It’s a way of life. Because we get so engrossed in these TV shows, it’s sometimes difficult to spot any mistakes. We’re so focused on the storyline we don’t really check in with the characters and what they look like. In fact, there’s a high chance you’ve watched a few TV shows where the stars were replaced in the middle of their shows by other actors… There can be any number of reasons for the switch – maybe an actor held up the production for more money, was dissatisfied somehow or just felt it was time to move on. Whatever the case may be, there are quite a few instances – some of them memorable – of an actor leaving a show, only to be replaced by someone else as if nothing happened, with no one seeming to notice their mom now looks like a totally different person…
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – Aunt Vivian
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air told us all about how Will’s life got turned, flipped upside down and how he became the prince of Bel-Air. We all know Will Smith was the show’s star attraction, but it did a good job of giving the rest of the family time to shine as well. Aunt Viv – the aunt we all wanted – was originally played by Janet Hubert, but she reportedly didn’t get along with her on-screen nephew, leading to her eventual firing. Daphne Maxwell Reid replaced her after season three, to fans’ chagrin.
Modern Family – Lily
Modern Family is one of the best modern comedy shows ever. It follows the lives of the Dunphy, Pritchett, and Tucker families, and it’s safe to say that it’s all a little dysfunctional. Over the past decade, Modern Family has graced us with some of the greatest characters ever, and even though we love all of them, we’ve grown especially fond of the sassy Lily. As Cam and Mitchell’s adopted daughter, she starts off as a baby, and was played by a pair of twins, but the role was recast with the older Aubrey Anderson-Emmons.
Roseanne – Becky
Although Roseanne may have adopted a pretty bad rep for itself in the past few months, we still remember the OG series with a smile on our faces. We fell in love with the characters, and Becky was always making us laugh. However, if you watched Roseanne from the beginning to the end, you might have realized something was amiss. Throughout the series, the producers of the show would switch from using Lecy Goranson as Becky, and Sarah Chalke. The whole thing got pretty confusing, and we still don’t understand.
The ‘70s Show – Laurie
Okay, did anyone else really want to hang out in the Foreman basement? Because it was all we ever dreamed of when we were watching the sitcom, That ‘70s Show. Although we know that Eric was the main Foreman in this house, we couldn’t help but gravitate towards Laurie. She was shallow and selfish, but she was weirdly entertaining. This character was originally played by Lisa Robin Kelly before she was replaced by Christina Moore in season seven. Sadly, Lisa was struggling with substance abuse during filming and had to leave the show.
Game of Thrones – Myrcella Baratheon
Although we love Game of Thrones, it’s pretty difficult to keep up with all of the characters and whether they are good or bad, or even how old they are. That’s probably why we didn’t really notice that the character of Myrcella Baratheon had been replaced after season two came to a close. Yes, the character was originally portrayed by Aimee Richardson, before she was replaced by the actress Nell Tiger Free. Although many believe Aimee was replaced because of her age, others believe it was because the producers thought Nell would be a better fit.
Dallas – Jenna Wade
If you’re up to date on your Dallas knowledge, you’ll know that the role of Jenna Wade was a hugely important character within the show – but that she never really stayed the same. While her hair was always beautifully coiffed, the actress was replaced time and time again. Morgan Fairchild was the first actress to take on this role before she left the show and was replaced by Francine Tacker. Yet, Francine didn’t make her presence known for too long before she was replaced by Priscilla Presley.
Boy Meets World – Morgan
TV producers always take a risk when they cast a young actor or actress in their movie because there is no guarantee that the child will want to continue as they get older or even age in the way they are supposed to. Because of this, many child actors are replaced as time goes by – and the character of Morgan in Boy Meets World was no different. The role was originally taken on by Lily Nicksay, but she soon aged too quickly. So, the producers had to make a tough decision and eventually swapped her for Lindsay Ridgeway.
