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8 iconic shows that lost their charm after a pivotal character exited

From The Office to House of Cards, here are shows ran out of steam after the lead actor departed

8 iconic shows that lost their charm after a pivotal character exited

List hai toh hit hai

  • Nikhil Kumar

Last Updated: 06.06 PM, Mar 16, 2023

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Some of the most popular TV shows have offered incredible moments and iconic characters over the years. And more often than not, these characters become pivotal to the show’s success. From Topher Grace’s Eric Forman from That ‘70s Show or Steven Carell’s Michael Scott from The Office, these iconic characters have drummed up a fan following of their own. So it’s hardly surprising that their character’s untimely exit from the show or being replaced by another actor could have devastating ramifications. So for today’s List hai toh hit hai, we take a look at iconic shows that went downhill after pivotal characters departed.

Two and a Half Men

Charlie Sheen’s high-profile and infamous exit from Two and a Half Men is obviously the first one on this list. Sheen’s depiction of the quintessential womaniser who cohabits with his brother and his son, lent the show a distinct edge. While some dismissed it for carrying an air of a dated comedy complete with canned laughter, most critics were charmed by the constant banter and bickering that transpired between Sheen’s Charlie and Jon Cryer’s Alan Harper. The show won nine Primetime Emmys and is lauded as one of the most relatable family comedies in recent times. But Sheen’s very public string of outbursts at showrunner Chuck Lorre was clearly not well received, and he was eventually fired from the show. The relationship between Lorre and Sheen turned sour to the extent that Lorre had Sheen’s character brutally murdered on the show. Sheen was the highest-paid TV actor at the time, reportedly earning up to $1 million per episode. Even though Ashton Kutcher replaced Sheen as a new character, the show went on a downward trajectory.


The Office US

It’s not often an American remake of a classic British film and TV show is well received by audiences across the world, and it’s almost improbable that an American production would surpass the original, like in the case of Death at a Funeral. However, the American remake of Ricky Gervais’ The Office would go on to become one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. The show’s success is largely attributed to Steve Carrell’s depiction of the singularly eccentric manager of a regional paper company. While the series did feature memorable characters who were capable of carrying the show after Carrell’s departure in season seven, there was an evident dip in the quality of production that took away from what was essentially one of the best TV adaptations of all time. The series ran for two more seasons with Carrell making a guest appearance for the series finale.


The adventures and misadventures of the medical interns at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital became one of the most popular comedy-drama TV shows of the 2000s. Despite relatively low viewership figures, the show initially ran for eight seasons, thanks to the efforts of its cast and crew and dedicated fan base. However, when ABC picked up the series after NBC cancelled it, the series underwent several changes, from its story to its characters. The new premise and new characters were met with severe backlash from the fans who had followed the show for several years. And it was cancelled the following year.


Created by Rick and Morty showrunner Dan Harmon, Community is arguably one of the most underrated comedy shows of the 21st century. The story’s motley crew of community college students who form a study group became one of the most compelling characters on television when the series premiered in 2009. However, by the end of the fifth season, the series had already lost Donald Glover and Chevy Chase, and by the sixth season, Yvette Nicole Brown had also left the show. Even though they were replaced by Jonathan Banks, Keith David, and Paget Brewster the show was almost incomplete without Glover’s Troy and his misadventures with Danny Pudi’s Abed, Chase’s old man Pierce and his wildly inappropriate jokes, and Brown’s Shirley and her motherly affection for the group. Fans of the series were disappointed with how the series ended, but they have reason to be excited as a Community film is in the works with most of the original cast returning.


Quite easily the most evocative workplace comedy after The Office, Superstore is a portrait of blue-collar America. Closely capturing the challenges and joys of the working class, the show managed to elevate sitcoms and touch a necessary nerve by depicting issues gripping corporate America. The show's lead America Ferrera, of Ugly Betty fame, steered the relatable comedy in various directions. In fact, her role in the show was so integral that audiences felt they could closely examine and subsequently relate to her character Amy's experience as their own. A Mexican American single mom and high school dropout who works her way up from floor jobs to turning store manager, Amy is a definitive celebration of the middle-class American dream. So when Ferrera departed from the show in the second episode of season six, it was heartbreaking. Her absence in the show was apparent and expunged the series of a lead who, in retrospect, was literally driving the show. Following her departure, the show's central plot points often began gravitating towards Jonah, her love interest on the show, played by Ben Feldman. And while Feldman is himself a comic actor of determined conviction, the absence of scenarios where his character played off Amy's, reduced the show to just another sitcom. We'd love to see Ferrera return to the series and a happily ever after for Amy and Jonah. But if wishes were horses, we'd have a stable of our own.

The Walking Dead

It was inevitable that a post-apocalyptic zombie show would lose several main characters. And not every show can maintain its quality despite losing its main stars. While Game of Thrones managed to elevate itself with relative ease despite knocking off lead stars every season, The Walking Dead found it far more challenging. The series was already struggling to keep audiences invested by the time season eight rolled in, but losing its main character Andrew Lincoln was the final nail in the coffin. This was after fan-favourite characters played by Jon Bernthal, Lauren Cohen, and Steven Yeun had already departed the show. Norman Reedus did manage to carry the weight of the entire show on his capable shoulders to a certain extent, but The Walking Dead never truly recovered. The showrunners hope that Andrew Lincoln’s return for the upcoming final season will help end the series on a positive note. We have our fingers crossed.


Harvey Specter, essayed by Gabriel Macht, is the main man of the hit legal drama Suits. However, without Patrick J. Adams’ Mike Ross, Harvey is a yin without the yang. For nearly seven seasons the duo took the show to dizzying heights. But with the departure of Patrick J. Adams in season seven the show lost some of its gleam. The series ran for a couple more seasons before it aired its finale. But in addition to losing Adams, Suits also lost the current Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, who at the time was a series regular as Mike’s love interest Rachel Zane. As one would expect, Harvey Spectre was unable to carry the show on his own after the two high-profile exits. Let’s just say, this one was destined to be an open-and-shut case.

House of Cards

House of Cards has to be one of the most thrilling political dramas ever. Depicting the inner workings and dirty games played in DC by Congressmen and their cronies, it held its own as a series that left audiences concerned, anxious and hungry for more. The show's popularity has to be synonymous with that of its lead Frank Underwood, played by the inimitable Hollywood treasure that is Kevin Spacey. The actor layered his deceptive character with multiple shades, rendering a complex and conflicted individual who's hard to read and even harder to comprehend. When Spacey was dropped from the multiple Emmy Award-winning series following sexual harassment charges, it was as if the show lost its soul. They say you don't know what you've got till it's gone and it's a phrase that rang true for House of Cards in more ways than one. Spacey was replaced on the show in the sixth season, and the episodes of the said season had to be cut from 13 to 8 to accommodate the alterations made to the storyline. This resulted in massive losses for the makers of the Netflix series. So it's hardly surprising that Spacey was ordered by a court in 2021 to pay a sum of 31 million dollars as reparation to the makers of the show for his forced exit, following sexual misconduct charges.

Well that's the OTTplay Listy hai toh hit hai episode for today, until the next one it's your host Nikhil signing out.

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Written by Kunal Guha and Ryan Gomez