Television shows are made by people, and they’re prone to all the little foibles the rest of us have. Feuds that changed TV shows have been around as long as television itself, affecting the plots, characters arcs, and writing of fan-favorite shows for decades.
Behind the scenes fights that changed TV show plots are a lot more common than you’d think. While the cast and crew may seem jolly in the bloopers from Season 1, they may be a lot less friendly come Season 6.
Cast members, crew, directors, producers, and more all come together to create one product, and that's bound to lead to some head-butting. The ways feuds impact shows can vary. Television series that made changes because of actor feuds happen all the time, and the media may not even notice it. Sometimes a feud can get a bad premise passed, sometimes it can make an awesome television duo split, sometimes it can make an actor leave, and sometimes it can end a series altogether.
Here are some of the most notable times behind-the-scenes feuds changed the creative direction of a show.
Though the character of Will Smith got along fine with his aunt on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith the actor didn't see eye-to-eye with the actress who played Vivian. Smith and Janet Hubert did not get along and were known for having an ongoing feud that underscored much of the behind-the-scenes action during the first three seasons of the sitcom.
Eventually, the feuding became too much and Hubert left the show. She was replaced by Daphne Reid.
If it wasn't for some criticism between friends, Game Of Thrones might never have made it to air. The original pilot (which featured different cast members) was reportedly so terrible that screenwriter friends of showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff begged them to throw the episode away and reshoot the whole thing.
“Watching them watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life,” Weiss said. “As soon as it finished, [one friend] said, ‘You guys have a massive problem.’”
Weiss and Benioff overhauled nearly all of the pilot, and the rest is Westeros history.
- Photo: Universal Television
The NBC sitcom Community had some very tense dynamics on the set. The show's creator, Dan Harmon, and the notoriously difficult Chevy Chase had a very difficult working relationship.
Harmon said Chase had a tendency to walk off the set, but when Chase refused to act in the final shot of Season 3, Harmon became enraged and tore into Chase in front of his wife and daughter. That prompted Chase to leave a profanity-laced voicemail for Harmon that made its way online.
Eventually, Chase opted out of the series and Harmon was fired for other reasons. However, Harmon did return after just one season away.
- Video: YouTube
Pinky and the Brain worked just fine as an animated comedy duo. But the network executives behind Pinky And The Brain thought three characters would be better than two and demanded that writers add another main character: the Elmer Fudd-inspired Elmyra Duff (voiced by Cree Summer).
But the showrunners vehemently disagreed with the decision and didn't hide their anger.
You can hear it in the theme song for Pinky, Elmyra & The Brain when the chorus sings, "It's what the network wants. Why bother to complain?" Even Brain admits at the end of the song: "I deeply resent this."