moving on

Five TV shows that kept going even after losing their lead

Television can be a tough business, especially these days. Actors and actresses are employees so sometimes they get fired and sometimes they choose to leave, but the show must go on, right? Some shows cannot survive their lead taking a hike, but others are like cats, landing on their feet and keep on keeping on. Here are five shows that turned a loss into a win.

“Happy Days”

Richie, Mr. and Mrs. C, Potsie, Ralph, and The Fonz entered living rooms from 1974-1984. This sitcom followed the lives of an all-American family that rents a room to a cool biker guy. Towards the end of the series run, Richie left the show for the Army. This event could have been a huge thumbs down, but instead of telling the show to “sit on it,” they replaced Richie with his cousin and the show kept us laughing for a few more years.


Sam and Diane, what a story there. Constant bickering with plenty of romantic tension. For years we all wondered will they or won’t they end up together; and then Diane was gone. What the heck was Sam supposed to do? Enter Rebecca Howe, and once again sparks fly as she settles in with the group.

“Two and a Half Men”

Charlie Sheen has certainly had his ups and downs. His character, also named Charlie, was a sarcastic jingle writer who really carried the show. Then as his real life took a downturn causing him to leave the show, it seemed like the end of the series. Enter Ashton Kutcher and all things were right back on track.

“The Office”

What would Dunder Mifflin paper company be without Michael Scott? Well, for two seasons, it rolled forward with James Spader coming back as Robert California. The show’s characters continued to lead their somewhat dysfunctional careers with some changes in job descriptions.


After rebooting the show and resurrecting Dan from the dead, who would have thought this show could survive the abrupt exit of its namesake? With a little imagination and even a name change to “The Conners,” the cast found a way to stick together and make this show work.

Several other shows have survived similar fates, and there certainly will be more. It’ll be fun to see how “The Walking Dead” changes when Rick Grimes moves on at the end of this season, but with a zombie show is anyone really ever gone?