"I am just happy that I am not working on that show every day. I know it hasn’t gotten any easier... It hasn’t had this epiphany and turned the corner. It’s not a happy ship, the good ship Voyager. If I had not gone there, I think I would have always wondered, ‘Maybe I should have gone. Maybe it would have worked out. Maybe I would have been involved in the new series. Maybe that was a missed opportunity.’ Now I know that none of that is true, that I didn’t miss out on any opportunities. It wasn’t going to be fun."
ALF had several problems during its run, mainly due to the difficulty in staging a show with a puppet (ALF) as the main star (in fact, the show was not shot in front of a live studio audience because of this). There was reportedly so much tension among the actors that one of the leads, Max Wright, simply walked off the set after the finale was shot and never said goodbye to anyone. He disliked the puppet, claiming that it got the best lines. Paul Fusco also was very particular about ALF, and disliked rehearsal. Even years later, Tina Fey discussed how, when working on NBC's 75th anniversary special, ALF's crew was very hard to work with.
Bewitched got some of this from Day 1. The show's very first rehearsal occurred on Nov 22, 1963: the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and production was slightly delayed as a result. Once production did get going, Dick York's famous troubles immediately became apparent. He was addicted to pain-killers as a result of a disabling back-injury he had experienced a few years before, and frequently came on set loopy and out of it, sometimes not at all. ABC executives wanted him fired from the very beginning, but the cast and crew fought to keep him in because of how well he performed his character, Darrin. After four seasons, this had gotten so bad, there were frequent episodes of Darrin doing nothing but laying in bed or not appearing at all. After the fifth season, he was finally fired following a seizure episode on-set. He was replaced with Dick Sargent for the rest of the series. Similar problems also happened with Alice Pearce, Irene Vernon, and Robert F. Simon who were all replaced for various reasons ranging from death (Pearce) to retirement (Vernon) to simply being unavailable (Simon).
It's something of a miracle that Charmed managed to last eight seasons, given how rocky the road was almost from the start.
The show's creator, Constance M. Burge, left after season 2 (though stayed on as an Executive Consultant until season 5) because she disagreed with the introduction of Cole Turner. Season 2 had been taken up with a love triangle between Piper, Dan, and Leo, and Burge didn't want Season 3 to be dominated by a love story too.
During the third season, tension between actresses Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano was reportedly incredibly heated. Doherty ultimately left the show during the break between seasons 3 and 4, something which had also happened for similar reasons on her previous show Beverly Hills 90210. This forced the writers to kill off Prue offscreen, and Doherty later denied producers any rights to use archive footage of her on the show. Her image was also never used on the show again, as it would reportedly cost $8,000 just for a picture of her. As a result of this, it took much longer for the first three seasons to come out on DVD, and an action figure of Prue was never made.
Holly Marie Combs, good friends with Doherty, was rumoured to want to leave the show after season 3 as well, but forced to stay by contract.
After Doherty left, Rose McGowan was brought in as Paige, a long-lost Halliwell sister to replace Prue. She revealed in an interview that she thought the role would only last two seasons (the length of her initial contract), and did not expect to become a series regular for five seasons. She was also incredibly unhappy at how her character was being written in the fifth season, supposedly angrily going to the writers and saying "Paige isn't a ho!", which was fixed afterwards. She has been quoted as saying "each year, Charmed would get renewed and each year I would cry."
The lead actresses were incredibly unhappy with the increasingly stripperiffic outfits the sisters would be forced to wear. The sisters would frequently be transformed into various magical creatures that would require a different skimpy outfit (mermaid, genie, Valkyrie, wood nymph etc.) and before the eighth season went to producers to protest against it. The show's costume designer for five years was fired and replaced with a new one, the sisters' clothing becoming a little more modest.
For the final season, the network slashed the budget in half. As a result, series regular Dorian Gregory was Put on a Bus and Brian Krause had to be temporarily written out for ten episodes. The network also demanded new cast members be brought on, leading to the creation of Billie — a character intended for a spin-off that never happened (due to negative fan reactions). Shannen Doherty was not even asked to appear in the finale episode and a picture was not even used due to the costs. Producers claimed they would have had to drop one or two of the returning cast members had they used a picture of Doherty.
Cheers was a pretty non-troubled production until the final season (season 11) rolled around.
Running out of ideas, writers started focusing a lot more on the flaws of the characters in order to create comedic tension.
Near the middle of the season, lead actor Ted Danson announced that it would be his final season. The writers approached Woody Harrelson to take over as the lead actor, but he declined unless Danson stayed on. Other actors were also starting to grow bored of their roles and wanted out of the series, too, forcing the writers to hustle their resources together to write in an ending that made sense. As the season came to a close, many characters were given closure that seemed to come almost out of nowhere. Lillith's actress, Bebe Neuwirth, also strangely disappeared mid-season and made very few appearances.
The final episode was set to be filmed and Shelly Long was brought back. The writers had a minor feud over whether to allow Diane and Sam to be together. Shoots took so long that Long had to go back to her other commitments, and the episode's closing scene in the bar was filmed without her. The scene was also done in secret without a studio audience, meaning a laugh track had to be added after the fact. The final episode proved to be one of the most watched and remembered series finales in television history.
Then there's the matter of Kelsey Grammer's substance abuse, which took a spike in this season. Costars noticed that he was oddly difficult to work with and would often be nearly catatonic between takes. After several intervention attempts, Grammer finally got help. He would ultimately not make a full recovery until the early seasons of the spinoff Frasier.
It started as a case of getting Screwed by the Network. In 2008, Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert abruptly died at NBC's Washington bureau from a heart attack. Russert had been a champion of Olbermann's show and defended it against NBC executives who did not like Olbermann's message and/or style.note Olbermann stated in a 2006 C-SPAN interview that there were people within NBC and GE who did not want the Bush Administration to be criticized "at all", but left him alone because his program was proving profitable. Without Russert to act as a buffer, Olbermann's enemies within NBC began trying to turn Olbermann's colleagues against him, including Rachel Maddow.
In 2010, Olbermann made hefty donations to three congressional candidates ahead of the November midterm election, in reported violation of an MSNBC policy barring personalities from doing so. Olbermann was subsequently suspended indefinitely. A fierce backlash from Olbermann's viewers — some of whom noted that conservative MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough had made similar donations with no repercussions from the network — forced MSNBC to allow Olbermann back by the end of the week. Over the following months, Olbermann's relations with MSNBC deteriorated.
On January 21, 2011, Olbermann was told about forty minutes into his newscast that he had been released from his MSNBC contract. In his quickly improvised farewell speech, Olbermann thanked his viewers and staff, but notably neglected to mention MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC News President Steve Capus.note Contrary to online rumor at the time, Comcast — which had taken control of MSNBC and its parent and sister companies days before Olbermann's firing — had nothing to do with this outcome.
Several months later, in June 2011, it was announced that Olbermann had been hired by the independent progressive network Current TV, and would relaunch Countdown and air it in his old timeslot. On top of getting his show back, Olbermann and Current TV worked out a deal where Olbermann would wield considerable power as the network's chief news officer, and also own an equity stake. He also got a new studio and several well-known pundits and celebrities as contributors. He was slated to become Current TV's signature primetime anchor. The premiere drew more viewers than CNN. Quick fix, right?
