Is Lethal Weapon bracing for another high-profile departure? At the Television Critics Assoc. winter press tour on Wednesday, new Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier addressed the possible exit of Damon Wayans.
Last fall, Wayans announced that he was leaving the series after he finishes filming the initial 13-episode order, citing his advancing age and his medical status as a diabetic: “I’m a 58-year-old diabetic, and I’m working 16-hour days.”
“Those comments predate me, but in speaking with the producers [and] with [Warner Bros,], I’m told that — and I think the show reflects it — that they’re walking in lock-step,” Collier told reporters. “I actually think that show has really hit its stride well.” Regarding a potential fourth season, the exec would only say that he’s been pleased with the show’s ratings performance “over the last few weeks.”
UPDATE: Appearing at TCA late Wednesday, Lethal Weapon EP Matt Miller weighed in on Wayans’ future with the series. “I think it’s going to be a conversation [and] a negotiation,” he told Deadline, “but I’m very hopeful that he will return.”
Shortly after Wayans made the surprise announcement, the network and producers agreed to accommodate the actor by adjusting his shooting schedule and providing special diabetic meals for him on set. In return, Wayans agreed to shoot the two extra episodes, bringing the total Season 3 order to 15. [He] was absolutely a delight from that moment on,” Miller told Deadline. “He was a joy and he loved being on the set.”
The Wayans flap was just the latest instance of behind-the-scenes turmoil for Lethal Weapon, which had to replace leading man Clayne Crawford after accusations of emotional abuse and an unsafe working environment. Crawford departed the show ahead of the current Season 3, which brought in Seann William Scott to play LAPD rookie Wesley Cole, a new foil for Wayans’ grizzled veteran Roger Murtaugh.