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What is ‘Batwoman’ without Ruby Rose? How six shows survived losing their stars

The Arrowverse has been rocked by Ruby Rose’s decision to exit CW’s “Batwoman” after the show’s first season.

Both Rose and CW paint it as an amicable split, even if the reasons for her exit are unclear.

The network will recast, and producer Greg Berlanti has promised that the ground-breaking role of the lesbian crimefighter will go to another member of the LGBTQ community.

Still, it’s a huge loss and risk for the network. “Batwoman” is CW’s third most-watched series, behind “The Flash” and the final season of “Arrow.”

Here’s how six other shows have dealt with losing their leads:

After the most successful comeback in network TV history, “Roseanne” transformed in 2018 into “The Conners” after ABC decided it couldn’t stomach star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets. Roseanne Conner was revealed to have died from complications of her opioid abuse (a story teased during the show’s first season), and the family was left to persevere without her. Ratings remain strong, and the show has been renewed for a third season.

“Two and a Half Men” was CBS’ No. 1 show, but the network and producer Chuck Lorre could only put up with Charlie Sheen’s outrageous behavior for so long. In the ninth season premiere, viewers were told Charlie had died. Ashton Kutcher joined the series as a lonely internet billionaire, and the show ran four more seasons.

Andy Whitfield made for an outstanding “Spartacus,” but after the star was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2010, and subsequently died in 2011, Starz tapped Liam McIntyre to play the rebel warrior for the series’ final two seasons.

Fans were confused when Michael O’Hare disappeared from “Babylon 5” after one season in 1994. His space station commander Jeffrey Sinclair was seemingly vital to all the mysteries of the show. Bruce Boxleitner’s Captain John Sheridan joined as the show’s new protagonist for the remainder of the series. Months after O’Hare’s death in 2012, series creator J. Michael Straczinski revealed the true reason for his departure. He had suffered from severe mental illness and was written off the show so he could seek treatment.

After a protracted salary dispute, Valerie Harper was fired from her own self-titled sitcom in 1987. Producers killed off her character off-screen in a car crash and filled the void with Sandy Duncan coming in as the aunt to Valerie’s boys. The show was renamed “Valerie’s Family” and then “The Hogan Family,” with the focus shifting to teenager Jason Bateman, and it ran for four more seasons.

When Freddie Prinze killed himself in 1977 at the age of 22, producers of his hit sitcom “Chico and the Man” decided not to recast, but to bring in a 12-year-old as the new Chico. The sitcom lasted but one more season.

After Pete Duel shot himself in 1971, producers wanted to immediately cancel his western “Alias Smith and Jones,” but ABC demanded the show continue. Roger Davis took over, but the show barely lasted another season.

 

 

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