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The Pete Best

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The Fab Four... well, the Fab Three with Petenote .

"People get kicked out of bands. It happens. The Beatles nixed Pete Best because Ringo Starr was a superior drummer. Metallica got rid of Dave Mustaine because only two very low IQ rageaholic jackasses are allowed in a band and they already had James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich." note 
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Who?

A subtrope of Suspiciously Similar Substitute and/or The Other Darrin, wherein one actor is in a role or position, then is dropped (or leaves voluntarily) for another actor who is the one everyone remembers after the work/group becomes famous.

Named for Pete Best, the first drummer of The Beatles, who was replaced by Ringo Starr just before they hit it big, with Ringo having suddenly become available after leaving another band.

Less likely in film (since you can only get one actor to play a role, any replacement will have to reshoot the scenes and become The Other Marty), more likely in theater, television and music.

If the guy's in the band when they're famous, but all but forgotten, that person's Stuck in Their Shadow. If the guy never had a chance of becoming famous anyway, that's Breakup Breakout. If the band tries to avoid talking about the guy in the event he's brought up, or tries to take down any uploaded footage of the period he was with them, he's an Old Shame. If their successor ends up more remembered, it's a case of More Popular Replacement.

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As a final thought, notice that in Real Life this trope is quite common, since music groups or any team whose future success is not quite clear normally go through a series of line-up changes.

Contrast Lesser Star.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 
  • Eric Stuart, the longtime voice actor for James in the 4Kids dub of Pokémon, was actually the second voice actor for the character. Ted Lewis was James's voice actor for the first few episodes of the show's run. Lewis went on to voice Tracey and Giovanni, among many other minor characters, and notably returned to the role of Giovanni even after the mass voice actor replacement of 2006.
    • Another case of this happened with Meowth, who is best known as being voiced by the late Maddie Blaustein. However, for the first thirty or so episodes of the dub, his voice actor was Matthew Sussman (credited under the name "Nathan Price"), who retired the role afterwords while continuing to provide additional voices for a couple more years.
  • Raoh was originally voiced by Norio Wakamoto when he appeared in Episode 32 of Hokuto no Ken before Kenji Utsumi took over the role. This was actually before Raoh's proper first appearance, before Raoh's design and backstory was finalized (before he even had a proper name even), since Raoh only shows up as a silhouette. Wakamoto would later appear as another character named Shuren.
  • Tristan Taylor from the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! was voiced by Sam Riegel for the first ten episodes until Greg Abbey took over. However, Riegel's goofier take is almost more well-known these days, especially to fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, simply because of how easy it is to make fun of.
  • In Slayers, Crispin Freeman is best known for being the voice of Zelgadis, however, Daniel Cronin had voiced the character for nine episodes before the character was Put on a Bus and recast with Crispin after he reappeared eight episodes later (apparently, the people working on the dub couldn't get back in contact with Cronin). Interestingly, this was a controversial recast in the day, as many fans were used to Daniel's voice, and had a hard time adjusting to Freeman. However in later years, as well as today, people only see Cronin as Zelgadis' "old voice" when they watch the earlier episodes.
    • The same could be said for Joan Baker as Amelia. Most people associate Veronica Taylor as the character's voice actress, not knowing there was another actress who had briefly voiced the character for her first three episodes. In addition, Luci Christian also briefly voiced the character for "Slayers Premium", but her performance is usually also sidelined by Taylor's.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The entire Ocean voice cast for Dragon Ball Z. Once associated as the voices of the series, that honor now goes to Funimation's voice cast, who has completely replaced the former (with actors like Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat instead of Ian Corlett and Brian Drummond). While Ocean did do their own dub of the second half of the series for Europe and Canada in association with AB Groupe, this has also been displaced by Funimation's version, which is all that's on DVD in those (and all English-speaking) territories.
    • Within Funimation's studios itself, their very first dub, Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle, had several regulars like Christopher Sabat as Yamcha, Laurie Steele as Young Krillin, and Mike McFarland as Master Roshi, but also had several actors who would soon replaced with cast members fans are much more familiar with. Kid Goku was originally voiced by Ceyli Delgadillo before Stephanie Nadolny and later Colleen Clinkenbeard handled him for more recent stuff, Leslie Alexander voiced Bulma in the dub before being replaced by Tiffany Volmer and later Monica Rial, and Launch had two different voice actresses for her good and bad sides (Monika Antonelli, the original Puar and Chiaotzu, was the good side, and Christine Marten, who has no other credits, was the bad side) while Meredith McCoy would provide the voice of both her personalities for the rest of her appearances.
    • Funimation also had a few cases of this in their first dubbed season of Dragon Ball Z, which covered the "Ginyu" and "Freeza" arcs. Chris Cason (who also voices Shou in the franchise) was the original voice for both Tien Shinhan and Mr. Popo, but temporary retired the following year, leaving the characters to be respectively recast with John Burgmeier and Christopher Sabat. While Cason returned to the role of Mr. Popo beginning in 2010 for Dragon Ball Kai, Burgmeier has continued to provide the voice for Tien. Dale Kelly was the original voice for Captain Ginyu in FU Nimation's dub, but 2 years later he was replaced with Brice Armstrong, and after Armstrong's retirement R. Bruce Elliot. Lastly, Chris Sabat himself is the Pete Best for both Nappa and Raditz, providing their voices for a flashback in one episode, as well as providing the voice for the former in the original English dub of the Bardock TV special. In all future appearances in anime and video games, Phil Parsons has been Nappa, while Justin Cook (who is also the voice of Teen and Adult Dende as well as Super Buu) is Raditz.
    • Funimation's original voices for the Pilaf Gang for their appearances in the third Dragon Ball film were completely different than their usual voices that have played them in all other appearances. Pilaf was voiced by Mike McFarland rather than Chuck Huber, Justin Cook voiced Shou instead of Chris Cason (an inversion of his status as Tien), and Cynthia Cranz originally voiced Mai, while Julie Franklin handled her for the dub of the TV series and Colleen Clinkenbeard has provided her voice for all future appearances.
    • For Dragon Ball Super most people attribute Matthew Mercer as the voice of Hit, but he was the second actor for the role. In his first English-speaking appearance in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Aaron Roberts (who also voices Cae in the anime) provided Hit's voice, and Mercer took over for all subsequent appearances.
    • In the Japanese version, Naoko Watanabe is best known as the voice of Chi-Chi, but Mayumi Sho voiced her in the original Dragon Ball and first two seasons and three movies of Dragon Ball Z, before taking a hiatus from seiyuu work to care for her family. She actually very briefly returned to voice Chi-Chi in the first Budokai game, but otherwise, the role has long been associated with Watanabe (who also voices Puar).
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub of DB, Jesús Barrero was the first voice actor of both Yamcha and Puar from their first appearance until episode 45, when he left and the roles were given to separate actors (Yamcha to Ricardo Mendoza, who continues on the role up to this day, and Puar to Cristina Camargo).
  • Battle of the Planets (the first English dub of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman) had entirely different actors for Tiny and Jason in the earliest-dubbed episode, "Attack of the Space Terrapin". Most fans associate Alan Dinehart and Ronnie Schell with the respective characters, however, Schell actually voiced Tiny in this first episode, while Jason was voiced by David Jolliffe. For some reason or another, Sandy Frank recast the parts after that, leaving Schell to take on the more prominent role of Jason (and voicing the character in a higher, somewhat raspier voice than Jolliffe's take), while Dinehart took over Tiny.
  • In Ranma ½, the girl-type Ranma is best known for being voiced by Venus Terzo in the English dub, but Brigitta Dau voiced her in the first 6 episodes of the TV series and first two OVA episodes, before moving away. Both Dau and Terzo sounded somewhat similar, and many viewers didn't even notice the change. In addition, Cologne's voice was Elan Ross-Gibson 99% of the time, but Kathleen Barr voiced her in her first couple OVA appearances.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Saori Kido's Latin Spanish voice was originally Cristina Camargo. After 26 episodes, the more remembered María Fernanda Morales took over.
    • For most of the franchise, Ricardo Mendoza voices Shiryu and Roberto Mendiola voices Ban, but in their first appearance in the second episode, it was the other way around.
    • The Brazilian original voiceover for Shiryu was Sérgio Rufino, who voiced the character in the 1994 broadcast, but was shortly replaced by Elcio Sodré after nine episodes, because Rufino was suffering with hoarseness at the time. In 2003, the series got a redub with most of the cast being the same, and Sodré was recast as Shiryu voicing him in the entire series. Later, all of Saint Seiya productions featured Sodré as Shiryu.