Arrested Development – Ann Veal
Arrested Development is one of the most famous sitcoms out there, and although Ann was only a minor character, her backstory is actually pretty darn huge. That’s because the producers of the show wanted to have a different actress play this character every single episode to showcase the fact that she was a forgettable character. So, they started off with Alessandra Torresani and then booked Mae Whitman for the next episode. However, they loved her so much they kept her on and scrapped their plans.
Bewitched – Darrin Stephens
If you cast your mind back to the 1960s, you might remember a magical television show by the name of Bewitched. Darrin Stephens was the husband of Samantha Stephens, and fans soon grew to love his personality. Yet, they couldn’t help but notice something was a little off about his appearance after a few years of their marriage. That’s because Dick York had suffered an injury which meant he couldn’t continue his role, so was replaced by Dick Sargent for the rest of the series. Amazingly, they do look fairly similar!
The Partridge Family – Chris
The Partridge Family was the perfect mix of humor and music, and we soon fell in love with every single member of the musical family. As a true fan, you may have realized that Chris Partridge looked a little different as the season went on. The role was originally played by Jeremy Gelbwaks, but when his father was offered a job on the other side of the country, he took his whole family with him. This meant that Jeremy could no longer star in the show, and he was replaced by Brian Forster.
Seinfeld – Morty
Seinfeld is one of those shows that will never go out of style. It will always be hilarious, and we will always be up for rewatching the box set for the 100th time. Every single character in this show showed their true colors and their humor in this series, but it seems as though one character had two actors associated with him! Yes, the role of Morty was originally played by Philip Bruns in season one, but he was later replaced by Barney Martin for the duration of the television show.
Game of Thrones – Daario Naharis
Game of Thrones fans will know that Daario Naharis becomes a hugely prominent character as the seasons go on, and he even wins over the heart of the Mother of Dragons! However, Daenerys Targaryen didn’t just get to work with one Daario during this time, because the actor was replaced between seasons three and four. Although the role was originally played by Ed Skrein, his busy schedule just couldn’t work with the GoT filming schedule. So, Michiel Huisman took his place and rocked the Seven Kingdoms instead.
Batman – Catwoman
Over the years, the character and storyline of Batman has been changed and adapted into many forms. There have been movies, there have been comics, and there have been numerous television shows. One of the first shows to grace our screen was in the 1960s when Julie Newmar took on the role of Catwoman. As the show began to change and progress, the producers decided to switch things up a bit and change the actress. So, fans had to say goodbye to Julie and say hello to Eartha Kitt.
‘Til Death – Allison
Fans don’t often get angry about actor replacements in TV shows, but it is often upsetting when they don’t even acknowledge the change. Thankfully, the creators of ‘Til Death decided to use their character changes to their advantage. After worming their way through four different actresses during this series, they decide to make a joke about it in their script. After all, nobody could deny the fact that Krysten Ritter, Laura Clery, Lindsey Broad and Kate Micucci all looked completely different. At least they found the humor in it!
Riverdale – Reggie Mantle
If you’ve never seen the insanely good drama show, Riverdale, then you are seriously missing out. However, we will let it slide if you didn’t notice that the character of Reggie Mantle actually had a little switch-around during season two. In season one of Riverdale, Reggie was played by Ross Butler, who you might recognize from the Netflix drama, 13 Reasons Why. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts between 13 Reasons Why and Riverdale meant that Butler had to make a tough choice and Charles Melton had to take over.
The Adventures of Superman – Lois Lane
Thankfully, we have been able to enjoy The Adventures of Superman for decades now, and Lois Lane has been a huge part of that experience. However, it’s safe to say that there have been a fair few news reporters over the years, as there have been numerous actresses who have taken on this role and donned her iconic hat. To start with, Phyllis Coates took on the role, before she was later replaced by Noel Neill who is still considered the Lois Lane we have ever been introduced to.
The Crown – Queen Elizabeth
Don’t you just love the British monarchy? Perhaps that’s why the British Netflix drama, The Crown, has proved to be ridiculously popular. This series follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II and her family as she grows from a young princess into one of the longest reigning monarchs in the world. For seasons one and two of the show, the Queen was played by the amazing Claire Foy. Yet, there will be a whole new cast for season three as Olivia Colman will step into the royal shoes.