...But within the year, the new Countdown devolved into a mess. Olbermann thought that Current TV engaged in Executive Meddling and was threatening to leave the network by November 2011. Current TV, for its part, felt that Olbermann was an unbearable Prima Donna who was abusive to executives and crew. Production values became an issue (the network promised a High Definition studio and simulcast channel it never delivered), and Olbermann started airing shows completely in the dark to cut costs. Then he refused to come to work even for major news events, causing David Shuster to fill in for extended periods of time. In March 2012, Current TV decided to cut Olbermann loose and terminated his contract.
In the end, despite a court settlement, it was an affair where everyone lost. MSNBC's ratings have been more or less fluctuating since Olbermann's exit. Current TV, now unable to bank on Olbermann's star power, was eventually sold to Al Jazeera. Olbermann returned to ESPN to commentate on sports events and host a weeknight show (which airs on a fluid time slot), but has stated that his days as a political commentator are over.
The first shoot of the 2005 revival series of Doctor Who was a very troubled affair. The full details have never been made public, but by all accounts the director set about making himself unpopular, and after the first week of shooting they managed to be three weeks behind schedule.
Christopher Eccleston has since implied in interviews that tensions on-set were among the reasons he decided to quit the show after the first series. He has returned to film and theater, and speaks fondly of his fans from the show, but did not participate in any of the events or episodes in the run-up to the show's 50th anniversary.
In a less tense version of this, Russell T Davies had never managed a Sci-Fi series before, and didn't really know how to properly budget it. This led him to blow the majority of the first series' budget on its second episode, "The End of the World". While the rest of the series did struggle a little because of it, the show was already a guaranteed success from the revival's initial episode. It does show, with rather limited sets during the rest of the series. Though Series 1 is mainly fondly remembered even people who liked it have criticised the rather limited settings.
The 1992-93 BBC soap opera Eldorado is widely regarded as one of the biggest misfires in the corporation's history, and many of the reasons for the audience apathy that led to its getting the axe after just one year can be traced back to a very troubled production.
Eldorado began life as Little England, a series about a community of British expats struggling to maintain a sense of national and cultural identity on Spain's Costa del Sol. Creator Tony Holland, who had given the BBC its first hit soap opera in decades in EastEnders, submitted the idea for a competition held by the corporation to solicit ideas for a new soap opera to compete with commercial rival ITV's long-running audience magnets Coronation Street and Emmerdale, at a time when the BBC's audience share was lagging behind ITV and the government was considering turning it over to private ownership. At a November 1991 meeting, BBC1 controller Jonathan Powell and two other executives approved Little England to enter production.
Problems set in almost immediately. Holland was paired with EastEnders producer and longtime friend Julia Smith, who would handle the production while Holland and EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan handled the scripts. They had just six months to put the series together for its premiere, and decided to build the sets on a remote Spanish hillside miles from the nearest city, Fuengirola. Where EastEnders' Albert Square had been built in eight months and in Englandnote The construction site doubled as the set for the first series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet., the Spanish construction crew had just half that time to build the more ambitious Little England set, which featured an authentic old town with a church, a shopping plaza, and the British expats' apartment complex. Construction quickly fell behind schedule, so that when shooting began, they had to rewrite the scripts to use the sets that were available until construction finished.note Following the series' cancellation, the sets were abandoned for many years before being converted into a hotel complex.
Producer Julia Smith took charge of casting; she often gambled on casting unknowns, and while this had paid off on EastEnders (with, for example, Leslie Grantham as "Dirty" Den Watts), she seemed to aim lower for Little England. Though some of the actors, such as Campbell Morrison, Patricia Brake, and Faith Kent, were seasoned veterans, many others had little or no prior acting experience and/or a weak grasp of English; most notably, German student and timeshare salesman Kai Maurer, who had never acted before in his life and didn't even know what a readthrough was until he participated in one with the rest of the cast, was cast as windsurfing instructor Dieter after a single five-minute audition. Campbell Morrison recalled in an interview that, at the first readthrough, a director came to him with a message from Julia Smith telling him his reading was too over-the-top broad Scots; Morrison replied that he was the least of Smith's worries.
Then, Executive Meddling began to strangle the production. With British television now reaching audiences all over Europe, Smith, under pressure from BBC executives, told Holland and Jordan that they had to place more emphasis on the non-British characters. Over time, further non-British characters were added to the cast, characters Holland and Jordan had no idea how to write for (or even which language they should use - English, which was unrealistic, or their native languages, which British audiences wouldn't understand). Finally, the BBC told Holland the title, Little England, might put off audiences in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and ordered the series re-christened Eldorado.
When filming finally started in late spring of 1992, the sets were still not finished, and the shooting schedule was organised so that five weeks of episodes would be ready to air when the series premiered in July. Scenes were shot at breakneck speed, done in single takes except in the event of major line flubs or technical malfunctions, and with no time for the crew to reflect on whether or not a scene should be re-written or dropped altogether. As the sets were mostly stone walls and tiles, the sound had heavy echo problems that could not be resolved before the episodes were due to air. Tony Jordan recalled in an interview that the first time he attended a day's shooting, the scene being shot bore almost no resemblance to the scenes he and Tony Holland had written. The increasingly stressed Holland and Julia Smith, whose working relationship had already had many fractious moments over the years, turned on each other and fell out permanently.
The series was launched in a blitz of publicity, and Eldorado began airing three times a week starting on 6 July 1992. Although ITV tried to "strangle the series at birth" by airing an hour-long episode of Coronation Street at the same time, the first episode drew an audience of over eight million, but by the third episode, this figure had dropped to five million, and to barely half that figure six weeks later. The press attacked the series mercilessly, finding the characters without believability (the central plot from the premiere, in which a middle-aged restaurateur returns from a trip back to England with his new 17-year-old wife, was particularly criticised), the acting amateurish, and the handling of the international cast (when they spoke in their native languages, there were no subtitles; when they spoke in English, they had almost impenetrable or comically over-the-top accents) laughable.
Because of the heavy investment of licence-payer money in the series, the BBC tried to salvage it as best they could with a change of personnel. Julia Smith was the first to go (ostensibly due to ill health; she died five years later), replaced by another EastEnders producer in Corinne Hollingworth. She scrapped the idea of scenes in languages other than English without subtitles, chose not to renew the contracts of over half a dozen cast members (including Kai Maurer), and held the writing to a higher standard. Tony Holland left voluntarily not long after, utterly disillusioned with how far the series had deviated from his original vision.
Although the remaining cast and crew felt the changes to the scripts and the production were a dramatic improvement and ratings began to rise again, the damage had been done, and the appointment of John Birt as BBC Director General in late 1992 and Alan Yentob as BBC1 controller a few months later sounded the death knell for the series. The last episode aired on 9 July 1993; it was fifteen years before the BBC commissioned another new soap opera (the similarly short-lived Australia-set Out of the Blue). Tony Holland never wrote for British television again, and the once stellar reputation of executive producer Verity Lambert (who, thirty years earlier, had been a central figure in the creation of Doctor Who) never quite recovered (although she did go on to produce several series of Jonathan Creek).
Family Feud also had its share of backstage troubles from original host Richard Dawson, particularly in the later years. Namely, he was a prima donna who was often at odds with the producer, even barring him from the set and debating with him on answers. Mark Goodson once remarked that Dawson gave him "tsoris" (Yiddish for "trouble").
Growing Pains started having problems when its lead actor, Kirk Cameron, became a born-again Christian during the height of the show's popularity. He caused creative problems, objecting to the smallest suggestion of innuendo. He even got his co-star Julie McCullough fired, because she had posed naked for Playboy.