    Comic Books 
  • The Hulk could be said to be the Pete Best of The Avengers — one of the five founding members, he left at the end of the second issue, never to rejoin the team. In issue #4 Captain America joined the Avengers and became one of those three members (along with founders Thor and Iron Man) of which you almost invariably can expect to see at least one on the active roster. The Avengers actually altered their charter to make Cap a founding member and remove the Hulk from it, despite it being the other way around. Averted in modern adaptations like The Avengers and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, which keep Hulk on the team to have more Marvel A-list heroes that aren't wrapped up in licencing red tape like Spider-Man or Wolverine.
  • For the first few issues of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Michael Gallagher and David Manak were the main writer and artist respectively, giving a zany and cartoonish tone with No Fourth Wall and a Hurricane of Puns. Over time, they were phased out in favor of a larger number of rotating artists and writers who established a somewhat more serious tone.
  • Barbara Gordon is the character that fans primarily associate as Batgirl thanks especially due to appearing in other media such as Batman: The Animated Series, but most are surprised to learn that she was actually the second heroine to use the identity: the original Batgirl is actually Betty Kane, who made a few appearances in the early 1960's before largely being dropped, only showing up sporadically since. Barbara's two successors in the comics, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, also overshadow Betty.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Death Star briefing scene in the original Star Wars, Ensemble Dark Horse (or is he an Ascended Extra?) Wedge Antilles is played by Colin Higgins. In the rest of the movie — and in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi — he's played by Denis Lawson (who also dubbed Higgins' lines in his one scene).
    • In the original version of The Empire Strikes Back, Emperor Palpatine's face was provided by veteran actress Marjorie Eaton and voiced by Clive Revill. Ian McDiarmid played the character in Return of the Jedi and the prequels, and when Empire was re-released to DVD in 2004, Palpatine's scenes were re-shot with McDiarmid in the role.
    • The actors playing Cammie (British actress Koo Stark) and Fixer in the deleted scene of A New Hope where Luke goes to Tosche Station and talks to Biggs Darklighter.
    • Adrian Dunbar played Bail Organa in a bit part in The Phantom Menace, but his scene was cut and the character renamed Bail Antilles, paving the way for Jimmy Smits to play Organa starting in Attack of the Clones.
  • Peter Burton, who played Major Boothroyd/Q in Dr. No, was unable to return for From Russia with Love and so was replaced by Desmond Llewelyn, who would become the iconic Q actor, appearing in seventeen James Bond movies.
    • Another one from James Bond. Before Sean Connery, there was an American actor, Barry Nelson, who played "Jimmy Bond" in an adaptation of Casino Royale for an anthology called Climax!, with the idea being for it to act also as a pilot for a possible TV Show based on James Bond. Nothing came out of it and eight years later came Dr. No and Barry Nelson (who was thirteen years older than Connery) wasn't even considered for the role. The movie pretty much made Sean Connery a star and relegated Barry Nelson's performance as Bond to total obscurity. The fact that the production was believed lost to time until a kinescope emerged in the 1980s didn't help much either.
  • Hannibal Lecter was first played by Brian Cox in Manhunter (as Dr. "Lecktor"), and later by Anthony Hopkins. Cox's substantial roles in Rushmore, Super Troopers, X2: X-Men United, RED, and the Bourne films have since made him a recognized character actor, but as Manhunter is far less known the other films (especially since the novel Red Dragon it was based on was later remade a second time) and Hopkins' portrayal became so iconic, Cox carried the 'first to play Lecter' footnote for much of his career. Many still wonder what he could've done with the role if he'd been cast in the later films.
  • Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan was originated in film by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October. However the role is best remembered from the portrayal by Harrison Ford in the follow-up adaptations Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. (even if Ben Affleck and Chris Pine played the role afterwards as well in the big screen, not to mention John Krasinki online).
  • Ted Healy was this to The Three Stooges, and was the star of the act in vaudeville for long before his assistants were billed as the Stooges. Healy left the Stooges when they moved in 1934 to Columbia Pictures from MGM, for which they had done six shorts and various cameos. Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard also played minor supporting roles in Soup to Nuts, a 1930 Fox feature film starring Healy. Shemp was replaced by Curly in the early 1930s, but returned in the mid-1940s after Curly had a stroke. Healy, meanwhile, had died in 1937.
  • The first movie about the amnesiac super assassin, Jason Bourne, was a 3 hour epic film called The Bourne Identity that premiered on television in 1988 and starred Richard Chamberlain. However, when people mention Jason Bourne, the first person most people think of is Matt Damon and his role in the remake and sequels that came afterwards. How bad is this? The official tropes page for the Bourne series doesn't even mention the 1988 film.
  • Like The O.C. example below, Shailene Woodley had it happen to her a second time when she was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the series was left behind with her role of Mary Jane Watson being recast in upcoming movies.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Bill & Ted originated in an improv sketch called ''Bill, Ted and Bob". The guy who played Bob lost interest, causing Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson to go ahead and make a movie about the duo.

