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.
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Sometimes unexpected issues can cause a show to take a turn for the better. Raymond Cruz, the actor who played drug kingpin Tuco Salamanca in Season 1 of Breaking Bad, had other commitments with the TNT series The Closer. He also said playing Tuco took a lot out of him, so he asked the producers to write his character off the show in Season 2.
"They’re like, 'We never heard of an actor that wanted to die,'" Cruz said. "And I’m like, 'You don’t understand. This part’s really hard.'"
This is part of the reason writers increased the role of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), and now it's nearly impossible to imagine the show without the relationship between Jesse and Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
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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.
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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.
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