TV Fans Share The Real Reasons Why A Favorite Character Left A Popular Show

List Rules
Vote up the most shocking reasons why a performer left a show.

Over on Reddit, TV fans are sharing the real reasons why a popular actor or actress left a favorite TV show. From having to serve a little jail time to massive issus behind the scenes, here are the reasons why your favorite character was written off that show you love. 

  • William Hartnell's Exit From 'Doctor Who' Is What Led To The Doctor Becoming Immortal
    Photo: BBC
    333 VOTES

    William Hartnell's Exit From 'Doctor Who' Is What Led To The Doctor Becoming Immortal

    From a Redditor:

    William Hartnell left Doctor Who because he had arteriosclerosis and his health was declining to the point where he couldn't keep up with a TV acting schedule. The producers came up with the idea that the Doctor could regenerate into a new body, because the show was doing well and they wanted to keep it going.

    Hartnell was apparently the one who suggested Patrick Troughton should take over the role. So ultimately Hartnell's illness inspired the premise gimmick that would make the show (and its hero) effectively immortal.

    333 votes
  • Kyra From 'Reba' Left Temporarily To Get Healthy
    Photo: The CW
    203 VOTES

    Kyra From 'Reba' Left Temporarily To Get Healthy

    From Redditor u/isobane:

    Here's one that I'm a bit weirded out that I know. Kyra (Scarlett Pomers) from the show Rebaleft the show, with the full support of the cast, mid-season in 2005 to get treatment for anorexia. She was 5'2" and weighed only 73 pounds.

    After completing treatment and getting her weight back up and life back together she returned to the show. She walks into the house and someone asks, "Hey, where have you been?" To which she replied, "I went to get something to eat!"

    203 votes
  • A Sad Story About David From 'Sesame Street'
    Photo: PBS
    216 VOTES

    A Sad Story About David From 'Sesame Street'

    From Redditor u/semiloki:

    Here's a sad one:

    In the 1970s Sesame Street added their first new "human" character (as in not a puppet). Northern Calloway played the character David. David was supposed to be the hip older brother type. At a time when a lot of inner city kids were turning to drugs here was Sesame Street providing a more positive role model. He worked at Mr. Hooper's Store and was going to college to get a law degree. Later he took over Mr. Hooper's Store. Popular character who got less and less air time until he just disappeared one day. Why?

    Well, he was secretly bipolar. He took lithium for it, which helped, but also took cocaine, which did not. His mental health continued to deteriorate until one day he went on a rampage in Nashville wearing only a Superman t-shirt...

    He bounced in and out of institutions for the rest of his life. He actually died in a mental hospital in 1990 after a prolonged psychotic episode.

    [This entry was edited due to length. Please read the full post here.]

    216 votes
  • Harriet From 'Family Matters' Quit The Show That Was Originally Supposed To Be Her Spotlight 
    Photo: ABC
    154 VOTES

    Harriet From 'Family Matters' Quit The Show That Was Originally Supposed To Be Her Spotlight 

    From Redditor u/UltimaGabe:

    When Family Matters first aired, it was a spin-off of the show Perfect Strangers, following Harriett Winslow (Jo Marie Payton) and her husband Carl - a typical middle-class black family, having the kinds of difficulties that normal middle-class black families face. Then, a few episodes in, they introduce the nerdy, obnoxious neighbor Steve Urkel.

    Before long Urkel was such a hit that the show eventually became all about Steve and his wacky adventures. Gone was the down-to-earth show about a typical black family doing typical black family things, and in its place was a show about a man-boy genius creating wacky inventions and traveling through time, cloning himself, and having other crazy adventures.

    In the end, Payton (the entire reason the show existed, remember) quit...

    In an interview, the Payton stated:

    How I explained it is, 'A baker that loves to bake doesn't want to stop baking. They just don't always want to make a chocolate cake or chocolate cookies. They want to try to do something else. Bake some bagels, do something else.' I never wanted to stop acting. I've been acting since I was six years old. It's just that I was tired of doing that project, you know what I'm saying, I wanted to do something else.

    154 votes
  • Steve From 'Blue's Clues' Didn't Really 'Go To College'
    Photo: Pinterest
    241 VOTES

    Steve From 'Blue's Clues' Didn't Really 'Go To College'

    From Redditor u/8-12-2014:

    They told us Steve left to go to college. He really left because the actor was going bald. (He also had some musical interests he wanted to explore, but the actor said, "Mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kid's TV show, and it was happening fast.")

    I missed Steve so much. Blue's Clues wasn't the same after that.

    241 votes
  • Jay Thomas Was Removed From 'Cheers' After A Mean Comment
    Photo: NBC
    166 VOTES

    Jay Thomas Was Removed From 'Cheers' After A Mean Comment

    From Redditor u/cingalls:

    On Cheers, Carla's husband Eddy (Jay Thomas) was written off because of some rude comments that the actor made. He had a national radio show at the time and made some jokes about Rhea Perlman's looks and getting "combat pay" for kissing her.

    Perlman wanted him off the show, the showrunners agreed and had him killed off by [getting run over by] a zamboni.

    According to Cheers writer Jeff Levine:

    ...One day on Jay’s radio show a caller asked him what it was like to be on Cheers? He said something to the effect of “It’s brutal. I have to kiss Rhea Perlman.” Well, guess who happened to be listening?

    Jay Thomas was never seen on Cheers again.


    166 votes