    Literature 
  • Max Frei of Labyrints Of Echo fame is actually none other than Svetlana Martynchik, but it didn't start this way. Igor Styopin originally co-wrote Frei's early works. After Martynchik was revealed as the woman behind Max Frei in 2001,she continued writing under that name alone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brian Dunkleman was the co-host of American Idol in Season 1, and chose the wrong time to play hardball in contract negotiations, considering that the audience clearly preferred Ryan Seacrest. From that point, the show just kept getting bigger.
  • ESPN's Around the Horn was originally hosted by Max Kellerman, who left in early 2004 for a show on Fox Sports. ESPN tapped Tony Reali (then known as Stat Boy from Horn's sister show Pardon the Interruption) as a temporary fill-in until they could hire a permanent replacement. Nine years later, Reali's still hosting the show (with Kellerman coming full circle to host SportsNation).
  • Sara Lance wound up becoming a Breakout Character on Arrow, playing a heavy recurring role starting in the second season, getting brought back from the dead after the unpopular decision was made to kill her off in the show's third season, and ultimately being promoted to a main cast member of the show's spinoff Legends of Tomorrow. Caity Lotz is immediately credited to the role, to the point where most people forget she was played by a completely different actress, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, in Arrow's pilot episode.
  • The A-Team: In the feature-length pilot episode, Face was played by Tim Dunigan. The role was recast after the pilot and he was replaced by Dirk Benedict for the rest of the show's run.
  • Ian Hendry played Dr. John Keel, the lead of the first season of The Avengers, with Steed (Patrick Macnee) as the secondary lead. The show was a moderate success, but Hendry moved on, with Steed becoming the lead - joined by first Cathy Gale ( Honor Blackman) and then Emma Peel (Diana Rigg). The show became a big hit when Blackman joined, then a full-blown craze when Rigg took over. No-one really remembers Hendry (not helped by only one of his episodes still existing).
  • Tamlyn Tomita as Lt. Cmdr. Laurel Takashima and Johnny Sekka as Dr. Benjamin Kyle in the Babylon 5 Pilot Movie — both of whom declined to return for the subsequent TV series. Neither ever appear again in person (although Dr. Kyle does get referred to several times throughout the series). Ultimately averted with Patricia Tallman (as Lyta Alexander), who also didn't return at first, but ended up rejoining the cast much later in the series when her replacement quit.
    • Tragic example: Michael O'Hare (Commander Sinclair) was found to be suffering from mental illness, and replaced with Bruce Boxleitner (Captain Sheridan, new look, same great taste) in time for Season Two, though he did make sporadic appearances in Season 3. He didn't stay long enough to make an impression on fans or his castmates, and never told anyone about his condition, leading to rumors of drug addition. That said, the revelation of his condition in 2013 did spark a new wave of admiration and respect for him from longtime fans of the show, particularly with the hindsight of just how harrowing episodes like "And the Sky, Full of Stars"note  must have been for him to film.
  • The original pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory was quite different from the show that eventually aired. Leonard and Sheldon had an extroverted female co-worker and friend named Gilda, who was dropped and replaced by Raj and Howard. The main story revolved around the guys trying to help the cynical Hard-Drinking Party Girl Katie, played by Amanda Walsh. Test audiences famously hated Katie, who was retooled into the more warm and friendly Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco.
  • The mid-60's comedy Camp Runamuck! featured Leonard Stone as Doc in most of the episodes. In the pilot, however, Doc was portrayed by Frank DeVol, who the role was originally intended for and who left due to health problems.
  • Originally, in the recurring role of black-sheep alcoholic older brother Gary Ewing, Dallas had cast David Ackroyd. When a spinoff, Knots Landing, was launched in the third season, Ted Shackelford got the part that would keep him working for the next 14 years.
  • The Daily Show started with Craig Kilborn for the first three years, but the show really became popular after Jon Stewart took over and retooled the direction and comedy style. The show's full title was eventually changed to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and remained so until Stewart's retirement in 2015.
  • Samantha Morrison played Emma Nelson as a baby on Degrassi Junior High and Ashlee Harris played toddler Emma Nelson on Degrassi High before Miriam McDonald played Emma Nelson on Degrassi: The Next Generation.
  • When Doctor Who was brought back in 2005, Christopher Eccleston was cast to play the Ninth Doctor. Eccleston left after only one series, and although it was well-recieved, Eccleston's Ninth Doctor isn't anywhere near as popular or well-known as his immediate successor David Tennant's Tenth.
  • Ed had an in-universe example. A band sued their founder, lead singer and songwriter on the grounds that she plagiarized her lyrics. It was all a pretense because the record label didn't like her. They had already scouted a potential replacement but the trial took so long, the replacement joined another band. They tried to take back their leader, in vain. The episode ended with the band performing in front of a not so impressed talent scout.
  • Before Mary Hart began her near 30-year run as co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight, the initial female anchors were Marjorie Wallace and subsequently, Dixie Whatley.
  • The first season of The Facts of Life had several characters who didn't make it past the first season (outside of occasional appearances), but special attention should be given to Miss Mahoney, a teacher who was dropped after the fourth episode.
  • Family Matters:
    • Judy Winslow was played by one Valerie Jones in the very first episode (she could also briefly be seen during the opening from behind for a bit longer) before Jaimee Foxworth took over the role. Who didn't really hit it big, either, but at least became famous for that.
    • Laura's original best friend, Penny Peyser (Ebonie Smith), disappeared after the first season, and Eddie's, Rodney Beckett (Randy Josselyn) didn't last much longer. Their successors, Maxine Johnson (Cherie Johnson) and Waldo Faldo (Shawn Harrison), are much more recognizable.
  • Firefly: In a possible reference to the Trope Namer, a flashback sequence in the episode "Out of Gas" establishes that Serenity's original mechanic was a man named Bester, who was quickly forgotten by the crew after he lost his job to Kaylee.
  • Friends: Carol is played by Anita Barone in her debut episode, before Jane Sibbett takes over the role for the rest of the show.
  • George Carlin joked in his "sortabiography" that he replaced Ringo Starr on Shining Time Station becoming the reverse Pete Best.
  • By Season 3, all the original members of Glee's New Directions had been fully developed... except for Matt Rutherford, played by Dijon Talton who left the show after Season 1.
  • Elizabeth Ward played Carol Seaver in the pilot for Growing Pains, but was replaced by Tracey Gold when the series was picked up.
  • The "pilot" of Happy Days did air as an episode of Love, American Style. The pilot was initially rejected, only to have the network pick it up after Ron Howard starred in American Graffiti. Tom Bosley replaced Harold Gould as Howard Cunningham and Erin Moran replaced Susan Neher as Joanie.
  • Home Improvement originally had actress Francis Fisher playing Jill, but producers were uncertain about her take on the character (playing her a lot more exasperated over Tim's antics) and this led to her being replaced with Patricia Richardson for the series itself.
  • Pert Kelton was the original Alice Kramden when The Honeymooners was just a segment of Jackie Gleason's variety show. She was caught up in the Red Scare and was replaced by Audrey Meadows around the time for the show's "Classic 39".
  • When the syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition premiered in January 1989, it was originally hosted by British journalist David Frost. After about three weeks into its first year, Frost was replaced by Bill O'Reilly, who would host the show for about the next six and half years. After O'Reilly's departure came former Today anchor Deborah Norville. Norville began hosting Inside Edition in March 1995 and continued to host it a good 20 years later.
  • A number of Iron Chefs are "the Pete Best" because of how the English dub was handled: The first dubbed episodes were from the last two seasons, featuring the lineup of veteran Chinese chef Kenichi Chin (credited in the English dub of the show as Chen Kenichi, family name first even though the other chefs were credited Western-style with their given name first), French chef Hiroyuki Sakai, then-new Japanese-American fusion chef Masaharu Morimoto (the third Iron Chef Japanese), and Italian chef Masahiko Kobe (by far the youngest of the Iron Chefs, 26 at the time of his appointment, 28 in the earliest dubbed episodes at which time he had already been on the show for 2 years). Later, the decision was made to dub a new order of episodes starting with the second season, featuring the lineup of Sakai and Chin with Iron Chef Japanese I, Rokusaburo Michiba. Not shown in the English dub except for a single episode (in which he lost) was Iron Chef French I, Yutaka Ishinabe, who left the show after a single season because he disliked the artificial pacing of Reality Television, and not shown until very late in the show's run was Iron Chef Japanese II, Koumei Nakamura, appearing in seasons 4 and 5 after Michiba's departure from the series. Until relatively late, most American viewers had little idea that Nakamura had been part of the show for two years, as Morimoto was depicted as being Michiba's direct successor.
  • In the JAG two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for NCIS, Robyn Lively played the female field agent. By the time the actual series premiered, she was replaced by Sasha Alexander (notable in that she herself would be replaced by Cote de Pablo after the second season). And from the NCIS two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for its spinoff, NCIS: Los Angeles, Louise Lombard played the character who would have been that show's team leader. When it began in Fall '09, she was replaced by Linda Hunt.
  • The Late Late Show: This happened to Kilborn a second time with his next show. He replaced Tom Snyder as the host of The Late Late Show and re-vamped it, giving it a new set and a more comedic style than Snyder's. Then he left the show...and in came Craig Ferguson, who became a darling in the late night ranks. Then Ferguson left and James Corden took over.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Elliot Stabler's second child Kathleen was originally played by Holiday Segal before Alison Siko officially takes over the role starting Season 3. Since Kathleen had a much larger role in later seasons (oldest child Maureen featured most prominently in seasons 1-2), Siko became much more associated with the role.
  • The original (un-aired) pilot of NUMB3RS had Gabriel Macht as Don, Len Cariou as Alan, and Jennifer Bransford as Terry Lake. For the actual series pilot, those roles were played Rob Morrow, Judd Hirsch, and Sabrina Lloyd respectively. The un-aired pilot also featured Michael Rooker and Anna Deavere Smith in roles that were cut completely from the final script.
  • The talk show Live! with Kelly and Ryan was known for most of its life as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and hosted by Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford. Kelly Ripa replaced Gifford in 2001 (thus renaming the show Live with Regis and Kelly) and Regis stepped down in 2011, with several guest hosts in both cases until the replacement was chosen. Strahan announced his own departure in May 2016, and yet another rotation of guest hosts followed until Ryan Seacrest replaced him. However, Gifford was not the original co-host; under its original name of The Morning Show, it was co-hosted by Philbin and Cyndy Garveynote  for its first season in 1983, followed by Ann Abernathy for another season before Gifford entered in 1985. The show began naming itself after its hosts in 1988. Thus, the show is a double example — those who remember it only for the Regis and Kelly era onward may not realize that Ripa replaced Gifford; and those who do remember Gifford may not realize that she herself was a replacement.
  • Penny Santon originally played Nurse Consuelo Lopez in the TV movie that started Marcus Welby, M.D. before recast by Elena Verdugo for the rest of the run.
  • The original pilot for Married... with Children was never aired. When the show went into production, they used new actors for Bud/Kelly.
  • Pretty much the entire cast of the series adaptation of M*A*S*H could be considered this when compared to the cast of the original movie; however, series-specific, Father Mulcahy was played by George Morgan in the pilot episode, before being replaced by William Christopher for the series proper - it's easy to forget Morgan as Mulcahy in the pilot, because Mulcahy never spoke in that episode. Ironically, Christopher had originally tested for the part, but instead of doing a table reading, ad-libbed much of his dialogue, which was seen as unprofessional, and the part went to Morgan instead. Afterwards, the producers decided Christopher's quirky personality was a better fit for Mulcahy, so they brought him back, on the condition that he would stick with the script.
  • Everybody knows that the IMF on Mission: Impossible was always led by Peter Graves' Jim Phelps. Mostly forgotten is Dan Briggs, played by Steven Hill in the first season. Hill left the show (and temporarily, acting) for reasons that were partly religious, and his character was given the Brother Chuck treatment.
    • Ironically, Hill would become the "Ringo" figure when he assumed his most famous role, DA Adam Schiff on Law & Order. The DA in the original pilot was Alfred Wentworth, played by Roy Thinnes; however, the pilot was filmed two years before the show was finally picked up by NBC, and Thinnes chose not to return as a regular.
  • Another variant focused on original Monday Night Football play-by-play broadcaster Keith Jackson. Jackson was assigned to call play-by-play for MNF's first season in 1970 only to give way to Frank Gifford (who ABC Sports president Roone Arledge wanted from day 1; eventually bringing Gifford in as soon as his contract with CBS expired). Became a Zig Zagged Trope for Jackson, who later would become most famous as the voice of ABC's college football coverage.
  • Tim Brooke-Taylor was an early member of what would eventually evolve into Monty Python, alongside Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Michael Palin, and made appearances in At Last the 1948 Show and How to Irritate People. He left the group between the latter and the start of Monty Python's Flying Circus — by which time Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam had arrived — though still went on to be a pretty successful actor in his own right.
  • On The Munsters, Marilyn was originally portrayed by Beverly Owen. She left the show after less than three months, however, and thereafter Pat Priest took over the role.
  • The Muppets: When Jim Henson got started in puppetry, he worked with his friend Russell Wall. However, Wall only worked for a few months, long before The Muppets had become big. Henson's wife Jane did some of the early puppet work before becoming a mother, and Jerry Juhl did puppetry on some of Henson's material from The '60s but decided to turn his Muppet focus to writing.
  • Josh "J. Elvis" Weinstein was the original voice of Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and also Dr. Forrester's original assistant (Dr. Erhardt). Weinstein left after only one season on Comedy Central and was replaced with Kevin Murphy and Frank Coniff respectively for Season 2, which was when the show starting to make it big and becoming really good.
  • MythBusters:
    • While she filled a different role in the show in its original format, folklorist Heather Joseph-Witham became the Pete Best of MythBusters, effectively replaced by the Build Team as the show's focus shifted from the myths themselves to MacGyvering and Stuff Blowing Up.
    • Scottie Chapman is another MythBusters example; she was originally the machinist of the Build Team, but left the show during Season 3, right around the time the Build Team's role on the show was expanded and they were added to the theme sequence, and was replaced by Grant Imahara. While Scottie has made sporadic appearances since then (and the hosts/current producers have not been shy about showing flashbacks that prominently feature her), the regulars on the show have become far more famous.
  • My Wife and Kids: The original Claire, played by Jazz Raycole in the first season (only 11 episodes), is pretty forgettable. The second Claire, played by Jennifer Freeman in seasons 2–5, is much more recognizable.
  • Ensemble topical comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News ran for several series in the period 1978-83. Everyone will recall the lineup was Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Gryff Rhys-Jones. However, in the first series, Rhys-Jones was nowhere to be seen and the Pete Best of the group was comic actor and writer Chris Langham, who performed creditably but left at the end of the series citing artistic differences. He was replaced by Rhys-Jones only at the start of the second series. The fact Langham has since been convicted of crimes to do with indecent photographs of children has made it easier for the BBC to airbrush his involvement out of the series' official history.
  • Shailene Woodley originally played the role of Kaitlin Cooper on The O.C. in the first season who was pretty irrelevant. When the show decided to bring Kaitlin back for Season 3 with storylines based around her, she was played by Willa Holland, who was also more developed at the time.
  • One Tree Hill: Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) was not in the original pilot. Instead, Lucas' best friend was a different character named Reagan (more tomboyish than Haley) portrayed by Samantha Shelton. All of the key scenes featuring Shelton as Reagan in the pilot were re-shot with Bethany Joy Lenz taking her place, although you can still see "Reagan" in the background scenes where she has no lines.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Joe Forte played Mr. Conklin in the first few radio episodes of the series, before being replaced by the legendary Gale Gordon.
  • Parks and Recreation had its own "Pete Best" with Paul Schneider, who played Mark Brendanawicz in the first two seasons. However, the character was widely disliked by the fans for coming off as bland compared to the other characters while critics noted Schneider never seemed to quite gel with the rest of the ensemble cast, his status as the odd man out only becoming more obvious when the show began finding more of its own distinct identity away from its parent show. Eventually, Schneider left the show at the end of Season 2 (with Mark being Put on a Bus and never coming back), and was replaced by Adam Scott and the character of Ben Wyatt, who was an instant hit with fans as well as a perfect fit for the show's newfound style, rapidly becoming a More Popular Replacement.
  • The first season of Pee-wee's Playhouse had a number of human characters who only appeared that season, including Captain Carl (who had been around since the original stage show the show is based on), Ms. Steve, Dixie, and Tito, as well as a different actor playing The King of Cartoons. However, half of the original cast also makes up a portion of retroactive recognition - Captain Carl was played by Phil Hartman (who had also helped create Pee Wee Herman) and Dixie was played by Johann Carlo.
  • The first series of Robot Wars was hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, much better known nowadays for Top Gear (UK). He was replaced in Series 2 by Craig Charles (best known as Dave Lister on Red Dwarf) who was much better-suited to both the material and the show format (Clarkson was known for being quite rude to the contestants and didn't really hold the show in high regard) and Robot Wars really took off after that. Charles would remain the host of UK Robot Wars up until it went off the air after Series 7 and fans were quite upset when other commitments prevented him from returning as the host of the 2016 reboot series (hosted by Irish comedian Dara O Briain).
  • Sal Barone played D.J. Conner in the pilot of Roseanne. Then the Writers' Strike happened, during which he grew half an inch and couldn't be perceived as a 7-year-old kid anymore. He was replaced with Michael Fishman, who, besides being a bit younger, looked decidedly more like Roseanne than Sal did. There are also stories that Sal did not get along with Sara Gilbert.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Billy Crystal was scheduled to be in one sketch in the first episode and would have been a featured player throughout that season. But it was cut and he went home, crying all the way back because he thought he'd just blown the only break he was ever going to get. He stuck with his standup career and eventually did get to be a regular ten years later.
    • The show parodies Pete Best's story with Eddie Murphy as Clarence Walker, the saxophonist who's still bitter about being kicked out of the band.
    • In the second episode of the 14 season, with Mathew Broderick as a guest, they make a parody of Albert Goldman, author of a controversial biography of John Lennon, which made this character (played by Phil Hartman) claim that he had been part of The Beatles and played trombone in the band before they reached the stardom, but was expelled by everyone present (both John, Paul, George, Ringo ... and Elvis) on considerations about his lack of talent and large build. At the end Mr. Goldman threatened to take revenge sooner or later for that affront (it should be noted that this autor wrote a polemic biography of Elvis, too).
    • Happened on the show as well. George Coe made a bunch of appearances in the first season as a utility player when they needed someone to play an older man, and was credited as a Not Ready For Prime Time Player on the first episode, though he was never really a full cast member.
  • For its first three years, the PBS show Scientific American Frontiers was hosted by MIT professor Woodie Flowers. He was replaced by Alan Alda, who hosted for 12 years.
  • Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV originally had a seven-person cast that included Harold Ramis. Ramis only appeared in sketches for the first season and first couple of episodes of season 2- after season 1, he chose to focus on writing before leaving the show entirely to help write Animal House. He did alright for himself, though.
  • In the Seinfeld pilot "The Seinfeld Chronicles" the lead female role was Claire, the waitress played by Lee Garlington, Elaine was brought in on the second later, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn't find out about the pilot episode until years later.
  • Sesame Street: Practically every American under the age of 40 will immediately say "hey, it's Gordon!" upon seeing the face of Roscoe Orman, but most don't know that he was actually the fourth Gordon. Garrett Saunders originated the role in the first test episode in 1969, which only aired on one station, but was replaced by Matt Robinson for the actual series. note  Robinson left after three seasons; he did all right for himself, later working for Bill Cosby, and you've probably heard of his daughter - Holly Robinson-Peete. Hal Miller took over from 1972-74.
  • Lauren Sanchez was the original host of So You Think You Can Dance, but left after one season and was replaced by Cat Deeley, who is now the face of the show.
  • Only two characters from Stargate retained their original actors when the movie was adapted into Stargate SG-1. Who do people usually remember as Jack O'Neil(l)? Richard Dean Anderson, not Kurt Russell. Daniel Jackson? Michael Shanks, not James Spader.
    • Most people associate Torri Higginson with Dr. Elizabeth Weir, since she played the role in Stargate Atlantis. However, in the character's first appearance on SG-1, she was played by Jessica Steen.
  • Jeffrey Hunter played Christopher Pike in the original pilot for Star Trek. Reception was thin for that first pilot, but NBC, in a unprecedented move at the time, let Gene Roddenberry produce a second pilot, replacing Hunter (and Number One, played by Majel Barrett, who later played Nurse Christine Chapel in the series proper) with William Shatner as Captain Kirk, and folding much of the traits of the Number One character into Leonard Nimoy's Spock. The rest, as they say, is history.
    • Apparently, despite being asked to return, Hunter didn't want to, and he used a loophole in his contract to get out of his role in the series. He would've had to star in the show if it was picked up after the first pilot, but since a second pilot was commissioned instead of a full season order, he was free to walk away.note 
    • Shatner claims in his memoirs that Hunter was actually sort of manipulated into leaving by his girlfriend at the time, who was always on set complaining about how dumb the show made him look. Apparently the producers didn't like that situation much either, and by some accounts they were planning to recast Pike anyway.
    • The majority of the first pilot with Hunter was later incorporated in an memorable two-part episode, The Menagerie, in the show's first season, placing Pike firmly into the canon of the series. Pike would would also be a major character in the series' motion picture reboot, played by Bruce Greenwood, and in Star Trek: Discovery, played by Anson Mount.
  • Denise Crosby left Star Trek: The Next Generation before the first season was up, roughly a year before it became a merchandising giant. You might see her on a Trek celebrity cruise, but apart from that, she's a bit player in the DVDs and doesn't join the roundtable discussions about the show. However, her character was revived for three time-travel plots, including the series finale. Crosby also got to play her own daughter thanks to the Timey Wimey shenanigans.
    "For me, I was miserable. I couldn’t wait to get off that show. I was dying. This was not an overnight decision...I didn’t want to spend the next six years going 'Aye, aye, captain,' and standing there, in the same uniform, in the same position on the bridge. It just scared the hell out of me that this was what I was going to be doing for the next X-amount of years."
  • In the original unaired pilot of Three's Company, Samantha, the character who would become Chrissy Snow, was portrayed by Susanne Zenor. Zenor was not picked for the second filming of the pilot, so actress Susan Lanier took over the role of Chrissy. Suzanne Somers ultimately won the permanent role in the third and final pilot.
  • 3-2-1 Contact was retooled and thus completely recast after just the first season.
  • Jason Dawe, who was a presenter on Top Gear for one season and then was replaced by James May.
    • And for US fans, The Black Stig (since BBC America hasn't gotten around to airing the earliest seasons of Top Gear (UK)).
  • Branford Marsalis was Jay Leno's original bandleader on The Tonight Show. Unfortunately, because of the legendary rapport Leno had with his replacement Kevin Eubanks (not quite as legendary as that between Johnny Carson and Doc Severinsen, or David Letterman and Paul Schaffer, but close), no one remembers that fact.
  • Katie Lee Joel (now Katie Lee) hosted the first season of Top Chef before being replaced by the more telegenic Padma Lakshmi.
  • Alex McLeod was the original host of Trading Spaces. Seasons 2 onward were hosted by Paige Davis.
  • In 1981 MTV hired five people as its original lineup of VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Meg Griffin (no, not that one). Griffin was a radio vet (as were some of the others) but she had difficulty adjusting to an on-camera role during rehearsals, and quit just two weeks before the August 1 launch date. She was hurriedly replaced by 22-year-old radio intern Martha Quinn, who went on to become arguably the most famous VJ.