In its final years, the original run of The Hollywood Squares taped in Las Vegas. According to Word of God, these episodes were troubled because Paul Lynde was upset with the lodging accommodations, and his mood was bringing down everyone else.
The short-lived 1983 ABC sitcom It's Not Easy was originally supposed to debut in the 1982 season. The series (about a divorced couple living across from each other to make visitation easier on the kids) was originally intended to star Gerald McRaney (who was available because his show Simon And Simon was on the bubble in terms of possible cancellation) and Larry Breeding. The pilot was shot; but soon after CBS announced they were picking up Simon and Simon (thus removing McRaney from the production, with former The White Shadow star Ken Howard replacing him while the series was taken off the fall schedule. Then, on September 28, 1983, Larry Breeding was killed in a car accident, with the show held back until the 1983 season (by which time game-show host Bert Convy had replaced Breeding).
In the late summer of 1993, with Michael Jackson having just launched the Asian leg of his Dangerous tour, the rest of the Jackson family was preparing a Jackson Family Honors pretaped television Award Show / charity benefit for December that would feature most of the family (plus other acts like Dionne Warwick and Celine Dion) performing their hits and presenting a pair of humanitarian awards to Berry Gordy and Elizabeth Taylor. And then...
The family's press conference announcing the show doubled as a show of public support for Michael in the wake of a 13-year-old boy accusing him of child molestation. In the wake of this, NBC postponed the show to the following February, while Michael prematurely ended his tour due to drug problems that necessitated an overseas stay in rehab. Michael returned to the U.S. at the end of '93, and settled out of court with his accuser in January 1994.
The show was set to go at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada rather than the originally announced Atlantic City, New Jersey. While this was something of a step up (the MGM Grand being a shiny-new venue at the time), there were issues with the guest list. The Jacksons wanted Oprah Winfrey, who had interviewed Michael for a blockbuster ABC special the previous February, to host the show, but she turned them down. And Black Sheep of the family La Toya, who claimed that she'd seen evidence suggesting Michael was a pedophile, wanted to participate. She claimed she was barred from the event and her husband Jack Gordon threatened to sneak her into it, but that didn't happen. (Years later she recanted her claims and was accepted back into the family.)
Neither Michael or Janet were willing to lodge with the rest of the family; each stayed elsewhere on the Strip. In fact, she only performed one number at the show and promptly left the venue altogether.
The show was held in the hotel-casino's arena; according to the Christoper Andersen book Michael Jackson Unauthorized the tickets, priced as high as $350, sold so poorly that 3,500 freebies were given away. Even then, hours before showtime the organizers rounded up young people to act as seat-fillers and Michael supporters via premade placards.
Interview footage with two attendees reveals that the show started 90 minutes late due to an extensive security check at the doors to the arena that kept audience members from getting to their seats.
The big climax was effectively Michael's presentation of Elizabeth Taylor's award. Trouble continued there — a heckler asked why he'd paid his accuser off, a comment that was edited out for the television broadcast. Then the whole segment went awry when she explained to the audience, who was clamoring for him to perform, that he didn't have anything prepared. She then had to discourage them from booing, all of which was included in the broadcast version. He did participate in the most-of-the-family finale, but that was it.
According to a Los Angeles Times article, the show raised $4.5 million, but only $100,000 of it went to charity. Several hundred thousand dollars' worth of the ticket money had to be refunded to upset patrons who paid full price for tickets that were heavily discounted by showtime. The Jacksons were also slow to pay the people who put the show on, and MGM Grand officials claimed to have been stiffed on the room service, wardrobe, and limousine bills they racked up.
The original 1980s version of the game show Lingo was put out by a production company that failed to pay most of its contestants due to financial difficulties. The same producer, Ralph Andrews, also had this hit on another show, a game show version of Yahtzee, around the same time.
The shooting of the pilot episode of LOST was interrupted by constant rain, resulting in their set getting flooded and some of the equipment washed away and/or waterlogged. They had to drive to the nearest town, which was something like half an hour away, to buy hairdryers to dry off the cameras. In addition, natural rain doesn't show up properly on camera, meaning they had to fake rain all over their poor actors at the same time as trying to keep equipment from getting washed away. Then there was the other problem they had just before shooting; Evangeline Lily, who is Canadian, had some problems with getting her work visa, causing them to delay her scenes and almost have to recast the female lead in the middle of shooting.
The hugely-successful Moonlighting was fraught with production delays and on-set issues, to the point that its problems were lampshaded by ABC in an ad campaign:
While it was being produced, the series was one of the most expensive television programs ever made. As a result of overlapping, fast-paced dialogue between the main characters, the scripts often ran up to 120 pages, it cost more than $1.5 million dollars to film each episode, and production was almost always behind schedule (not helped by series creator Glenn Caron, who would often rewrite dialogue on-set during filming).
The well-known episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" cost a then-unheard of $2 million to film and took 16 days to shoot, largely due to Caron's insistence that the filming use actual black-and-white film instead of shooting in color then decolorizing it. Even then, ABC was displeased with the episode and, fearing backlash from fans who wouldn't understand the concept, had a disclaimer run before the episode informing viewers of the filming change.
Cybill Shepherd (who played Maddie Hayes) was reportedly burned out by the long filming times and production issues, coupled with the fact that she would be receiving new script pages the day they were to be filmed. Not helping matters was the fact that Caron blamed her for the delays in production, referring to her as a star who "already reached the top of the mountain". Things got to the point where, in the fourth season, Caron reportedly left the production for good because of the tension between Shepherd and himself, arguing that he believed the network would pick her over him if it came down to a corporate decision.
Bruce Willis (who played David Addison), by contrast, started out the series being very friendly to Shepherd and the production crew. However, once Die Hard became a smash hit, he realized he was meant for a movie career and became detached from the job, as well as had a strained working relationship with Shepherd.
The production delays were so severe that ABC ran an ad campaign showing network executives waiting for new episodes to appear at their company headquarters. Further production delays (including Shepherd leaving production to give birth to twins and Willis suffering from a skiing accident) only exacerbated the problem.
When Shepherd returned from her post-pregnancy break, the writers forced her character into a storyline where she spontaneously married a random man she met on a train (in a bid to recreate the tension between David and Maddie), despite Shepherd herself vehemently protesting it. This led to a further ratings decline, and the series' eventual cancellation at the end of its fifth season.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 isn't perfect, being a series that brings big laughs with a small budget, but they do have some very interesting incidents.
Back in Season Two, there was The Sidehackers. Prior to this episode, Best Brains would choose a movie, someone would watch over part of it and if was worthy to riff, they'd go through it. When Frank Conniff found it, he thought it was good enough to riff on and the rights were acquired for it. Imagine their shock and horror when, partway through, there was a rape and murder scene. Unable to pull back, Best Brains ended up lopping out the entire scene and Trace, as Crow, added in a throwaway line mentioning what happened to the girl who suffered that fate. Not surprisingly, the production team decreed that they would watch the whole film before committing themselves to shooting an episode based on it in future.
The blooper reel Poopie! does show a number of incidents that has the Crow, Tom and Gypsy puppets malfunction in some way, mostly by Tom losing his dome or Crow's headnet falling off. One incident from the movie Danger Death Ray had a scene where Tom shoots Crow with a ray gun and Crow's seen lit up. As the scene comes to an end, Crow bursts into flames! The scene was actually kept in!
