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10 Characters Who Made Their Show Better By Leaving (And 10 Who Made It Worse)

The future is unpredictable. Anything that happens in Hollywood is done without ever knowing what the results will be from it.

This is a major reason why so many television shows do not like to remove main characters unless they are literally given no choice because of something that happened in public or the story forced them into a corner. They will rarely fire someone from a show because of the unpredictability of the audience, which directly affects the future of the show.

The same can be said for the actors who leave their respective shows. They have their reasons for leaving but not a single actor wants to leave something that becomes a major hit. That could burn their reputation for the rest of their career.

So let's take a look at 10 tv shows that got better once a certain person left, or was fired, and 10 that got worse.

20 Better: Prue Halliwell (Charmed)

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Shannen Doherty is the only actress to make our list twice. Both times, she left a show and it ended up getting even better. That alone says everything you need to know about her as an actress and a person.

Things on set got very heated between Alyssa Milano and Shannen Doherty and by the end of season three, the show decided to part ways with the latter of the two in order to keep the other one. Rose McGowan replaced Shannen and became an even bigger part of the series.

19 Worse: Rayna James (Nashville)

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Nashville was one of those shows that was really good but only for a specific demographic of fans that love country music. If you hated country music, there was zero chance you were going to enjoy the show, which starred Connie Britton as Rayna James, the fictional version of Faith Hill.

But in the season six finale, which turned out to be the series finale, she was killed off, shocking everyone. Although it was later announced that the series was over, it was very much alive and running until her death really killed the series future.

18 Better: Roseanne (The Connors)

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After nearly 20 years, ABC took a chance and brought back one of their greatest shows, Roseanne, for a tenth season. After a short nine episode season, the ratings were good enough to bring it back for an eleventh season.

However, Roseanne unleashed a racist message on Twitter that was very hard to defend and she was fired from the show. Instead of cancelling it, they renamed it to The Connors and continued on, killing her off the show.

It has worked and ratings continue to soar.

17 Worse: John Dorian (Scrubs)

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Any time a television series changes networks, it can only mean bad things for the future of the show. It is rare that a show will jump from one major network to another and find that same level of success. There is a reason the original network is cashing out on it to begin with.

Scrubs ran into this when they switched from NBC to ABC after ratings continued to drop year after year. So when season nine began, Zach Braff decided it was time to go and left shortly into the season, leaving them to clean up the mess for a few more episodes, which were all unwatchable.

16 Better: Lt. Col. Henry Blake (M*A*S*H)

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M*A*S*H is one of the greatest television shows of all time and there have been many big name actors from the '70s that made an appearance on the series. However, by the ending of the third season, the show turned into more of a dramatic series with comedy mixed in. This led to a big change in the production staff.

McLean Stevenson, who played Lt. Col. Henry Blake, ended up leaving the show because he was tired of being part of an ensemble and wanted to be the main star. After leaving, the show would go on for another eight years and become television royalty.

15 Worse: Fox Mulder (The X-Files)

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Going into the project, David Duchovny, who played Fox Mulder, always said he was only planning to do five seasons because anything more would be tough to do. Even after saying that, he still stuck around until the seventh season, when he was abducted in the finale.

Knowing that he was not returning for the eighth season, fan support fell, and continued to fall, over the final four seasons of the series. Without Mulder, it was tough for fans to enjoy the show that was one of the best on television for many years.

14 Better: Brenda Walsh (Beverly Hills, 90210)

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Shannen Doherty once again found herself departing a series after all kinds of rumors and drama. It is hard to defend your reputation when you have left two different successful television series and both of them ended up better for it.

Shannen was not easy to work with, especially when it comes to starring along side Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth. Her insecurities led to a broken relationship with her co-stars which got her booted from the series.

13 Worse: Charlie Harper (Two and A Half Men)

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You cannot say whatever you want and expect to remain employed. That goes the same for anyone in any industry, not just actors in Hollywood. You are legally allowed to voice your opinion but that does not mean that your employer has to keep you on the payroll.

Charlie Sheen ended up crossing the line after insulting the show's creators after spending months of self-destructive conduct on the set. It was a series of things he did that led to his departure.

12 Better: Det. Max Greevey (Law & Order)

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Have you ever heard of George Dzundza? He could have been a household name. He could have become a television icon that spent 20 years starring on NBC's police and legal drama, Law & Order. But he decided to leave the series after the first season when he found out it would be an ensemble and not a show starring him.

It is pretty sad that he had a chance to be a part of something monumental on television but ended up making the worst move of his career after just one season.

11 Worse: Sam Seaborn (The West Wing)

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Rob Lowe knew that by the end of the fourth season of The West Wing, he would no longer be around to play Sam Seaborn. He came out and explained to his fans and critics that there was no longer a place for Sam in the series.

