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Actors Who Hated the Television Series They Starred In

To many, being an actor on a successful television series is a dream job that promises fame and fortune. However, there can be a dark side, and sometimes actors come to despise the very shows that made them famous.

Whether over personality clashes with co-stars or producers, financial disputes, or even issues with content, these stars found being on set completely unbearable, leading them to leave their series even at the height of fame.

Take a look with us at some of the most memorable cases of TV actors who hated the shows they starred in. Are you surprised by any of these? Let us know in the comments, and SHARE with your friends!

Robert Reed

Robert Reed may have been the picture of a good-natured dad as patriarch Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch, however behind the scenes it was a different story.

Over the course of the series’ run, Reed constantly clashed with creator Sherwood Schwartz over content. The actor often felt the material was below his training as an actor, and wanted the show to more realistically reflect a mixed-family coming together, as opposed to the jokey/gag-heavy style preferred by Schwartz.

The situation got so bad that Reed was dropped from the final episode of the show’s sixth season, which ended up being the series finale.

Despite his disdain for the show, Reed continued appearing in Brady reunions until the end of his life, mainly due to the close relationships he shared with his co-stars.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus exploded onto the pop cultural  scene in the early 2000s thanks to her starring role on the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana. 

Portraying an everyday teen with a secret pop star alter ego, Cyrus starred in the series, a spinoff film, and even headlined a huge concert tour.

However, in the years since, she’s spoken somewhat negatively on the experience.

In a 2015 Vanity Fair interview, Cyrus said, “From the time I was 11, it was, ‘You’re a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing.’ Meanwhile, I’m this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup. It was like Toddlers & Tiaras. I had f**king flippers.”

Cyrus continued,“I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show. I was made to look like someone that I wasn’t, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then when I wasn’t on that show, it was like, ‘Who the f–k am I?”

“Every morning, I was getting coffee jammed down my throat to wake me up,” she revealed. “I just had to keep going, be tough, be strong. Everything happened to me on that set. I would have anxiety attacks. I’d get hot flashes, feel like I was about to pass out or throw up. It would happen a lot before shows, and I’d have to cancel. Then the anxiety started coming. … I would be with my friends, thinking, I should be having so much fun. You get in this hole that seems like you’re never going to be able to get out of.”

Billy Ray Cyrus

Knowing Miley’s issues with the series, it should probably come as no surprise that her dad Billy Ray Cyrus doesn’t have many positive things to say about Hannah Montana either.

While the “Achey Breaky Heart” hitmaker’s career did get a major boost from the series, he’s said of the show, “I’ll tell you right now, the damn show… destroyed my family. I hate to say it, but yes, … I’d take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody OK, safe and sound, and happy and normal would have been fantastic. I’d erase it all in a second if I could.”

Mischa Barton

When The O.C. exploded on the television scene in 2003, Mischa Barton — who portrayed troubled rich girl with a heart of gold Marissa Cooper — became a superstar overnight.

At the end of the show’s third season, Barton’s character was shockingly killed off.

Rumors have swirled in the years since, sometimes stoked by other cast members, that Barton was let go from the series for being difficult to deal with. For his part, director Josh Schwartz said in 2013, “Mischa showed up every day and did her job and did a great job and worked really hard so it had nothing to do with her.”

For her part, Barton said, “I think I just got to the point where I was like, ‘I’m not sure I’m enjoying this anymore.’ I just felt like I was in a machine and I couldn’t really get off. So it was time to step back. So I went back to England and it was just a year of real self-exploration,” in 2016.

Katherine Heigl

What a difference two years can make.

In 2007, Katherine Heigl won an Emmy for her portrayal of Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy. However, in 2009, Heigl had her name removed from possible Emmy ballots, stating, “I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination, and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”

The statement, and others Heigl made about the length of Greys production days, angered producers and creator Shonda Rhimes.

Heigl was written off the show in 2010, and has not returned as of press time.

T.R. Knight

In addition to Heigl, Grey’s Anatomy had another disgruntled original cast member in T.R. Knight.

Knight left the series following the final episode of the sixth season — in which his character was hit and mutilated by a bus — due to a “breakdown in communication” with creator Shonda Rhimes regarding Knight’s screen time during the season, as well as his decision to come out as gay.