    Game Shows 
  • The original host of Beat the Geeks was J. Keith van Straaten. He was replaced after the first season by Blaine Capatch, apparently because the producers thought van Straaten was not geeky enough. For some reason, original Music Geek Andy Zax, aka the Walking Encyclopedia of Music, was nearly this after being fired and replaced near the middle of the first season. After two different replacements (Michael Jolly and Michael Farmer) proved inadequate, Zax returned to his rightful place.
  • When Dealer's Choice debuted in January 1974, its host was Bob Hastings. He lasted only a few weeks before Jack Clark took over, mainly due to talking way too much for the editors' liking.
  • Remember Paul Lynde, that sassy gay guy who was the center square on The Hollywood Squares (minus a period from 1979-80)? Yeah. Well, from 1966-68, there were various people in the center square, most notably (from the GSN reruns of the 1968 nighttime show) Buddy Hackett.
  • The UK classic The Golden Shot (1967-75) was a huge hit with host Bob Monkhouse. His introduction was the network's saving throw after the show bombed under original host Jackie Rae.
  • The Gong Show. Gary Owens hosted the unaired pilot, and John Barbour did five also-unaired episodes (GSN aired his first) before creator Chuck Barris took over.
  • Art Fleming, the original host for Jeopardy!, is not as well known to newer generations as his successor Alex Trebek despite two Emmy nominations and a fairly long run as host (1964-1975, 1978-1979). However this is mostly due to Trebek hosting for an even longer period of time — his version has run continuously since 1984. Also, as with Wheel below, most of Fleming's run has been erased.
    • In a literal case of the "Weird Al" Effect, a lot of people only know about Fleming because he's mentioned in (and appeared in the video for) "Weird Al" Yankovic's "I Lost on Jeopardy".
    • The Trebek version has its own version in the Clue Crew, a set of assistants who have regularly provided video-based clues since 2001. The longest tenured are Jimmy McGuire and Sarah Whitcomb Foss. However, the original Clue Crew consisted of McGuire, Foss, Cheryl Farrell, and Sofia Lidskog. Lidskog left in 2004, with both Kelly Miyahara and Jon Cannon replacing her; Farrell left in 2008, Cannon in 2009, and Miyahara in 2019.
  • Jay Stewart is known for his long role as the announcer/sidekick on the original incarnation of Let's Make a Deal in The '60s and The '70s. However, the first season of the original show's 1963-77 run was announced by Wendell Niles instead.
  • While Lingo is most well-known by Americans for its 2002-07 run on GSN with iconic host Chuck Woolery (and the short-lived dirty-minded 2011 reboot hosted by Bill Engvall), it actually began as a Ralph Andrews production from 1987-88, hosted originally by Michael Reagan (Ronald Reagan's son) and later (the last five weeks) by Andrews himself.
    • The GSN version itself has an example. There was no hostess or announcer in the first season. Season 2 had Randy Thomas (best known as the voice of Hooked on Phonics commercials) as announcer, but no hostess. In Season 3, Stacey Hayes joined as hostess (with modeling assistance from Paula Cobb on the first two taped episodes) while also taking over as announcer, before Shandi Finessey took over the hostess/announcer role for the rest of the run.
  • Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly didn't appear on Match Game until a few weeks into the run, when they almost immediately became regular panelists. They stayed for the next nine years, except for a few weeks when Charles was busy with other projects and a few times when Brett was unavailable. This is a curious case, as they didn't Pete Best any individual people; they just became mostly-permanent panelists alongside Richard Dawson (who would later leave after he got the hosting gig on Family Feud).
  • The Newlywed Game's original announcer was Scott Beach, who was apparently fired for singing anti-war songs to the audience during commercial breaks. He was replaced by Johnny Jacobs, who held the role until his death in the early 80's, and racked up several more announcing gigs, primarily for Newlywed creator Chuck Barris and Jack Barry-Dan Enright productions.
  • The original version of The Price Is Right ran on NBC from 1956-63 and ABC from 1963-65, hosted by Bill Cullen. It isn't brought up too often nowadays.
    • When Mark Goodson wanted to revive Price in 1972, he had a clear setup in mind: weekly syndication, hosted by Dennis James and distributed by Viacom. Once CBS got wind of the revival, Bud Grant approached Goodson about doing a daytime show with Bob Barker as emcee. Barker wanted no part of it, not liking those in charge of the revival, and begged Grant for another game show; Grant declined, which suggests that Barker's alleged backstage tyranny was payback for having the show forced on him.
    • As for James, he did nighttime Price until 1977, when his contract expired and Barker took over until its end in 1980. His version, along with those of Tom Kennedy (1985-86) and Doug Davidson (1994-95), are largely ignored in pretty much every way.
  • For the first few years of the original What's My Line?, Hal "Dimples" Block was a regular panelist. As the show progressed it became more and more dignified and refined, and Block's loutish persona soon became undesirable and his seat was permanently replaced by Bennett Cerf. To add insult to injury, most of Block's run is lost due to the films being destroyed for their silver content after the episodes ran once on live TV.
  • When it started on NBC's daytime lineup in 1975, Wheel of Fortune was hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford. Chuck was replaced by Pat Sajak in December 1981, followed by the iconic hostess Vanna White taking Susan's place almost exactly a year later. Pat and Vanna successfully made the transition to nighttime syndication in 1983, and still hold those roles to this day, although Pat relinquished his daytime duties two years before that version ended in 1991. This also led to a reverse Pete Best situation with his daytime successors (Rolf Benirschke for a few months, then Bob Goen after a Channel Hop to CBS), as their runs on daytime are comparatively lesser-known.
    • Interestingly, Woolery zig-zags this trope, as he is well-known for hosting Scrabble, Love Connection, Greed, and the aforementioned Lingo, but his Wheel tenure is comparatively less known. It doesn't help that most of his run has been erased. He is also a further zig-zag, as he hosted the very first pilot in 1973 (under the Working Title Shopper's Bazaar), while Edd "Kookie" Byrnes hosted the second and third pilots.
    • Original announcer Charlie O'Donnell managed to Pete Best himself. He was the original announcer for the show from the aforementioned second and third pilots until 1980, when he left due to the show getting a cancellation that was later overturned. He was replaced by Jack Clark, whose voice is the one that many think of when they think of early Wheel. Clark died in 1988, and was replaced by M. G. Kelly for just under a season before Charlie returned in 1989. (Charlie died in 2011 and Jim Thornton replaced him.)
  • Zig Zagged with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Meredith Vieira hosted the show for 11 seasons in syndication, versus only 3 on ABC for original host Regis Philbin; however, the ABC version was explosively popular and spawned a legion of tropes that revived the then-flagging game show field, so Regis is still seen by many as the most iconic host of the show. (After Meredith left in 2013, she was replaced by Cedric the Entertainer, then Terry Crews, then Chris Harrison.) In addition, all four hosts are known in varying capacities for something other than Millioniare (Regis for the aforementioned Live!; Meredith for The View; Cedric for The Steve Harvey Show; Crews for Everybody Hates Chris, and Harrison as host of The Bachelor).
  • Pole Chudes, a Russian copycat of Wheel of sorts, has a downplayed case of this. The show is for the most part associated with Leonid Yakubovich, who hosts it since 1991. The position of the host was handed over to Yakubovich by Vlad Listyev, who started P Ch and hosted it for about a year. However, Listyev himself was one of the most influential figures on Russian television (if not the most), being the founding member of VID television company (famous for the 'Mask of Doom' logo) and the first CEO of the first Russian non-state-owned networks, all of which keeps him from being totally forgotten.