True Blood – James Kent
If you’re a fan of True Blood, you’ll probably remember that we were introduced to a brand new character in seasons six and seven. James Kent immediately made an impression, and it allowed Luke Grimes to make his debut into the world of vampire dramas. However, Luke left the show after just one season – and the reasoning for this is still up in the air. There are those that suggest scheduling conflicts, while there are others who suggest that he didn’t want to be in a relationship with a man on screen. He was replaced by Nathan Parsons.
My Wife and Kids – Claire Kyle
We all watched the sitcom, My Wife and Kids when we were younger, right? In this series, Jazz Raycole took on the role of Claire Kyle. She was a huge hit with the fans, and her character proved to be incredibly popular. Yet, it seems as though Jazz didn’t get the chance to live out her acting dream for much longer though, as she was later replaced by Jennifer Freeman. The two actresses were not alike in their appearance at all, and fans weren’t happy with this change around.
Once Upon A Time – Henry Mills
Once Upon A Time is one of the most intricate fantasy shows in the world, and you really have to watch the whole thing to realize just how amazing it is. As the son of Emma Swan and the grandson of Prince Charming and Snow White, Henry Mills is an incredibly high-profile character. For the most part, this character was played by Andrew J. West, but when the showrunners included time travel into their storylines, they needed someone else to play the older Henry. This is where Jared S. Gilmore came into play.
The Office – Helene Beesly
If you haven’t watched the sitcom, The Office, then it’s time for a Netflix binge! This sitcom is often regarded as one of the funniest shows in existence and was where Linda Purl got the chance to take on the role of Helene Beesly. During her time on the show, Helene dated Michael Scott and soon became a hit with the fans. However, what you might not know is that this character was also played by Shannon Cochran during season two.
Monk – Trudy
Do you remember Trudy Monk? As the wife of Adrian in this show, Trudy was a prominent member of this character line up, but there was a time when she was just a minor face. Yes, during the early seasons of the show, Trudy was only seen through flashbacks and was played by Stellina Rusich. However, the producers of the show decided to give Trudy an even bigger role in the series, so found someone who would be more suitable for a more permanent role. This is where Melora Hardin came into play.
Games of Thrones – Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane
Another Game of Thrones replacement?! Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane isn’t the kind of character you would hang on your wall. He is mean, he is rude, and he’s pretty darn big – which is why his nickname has stuck. Throughout the whole series, the producers of the show have struggled to find the right fit when it comes to this character. The role was originally taken on by Conan Stevens, who was then replaced by Ian Whyte, who was later replaced by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson.Thankfully, it seems as though Björnsson is here to stay.
30 Rock – Angie
There are so many hilarious sitcoms out there, but 30 Rock definitely stole our hearts. This show had us laughing our socks off, and the characters had us in stitches. But what you might not have realized is that there were a few character changes during this show. Most notably, Sharon Wilkins made her way onto the 30 Rock payroll as Angie Morgan for one episode, but it seems as though the producers weren’t overwhelmed by her appearance. Because of this, she was later replaced by Sherri Shepherd.
The Waltons – John Boy
There are some actor replacements that hit viewers hard, and the replacement of John Boy in The Waltons was a tough blow for some. As the eldest son, John Boy was a huge part of the show, and viewers soon fell in love with the actor who played him for five seasons, Richard Thomas. Sadly, there had to come a time when John Boy flew the nest, so he left the show for two seasons. When he came back, he was played by Robert Wightman instead.
4400 – Lily
When an actor decides to leave a show, it must be incredibly hard for the producers. They have to find a replacement, and they have to somehow work this into the script without anyone really noticing. Thankfully, the creators of 4400 were able to use the loss of one of their main characters to their advantage. Instead of finding a replacement of the same age after Laura Allen left, the writers decided to change the story and play with time travel to replace her with Tippi Hedren.