Rhimes denied this, saying at the time of Knight’s departure, “I said, ‘If you want to come out, that’s awesome. We’ll totally support that.’ And then he went away, thought about it, and came back and said, ‘I’m going to make this statement.’ I remember saying to [fellow executive producer] Betsy Beers, ‘This is our proudest day here. T.R. got to come out, and I got to say to him that it wouldn’t affect his character’ — because he was concerned that he was going to come out and George would suddenly be gay. I was like, ‘We are not going to do that.’ The idea that a gay actor can’t play a straight man is insulting.”

Shannen Doherty

Actress Shannen Doherty was no stranger to behind-the-scenes drama in the 1990s, having already left Beverly Hills 90210 due to strife with co-stars.

Things initially seemed better on the WB series Charmed; however, old habits were apparently hard to break as she left the series after the third season.

Of the series, Doherty has said,“On Charmed there were a couple of moments when I gave the most brutally honest performance I ever could have given as an actor. What you saw came from my gut. I knew that they (performances) weren’t being given their proper due because they were on Charmed. It’s a show for 12 year olds!”

Chevy Chase

Veteran comedian Chevy Chase found a whole new audience through his work on the late 2000s/2010s cult classic sitcom Community.

Despite the career-boost the series gave him, Chase and creator Dan Harmon had a long-running feud behind the scenes, punctuated by the release of voicemails of Chase complaining about a script.

Angus T. Jones

As the titular “half” in Two and a Half Men, Angus T. Jones spent 10 years on the hit CBS series, literally growing from a boy to a man on television.

However, in 2012, Jones spoke scathingly about the show in relation to his then-newfound Christianity, saying, “If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching Two and a Half Men. I’m on Two and a Half Men and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it and filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch. If I am doing any harm, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be contributing to the enemy’s plan. … You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can’t. I’m not OK with what I’m learning, what the Bible says and being on that television show.”

Jones apparently didn’t hold a grudge too long, however, as he appeared on the show’s 2015 series finale.

Issac Hayes

Issac Hayes’ voiceover performance as Chef on South Park rejuvenated the soul singer’s career in the late 1990s.

However, Hayes left the series after a 2005 episode that skewered Scientology, of which Hayes was a member. In several radio interviews, Hayes gave conflicting accounts of his departure, but each time he trashed South Park creators Trey parker and Matt Stone.

In 2016, eight years after Hayes died, his son spoke about his departure to The Hollywood Reporter claiming that his father didn’t actually choose to leave the series on his own. “Isaac Hayes did not quit South Park; someone quit South Park for him. What happened was that in January 2006 my dad had a stroke and lost the ability to speak. He really didn’t have that much comprehension, and he had to relearn to play the piano and a lot of different things. He was in no position to resign under his own knowledge. At the time, everybody around my father was involved in Scientology — his assistants, the core group of people. So someone quit South Park on Isaac Hayes’ behalf. We don’t know who.”

Robert Beltran

Robert Beltran starred as Commander Chakotay for the entire seven-year run of Star Trek: Voyager. 

Behind the scenes, Beltran was notably unhappy with the direction the Chakotay character went, often arguing with producers over screen time and story arcs.

The in-fighting got so bad that executive producer Kenneth Biller said “I think Robert Beltran should stop whining and do his job… print that if you want!” in an on the record interview during the show’s sixth season.

Beltran’s opinions on the series seem to have somewhat mellowed. In a 2012 interview — a full decade after the series ended — Beltran said of working on the show, “If I was working in a car factory and putting on tires, the only difference would be the size of the tires I was working on from week to week. So I knew what I was getting into, and I was prepared to stick it out for seven years, but it’s the creativity in me, that thing that makes me a creative person, that rebelled at some of the things that were going on. That’s all it was. I didn’t like some of the things that were going towards the last three years, and I risked being fired because I wasn’t happy creatively. But I was happy working, and especially with the people I was working with. That was the main thing for me. I still enjoyed the work. If it wasn’t real satisfying to me creatively – except with the occasional scene that I really like doing – then it was a day at the factory and I always did my work, and I always did my best.”

Mandy Patinkin

While most of the actors on this list had backstage personality issues with creators or other actors, Mandy Patinkin’s dealt with content.

After starring on Criminal Minds for two seasons, Patinkin left the series unexpectedly. Years later he would explain, “The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place. I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality.”

Penn Badgley

Penn Badgley played Dan Humphrey in the hit series Gossip Girl.