Another Poopie! blooper from The Hellcats episode showed that Frank couldn't say "I don't fink on soul brother" with a straight face at all! It was so bad, that they grabbed the best take and cut just before he and Trace burst out laughing.
The Sci-Fi Channel years suffered heavily from Executive Meddling. Sci-Fi executives demanded a recurring storyline, much to the crew's chagrin, and initially limited their movie output to Universal titles. The restrictions were relaxed somewhat for the final season.
Pitfall, a short-lived game show hosted by Alex Trebek. The production company had trouble paying contestants their winnings, and even stiffed Alex on his salary — he still has the bounced check from the production company framed in his living room.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: season one hit its troubles when it turned out the series was popular, forcing Saban to rewrite the original finale, "Doomsday", to keep going and had them approach Toei to make new Ranger-centric scenes. The original plan was to create what became known as "Zyu2" and "Zyu3", which would have had a set of new Ranger and monster fights as well as a second season with updated Dinozords (which would be the original Thunderzords). However, Zyu2 proved to be WAY too costly and Saban was forced to take up footage from Gosei Sentai Dairanger to pay for Zyu2note The original idea was to just pull out Kibaranger and use it for White Ranger portions. Instead, they also used monsters and scenes with the Dairanger's units. and spliced it with their Zyu2 footage. When the Zyu2 footage ran out, they also retired the Green Ranger character and ended up changing him into the White Ranger. By this time, Austin St. John, Walter Jones, and Thuy Trang (Jason, Zack, and Trini) were let go because of contract disputes and were replaced midway. When the Dairanger footage ran out, they replaced that footage with mecha footage from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger.
Also when Production ran longer than expected for the movie, production was forced to film the tv series in Australia leading to heavy use of stock footage for scenes that required sets they at the time didn't have access to such as the command center.
While it wouldn't be revealed for nearly 2 decades, David Yost's departure from Power Rangers Zeo was the result of heavy verbal abuse from producers due to his homosexuality. Yost has denied that any of this abuse had come from his fellow cast members.
When Steve Cardenas decided to quit the series following Power Rangers Zeo to focus on his own dojo, he was replaced with Blake Foster in an attempt to garner new viewers. Didn't work.
Jason David Frank and Catherine Sutherland asked to leave the series for other pursuits. They were given a shortened contract, giving them enough time to find replacements. Instead, it was decided to jettison everyone connected to the original group, including Zordon and Alpha 5, replacing them with cryptic mentor Dimitria and jive-talking Alpha 6. As well, all four pre-Turbo Rangers were replaced with new characters (Johnny Yong Bosch said in one interview that they didn't know this was happening until they saw an ad for auditions for their jobs in the paper).
There is a bit of irony with Bosch as when he Cardenas and Ashely didn't know they were replacing anybody when they were auditioning let alone actually playing rangers (they only knew it was for Power Rangers) and didn't find out until they were hired.
Arguments between the writing team members as they weren't sure what to do with Gekisou Sentai Carranger's slapstick comedy moments and if they should embrace it or continue with their apocalyptic storyline.
Power Rangers in Space hit a snag early on due to a misunderstanding with Toei. When they learned of the season following Carranger, Denji Sentai Megaranger, Saban believed that it would be a space-faring series. They were taken off-guard, though, when they found out that Megaranger turned out to be a video game-themed series. Caught in the same problem as they were last season, they opted to keep going, creating new scenes to show off-world and alien world battles.
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Creators were dismayed when they found out all the mecha scenes from Seijuu Sentai Gingaman all took place in cities, scuttling plans for space battles. When the actress playing Pink Ranger Kendrix was stricken with leukemia, she was planned to have been replaced by Cassie, the Pink Ranger of Power Rangers in Space (even a plot hook where her morpher was damaged was filmed), but was scuttled due to contract problems note Patricia Ja Lee's contract stated that, playing as a main character, she had to get top billing in the credits instead of as a guest of some sort. However, Saban was reluctant due to the fact that they weren't sure about Valerie Vernon's fate and were forced to back down. and she was replaced by Karone, the former Astronema. Fortunately, this worked out really well.
Additionally, scripts were constantly being rewritten, and at times, the producers weren't sure what exactly they wanted to do with the season. This is particularly evident when the Lost Galaxy, the season namesake, was reduced to an eight-episode mini-arc near the end of the season.
The "Lights of Orion" arc suffered horribly, to the point where scripts for episodes were still being written DURING THE FILMING OF SAID EPISODES.
Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: While the show overall didn't seem to suffer massive issues, the team-up with the previous season... On top of drawing heavily on Sentai footage from the counterpart team-up special, which is rarely done for any team-up, given the diverging plots between Power Rangers and Super Sentai, it was originally released as a video tie-in for McDonald's, explaining why the episode focused more on a child actor than, say, the two teams teaming up. Amy Miller, the actress who portrayed the villain Trakeena, left the set shortly after filming began when she learned that the Lost Galaxy characters were essentially cameos in their own team-up and was replaced by another actress. While he remained for filming, Danny Slavin, who played the Red Lost Galaxy Ranger, is audibly redubbed with the voice of another actor at points.
Power Rangers Wild Force: The anniversary episode "Forever Red" was rife with problems. Originally conceived as a cult attempting to revive Dark Specter, the need to use abandoned Beetleborgs costumes and the want of a super weapon led to the usage of the Machine Empire and Serpentera. Scenes were filmed and cut out (including a bigger role for the Wild Force team outside of their brief cameo) and a major battle between classic Megazords and Serpentera were scuttled when Bandai insisted that Cole use a vehicle he gained just an episode earlier, leading to a Curbstomp Battle.
Also on "Forever Red," Leo's actor had been dissatisfied with his show's treatment in their crossover on Lightspeed Rescue, and only agreed to do it after most of the episode had already been shot. Hence his very late arrival, and the awkward bit where he demorphs just so the big morphing sequence can include all ten Rangers.
Power Rangers Dino Thunder: Not as bad as most, but Jason David Frank wanting to spend some time back with his family and run his martial arts school in the United States forced them to create a scenario where Tommy is trapped in his morphed state, then invisible. Like the Karone incident, it did lead to an Awesome Moment. Production also had to change course when Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger's apparent Sixth Ranger, AbareMax, turned out to be a powerup for the Red Ranger instead of giving the powers to Devon as reportedly planned.
Power Rangers S.P.D.: Executive Meddling led to a good chunk of the series' budget being placed onto the series finale, which had a major CGI battle between the SWAT Megazord and the Bigger Bad. However, this led to them being unable to do a number of things, including hiring an actor for Sixth Ranger Sam, the Omega Ranger. As well, many episodes were taken wholesale from itsSuper Sentai counterpart Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. When Canada accidentally aired the second crossover episode between SPD and Dino Thunder, ABC held back that part for a good length of time before finally letting it air.
Speaking of that episode, budget problems led to them to not even consider bringing back Jason David Frank who was back in the states. Frank has stated he was never asked to return. He was never seen out of suit suit and his voice was shemped by Trent's actor Jeffery Parazzo. This is a further sign of budget issues that they didn't even get a new voice actor to fill in and had Parazzo fill in since he was already on hand.
As a whole, the Disney-era Rangers series suffered from Troubled Production. It was bought up when Disney attempted to get the Fox Family Channel and Saban's collection of series (specifically Digimon) and the series as a whole clashed with Disney's family-friendly attitude. While they did show some care during the early years, their apathy started to show. They attempted to shut down the series at least three times, start up an animated version of the series and even attempted to gain control of Toei's Super Sentai franchise to make it less violent!