Hope and Faith – Sydney
Hope and Faith was the kind of show that was easy watching. You could turn it on and know you would be entertained without fail. As if that wasn’t enough, it was on our screens for a whole three years! During its run, fans couldn’t help but fall in love with the character of Sydney, who was played by the legendary actress, Megan Fox. Megan was a regular cast member of the show before she was abruptly replaced by Nicole Paggi. Hardcore fans of the show and Megan definitely weren’t happy with this swap.
Gilligan’s Island – Ginger Grant
Normally, the pilot of a TV show is completely different to the full series. This is because producers get to see what works. what doesn’t, and what they need to change. Sometimes these changes involve the cast members, and that’s exactly what happened in Gilligan’s Island. For the pilot episode of the show, Ginger Grant was played by Kit Smythe, but the producers and the fans weren’t overwhelmed by her appearance. So, she was eventually replaced by Tina Louise, who is still known for her role as Ginger today.
The Jeffersons – Lionel Jefferson
The Jeffersons is one of the most famous TV shows of all time, as well as one of the longest-running TV shows in history – which means it was kind of a big deal. As well as knocking it out of the park for the original series, the producers also decided to work on spin-off shows that featured some of the fans’ favorite characters from the show. Because of this, the actor who played Lionel Jefferson in The Jeffersons had to be replaced. So, Damon Evans took over from Mike Evans.
Blue’s Clues – Steve
Who else loved Blue’s Clues?! This ‘90s children’s show filled us with so much joy when we were younger, and we couldn’t wait to see Steve and Blue on our screens in their amazing house. One of the main reasons why the show proved so popular was because of the host himself, Steve Burns. However, Steve decided that enough was enough after six years and said goodbye to his fans. He was later replaced by Donovan Patton, who is equally as happy and energetic as Steve was.
Friends – Carol
Could this be any crazier? If you’re the kind of person that has watched every single episode of the sitcom, Friends, there’s a high chance that you can actually recite all of the words from memory. There’s also a high chance that you eagle-eyed fans noticed that Ross’s ex-wife went through a bit of a change. When we were first introduced to Carol, she was played by Anita Barone. However, Anita decided that the role wasn’t for her after one episode, and she was then replaced by Jane Sibbett.
Family Guy – Meg
Let’s be honest, Family Guy is one of the most hilarious animated shows out there, and Seth MacFarlane really should be proud of his work. Although Stewie and Brian are arguably two of the main characters in this show, it’s fair to say that Meg is also pretty darn popular. While we all now associate Meg with Mila Kunis, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the character of Meg was actually voiced by Lacey Chabert for the first two seasons. She just couldn’t make Meg happen.
The O.C – Kaitlin Cooper
You weren’t really a teen in the early ‘00s if you didn’t watch teen drama shows like One Tree Hill and The O.C. The latter was one of our favorite shows of the lot, and we just couldn’t get enough of all of the characters. Kaitlin Cooper was perhaps one of the most popular characters on the show, and we can all picture the actress Willa Holland in our minds when we think of this character. Yet, if you watch earlier episodes, you might have realized that Kaitlin was actually originally played by Shailene Woodley.
The Munsters – Cousin Marilyn
If you’re into your horror shows, and were alive and kicking during the 1960s, there’s a high chance that you were totally into The Munsters. This show gave you the creeps but also entertained you to no end, which is why it was such a fan favorite. But did you ever think something wasn’t quite right with Cousin Marilyn? She seemed to completely change during episode 14 of the show, and we were all left scratching our heads as to why. It turns out that the actress had been replaced, and Pat Priest had stepped into Beverly Owen’s shoes.
Last Man Standing – Basically everyone
There are some TV shows that can last season upon season without replacing the cast, but there are other shows that are constantly swapping and changing. Last Man Standing was no different and went through numerous cast changes over the course of its run. In fact, three of the main members of the family were replaced by other actors. Most notably, Jordan Masterson replaced Nick Jonas, Amanda Fuller replaced Alexandra Krosney, and Flynn Morrison replaced the Kruntchev twins during the first two seasons alone. How did anyone know what was going on?