After the series ended, Badgley spoke less than flatteringly about Gossip Girl.

While promoting the film Greetings from Tim Buckley, Badgley said, “To be proud of something is a really nice feeling,” he told Salon at the time. “And it’s a new feeling, and it’s something that I wanna keep going with. I can walk a little taller feeling that I don’t have to be constantly apologizing for the work that I’ve done in the past.”

Chace Crawford

Badgley wasn’t the only Gossip Girl star who didn’t love his role on the hit drama. Chace Crawford — whose character, Nathaniel Archibald, alternated between being a poor little rich boy and a bad boy with questionable morals — also didn’t feel proud of his role in the latter seasons of the series.

According to Digital Spy, when discussing his post-GG plans, Crawford said:

I’m gonna look for my dignity. My dignity is somewhere on set. I think it happened around season two. Leading into season three, it was all out the window.

Ouch.

Charlie Sheen

The saga of Charlie Sheen and Two and a Half Men is one of the best-known stories of behind-the-scenes turmoil in television history.

Initially, Sheen and Men creator Chuck Lorre seemed to be a match made in heaven. Throughout the show’s first eight seasons, it was one of the highest-rated shows on television.

However, throughout season nine, the duo imploded. Sheen, after leaving the show to go to rehab, began making rambling statements to the press trashing Lorre and the series. Sheen also filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit against CBS and Lorre.

The creator responded by killing Sheen’s character off of the series, which continued another four years with Ashton Kutcher in the lead role.

Two and a Half Men’s series finale revolved around the idea that Sheen’s character was still alive, but the actor didn’t appear.

Original Power Rangers

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers took America by storm, but the show’s young stars had issues behind the scenes.

Both Austin St. John (Jason the Red Ranger) and Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly the Pink Ranger) have spoken about the long hours, non-union work environment, low pay, and lack of royalties. St. John in particular has gone on record as saying that he would have made more money working 40 hrs/week at McDonalds than he did at the height of his Power Rangers fame.

During the show’s second season, St. John, Thuy Trang (Trini the Yellow Ranger) and Walter Jones (Zack the Black Ranger) departed over a financial dispute.

In addition to money issues, David Yost (Billy the Blue Ranger) said that he left the show after years of abuse over his homosexuality.

In 2010, Yost said, “The reason that I walked off is that I was called ‘f—–‘ one too many times. I had just heard that several times while working on the show from creators, producers, writers, directors. … Basically I just felt like i was continually being told I was not worthy of being where I am because I’m a gay person. And I’m not supposed to be an actor. And I’m not a superhero.”

Allison Williams

Allison Williams recently gave a chilling performance as the two-faced girlfriend in Jordan Peele’s breakout film Get Out. But most of us will remember her for her career-launching role as Marnie on HBO’s Girls. Apparently Williams wasn’t too fond of her character, particularly with her romantic indecisiveness. Back in 2014, the actress told BuzzFeed:

Marnie would drive me crazy if we were friends in real life. But I have to put that out of my head in order to play her.

Shailene Woodley

Before she was known for her starring role in the Divergent franchise, or as the terminally ill, lovestruck girl in the movie adaptation of John Green’s bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars, Shailene Woodley played Amy on The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

The actress told Flaunt magazine that toward the end of the show, she felt that her own morals didn’t really align with the series’ messaging:

I’m extremely grateful for it … but towards the end, morally, the things that we were preaching on that show weren’t really aligned with my own integrity. So that was a bit hard, to show up to work every day knowing that we were going to project all of these themes to thousands —millions— of young adults across the country, when in fact they weren’t what I would like to be sending out.

Anne Schedeen

Who doesn’t remember NBC’s late-80s sitcom ALF? The show centered on ALF (Alien Life Form) and his life on Earth after he crash-lands into a suburban garage. While you and I probably remember the sarcastic, comedic back-and-forth repartee, that’s certainly not how Anne Schedeen remembers it. Schedeen, who played mother figure Kate Tanner, told People magazine:

Believe me, there was no joy on the set. [The show] was a technical nightmare —extremely slow, hot, and tedious. If you had a scene with ALF, it took centuries. A 30-minute show took 20, 25 hours to shoot.

On top of that, she said some of the adults on set had “difficult personalities. The whole thing was a big dysfunctional family.”