Once he became executive producer of The Price Is Right in the 1980s, Bob Barker was often at odds with the models, having fired six of them for various reasons. All six of them sued him for sexual harassment. He also barred longtime announcer Rod Roddy from appearing on-camera in the early 2000s due to a salary dispute, which led to Fremantle Mediacovering up by saying that they'd enacted a policy to keep announcers from appearing on camera.
The Highlander television series had its own spin-off: The Raven. The show went through a lot of mutations, beginning as a totally unrelated script and eventually settling on a Distaff Counterpart played by one of Highlander's supporting characters (Amanda Gracen). A combination of pressure from the producers (the star of Highlander: The Series was in a hurry to leave), poor casting choices, a healthy dollop of Mood Whiplash, and a lack of direction marred the project. In the DVD featurette, the creative genesis of Raven is a fog: No one had an idea where to take Gracen's greedy thief, a strange fit for a selfless heroine. Problems mounted as anathema grew between the two leads: Gracen had gotten involved with a French "Ambassador" who later turned out to be a fantasist (and a Bastard Boyfriend, to boot) and convinced her that Ken Starr has turned his cross-hairs from Monica Lewinsky to Elizabeth Gracen and that her co-workers were all CIA spies. And that's not even addressing the music composer who spent his days hitting bars instead of working, foreign investors who insisted on a Lighter and Softer tone for a series about lopping off heads, etc. The series wrapped up after 21 episodes, with a cliffhanger no less.
Bill Panzer (Executive Producer): I will take my share of the blame. I hope there are others who will stand up next to me.
The producers might have known something was up when Gracen came in to audition: her black hair had been cropped and dyed white, making her look like a Eurythmics-era Annie Lennox. No one thought twice about it, thinking it would be a good look for the character. (In actuality, Gracen had been disguising herself to elude the CIA.)
On its first day of airing, PAX (now Ion) had a movie-based quiz show called The Reel to Reel Picture Show, hosted by Peter Marshall. 200 episodes were ordered, but due to the production company going bankrupt, only 25 were made. In addition neither Peter, the celebrity guests, or any of the contestants were ever paid.
The problems seemed to start when, instead of being renewed for a second season, the series instead had its first season episode order doubled from 20 to 40. This is an unheard-of number for a scripted show; most American series don't exceed 24 episodes a season, with cable shows often having far less. (Even in the 1950s, when it was not uncommon for series to have upwards of 30 episodes per season, this would have been unheard of.) This meant that the cast and crew didn't get a break from their schedule and also didn't get to possibly renegotiate contracts between seasons.
This grueling schedule put a strain on everybody, with McCurdy and Grande both reportedly ready to move on. Both stars began showing up late on set, and McCurdy backed out of a planned appearance at the Kids Choice Awards in 2014, saying point-blank on Twitter the reason was the way she was treated by Nickelodeon. There was also the Contractual Purity of being young adults working at the kid-friendly Nickelodeon; Grande's music career has taken off, and McCurdy was struggling with personal problems, including losing her mother in late 2013 and the leak of several racy (though not explicit) photos.
Amidst all of this, the show wasn't renewed for a second season and instead was placed on "permanent hiatus", with all crew members let go apart from post-production to finish the episodes already filmed. Nick then officially cancelled the show.
"A Study in Pink", the Pilot Episode of Sherlock, was originally shot as a 60-minute one-off movie, supposedly at cost of almost a million pounds. There were rumors the BBC was going to junk it, and they did ... by asking Gatiss and Moffat to turn it into a series pilot instead. But that required making it longer, and they didn't think they could maintain a consistent feel since they couldn't get their original cinematographer back. So they shot the whole thing over.
The reshoot didn't go smoothly. It turned out to be during the coldest winter in Britain in 30 years, with many scenes taking place outdoors (and at night as well). Benedict Cumberbatch came down with what he thought was just the flu but turned out to be potentially life-threatening pneumonia, for which he had to be hospitalized. Not to be outdone, Martin Freeman fell while getting out of his ride to the set one day and broke his wrist, requiring that his hand be placed in a cast between takes.
Sliders exemplifies the former Sci-Fi Channel's penchant for production problems, along with hubris and arrogance on the cast's part, despite it being the channel's top-rated program at the time. Simply put, everyone on the cast or crew got screwed over at one time or another:
The first two seasons were fraught with behind-the-scenes battles between the Fox network and the production team. Fox wanted more episodes that had a greater emphasis on action and less continuity (so they could show them in any order they wanted), even putting the show on hiatus after the ninth episode of season 1. The production crew responded by forcing a cliffhanger at the end of said episode, to Fox's dismay. Later on, Fox canceled the series at the end of season 2, and it was only saved by a massive fan campaign.
Fox brass continually hounded co-creator Tracy Tormé throughout his tenure on the show. They tried to derail his plan to resolve the first-season cliffhanger, his input in season three was ignored by the production team when the series moved primary filming to Los Angeles, and he eventually left the show at the end of the third season.
John Rhys-Davies' controversial death in "Exodus" (via having his brains sucked out, being shot and then left to die on an exploding planet) was caused by behind-the-scenes issues. Rhys-Davies allegedly insulted then-producer David Peckinpah (while drunk) at a party hosted by Fox brass when the series first began. Later on, when Peckinpah was promoted and gained control of the series, he used this leverage to convince the network to fire the actor (via the release of his episode contract), and gave him the fate he endured in the episode.
Jerry O'Connell was originally planned to star in several episodes of the fifth season, but held up production for months while he tried to negotiate for an Executive Producer credit. While the network had already given him more perks than any of the other cast members, O'Connell wouldn't budge, and after hearing that his brother Charlie wouldn't be able to appear in all 18 episodes (as Charlie's character, Colin, was contingent on Jerry's character, Quinn), the brothers walked away from the table. Things got worse when the production team attempted to figure out a way to explain Quinn and Colin's absence from the show - Jerry wouldn't give up the use of his image or voice from the prior seasons, meaning that the producers had to make do with a pair of stunt doubles and a voice that is clearly not O'Connell's.
Kari Wuhrer's presence on the show in the third season caused massive friction between herself and Sabrina Lloyd. During a script-reading, Wuhrer made snide comments about Lloyd's engagement to one of the crew members, which caused Lloyd to break down and cry in her trailer, thus holding up production for hours. David Peckinpah (who first approached Wuhrer to star on the show) used this incident to spread lies about Sabrina costing the network money, and eventually told her point-blank that he would support Wuhrer and not her (prompting her to leave the series). Even worse, Peckinpah later twisted the knife by condemning Lloyd's character, Wade, to being raped in a Kromagg breeding camp - the only reason it didn't come off looking even worse is because the production staff led a Writer Revolt to change the plot to something more meaningful (via the introduction of the Humaggs).
Peckinpah himself was demoted to a consultant by the network out of spite because he had taken on a concurrent job as executive producer with another Universal Studios production called Turks. However, he often visited the Sliders set and ended up influencing the direction of the fifth season just as much as the previous ones.
While renewal rumors were still up in the air at the end of season five, Sci-Fi discovered that they didn't have the cash necessary to pay the actors' contracts for another season, and when fans emailed the company asking for information, Sci-Fi representatives emailed back that the show was cancelled because the actors wouldn't sign back on, conveniently ignoring the monetary issue.