When the series began, he was one of the main stars but by the fourth year, it had shifted towards other characters, specifically, Martin Sheen's role as President Bartlett. His departure was tough to recover from and although the show did manage to continue, it was never the same.

10 Better: Craig Kilborn (The Daily Show)

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It is very easy to second guess someone's decision to leave a series after the fact. That's why so many people wonder why Craig Kilborn decided to leave ESPN for The Daily Show before exiting that just as fast.

When he left The Daily Show, it was handed to Jon Stewart and the show would become one of the most-watched shows on comedy central ever. Was it because of the writing or did Jon Stewart have something to do with it? It was easily a combination of both but we will never know how things could have gone had Craig stuck around.

9 Worse: Chrissy Snow (Three's Company)

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Joyce DeWitt and John Ritter had trouble getting along with Suzanne Somers and by the fifth season, at the height of the show's popularity, Somers was fired after demanding a pay increase similar to Ritter and also more exposure. Her management representing her happened to also be her husband, which did not make matters any better.

So after being denied the raise she was requesting, she was forced to work out her contract the remainder of the season, hardly being in the show at all. Once she left, the show ended up quickly starting to reach its' downslope until it finally ended in 1984.

8 Better: Doug Ross (ER)

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George Clooney's popularity was exploding by the fourth season of NBC's hit medical drama ER. He was one of the biggest names on television but wanted to pursue his film career instead. So he ended up leaving after the show's fifth season.

His countless Academy Award nominations, and two wins, proves that he made the right decision for himself. As for the series, well, it continued to get better and went on for another ten years, dominating the Nielson Ratings along the way.

7 Worse: Zoe Barnes (House of Cards)

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From day one, Kate Mara knew what was going to happen to her character, Zoe Barnes, on the hit Netflix drama House of Cards. Yet she still agreed to be a part of the series, not knowing just how big it would become after it was originally released.

But after leaving so early on in the series, how come we are claiming it got worse? So many people loved her character that she could have easily stuck around and helped turn it into a massive hit. Instead, the story shifted and things changed that left some viewers turned off.

6 Better: George O'Malley (Grey's Anatomy) 

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Fans of Grey's Anatomy will tell you that George O'Malley was easily one of the best characters on the series. He was a good guy that tried to do the right thing so much that he inspired all of his friends and colleagues.

His shocking death ended up saving the show from what very well could have been its' ending back in season six. It gave the writers a ton of new plot lines and avenues to take the story.

5 Worse: Rita Bennett (Dexter)

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As far as episodes are concerned, the death of Rita's character just might be the greatest episode in the entire series. It was the finale of season four and it concluded the Arthur Mitchell storyline, which was the best in the series behind Jimmy Smits storyline.

However, that was the moment the show reached its' peak. When Dexter walks in on Rita's dead body, it was shocking and horrible at the same time. It meant the show was going to have to find another way to hit that height, and it never did.

4 Better: Eddard Stark (Game Of Thrones)

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If we could have gotten ten seasons of Eddard Stark and his amazing Stark family, then we would have loved it just as much. But Game of Thrones only became a massive hit because of how it began.

His death in the first season is the reason for every single event that unfolds throughout the rest of the series. Without his public execution, the show would not have been able to get to the point where Jon Snow realizes who he is and what he must do.

3 Worse: Michael Scott (The Office)

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For two years, NBC managed to keep The Office up and running after the departure of the show's main character, Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell. The rumors about his departure started during the show's sixth season and were confirmed after he left mid-way through the seventh season.

You have to give the writers credit for a commendable job at trying to keep the show running but without Michael Scott, the rest of the series just plain did not feel as funny anymore.

2 Better: Vivian Banks (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

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Everyone remembers that for three seasons, Vivian Banks was played by Janet Hubert Whitten but when season four began, something was different and no one said anything about it. They had replaced Janet with another actress, Daphne Maxwell Reid.

She would go on to portray Vivian for the show's final three seasons in which it also saw its' ratings continue to climb. The replacement was a bit of a mystery but it did not slow down the show one bit.

1 Worse: Shirley (Laverne & Shirley)

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Imagine being told you have to film a television show even on the day you are scheduled to give birth. Better yet, imagine that scenario in today's society. The backlash alone would destroy any business from the top to the bottom.

But that is what happened in 1982 to Cindy Williams after becoming pregnant. Paramount demanded she worked on her scheduled due date and it forced her to leave the show and file a $20 million lawsuit against them.

Sources: wikipedia.com, endedtvseries.com, imdb.com, rottentomatoes.com

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