the same happened when james best as sheriff roscoe p. coltrane also had a contract dispute, and they tried to replace him, but w/john and the others backing him up, james returned quickly w/better pay and working conditions.

  • Imaginet1

    I have a solution: Alan wake up a morning and discover that all the seasons of the show was a dream and we met is real brother ;-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    And how exactly would you handle Jake?

  • 2000filmfan

    Thanks for the assist. Giving scandal prone actors attention for acting badly only encourages more bad behavior. Look how long it took for David Caruso to get another long-term job and TV series. I think we stopped seeing Shelley Long and Shannon Doherty almost all together. Actors who don’t need jobs should not have them — let’s let them rest in peace and move on.

  • JimMacQ

    Sure is. Name the new kid Oliver and run with it.

  • Lesimpson1950

    on the george burns and gracie allen show george burns announced at the beginning of one of the shows the the actor that played their next door neighbor was being replaced by fred clark. I really dont remember if he stated the reason. I know its not the same as with two and a half men, but the point is george burns thought that he should let the viewers know what happened

  • 2000filmfan

    That’s all I could remember when I first posted. Yet I agree, I was talking about when actor Gary Dourdan left the show. Yet many shows have a much greater record of replacing characters with new actors playing new characters than CSI. ER seems to be one of the greatest examples.

    Yet here’s are some others from recent and past TV. As with the previous list, some of these actors died instead of quit or staged an unprofessional contract renegotiation:

    NYPD Blue: David Caruso’s character (John Kelly) replaced with Jimmy Smits’ character (Bobby Simone)
    Law & Order: Jerry Orbach character (Det. Lennie Briscoe) replaced with Dennis Farina’ (Det. Joe Fontana)
    X-Files:David Duchovny’s character (Fox Mulder) replaced with Robert Patrick’s (John Doggett)
    Designing Women: Delta Burke’s Suzanne Sugarbaker replaced with Julia Duffy’s Allison Sugarbaker

    All found at
    http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20472600,00.html