Smash: Buzzfeed ran a long article shortly before the second-season premiere about how the show's first season was a, uh, smash in an entirely different sense of the word, requiring a major Retool:
The concept seemed great at first. Playwright and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck, who'd been a co-producer of NYPD Blue, had long tried to sell the idea of a TV series built around putting on a Broadway show. No one was interested until Robert Greenblatt, who's apparently also a theater geek, took over at NBC. The network's lagging ratings and need for something different made it likely her show would be picked up. Then he got Steven Spielberg interested. The $7.5 million pilot episode wowed audiences at the 2011 upfronts and was set to premiere in midseason.
Then things went to hell. Since Rebeck had never run a TV show before, the network and the studio brought in David Marshall Grant, who had the relevant experience, to be her assistant showrunner. She reportedly resented the idea she needed help, and immediately got paranoid, believing Grant was being set up to replace her eventually. Soon she was fighting regularly with not only him but the executives at the network and the studio.
Rebeck insisted on writing the next two episodes by herself. She also eschewed having a writers' room, preferring to work with the writers individually and then rewrite to her pleasure, a process that's worked on other shows. However, during that time, she and the other executives became preoccupied with fending off Spielberg's move to replace Megan Hilty.
They kept her, one of the few things that kept the show's quality up, but meanwhile the writing went off in weird directions. A subplot involving Julia's attempt to adopt a sister for her teenage son, Leo, began taking up a great deal of the show. It was kept in because it mirrored a similar event in Rebeck's own life, and even the network executives knew how personal it was to her and said nothing. Ellis, villainous assistant to Julia's writing partner Tom, somehow became a major character (because Spielberg loved him), as did Leo (whose actor, Emory Cohen, also survived an attempt to recast him). The writers couldn't give Julia any serious challenges to overcome because she was based on Rebeck herself, and naturally the showrunner portrayed her as totally heroic, even when she began having an adulterous affair that cost the character any sympathy she might have gained. Since there was no writers' room, and one hand didn't know what the other was doing, important character moments wound up being glossed over in episode after episode, to the point that the term "hatewatching" was coined when people tried to explain why they tuned in.
By the time the third episode was done it was obvious that the show was going the wrong way in a big hurry. Yet Rebeck wouldn't listen to anyone and refused to make any changes, no matter how long and loud they fought with her. Yet the executives, particularly Greenblatt, continued to involve themselves in even minor aspects of production, like the fabric for the Marilyn Monroe costume. His suggestions were actually, according to the writers and crew, useful, to the point that they were hoping Rebeck gave in. "You know it's bad when our last hope was the network," said one.
Looking back, it's hard not to sense art imitating life in the storyline itself. As part of the Season 2 retool, the show's perspective was evenly split between a) Bombshell, the massively-promoted (but unwieldy) Marilyn Monroe piece which, judging by the near-constant backstage strife, will finally debut sometime in 2024 AD, and b) Playlist, a hot off-Broadway property with a Younger and Hipper bent and creative backing from the ex-star and ex-director of Bombshell, both of whom were exiled. The Bombshell storyline was representative of Theresa Rebeck's camp; the Playlist half (where most of the show's improvements were) represented her network enemies.
If there's any single episode of TOS that suffered from this trope, it was "The Alternative Factor" during the first season. John Barrymore, Drew's father, had been cast as Lazarus, the main guest role ... and then didn't show up on the first day of filming. His agent and lawyer couldn't find him, so they cast someone else in a big hurry (Barrymore's absence led to him getting suspended by SAG for six months after Desilu filed a grievance). The beard for the replacement was improvised from what had been designed for Barrymore, and it shows. The script has howler lines like "Starfleet has been getting reports from all over the galaxy and far beyond..." It also had a subplot in which Lazarus became romantically involved with a black member of the crew — which admittedly seems out of place on the eve of universal Armageddon and didn't have much to do with anything. That was actually filmed ... and hastily edited out when NBC got paranoid about how the Southern affiliates would react, resulting in the finished episode's choppy feel.
Star Trek: The Next Generation had a similarly rough ride for its first couple of seasons, mostly due to Gene Roddenberry's declining health, spaced-out mental state and the ridiculously high turnover rate in the writing staff for the first two seasons. Roddenberry's lawyer took control of the writing staff for most of the first season (supposedly rewriting scripts, against Writers' Guild rules, at one point), leading to the departure of TOS mainstays David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana after he began retaliating against them for complaining about him. Near the end of the season cast member Denise Crosby, who got pissed off at being a glorified extra, also left. Things got a bit better for the second season where Maurice Hurley took over the writing staff, but since a lot of TV writers chose to sit out the whole 1988-89 season after the 1988 WGA strike it left no more than about four or five writers (two of whom worked as a team) working on the show at any one point. It didn't help that, according to Tracy Torme at least, Hurley didn't get along with anybody and only differed from Roddenberry's lawyer in that he actually had writing experience. There were also rumors that Hurley had a big crush on Gates McFadden and expressed it like any four-year-old would: he had her written out of the second season (replacing her with Dr. Pulaski) when she brushed him off. It wasn't until the third season, when Roddenberry's health wouldn't allow him to even work, which allowed Rick Berman and Michael Piller to gently steal control of the production and the show started to balance out.
Even by the standards of the first two seasons, the infamous episode "Code of Honor" stands out. One of the two original writers took his name off it after it was heavily rewritten, and that was before the director they hired chose to populate the aliens of the week entirely with African-American guest actors, whom he proceeded to treat like garbage (though apparently he didn't treat the main cast a whole lot better). Eventually Roddenberry decided enough was enough and canned the director, leaving the first assistant director to pick up the pieces for the remainder of the shoot... which just happened to include the episode's big action sequence. Most of the main cast members (Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton especially) have had some rather choice words about the episode in recent years.
Not to mention that many of the writers felt Roddenberry's rewrite put it beyond any chance of salvation. He had supposedly told one of the two original writers, on another episode, that the Enterprise doesn't fire warning shots ... only to add a scene in this episode where it did exactly that.
Just getting Star Trek: Voyager to air was incredibly problematic. Originally, Genevieve Bujold was to play Captain Janeway, but had no experience with a television schedule. Reportedly, there were also creative differences: Bujold had a habit of ad-libbing emotions and differing from the director's and producers' vision of the character. According to Rick Berman, no one on set believed she would last a week, but had been brought in by the studio as a 'name' actor for the role. On the second day of shooting, she walked off the set, and did not return. (Making at least one crew member in the betting pool extremely happy). This caused a chain reaction of problems: Robert Beltran, who had agreed to play Chakotay just to act alongside Bujold, was not a happy camper for the seven year run. The crew filmed what they could while trying to recast Janeway, but, being Star Trek, they sort of needed to have The Captain be prominent in the first episode. This led to production shutting down for two weeks. When they finally got Kate Mulgrew for the role, after viewing the rushes, they noted that the stage lighting didn't mix with Mulgrew's ginger hair, creating a blinding distraction in every shot. This prompted more reshoots (with a severe "bun" hairstyle on Mulgrew), most of them on-location, which were no longer available and thus more expensive. A favorite joke on set was wondering if the pilot would be finished before the series ended. Adjusted for inflation, Voyager's pilot cost more than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
But it was all worth it just to bring smiles to the fans' faces? Right? Actually, the debut of a female Captain provoked bomb threats.
