‘Charmed’: Fans Didn’t See Much of Leo in Final Season Because of Budget Cuts

A favorite among Charmed viewers, fans didn’t see much of the character, Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause), in the show’s eighth and final season. Turns out his absence didn’t have so much to do with the storyline but rather budget cuts. 

‘Charmed’ premiered in 1998

About three sisters who happened to be witches, Charmed premiered on The WB, a now-defunct TV network, on Oct. 7, 1998. The series followed Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) as they learned to manage their newly-discovered powers as The Charmed Ones. 

Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano
Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano | Getty Images/Handout

Brian Krause made his first appearance as Leo in season 1 

Krause joined the cast of Charmed very early on in the show’s run. His first appearance happened in Charmed Season 1 Episode 3: “Thank You for Not Morphing.” Leo came to “The Manor” — the Halliwell’s home in San Francisco, Calif., that had been in the family for generations — under the guise of being a handyman. Piper immediately had a crush on him and only later on in the season did she, Phoebe, and Prue learn his true job; being a whitelighter or guardian angel to good witches. 

Krause found himself in front of the camera more often as season 1 progressed. His character got more involved as the sisters’ whitelighter and Piper’s love interest. By the time Charmed came to an end in 2006, Krause had appeared in 145 episodes, according to IMDb.

Brian Krause
Brian Krause | Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

The show ‘couldn’t afford’ Brian Krause in season 8

TV shows don’t happen in a vacuum. Writers often have to deal with forces outside their control when it comes to storylines and Charmed is no exception. Brad Kern, the showrunner for Charmed, explained during a 2016 interview with TV Line that budget cuts, which he described as “hundreds of thousands of dollars less per episode,” led to big changes. 

“We couldn’t go on location anymore, either. The entire last season had to be shot on the Paramount lot,” Kern recalled. “We had to cut back on visual effects, stars, and guest stars.”

Krause had been among the stars who got less time in front of the camera in season 8. 

“We couldn’t afford to have him in all 22 episodes,” Kern said, “so Brian’s character was frozen in Episode 10.”

Brian Krause, Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, Holly Marie Combs and Dorian Gregory
Brian Krause, Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, Holly Marie Combs and Dorian Gregory | SGranitz/WireImage

But the showrunner didn’t give up hope Krause and his character would be part of the show’s farewell.

“The leap of faith for me was hoping beyond hope of talking him into coming back for the series finale. He was under no obligation to do that,” Kern said. “I was banking on the fact that he was truly a great guy, loyal to the audience, and he was.”

Krause (and Leo) returned for the last two episodes of Charmed

What is Brian Krause doing now? 

Since Charmed went off the air, Krause has continued to work steadily in film and TV. He hasn’t had anything eclipse the success or staying power of Charmed but the actor has appeared on programs such as The Closer, Castle, and Mad Men. He’s got more projects — both TV and film — in post-production set to premiere in 2020 and later. 

See Krause in Charmed by streaming the entire series on Netflix.