    Multiple Media 
  • This phenomenon can also happen when a movie is adapted for a television series; for instance, more people recognize Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer than they do Kristy Swanson.
  • Alan Alda is more identified as Hawkeye Pierce than Donald Sutherland. This goes for most of the cast of Mash. This is helped by the fact that most of the TV cast of M*A*S*H face a certain amount of I Am Not Spock while many of the actors from the film are famous in their own right.
  • Similar to the Buffy example above, how many people remember Kurt Russell as Jack O'Neil in Stargate as opposed to Richard Dean Anderson's Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1?
    • O'Neill himself does, actually. When spelling his name in one episode he mentions that there's also a Jack O'Neil who is far grumpier. On the other hand, many people can go from James Spader in the movie to Michael Shanks at the beginning of the series and not notice the change in actor.
  • Gummo Marx was a member of the Marx Brothers' vaudeville act, but he quit around World War I. Thus he was never one of "The Four Marx Brothers," as they would be billed on Broadway and in Hollywood.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Legendary WWE tag-team Demolition is best known as Bill "Ax" Eadie and Barry "Smash" Darsow — but Darsow was not the original Smash. No, in their first couple of matches, Smash was Randy Culley, better known as Moondog Rex. Culley was replaced in the team because too many fans recognized him from his former role, and chanted "Moondog" for him. His distinctive mustache didn't help matters (and really made the Demolition facepaint look silly on him). It should be noted that the gimmick was Culley's idea in the first place, so he got kicked out of his own creation only to see it reach stardom.
  • The promos for NXT season 3 advertised Vickie Guerrero mentoring a 6 foot 9 beast known as Aloisa (indie wrestler Isis the Amazon). However WWE officials discovered Aloisa had erotic photos online and removed her from the competition to replace her with the unknown Kaitlyn. Of course Kaitlyn ended up winning the season.
  • The infamous Mickie James/Trish Stratus Stalker with a Crush storyline was written by Mickie herself but it was written with Lita in mind, Lita having acted as Mickie's mentor down in OVW. However when Mickie was called up Lita was out with an ACL injury and the angle was rewritten for Trish Stratus instead. It is now considered one of the best feuds in diva history. Of course, Lita was also forced to turn heel because of the unfortunate "Edge incident," so the angle wouldn't have worked anyway.
  • Bray Wyatt's first follower was a guy named Eli Cottonwood. Cottonwood left wrestling after only a few appearances alongside Wyatt in NXT, leaving Wyatt to form The Wyatt Family with Erick Rowan and Luke Harper instead.
  • Norvell Austin, and to a lesser extent Randy Rose, of The Midnight Express. The Midnight Express was originally formed in a promotion called Southeastern Championship Wrestling as a three man team consisting of Austin, Rose, and Dennis Condrey. The original team split in '83, and Dennis took the gimmick with him to Mid South Wrestling where he met up with Bobby Eaton and Jim Cornette. Condrey was in turn replaced a couple years later by Stan Lane, and it's debated among fans to this day whether the Condrey/Eaton or Eaton/Lane version of the team was better. Rose eventually rejoined Condrey and they feuded with Eaton and Lane over who was the "real" Midnight Express, but Rose gets little recognition compared to Condrey Lane and Eaton, and Austin is essentially a footnote.
  • Claudio Castagnoli, aka Cesaro, aka Antonio Cesaro, has been the Breakout of multiple teams.
    • He originally debuted as part of a team called Swiss Money Holding, and was by far the most successful of the Swiss Money Holding trio. Ares is still working the US indies but isn't getting much attention. Marc Roudin stayed in Switzerland and people who missed his appearance on a CHIKARA show probably don't even know Swiss Money Holding was a trio...what's that? It was once a quartet? Yep, really early on when the stable was still based in German Stampede Wrestling they had a fourth member named Don Heavy.
    • He has also outperformed his partner in the Kings of Wrestling, Chris Hero aka Kassius Ohno, as Ohno has yet to make it out of WWE's developmental system.
    • In WWE, he became the breakout of The Real Americans. Technically Jack Swagger had been more successful than Cesaro has as of 2018 before the team ever formed, but Swagger eventually slid down the card and was released, while Cesaro went on to form successful teams with Tyson Kidd and Sheamus.

    Radio 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Joe Forte played Mr. Conklin in the first few radio episodes of the series, before being replaced by the legendary Gale Gordon.
  • American Country Countdown's most famous host Bob Kingsley, who helmed the show from 1978 to 2005, was not its original host. From 1973 to 1978, it was hosted by singer/comedian Don Bowman, whose run has largely been forgotten. Kingsley left at the end of 2005 when he was forced out in favor of Kix Brooks, but seamlessly switched over to his own show, Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40.
  • When The Goon Show began in 1951 as Crazy People Michael Bentine starred alongside Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Bentine also appeared in the low-budget Goon Show spinoff movie Down Among the Z-Men, but left the show soon after. According to one interview, Milligan fired him for suggesting the show would work better without Milligan, who created and mostly wrote it.
    • Because so few recordings of early series remain, most of the show's fans, who only discovered it later, will also be unfamiliar with Bentine's character Osric Pureheart, an inventor and adventurer, who was usually a very important character in the scripts of the first and second series.
    • The show's original announcer Andrew Timothy also left early in the show's run, claiming that the surreal humour was damaging his sanity.
  • The Burkiss Way's female cast member Denise Coffey left after one season, to be replaced by Jo Kendall from I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again. Coffey returned when the show was adapted for television as the short-lived End of Part One.
  • Country Gold, a classic Country Music radio show, is best known for its hosts Big John Howell (1999-2006) and Rowdy Yates (2006-present)note . What's lesser-known is that Country Gold was originally hosted by Mike Fitzgerald when it started in 1992.