In the writer's room, there was apparently a lot of friction over the direction of the series - some of the writers wanted to follow a more serialized pattern, others wanted an episodic approach. As everyone now knows, the latter prevailed: The first season introduced several story arcs that were either aborted or left untouched. The first attempt at a multi-episode character arc, in season two, with Tom Paris's erratic behavior and the traitor, was wrapped up in a manner most found unsatisfactory.
When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine concluded, Ronald Moore joined the writing staff on Voyager. He left after an episode and a half due to the atmosphere in the writer's room, where he specifically was told, when asked how to write a character, "we don't know, do whatever." This led to a falling out between him and former frequent writer partner (and head of writing staff) Brannon Braga, who took it personally whenever Moore disagreed with him on anything. Though in recent years, they appear to have patched things up.
According to one account, Jennifer Lien's departure from the show was a mix of tumultuous circumstances. During production of the "Scorpion" two-parter at the end of the third season, it was decided to bring on a new cast member. The producers didn't want to make the main cast go any higher than 9 members, and were considering cutting Harry Kim's actor, Garrett Wang (supposedly because he was known to be lazy and missed filming for several episodes). However, Garrett's inclusion in a People Magazine article in 1997 caused the producers to scramble to find someone else to fire, and the axe fell on Lien. Reportedly, she didn't even know she had been fired until she read the script for "The Gift", her farewell episode.
Garrett Wang also reportedly did not get along with executive producer Rick Berman. When he asked the latter why he wasn't promoted higher than his character's standard rank, Berman replied, "Well, someone's got to bethe ensign." Wang has also gone on record as stating that an early interview with a reporter caused Berman to deny him the chance to direct an episode purely out of spite.
The introduction of Seven of Nine created a whole new list of problems. Alongside Jennifer Lien's departure mentioned above, the writers quickly snapped up the opportunity to write for a new character after three years of the same ones. This pushed Seven of Nine to the front of the show and caused tensions on set towards actress Jeri Ryan. And none of this factors in the issues with her Future Spandex costume. Alongside being uncomfortable and delicate, it was downright dangerous, with the high collar pressing against Ryan's carotid artery and causing her to faint on set at least twice, alongside creating a production shutdown any time she needed to go to the bathroom (causing her to simply not drink and suffer from dehydration.)
It's not surprising that The Starlost turned out as badly as it did when you look at how things went behind the scenes:
Originally, it was pitched as a Fox-BBC coproduction but rejected by the BBC. The producers were able to salvage it by selling NBC and the Canadian CTV network on it (albeit at a lower budget than originally hoped for). An early potential problem—a writers' strike that was set to begin before Harlan Ellison could finish the show's bible—was averted when producer Robert Kline negotiated an exception with the Writers' Guild since the show was being produced in Canada to take advantage of tax credits available there.
The first serious problem was a Special Effects Failure. A camera system Douglas Trumbull was developing called Magicam that would have allowed moving shots of actors against a blue screen to be combined with models of the set simply did not work well enough to use. As a result the show had to rely on standard (for the time) stationary camera shots of the actors against the blue screen, which were less exciting.
They couldn't use full-size sets either, as the Canadian studio space was too small, so they had to rely on partial versions of the sets.
To fully avail themselves of the Canadian subsidies and credits, Canadian writers had to be involved. Ellison, back in LA, wrote outlines which the Canadian writers then fleshed out into scripts. With this distance from the process, and the low budget, it was inevitable that there would be changes at the production level—and that they would not be to Ellison's liking. Once he saw what was happening to the pilot episode, he quit and invoked the clause in his contract which allowed to slap his "Cordwainer Bird" pseudonym (meaning to all in the know that he disowned the product completely) on the script and bible. Supposedly this is his worst experience ever in TV and film (even more so than "The City on the Edge of Forever"), and he is still angry at the producers even after 40 years.
Ben Bova, also hired as science advisor, was similarly peeved at being ignored, so he quit not long thereafter, but couldn't take his name off the credits.
While the show was mercifully canceled after 16 episodes, Ellison and Bova salvaged something out of it. In the former's case, it was a Writer's Guild award for his original script for the pilot (novelized with a foreword by Ellison explaining just how badly the show was screwed up). Bova, after publishing a similarly-themed editorial in Analog, got the last laugh when he wrote a novel, The Starcrossed.
Three's Company got this so bad, a TV movie was made in 2003 about its troubled history.
It was stuck in the pilot stage for a long time. Peter Stone wrote one pilot set in New York that was never filmed. Larry Gelbart wrote another one set in North Hollywood that was filmed (with John Ritter, Valerie Curtain, and Suzanne Zenor), but not used when the show was ousted from ABC's fall schedule. CBS then offered to take the show, but ABC backtracked and agreed to air the show mid-season if the pilot was rewritten and reshot with a new cast. Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, and Bernie West wrote a third pilot script set in Santa Monica, and it was shot with John Ritter as Jack, Joyce DeWitt as Janet, and Susan Lanier as Chrissy (taking over for Denise Galick, who was fired two days before shooting). Executives disliked Lanier's portrayal of Chrissy, and producers were so desperate to find a new one, they basically fast-forwarded through all the audition tapes for the character before eventually settling on Suzanne Somers one day before she was supposed to be on-set. However, John Ritter was almost fired before the pilot taped again, with executives believing his performance was too effeminate. ABC's Fred Silverman successfully fought to keep Ritter on the show, and the pilot was shot a third time before it was finally on the air.
Suzanne Somers didn't get along with any of her co-stars, especially Joyce DeWitt. Once contract re-negotiations began in Season 5, she demanded a higher salary than her co-stars, feeling that her hotness was partly responsible for the show's success. When executives refused, her diva antics began. She frequently showed up on set late, and often not at all. It got so bad, the writers had to pen two versions of the scripts: one with Chrissy and one without Chrissy. This prompted producers to severely reduce her role in the show for the remainder of her contract. It was explained that her character had gone away to be with her sick aunt, and she only appeared in quick telephone scenes toward the end of each episode, shot alone at night/early morning with no studio audience, and away from her angry co-stars. Once her contract was up, producers refused to renew it, and her character completely vanished for the last few seasons with no explanation. Somers' relationship with the rest of the cast and crew was severely strained, and she never spoke to Joyce DeWitt for over 30 years.
Somers' replacements for the rest of the show didn't have it much better. Jenilee Harrison was brought on as Chrissy's cousin Cindy as a quick fill-in for Somers. While she got along well with the cast and crew, she was only seen as a temporary character, and her role got smaller and smaller until she was off the show for good. Priscilla Barnes (who played permanent new character Terri) had a miserable and "uncomfortable" time on set, and she asked to be released from her contract after taping only a couple episodes. The executives refused, and she remained on the show until the end, later referring to it as the worst experience of her life. Despite this however, she got along well with the cast and crew.
Norman Fell and Audra Lindley were screwed over when their characters were spun off into their own show, The Ropers, following the third season. Norman Fell was very uneasy about doing the spinoff because of the security he already had doing a regular sitcom. He came to a compromise, and he and Lindley were promised a return to Three's Company if The Ropers lasted less than a season. It did go on to last one successful (6-episode) season before getting Screwed by the Network and getting cancelled at the end of its second season for poor ratings. The Ropers made only one final guest appearance on Three's Company, and they were permanently replaced with Don Knotts as Mr. Furley.
