25 Times a TV Show Replaced a Departing Star With a New Character — Was It an Upgrade or a Flop?

Best TV Cast Replacements List

Cast changes on a long-running TV show are inevitable… but some work out better than others.

Plenty of classic series have had to fill a gaping void left by a main cast member leaving the show, whether due to contract dispute, firing or untimely tragedy. And often, they bring in a new character who’s clearly meant to play the same type of role the departing star did. Sometimes it leads to small-screen magic, like when Woody filled in seamlessly for Coach on Cheers. Other times… well, remember Coy and Vance on The Dukes of Hazzard?

So with Javicia Leslie’s first season replacing Ruby Rose as Batwoman well underway, we’re taking a look back at a couple dozen more instances where TV shows attempted to replace a departing star with a new character. (To be clear, we’re not talking about recasts here, where a new actor plays the same character. That’s a whole other list.) Then we went ahead and gave each replacement a letter grade, based on how well they filled in for the original. Some may have even been an upgrade… and some are better left unmentioned.

Read on to see our list of the most memorable TV cast replacements and find out how we graded them. Did we forget a big one? Be sure to scroll down to the comments and remind us.