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Top 10 Actors Who Were Fired from Hit TV Shows

VO: Matthew Wende
Written by Nathan Sharp Well, so much for that show. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 actors who were fired from hit TV shows. For this list, we’re looking at those actors and actresses who were reportedly fired from famous TV shows for any number of reasons. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Well, so much for that show. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 actors who were fired from hit TV shows.

For this list, we’re looking at those actors and actresses who were reportedly fired from famous TV shows for any number of reasons.

#10: Janet Hubert
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990-96)

After 73 episodes as Will Smith’s feisty aunt Viv, Janet Hubert left “The Fresh Prince” – and it’s unclear exactly what led to her termination. Some reports say her pregnancy was a factor; others say salary negotiations broke down – but whatever the case, she and Smith haven’t been shy about blaming each other. Will claims that Janet grew resentful of him because he was young and successful. Janet says that Will was rude and egotistical, and when she confronted him about it, Will misread it as hostile. After what she described as a “feud with network officials,” she was fired and replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. So, don’t expect a Hubert-Smith reunion anytime soon.

#9: Columbus Short
“Scandal” (2012-)

Short played Harrison Wright on “Scandal” for three seasons before his character was abruptly killed off. This stemmed from behind the scenes difficulties that eventually resulted in his termination. Short made headlines due to his legal and domestic issues, which included being charged with misdemeanor spousal battery and having a restraining order filed against him after he threatened his wife with a knife. At the time, he was also battling an addiction to cocaine and alcohol, which apparently further fueled his destructive tendencies. All this was enough for the show’s producers, and Short was let go after the third season.

#8: Lisa Bonet
“The Cosby Show” (1984-92) & “A Different World” (1987-93)

Lisa Bonet became a household name in the 1980s by portraying Denise Huxtable, Cliff and Clair’s second child. But off camera, Bonet had a history of being unprofessional and late to tapings, so her character was moved to her own series, “A Different World.” However, around the same time, she also appeared nude in a risqué film, and would soon announce her pregnancy with husband Lenny Kravitz. While there are conflicting reports about whether she left the spinoff on her own or if she was written out of the college-based series, she did eventually go back to “The Cosby Show.” However, the old issues didn't go away, and Bonet was removed again due to “creative differences” in season seven.

#7: Selma Blair
“Anger Management” (2012-14)

Charlie Sheen and sitcoms seem to be a recipe for drama. Selma Blair starred in 53 episodes of Sheen’s comeback series “Anger Management,” portraying his love interest and therapist Kate Wales. Despite tensions onset stemming from Sheen’s allegedly not-so-great work ethic, those involved in the show remained silent. That is, everyone except Blair, who vocally complained about the star to the producers. When Sheen got word about her complaints, he threatened to walk away from the show should Blair remain employed. Since Sheen was the show’s main draw, Blair was quickly fired to appease him.

#6: Jeremy Clarkson
“Top Gear” (2002-)

After filming a Top Gear segment in 2015, Clarkson got in an argument with one of the show's producers, Oisin Tymon, over the food situation. Frustrated, Clarkson punched Tymon, and since he was already on thin ice due to other – non-violent – incidents, he was subsequently suspended and his contract with the BBC was not renewed. Clarkson’s termination made headlines around the world, not only because it put “Top Gear”’s future in jeopardy, but because his manner of dismissal was extremely controversial, with a Change.org petition supporting him reaching over one million signatures. However, the BBC stuck to their guns, and Clarkson was not reinstated.

#5: Thomas Gibson
“Criminal Minds” (2005-)

When you land a syndicated show like “Criminal Minds,” your career is pretty much set. That is, unless you cause problems and get yourself fired. Gibson caused many problems, like the time he reportedly got into an altercation and allegedly pushed an assistant director, leading him to anger management counseling. Soon after this, he was directing an episode when he allegedly got into a heated debate with one of the show’s writers and executive producers and kicked them in the shin out of frustration. Gibson was suspended and subsequently fired and, in order to explain his character’s abrupt absence, he was entered into the Witness Protection Program.

#4: Robert Downey Jr.
“Ally McBeal” (1997-2002)
It’s no secret that Robert Downey Jr. has faced some significant drug issues in his past. Not only did these issues affect his health and relationships, they also cost him at least one job. While suffering through numerous addictions and arrests, Downey was cast in “Ally McBeal,” a role that won him a Golden Globe for his performance and helped reinvigorate the show. However, Downey was arrested in April 2001 after he was found wandering the streets barefoot, and subsequent tests found cocaine in his system. This news was the last straw: the show’s producers quickly ordered rewrites and fired him from the show.

#3: Shannen Doherty
“Beverly Hills, 90210” (1990-2000) & “Charmed” (1998-2006)

Shannen Doherty was one of the ‘90s TV queens, appearing in both “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Charmed.” She also has a reputation in the industry for being incredibly difficult to work with, which led to her termination from at least one, if not both, of these shows. According to “90210” co-star Tori Spelling, Doherty’s diva behavior and constant fighting with actress Jennie Garth were abhorrent onset, so Spelling asked her father and the show’s co-creator, Aaron Spelling, to fire Doherty. She was also allegedly let go from “Charmed” after continuous spats with her co-star Alyssa Milano. Her boss this time around? Aaron Spelling.

#2: Charlie Sheen
“Two and a Half Men” (2003-15)

Charlie Sheen’s dismissal from “Two and a Half Men” is now a thing of television legend. The producers of the show saw his behavior as destructive and his demeanor as that of a very ill man. Things first came to a head when Sheen made derogatory remarks about his boss, Chuck Lorre. He called Lorre a “stupid little man,” a “contaminated little maggot,” and made comments that have been taken as anti-Semitic. After being banned from the TV studio lot, Sheen asked for a raise. This was the final straw for CBS and Warner Bros., and his contract was terminated soon after. Following this event, Sheen truly went off the deep end and the hashtags and memes began.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

- Suzanne Somers
“Three’s Company” (1977-84)

- John Amos
“Good Times” (1974-79)

Isaiah Washington
“Grey’s Anatomy” (2005-)

#1: Kevin Spacey
“House of Cards” (2013-)

In 2017, Kevin Spacey became one of the higher profile celebrities named during Hollywood’s sexual assault scandal. Actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of assaulting him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey responded not by admitting guilt, but by coming out of the closet – a move that outraged many. Pretty soon, crew members from “House of Cards” came forward admitting he’d made the set a “toxic” work environment, and had groped and made inappropriate comments towards male staffers. Before long, Netflix completely cut ties with Spacey, removing him from production of “House of Cards” and cancelling an upcoming project about Gore Vidal starring and directed by him.
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