The Big Bang Theory – Penny
Can you even imagine The Big Bang Theory without Penny in it? Because we certainly can’t. Yet, there was a time when the creators of the show decided to go in a different direction. Although the pilot episode never made its way onto television, they cast an actress by the name of Amanda Walsh into the role of the beautiful neighbor – and they called her Katie! When they saw the finished product, they knew it wasn’t working so opted for Kaley Cuoco instead.
Ren and Stimpy – Ren
It’s always difficult working in a team because you all want to do well, but there is always someone who risks bringing your productivity down. This was the case for the cartoon show, Ren and Stimpy. The two main characters were voiced by Billy West and John Kricfalusi, and all seemed to be running smoothly. Before too long, a spanner was thrown in the works when Kricfalusi was sacked for unruly behavior. It was then all down to Billy West to voice the two different characters, and many didn’t even realize.
That ‘70s Show – Pamela Burkhart
If she’s related to Jackie Burkhart, you know Pamela Burkhart is going to be fabulous, self-obsessed, and mesmerizingly beautiful. Yes, every fan of That ‘70s Show would know that, but it seems as though the producers of the show weren’t convinced while they were working on the sitcom. In the early stages of her character development, Pamela was played by the actress Eve Plumb. When they realized it wasn’t working, they replaced her with the beautiful Brooke Shields and she soon became one of our favorites on the show.
The Fosters – Jesus Adams Foster
Actors are replaced for numerous reasons. They might leave on their own accord, or they might get sacked. Of course, every actor wishes that if they were to leave it would be on their own terms, and Jake T. Austin had that privilege when he left his role in The Fosters. It’s believed that Jake was looking for more from his acting experiences and wanted to expand his horizons. In the end, he was replaced by Noah Centineo. Although Jake offered an explanation, fans weren’t too happy with this new addition.
The Odd Couple – Leonard Unger
You might not have watched The Odd Couple before, but it is definitely worth adding to your list. It’s pretty darn brilliant. As one of the leading men in this show, Felix Unger was the kind of character we all got close to, but we also got a chance to take a closer look at his family tree – most notably, we were introduced to Leonard Unger, his son. If you’re an eagle-eyed television viewer, you might have noticed that Leonard Unger changed a little throughout the series. That’s because Willie Aames was replaced by Leif Garrett.
Batman – The Riddler
Why so serious? The Riddler has always been a huge part of the Batman universe, and although he’s scared the living daylights out of us – we can’t help but love him. Of course, The Riddler hasn’t always been decked out in an impressive suit and smart shoes. Back in the 1960s, The Riddler was a little different and was wearing a green morphsuit, alongside a purple mask that looked as though it was handmade. Nevertheless, this original Batman show proved to be popular, and some fans didn’t even notice when Frank Gorshin was replaced by John Astin.
Doctor Who – The Doctor
If you’re a fan of the British sci-fi show, Doctor Who, you’ll know that the whole premise is that The Doctor themself is thousands of years old – but they definitely don’t look it. That’s because The Doctor regenerates into a new human body every time they need to, and there have been an incredible number of Doctors since the first episode. Some of the most famous have been Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.
M*A*S*H – Father Mulcahy
There are some character changes that go over your head without you even realizing it, which is why it may surprise you to learn that M*A*S*H had its very own character switch-a-roos. Although the character of Father Mulcahy in this show was a regular cast member and character, it seems that wasn’t always the case. During numerous episodes and flashbacks, the actor William Christopher was often replaced by another actor by the name of George Morgan.
Big Love – Tancy Henrickson
Although some producers try their hardest to make a character transition as smooth as possible, sometimes it just doesn’t work. So, when the producers of Big Love decided to swap the actress who played Tancy Henrickson, the show’s fans weren’t having any of it. They knew immediately that swapping a redheaded girl with another red-headed girl wasn’t going to cut it, but they did it anyway. In fact, when Jolean Wejbe was replaced by Bella Thorne, they received numerous complaints from their hardcore fans who weren’t happy with this change.