    Sports 
  • The four major North American pro sports leagues all had numerous franchises in their early years that went defunct. The Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs, Frankford Yellow Jackets, Providence Steam Roller (all NFL), Baltimore Bullets (NBA)note  and Montreal Maroons (NHL) all had the distinction of winning league championships before going under.
  • The Ottawa Senators are a subversion. The original Senators teams won 11 Stanley Cups in the early 1900s, their last one coming in 1927, before, like the Maroons, going bankrupt and folding. Therefore, the Senators would've been a straight example until 1992, when a new Ottawa team, also called the Senators, started playing, making the original teams somewhat notable again (in fact, the current Senators team even has the Stanley Cup banners from the original Senators championships hanging from the rafters). Technically speaking, the Sens do play the trope straight, since they were considered a brand new team when they arrived in 1992 and not an official continuation of the old team.
  • In American intercollegiate sports, most of the "Power Five" conferences (the top 5 leagues who have automatic bids in the top tier of football bowl games) trace their roots to the late 19th/early 20th centuries, when college sports conferences were still loose affiliations of regional schools. When college sports started becoming Serious Business, some schools elected to de-emphasize their athletics programs and dropped out of what would eventually become the Power Five leagues. Some are now members of the NCAA's lower profile divisions, others are in "Group of Five" Division I leagues. The most famous example is The University of Chicago leaving the Big Ten in 1946. Tulane and The University of The South (aka Sewanee) were founding members of the Southeastern Conference. Idaho and Montana were in what eventually evolved into the Pac-12. And the two forerunners of the current Big 12 (The Big 8 and Southwest Conferences) once counted Drake, Grinnell, Southwestern University, Washington University of St. Louis and the since-closed Phillips University as members.
  • On 2 June 1925, New York Yankees first baseman Wally Pipp was benched for a game against the Washington Senators that came after a five-game losing streak.note  The guy who takes over for him? None other than Lou Gehrig.
  • This has happened to several National Football League quarterbacks. To note some of the more prominent examples (in rough chronological order):
    • Quarterback Craig Morton had the unfortunate situation of being the Pete Best to two superstar quarterbacks. He brought the Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl V, where they lost to the Baltimore Colts. After that, he was gradually replaced by backup quarterback Roger Staubach, and finally moved on to other teams. Morton eventually managed to revive his career with the Denver Broncos, leading them to Super Bowl XII, where they lost to...the Dallas Cowboys, led by Staubach. He eventually retired from football with the Broncos, just in time to be replaced by a young rookie named John Elway....
    • In 1992, when then Packers-star Don Majkowski was injured, he was subsequently replaced by a little known former 2nd round pick from a small Mississippi college...who would then go on to start over 300 straight games, set most NFL passing career passing records, and enter the Hall of Fame on his first ballot. That quarterback's name? Brett Favre.
    • In 1999, the St. Louis Rams acquired Trent Green from the Washington Redskins and slated him as their starter. However, Green went down with a knee injury before the season even started. His backup - a former Arena League quarterback with 11 career NFL pass attempts - took over for Green. Kurt Warner would wind up leading "The Greatest Show on Turf" to a Super Bowl title that season, and would have a brief but stellar career that landed him in the Hall of Fame. Fortunately for Green, his career would rebound after being shipped to the Kansas City Chiefs.
    • Then, a few years later in 2001, Patriots star Drew Bledsoe (who'd just signed a massive contract) was injured after taking a brutal hit which caused internal bleeding in a game against the division rival NY Jets. They then turned to this untested sixth-round pick named Tom Brady...
      • This actually happened to poor Bledsoe, who was a great QB in his own right, twice, as he was benched midway through what ended up being his final season in the league for a 2nd-year undrafted free agent by the name of Tony Romo - while a less dramatic example than Brady, this occurred in 2006 and, after a nearly decade-long period of post-Troy Aikmannote  QB woes, Romo would go on to be the Cowboys' starting QB for almost a decade and set most of their franchise career passing records.
    • The same example happened with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tommy Maddox, who started 31 of the team's 32 games in 2002 and 2003, got injured and the rookie Ben Roethlisberger took over. The result? A nearly undefeated season in 2004, losing only to the aforementioned Tom Brady, and two Super Bowl wins in the 2005 and 2008 seasons. Unfortunately for Maddox, unlike some of the other quarterbacks on this list who would at least move on to start for other teams, Maddox would never again land a starting job in the NFL.
  • In a more general sense, any non-superstar player who held a certain starting position before being replaced (due to injury, retirement, or just poor play) with a superstar. Bonus points if the replaced player was clearly good, or even a star in his/her own right. This obviously does not apply if the player was able to make enough of a name for themselves to be remembered even after being replaced.
  • People often argue that Tony Dungy was this for the 2002-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that won Super Bowl XXXVII - coached by Jon Gruden. Dungy had been there several years and assembled the vast majority of the talent on that team before playoff frustration and disagreements with management over his coaching philosophy cost him his job. Dungy landed on his feet, though - that same offseason, he took a job with the Indianapolis Colts, who had a then 26-year-old Peyton Manning at quarterback. The Colts would go on to a sustained run of success under Dungy, and a Super Bowl XLI championship.
  • Isiah Thomas, well-known as the star of the Detroit Pistons during the "Bad Boys" era of the late 1980s-early 1990s (and before that known as the star of Indiana's 1981 NCAA champions), is more well-known now for being snubbed by the Dream Team before the 1992 Summer Olympics, possibly due to his rivalry with Michael Jordan.
  • Manchester United's first pinnacle of success was winning the European title in 1968. But the retirement of legendary manager Sir Matt Busby was followed by the catastrophe of relegation from the top flight a mere five years later. United were not fated to win the English league title for another twenty-three years. It is often forgotten - especially after Sir Alex Ferguson's stellar period as manager - that a lot of the work that needed to be done to make United credible contenders again was achieved during those 23 years by managers like Tommy Docherty and Ron Atkinson, who in their own right would have been acclaimed as great managers had they not been eclipsed by Ferguson's stellar achievement. Alex Ferguson inherited a club in great health with a roster of impressive young players, testament mainly to Atkinson.
  • One main reason why the Golden State Warriors have been very successful nowadays (especially when compared to past Warriors teams) is the coaching genius of Steve Kerr, particularly his offensive system based on unselfish passing, three point shooting, and the pick-and-roll. A huge part of success, though, can be credited to previous coach Mark Jackson, who improved the Dubs' defense (which was their greatest weakness back when they were the NBA's laughingstock).
    • In the same vein, a lot of people credit the Warriors' success to the three point shooting of "Splash Brothers" Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the gritty versatility of Draymond Green, and (later) the sheer talent of new addition Kevin Durant. However, the first star of the Dubs' successful era (and the precedent of the big names mentioned above) was David Lee, who was the Warriors' best player back when Curry was injury-prone, Thompson was considered a relative disappointment for a Lottery Pick, Green was either a reserve (or, pre-2012, playing in Michigan State), and Durant was still part of the OKC Thunder. In true Pete Best fashion, Lee's status as the Dubs' star ended with his injury in 2014, which catapulted Draymond Green to the starting lineup and turned the Dubs into the NBA's most feared team (alongside the lights-out shooting of Curry and Thompson).
  • Younger fans might not be aware that ESPN aired most of the first round NCAA Tournament games until 1991, when CBS snagged the rights for the entire tournament. ESPN's coverage was a big factor in popularizing the tournament and ESPN itself.
  • Mixed Martial Arts: Plenty of MMA fighters had their best years before the boom of Mixed Martial Arts.:
    • Some early pioneers, such as Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock, left the sport for Professional Wrestling to make money, only to return later when MMA paychecks improved.
    • Igor Vovchanchyn is The Pete Best to fighters like Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko Cro Cop. He was the first kickboxer to have sustained success against grappling artists in the mid 90s, was universally feared as a striker in the late 90s, and got a scary number of victories over established names. However, because his success happened in the "Dark Ages" of MMA, only hardcore fans remember him.
    • Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons is a fighter active from the mid-90s to present day, skilled in Muay Thai. His body shape and style are both almost identical to that of legendary former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, and in fact he trained Silva at one point and had a real life enmity with him. Almost no one knows who "Pele" is (not the least because his name makes him The Pete Best in another way), while Silva has had much more success and is regarded as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world.
    • Bas Rutten dominated the Pancrase organization, won the UFC heavyweight championship, and retired before MMA ever went mainstream. However, he's made quite a name for himself for his commentating and commentary, as well as his infamous self-defense tapes.
    • Wallid Ismail was an early Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sensation, winning championships and becoming one of the first "professional" BJJ competitorsnote  In 1992, he dueled and won Ralph Gracie (which was trained specifically to defeat him and end his streak) in the Mundial and in 1993 he defeated Renzo Gracie, he then challenged Royce Gracie for a fight, which he accepted in 1998 under "special conditions" (no time limit or point system, only winning by submission), he would then win by choking Royce out with a "Relógio" (or Clock Choke). For that he became known as the "Gracie Hunter" years before Kazushi Sakuraba. He also became a figure on the early Vale Tudo scene, competing in IVC (International Vale Tudo Championship), UFC, and PRIDE. Even appearing at Antonio Inoki's UFO, Bom-Ba-Ye and even doing cameos at NJPW, and founded Jungle Fight, Brazil and South America's largest MMA promotion. All of this happened before MMA went mainstream.
    • Jens Pulver started fighting in 1999, was the UFC's first ever lightweight championship and, for eight years, was the only person who ever defeated BJ Penn at lightweight. However, when UFC really hit the mainstream Pulver's suspect chin and defensive grappling were used against him multiple times, culminating in a two-year, six-fight losing streak. Unfortunately, most modern fans only remember the tail-end of his career, which has consisted of him getting punched out or submitted.
    • Before Kazushi Sakuraba made a name by hunting down BJJ fighters with his shoot wrestling abilities, fellow shooter Rumina Sato had already achieved that feat in at least two occasions, submitting Ricardo Botelho and John Lewis. However, Sato's lack of exposure (occasioned by his refusal to fight outside of Shooto until he gained a title) made him almost unknown to western audiences.

    Theatre 
  • A common occurrence for many modern Broadway shows is for them to start Off-Broadway, then if they find success there, moving to Broadway, typically with most of the original cast and crew. The cast members who are replaced almost always become this, especially if theirs is the performance immortalised on the cast recording:
    • Brian d'Arcy James, who originated the role of Dan in Next to Normal Off-Broadway, was the only cast member to not move with the show to Broadway, being replaced by J. Robert Spencer, who promptly got a Tony nomination and a whole lot of notoriety.
      • Another Brian d'Arcy James example: few people seem to remember that he originated the role of King George III in Hamilton while it was off-Broadway. He was replaced by the much more celebrated Jonathan Groff once the show moved onto Broadway.
    • Contrary to popular belief, Andrea McArdle was not the first to play Annie in the musical. She was the first Broadway Annie, and replaced Kristin Vigard, who played her in the Goodspeed Opera House previews before the show went to Broadway.
    • Dear Evan Hansen: The role of Alana was played by Alexis Molnar when the show premiered in Washington, DC. She was replaced by Kristolyn Lloyd when the show opened off-Broadway and subsequently moved to Broadway, and Kristolyn is the one featured in all the show's Broadway hype and publicity alongside the rest of the original cast.
  • Jules Bledsoe introduced "Ol' Man River" as Joe in the original Broadway production of Show Boat. Paul Robeson would play that part (which consists of little more than the famous song and its reprises) in the 1928 London production, the 1932 Broadway revival, and the 1936 film version (for which he got a Movie Bonus Song). Robeson was the most famous black dramatic actor of his day, and Bledsoe was really not a good actor, so it's no wonder whose performance was regarded as definitive.
  • Steve Harley sang in the original single release for The Phantomofthe Opera, but when the London production began was replaced by Michael Crawford after preparing for the role for several months.
  • Paul Hecht originated the role of John Dickinson in the musical 1776 - but it was Donald Madden, who took over the role on Broadway, who went on to star in the film version and create the definitive Dickinson. The same thing happened with John Cullum, actually the third Rutledge on Broadway, who played the role the longest and went on to recreate the role for the film.
  • An interesting example is the role of Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The original 1967 production didn't even feature the character, with Patty (not Peppermint Patty) instead. Patty eventually got Demoted to Extra in the Peanuts universe, and by the time of the 1999 Broadway production was largely forgotten. She was replaced with Sally, who was a good fit for Kristin Chenoweth, complete with an extremely catchy solo, and she won the Supporting Actress Tony. Meanwhile, Patty's been almost nearly forgotten.
  • Thanks to the 2006 Broadway revival of Company, Raúl Esparza has well and truly eclipsed any other actor to play the role of Bobby, despite being born in the same year the show debuted.
  • In the world of Cirque du Soleil, no one seems to remember that Cool Old Guy Brian Dewhurst (aka Brian Le Petit) was not the original performer of Mystère's principal clown act; he only joined the cast in 2000, and the show has been running since 1993. There were no less than three sets of performers handling clown duties before him: Wayne Hronek (who created the act and taught it to Dewhurst), Alex El Sobrino, and Alfredo et Adrenaline (a male-female duo who presented a completely different act in 1995-96). Mystere has never been filmed in its entirety, and its making-of documentary didn't come along until Dewhurst's tenure, so very little footage of Hronek's version of the act exists, and none at all of the other two.