Stana Katic

Detective Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic, was unceremoniously fired from ABC’s Castle at the end of season eight. (The show ended up being cancelled shortly thereafter, so whatever.) Though Katic hasn’t necessarily confirmed the rumors, Us Weekly reported multiple times that the actress’ firing was related to her ongoing off-screen war with co-star Nathan Fillion.

According to Us Weekly, the two stars hated each other and were even made to attend couple’s counseling together! An insider said:

Stana would go in her dressing room and cry. A lot of people who work on the show don’t like Nathan. It’s not just her. The friction was very evident. Nathan has been nasty to Stana for a long time. Stana was a pro, just wanted to get in there and do her job.

Penn Badgley, Part II

Penn Badgley didn’t just dislike his time on Gossip Girl; he also has spoken poorly of his role as Joe Goldberg on the show You. Badgley has stated that he feels badly about the fact that many fans of the show have developed crushes on the main character, who is not a good person at all. He said in an interview on The Today Show:

[Joe is] a pretty reprehensible guy. You start to discover his true motives pretty early on—eight minutes into the show. And he’s a guy who’s capable of stalking, he’s a guy who’s capable of murder, he’s a guy who’s capable of a lot of manipulation and abuse.

Blake Lively

Apparently the set of Gossip Girl just wasn’t a pleasant time for anyone! The show’s star, Blake Lively, has said that playing Serena van der Woodsen was, at times, “personally compromising:”

People loved [the show], but it always felt a little personally compromising – you want to be putting a better message out there. The lines become blurred … it doesn’t help when everybody is dating who they’re dating on the show, and you’re also saying to the costume designer, ‘Hey can I take that home?’

Evangeline Lilly

Evangeline Lilly apparently wasn’t a fan of her character Kate on the show Lost – specifically Kate’s development as a character:

I always thought she was obnoxious. I mean, not at the beginning. At the beginning, she was kind of cool, and then as the show went on, I felt like she became more and more predictable and obnoxious. I felt that my character went from being autonomous—really having her own story, and her own journey, and her own agendas—to chasing two men around the island, and that irritated the [crap] out of me.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is such a huge star nowadays that it’s hard to believe that he was ever not comfortable in the limelight. Before he was Captain Jack Sparrow or Sweeney Todd, he took on the role of Officer Tom Hanson in the ’80s teen drama 21 Jump Street. It wasn’t long before he was deemed a teen heartthrob and he began to resent his role on the show, but because he had signed a contract, he was stuck. Therefore, he began behaving bizarrely on set in an attempt to get fired, but to his dismay, producers kept him around for three whole seasons.

Robert Reed

It’s pretty well known at this point that behind the scenes of The Brady Bunch was far less wholesome and feel-good than what was portrayed on screen. In particular, Robert Reed – who played Mark Brady – had perhaps the most issues with the show out of anyone. He constantly argued with the show’s producers and didn’t get along well with practically anyone on set. He was also pressured to hide who he was as a gay man for fear that it would tarnish his reputation on the family-friendly show.

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler was given her own show, Chelsea Lately, in 2007. While she enjoyed being able to make dirty jokes on cable that she couldn’t on network TV, she resented having to cover pop culture-related content. She was forced to talk about the lives of reality TV stars like the Kardashians as the focal point of her show.

Joe Jonas

The Jonas Brothers once starred on a Disney TV show called Jonas, which Joe in particular wasn’t a big fan of. The show only aired for two seasons – about half the time of its Disney counterparts like Hannah Montana. Joe reportedly wished for the show to be more highbrow and mature, but honestly what was he expecting out of a Disney Channel production?

John Cleese

Believe it or not, John Cleese didn’t enjoy his time on one of television’s most beloved comedy shows: Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Well, at least by the third season he was over it. He believed that the show’s quality was going downhill by season two, and claimed that many of his castmates were difficult to work with.

Will Smith

Will Smith didn’t enjoy his time on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air all that much. Although the main character was supposed to be based off of Smith in real life, he felt that it didn’t do his own life much justice:

My life experiences are so far beyond the character’s life experiences. It was almost like a regression for me to play the character.

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande can thank Nickelodeon for her massive rise to stardom, but she didn’t exactly enjoy her time playing Cat Valentine on the shows Victorious and Sam & Cat because she couldn’t relate to her character at all:

It was a blessing and one of my childhood dreams come true. For a long time, I was attached to a character that was nothing like myself. It was a little frustrating.

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