Ann Wedgeworth was brought on in Season 4 as a regular cast member named Lana Shields, a neighbor attracted to John Ritter's character. However, her schtick got old quickly (John Ritter himself complained to the writers, wondering why a character as sex-crazed as Jack would repeatedly refuse the advances of a beautiful, sexually voracious woman; the only explanation the writers would give him is that Jack would be turned off by the fact that Lana was older than him, though only by about ten years). Writers found themselves with less to do with her character, and her role was reduced after just a few episodes. Insulted, Wedgeworth successfully asked to be released from the show.
In addition, the show's other spinoff/sequel, Three's a Crowd, continued the story with Jack and his female roommate. Pre-production for the show was done in secret from the rest of the cast and crew, and auditions were held for Jack's roommate during the Christmas break. When Joyce DeWitt came in to set up her dressing room for the upcoming episodes, she accidentally walked in on the auditions. She and Priscilla Barnes felt betrayed by the goings-on, and DeWitt's relationship with the producers and Ritter was strained for the rest of the show, although she reconciled with Ritter many years later. Three's a Crowd, meanwhile, was axed after one season.
The 1990 revival of To Tell the Truth was hit hard with this. First, NBC aired the pilot on the East Coast by mistake (which was hosted by Richard Kline instead of Gordon Elliott). Elliott was fired early on over a salary dispute, so Lynn Swann took over. But Lynn had scheduling conflicts, so Alex Trebek had to step in. Then he had to miss two episodes because his wife went into labor, so producer Mark Goodson filled in for him. Between the inability to hold down a host and the saturated market in 1990, it's no wonder this version did not make it past one season.
Saban's sister series VR Troopers has a fair share of headaches as well.
Originally a vehicle for former Green Ranger Jason David Frank, a short pilot using footage from the Metal Heroes series Choujinki Metalder called Cybertron was filmed with him alone. However, his immense popularity as Tommy led to Saban deciding to pull him back to Rangers. As such he switched places with Brad Hawkins (who was originally supposed to be the White Ranger during the second season of MMPR,) who became Ryan Steele. This alone led them to believe the show was beyond hope, but because of commitments to broadcasters, they had to press on.
Since they didn't have Frank's Green Ranger star power to support the show, they decided to expand it, buying up a second Metal Heroes series, Jikuu Senshi Spielban, hired two more actors, and made the show about a trio. Since the two series were completely unrelated, the only footage they had off all three Troopers together and morphed were things they filmed themselves, which they didn't have the time or budget to do a lot of, so the majority of episodes involved finding new and unique ways to split Ryan away from Kaitlyn and J.B.
While filming the show, they noticed several new problems. Alongside the fact that the Metal Heroes footage was almost a decade old (unlike Sentai footage, which is never more than a year or two old, Metalder and Spielban were from 1987 and 1986,) the shows in question also used a lot of unmorphed battles, meaning the usable footage was thin to begin with. Stock Footage was abused, with the same scenes of a drill driving through the wall of an underground lab seeming to be in almost every episode. Despite all this, the show was a hit and a second season was ordered.
The second season had the Metalder footage (Ryan's armor) run out fast, so they had him get an upgrade to new armor, this time from Space Sheriff Shaider (an even older series, but I digress.) The second season limped along with its endlessly repeated Stock Footage, until, by the end of the season, both Shaider and Spielban footage had run dry. They bought up a fourthMetal Heroes series, Juukou B-Fighter, but rather than run the risk of alienating kids by overhauling everything at once (Power Rangers Zeo hadn't happened yet, so Saban wasn't sure if a complete visual overhaul would work; until that point, even though Rangers got new zords each season, the suits were still the same familiar ones from Zyuranger,) they decided to finally chuck Troopers in the bin and instead turned B-Fighter into Big Bad Beetleborgs.
The Walking Dead has been a massive hit for AMC, but significant production issues and a rotating stable of showrunners also made it a magnet for controversy:
During production of the first season, Darabont reportedly fired his entire writing staff, including executive producer Charles Eglee. While executives with the production were quick to deny the story, sources indicated that Darabont wanted to use freelance writers, but pushback from AMC and possible issues with the Writer's Guild of America convinced him otherwise.
The second-season premiere, "What Lies Ahead", had roughly 2/3 of its footage (which involved Rick's group revisiting the Vatos nursing home from the first season) deleted from the final print due to being "unusable", despite it being promoted in early trailers. The rest of the footage (the encounter with the horde of walkers on the highway) was merged with the following episode, and Darabont reportedly took his name off the print and used a pseudonym instead.
As a result of the contentious season premiere, and three days after appearing at Comi-Con 2011 to promote the show, AMC fired Darabont and supposedly kept the reasons for his firing from the cast and crew. Various reasons were given for his sacking, including the fact that he pushed back against AMC's planned budget cuts to each episode (though it was countered that the cuts were to make the show more sustainable), that the footage shot for "What Lies Ahead" was unusable, that AMC was showing favoritism towards Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner by giving him an increased budget for his series and short-shifting others, and that Darabont was a notorious pain who complained about the long hours and how uneasy he felt running a television series. Further complicating matters is that the decision to fire Darabont was caused by AMC head of original programming Joel Stillerman, who supposedly used the pretext of "unusable footage" to fire Darabont.
Jeffrey DeMunn (who played Dale) was incensed by the network's decision to cut Darabont, and asked to be written out of the show. He later reconsidered, but by that time the writers had his character get killed off near the end of the second season and had no intention of changing their stance.
Showrunner Glen Mazzara (who took over production duties from Darabont) left at the end of the third season, which confused many fans who enjoyed the third season's jump in quality. This move was reportedly due to creative differences between Mazzara and AMC over various parts of the episodes.
Half of the third-season finale, "Welcome to the Tombs", was reshot months after filming wrapped due to a perceived lack of suspense regarding Andrea's fate (originally, Milton would be shot by the Governor, and would do more to try and free Andrea. Tyreese eventually discovered the undead Milton taking a bite out of Laurie, and saved her, but she asks for a gun to kill herself with). It is unknown if this was the incident that caused Mazzara's departure from the production.
A few particular episodes of The X-Files became associated with production problems, leading to mixed results:
Several of the show's first season episodes succumbed to cost overruns, despite being conceived as Bottle Episodes. "Space" became the most expensive episode of the season thanks to the construction of a NASA Mission Control set. Production was also delayed so that the crew could take turns with a flight simulator. "Space" is reportedly Chris Carter's least favorite episode.
"Gender Bender" went through several rewrites over the sexual content of the script; this resulted in an abrupt and much-criticized Twist Ending. Other issues involved a failed attempt to illuminate scenes with lantern light, and a physically encumbering catacomb set which necessitated an extra day of filming.
"Darkness Falls" was plagued by poor weather and explosive Cabin Fever between director Joe Napolitano and first assistant director Vladimir Stefoff, resulting in Napolitano's departure from the series. The weather problems meant that pick-up shots and inserts had to be filmed at a later date, which meant more time-wasting commutes to the inaccessible shooting locations in Lynn Valley, British Columbia.
The third season episode "Teso Dos Bichos" called for Mulder and Scully to be attacked by a horde of feral house cats in the climax, but that was nixed because Gillian Anderson was allergic to cats. The cats were also lazy, leading the crew to improvise with unconvincing shots of a single, fake-looking monster cat. Director Kim Manners took issue with the fact that the cats became the culprits of the episode when the teaser segment alluded to a leopard spirit, and begged Chris Carter to shift the focus back to that plot point. Add in the constant re-writes and it's no wonder Manners nicknamed the episode "Teso Dos Bitches".