    Video Games 
  • Atari was founded in the early 70s by Nolan Bushnell, Al Alcorn, and a third guy named Ted Dabney who dropped out. Guess which one is no longer remembered.
  • Canadian developer BioWare was originally founded by three people: Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, and Augustine Yip. After Yip left to continue his medical career during development of the company's breakout game, Baldur's Gate, he was for the most part forgotten by all but the most dedicated of the developer's fans.
  • Rockstar North was founded by David Jones, Mike Dailly, Russell Kay and Steve Hammond. It was initially called DMA Design and developed the original Grand Theft Auto, however a year after the release, most of the employees and founders quit. Jones, who was the producer of the game, was the only founder remaining. Sam and Dan Houser, who founded Rockstar Games, actually started to work in the franchise with the first expansion, London 1969, but sometime after the release of Grand Theft Auto 2, Jones decided to leave and found Realtime Worlds, leaving the Houser brothers with DMA and developing Grand Theft Auto III, which would be a massive sucess and a game-changer in the market, making the original founders, especially Jones, forgotten.
  • Erin Fitzgerald wasn't the first English voice for Chie Satonaka, but since she's been doing the voice longer, and is more well known than Tracey Rooney, people usually associate her with the role. The same can be said for Teddie - Dave Wittenberg isn't exactly an obscure voice actor, but more people have heard Sam Riegel.
  • The two main stars of Ratchet & Clank were David Kaye as Clank and Mikey Kelley as Ratchet, who was replaced for the rest of the franchise by James Arnold Taylor.
  • The original Elite was developed by two people, Davidd Braben and Ian Bell. Braben took the Elite rights and made Frontier: Elite II, later founding Frontier Developments which, among others, made Frontier: First Encounters (the followup to Elite II), RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and Elite: Dangerous.
  • In Devil May Cry Reuben Langdon is Dante's third voice actor after Drew Coombs (who voiced in in the first game and Viewtiful Joe) and Matthew Kaminsky (who voiced in in the second game and Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne) but because Langdon became a mainstay since the third game and also voiced Dante in the animated series and other cameos, he's a lot more iconic than his predecessors.
  • Julian LeFay played in instrumental role as a game designer and programmer for Bethesda in the company's early days, playing a pivitol role in creating The Elder Scrolls series as the lead programmer for Arena, Daggerfall, and Battlespire. However, when it came time for development to begin on Morrowind, LeFay was not picked for the development team. Around the same time, he started having increasing concerns over Bethesda's changing corporate culture in the latter half of the 90's, so he eventually tendered his resignation from the company in 1998, citing Creative Differences, but still made some small contributions to Morrowind at the behest of his good friend and Bethesda founder Christopher Weaver. It would be LeFay's unfortunate luck that Morrowind would turn out to be the Breakthrough Hit for both the TES series and for Bethesda, leading to a massive Newbie Boom that propelled both into the mainstream gaming conciousness. LeFay would then be supplanted in eyes of fans who first experienced the series from Morrowind on by series' My Real Daddy, Michael Kirkbride.

    Web Original 
  • Hat Films was initially made of four people: Ross Hornby, Chris Trott, Nathan Asheman, and Ben Adams. Both Asheman and Adams eventually left the group (although Adams is almost never mentioned and seemingly left first) at some point, to later be replaced by Alex Smith. New fans as a rule tend not to remember either Asheman or Adams so well.
  • Subverted with Jon Jafari who left Game Grumps eleven months into the series. Jon still has enough memorable moments to be associated with the series as his replacement Danny currently is.
  • The longest-lasting hosts of Midnight Screenings are Brad Jones, Laura Luke Jones, Brian Lewis, Brian Irving, Dave Gobble, and Sarah Gobble. Early on, the team also included Jillian Zurawski (Brad's ex-wife, who quit early on because she didn't like doing the show anymore) and Jake Norvell (who was fired from all of Brad's productions for spreading rumors about him), whose tenures have largely been forgotten. Subverted with Jerrid Foiles, who dropped out after the first few episodes due to a dispute with Brad, but began returning with occurring frequency around 2016 before officially rejoining for good in 2019.

    Western Animation 
  • Lacey Chabert was the original voice for Meg on Family Guy for about the first dozen episodes before being replaced by Mila Kunis. Combined with a bit of Characterization Marches On, as Chabert's Meg was more of a softer voiced, younger sounding Daddy's Girl, while Kunis' slightly harsher voice was better suited to expressing Butt-Monkey-related frustration and anger.
    • This has been lampshaded a few times, for example Peter threatening to replace Lois in "Business Guy", causing her to back down by simply mentioning Chabert's name, and the episode "Back to The Pilot" when Stewie and Brian travel back in time to the pilot episode and they comment that Meg sounds different.
      Stewie: She sounds like someone who's about to make a terrible career decision.
  • The Simpsons - the voices of Moe Szyslak and Monty Burns were originated by Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, right? Actually both characters were first voiced by Christopher Collins, aka Chris Latta, aka Cobra Commander and Starscream - but his part as Burns was only used in one episode ("Homer's Odyssey"), and none of his voice work as Moe was heard in any finished episode (he recorded all of Moe's lines in "Some Enchanted Evening", but Hank Azaria re-recorded the lines late in production, so Chris Latta is only heard as a TV presenter in that episode).
  • Karri Turner (of JAG fame) was originally intended to be the lead voice actress for South Park, but was let go in the time between the original pilot and the start of the series as it was felt that her voice wasn't distinct enough. Mary Kay Bergman went on to voice nearly all of the major female characters until her suicide in 1999, while Turner showed up briefly in a guest spot in the first season (voicing Kathie Lee Gifford).
    • In the Latin Spanish dub, Kyle and Cartman were originally voiced by Vivian Ruiz for seasons 1 and 2. Ruiz quit the series after season 2 because Cartman's voice was very difficult on her. She was replaced by Patricia Azan in season 3 and beyond, as well as the redubs of seasons 1-2.
  • Recess: T.J. is very well-known as being voiced by Andy Lawrence... even though Ross Malinger played him for the first fifteen episodes until his voice broke.
  • The pilot episode of Inspector Gadget was the only time Mona Marshall voiced Penny; the role being taken over by Cree Summer for the rest of the first season and Holly Berger in the second season. Also in the first edition of the pilot, Gadget was voiced by the British actor Gary Owens, (not that Gary Owens), who was subsequently dubbed over by the more Don Adams-esque Jesse White, who himself was replaced with Don Adams himself for the rest of the show.
  • Scooby-Doo: Heather North is usually associated as being the classic, original voice of Daphne Blake, with Mary Kay Bergman even mentioning it in an interview during her tenure in the role, but in reality, the role was originated by Indira Stefanianna Christopherson for the first 17 episodes (and majority) of the classic Where Are You?! series before the role was recast with North. Many viewers don't know they're actually hearing a whole other actress in the role for the majority of the classic episodes.
    • Also happened to Scrappy-Doo, where Don Messick is usually associated as his voice actor (doing double-duty with Scooby), but actually Lennie Weinrib had voiced the character for all 16 episodes of "The Scooby-Doo & Scrappy-Doo Show" before quitting the role over a pay dispute and other personal reasons. In addition, Daws Butler, Dick Beals, Frank Welker, Marilyn Schreffler, and others all voiced the character in unaired test versions of the pilot before producers settled on Weinrib.
    • Happens in universe when Scrappy-Doo became The Scrappy, replacing Scooby-Doo's other relative who only appeared in a few episodes: Scooby-Dum.
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt Disney made a whole series of cartoons featuring him and wanted to continue them, but Universal owned the character and didn't let him have the rights. When Disney struck out on his own, he invented Oswald's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Mickey Mouse. Ozzy was eventually bought back by Disney (in a deal that gave NBC Al Michaels and John Madden for Sunday Night Football) and gained some recognition by appearing in the video game Epic Mickey.
  • Who remembers Scrooge McDuck having the voice of Alan Young? (A large number of hands are raised.) Who knows that in his first appearance, 1967's Scrooge McDuck and Money, Bill Thompson provided Mr. McD's voice? (Most of the hands fall.) Or that in the 1986 special "Sport Goofy in Soccermania" Scrooge was voiced by Will Ryan? (Even more hands go down.)
  • Danger Mouse is often remembered as either voiced by David Jason (for the original 1981 series) or Alexander Armstrong (for the 2015 reboot). However, his first voice artist, for the 1979 pilot "The Mystery of the Lost Chord", was William Franklyn.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • In the original shorts that aired as part of the What A Cartoon show, Bubbles was voiced by Kath Soucie rather than Tara Strong, who is much more commonly associated with the role. And prior to that, the show was merely a 1992 college project named "Whoopass Stew" with all the girls voiced by Jennifer Fried, and instead of the as-of-yet iconic Tom Kenny as the Narrator's voice, Craig McCracken himself provided the voice for his own production. In addition, Ernie Anderson was the narrator in the WAC shorts, but he had passed away by the time the TV series was greenlit, and Kenny was cast.
    • In his first appearance, Gangrene Gang memner Lil' Arturo was voiced by Carlos Alazraqui. Tom Kenny voices him in all subsequent episodes.
    • In a non-voice acting example, Townsville had a completely different mayor in the first WAC short. The character in that episode appeared to be modeled after Bill Clinton, and was voiced by Jim Cummings. The classic Mayor (voiced by Tom Kenny) and Miss Bellum replaced him in the main TV show. This is also an example of Art Evolution as the earlier mayor had a more realistic look compared to the classic mayor, who's as stylized as the girls themselves.
  • The animated adaptations of Garfield have two examples:
    • Garfield's original voice was not Lorenzo Music. In the very first animation that aired on The Fantastic Funnies (1980), adapting five newspaper strips, Garfield was voiced by Scott Beach. Music became Garfield's voice starting with Here Comes Garfield.
    • While Thom Huge did voice Jon Arbuckle in The Fantastic Funnies, the role was handed over to Sandy Kenyon for Here Comes Garfield, the first of the Garfield Specials. Huge returned for the rest of the animated specials through Garfield Gets a Life in 1991, along with the entirety of Garfield and Friends (1988-1994).
  • Most people remember Jeremy Shada as the voice of Adventure Time's Finn even though he took over, ironically enough, just as his brother Zach was going though puberty years after he recorded for the Random! Cartoons version.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Alfred was voiced by Clive Revil (who seems have a habit of being this) in the first three episodes "On Leather Wings", "Christmas With the Joker" and "Never Fear". Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. took over for the rest of the series and its spinoffs.
  • Jack Mercer was not the original voice of Popeye. That honor goes to William Costello, who was the sailor man's voice actor for his first two years before Mercer took over afterward, supplying Popeye's voice for the majority of the remainder of his shorts and continuing to do so for all appearances afterward until his death in 1984.
  • Spongebob Squarepants has several examples from it's Latin American Spanish dub:
    • Spongebob himself was voiced by Kaihiamal Martínez in the first season, after which he was one of several voice actors who were fired from the dubbing company, Etcetera Group, after a pay dispute. Because of this, Luis Carreño replaced him, and he continues to voice the role to this day (even after moving to Miami).
    • Óscar Zuloaga voiced Plankton until the Christmas special Cristmas Who?. From Welcome to the Chum Bucket to Squirrel Record, Luis Miguel Pérez would voice him and become associated with the role.
    • Karen was usually voiced by Melanie Henríquez until her retirement, and by Gabriela Belén since then, but her voice actress in the first season was actually Rocio Mallo, who had to quit the role after moving to Mexico (she has since moved back to Venezuela).
    • Sandy was originally voiced by Mercedes Prato but was fired for the same reasons as Martínez, leading her more famous successor Anabella Silva (as well as Yaraivi Alcedo, Lidia Abautt, and Lileana Chacón) to take over.
    • Most people remember Juan Guzmán as the French Narrator, as well as the voice reading the signs in Spanish, but he actually replaced Orlando Noguera in both after he moved to Mexico (Noguera would later move again to Miami, where he continues to do voiceover work).
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog was not originally voiced by John Ritter. In a series of direct-to-video specials from the late '80s, Brent Titcomb provided his voice.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Porky Pig was originally voiced by Joe Dougherty, with Porky's stutter actually being shared by Dougherty in real-life. Unfortunately, Dougherty's stutter was actually a little too pronounced, resulting in recording sessions taking three or four times longer than normal for a cartoon, and Friz Freleng eventually being forced to replace him with Mel Blanc in order to avoid being fired for running up excessive tape and studio costs.
    • Elmer Fudd — or rather his prototype, Egghead — was originally voiced by Danny Webb, and later recast with Arthur Q. Bryan around the same time the character evolved to his final version.

    Real Life 
  • Ron Wayne co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. His 10% ownership in the company would be worth $22 billion today... if he hadn't sold his shares back to the Steves 12 days into the partnership for $800.
  • Joe Green decided not to take up his roommate Mark Zuckerberg's offer to help him with his website called Facebook.
  • The supermarket chain Waitrose was started by three men — Waite, Rose and Taylor. Taylor left after a couple of years, and the business was renamed after the remaining two.
  • Sears, Roebuck & Co. Roebuck's name isn't even on the sign anymore. Historically, he had to retire earlier than expected due to ill health. Though, in Roebuck's favor, "Roebuck & Co." is now a Sears clothing brand and one of the store's more popular products.
  • Dow Jones & Company was founded by Charles Dow, Edward Jones... and Charles Bergstresser. What makes this example particularly unfair is that he was the chief financier for the new company and he came up with the name "The Wall Street Journal". However, it was his decision to become a silent partner, so his name never appeared on the company's name. Still, it's somewhat subverted since his influence is still expressed by the publication (such as during its 125th anniversary.
  • MGM Studios was created by merging three earlier production companies: Metro, Goldwyn, and (L. B.) Mayer. The Goldwyn company in turn had got its name from its two founders, Samuel Goldfish and Edgar Selwyn. By the time the company merged into MGM, Sam Goldfish had long since parted ways with Selwyn to set up as an independent producer ... after changing his own name to Goldwyn.
  • Alexandria was part of the District of Columbia until 1846, when its residents petitioned Congress to cede the land back to Virginia.
  • Monaco, now the second-smallest country on the planet by land area, was slightly larger for most of its history. But in 1848 the French Riviera towns of Menton and Roquebrune seceded from Monaco over taxation issues. Monaco's current fame as a playground for the wealthy derives from the casino at Monte Carlo, which was built as a way for the country to earn back the revenue it lost from the secession.
  • Who knows the GE P42DC as being the successor locomotive to the EMD F40PH for Amtrak? (Many hands go up.) Who remembers the earlier GE P40DC which was intended as the F40PH's successor? (Very few hands remain up.) Anybody remember the EMD SDP40F, the F40PH's predessecor? (Even fewer hands remain up.) Who remembers the GE P30CH, the F40PH's GE counterpart? (Just a few hands remain up.)
  • Most people know of the Sesame Place theme park in Pennsylvania, but even fewer remember the failed attempt at a west coast version in Irving, Texas in the early 1980s.
  • David Blair, a White Star Line officer who was originally planned to be Second Officer on the fateful voyage of the RMS Titanic with William Murdoch and Charles Lightoller as the Chief Officer and First Officer respectively. Captain Smith wanted Henry Wilde as his Chief Officer which bumped Murdoch and Lightoller down a rank and reassigned Blair out of the voyage. (The Junior Officers kept their positions.) This last-minute change might have saved Blair's life but also resulted in the infamous "forgot to leave the keys to the lookout's binoculars" incident.

Fictional examples

    Anime 
  • In-Universe in 20th Century Boys, Friend refers to himself as Major Michael Collins, after the third member of the Apollo 11 space mission where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first and second men on the moon; the idea, of course, being that the last two are more famous than Collins is.

    Comics 
  • Thunderbird was one of the "Second Genesis" X-Men, and the first main to die (If you don't count Professor X's fakeout death, that is). That's pretty much all he's known for now. The fact that his powers were largely the same as the Beast probably didn't help his case. Although Sunfire fits the trope even better, since he voluntarily left the team in the issue immediately following the first adventure.
  • Back when X-Statix was still called X-Force, they had an entirely different lineup. Of that lineup, only U-Go Girl and Anarchist survived the first issue. And they weren't even the original lineup! The average X-Forcer had a very short life expectancy. It didn't help that their crazy, amoral sponsor Spike Freeman preferred that the team have a high turnover rate
  • The first issue of The Order features Henry Hellrung and Pepper Pots having to fire four of the Order's initial lineup after they decide to get drunk after their first mission.
  • During the Runaways' first year, they recruited a boy named Topher to their ranks. He turned out to be a vampire, and was killed off after trying to feed on Karolina.
    • Alex Wilder could be an example as well, as his unofficial replacement Victor Mancha not only is more well known thanks to his ties to the greater Marvel Universe (he's the son of Ultron, making him the brother of The Vision, a well-known member of the Avengers) but he proved to be far more popular as well.
  • Early in their history, the Great Lakes Avengers had a guy named Leather Boy on their roster. He misread the personal ad that Mr. Immortal had put out and quit after realizing that they weren't a fetish community. He later returned, seeking revenge on the team after finding out that they were looking to expand their membership and hadn't even thought to call him.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • In Zoolander, main villain Mugatu was originally in Frankie Goes to Hollywood but was booted out shortly before they got big. He used their song "Relax" as his keyword to activate his brainwash programming.
  • That Thing You Do! has the original drummer for The Wonders (then The One-ders) break his arm before a talent competition. The band asks Guy to fill in for him. This talent show led the The Wonders towards the path to recognition. The former drummer, Chad, ends up taking Guy's old job at his father's appliance shop.
  • The Rocker The whole plot revolves around this trope. Rainn Wilson plays Robert "Fish" Fishman, the drummer in an 80's glammetal band called Vesuvius. When his band gets signed, Fish gets dropped in favor of their producer's nephew. Despite his swearing to become even bigger than they do, he fails, until more than 20 years later when his nephew asks him to fill in for the drummer for his band, and they manage to hit it big, thanks largely to YouTube and a series of videos entitled The Naked Drummer. Pete Best even makes a cameo as himself.
  • The Social Network uses this as a major plot point: in its interpretation of Facebook's founding, Eduardo Saverin, who has been part of the company since the start, becomes aware of his business partner's attempts to minimize his contributions and force him out of the company. Lawsuits ensue. In real life Saverin has been candid that he didn't care so much about being on the Facebook "inside" as maintaining his deserved financial stake.

    Literature 
  • Discworld:
    • Parodied in the novel The Thief of Time, where Ronnie Soak left The Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse before they got famous — he was "Kaos", the Fifth Horseman. He still manages to get a He's Back moment near the end when he rejoins the Horsemen for the big battle against the Auditors.
    • Also used in Soul Music, where the Librarian briefly joined (and then quit) the Band With Rocks In before they went on tour and made it really big.
  • In the original text of The Bible the Four Horsemen were Famine, Death, War, and Conquest. In the King James edition, Conquest was replaced with the much more widely known Pestilence.

    Live Action TV 
  • Invoked in-universe in Breaking Bad. One of the reasons that the protagonist Walter White decides to enter the meth business is to create a successful enterprise of his own, after having missed out on a chance to be a part of the multi-billion company Gray Matter, which he had founded along with two of his college friends. Though he was one of the primary forces behind the creation of Gray Matter, no one at the company is willing to acknowledge it in public, especially once Walt is publically exposed as a drug lord near the end of the series, and his role in starting the company has long since been forgotten.

    Web Comics 
  • Kairi in Ansem Retort, namely, the Show Within a Show Ansem Retort. She was killed off in the first season and replaced by Aerith, who more people associate with the show nowadays, especially since her wedding was broadcast on it.

    Western Animation 
  • In the season three premiere of Metalocalypse, there's a flashback of Dethklok signing its first contract. The rhythm guitarist there is not the current rhythm guitarist, Toki Wartooth, but a man named Magnus Hammersmith. Hammersmith, we later learn, was kicked out of the band and replaced because he was abusive and violent. Predictably enough, he worms his way into a friendship with Toki, then literally stabs him in the back during the Revengencer attack. When Dethklok awakens the power of the Doomstar while rescuing Toki, Magnus realizes he was the villain the whole time and stabs himself.
  • The Simpsons: The episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" is a deliberate spoof on the Beatles' career, with Chief Wiggum playing the role of Pete Best and Barney Gumble (who turns out to have a breathtaking singing voice) as Ringo Starr. Wiggum takes it poorly, repeatedly trying to either get back into the group or screwing them over (like trying to arrest them).
    • In "Team Homer", Homer forms a bowling team with Moe, Apu, and Otto, with Homer getting the sponsorship money out of Mr. Burns while he's high on ether. When Mr. Burns finds out, he wants to join the team, so in order to appease him (and maintain their funding) Otto has to go. However, he still helps them win indirectly when he accidentally knocks over the bowling alley's prize-grabber machine, which causes a big enough impact that it knocks over Burns' pins and wins them the tournament.
      • The same thing had happened to Otto before in "A Streetcar Named Marge", where director Llewellyn Sinclair took him out of the cast of "Oh! Streetcar!" just before the opening performance, replacing him in the part of Pablo with himself.
  • In Meet the Raisins, a mock-biopic about the California Raisins, the Raisins are revealed to have had a Pete Best of their own - Zoot the grapefruit. He was replaced by Stretch, who ironically started out as the only raisin in a grapefruit band.


Alternative Title(s): Left Before They Got Famous, Replaced And Forgotten

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