‘Flip or Flop’ and More Popular TV Shows That Were Ruined by Their Own Stars

Off-screen drama can get in the way of TV gold. When the conflict comes to light, it’s difficult for a series to recover, no matter how highly rated it once was. Here are the most popular TV shows that have been ruined by their own stars. One ’90s show was destroyed by its polarizing and religious star (on page 9).

1. Bones

Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz stand next to each other in a kitchen in Bones

Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz in Bones | Fox

Like The X-Files, Bones built much of its storyline around chemistry between its male and female leads. But star Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy — occurring during the show’s sixth season — upset the series’ already delicate balance.

Uncertain how to work around this development, the writers forced Deschanel and David Boreanaz’s characters to quickly pair up to prepare for their new baby. The series already had plenty of issues, and this twist in its dynamics only doomed its fate


Next: This comedian’s wholesome sitcom can’t make up for allegations.

2. The Cosby Show

The cast of the The Cosby Show poses together in front of a pink background

The Cosby Show | NBC

Bill Cosby’s wildly successful sitcom stayed true to the themes of family and wholesome humor, while avoiding stereotypes of its African-American characters. In recent years, however, dozens of women accused the comedian of using his fame and power to drug and sexually assault them. It’s hard to accept Cosby as paternal after allegations like those.

Next: A legendary actor with a bad attitude

3. Community

Chevy Chase clapping at a political rally

Chevy Chase | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Community creator Dan Harmon and star Chevy Chase butted heads on set from day one. The feud came to a head with a leaked voicemail Chase left on Harmon’s phone, cursing his lack of talent. The call contributed declinings ratings as well as NBC’s decision to fire Harmon (he was later reinstated). A self-professed “asshole,” Chase continued to be difficult on set until he was fired.

Next: A wildly inappropriate TV dad

4. 7th Heaven

Stephen Collins in a blue shirt looking at the camera

Stephen Collins in 7th Heaven | ABC Family

Actor Stephen Collins played Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven for the entire series, providing a role model for his children in the series and those watching at home. However, in 2014, a tape leaked of Collins admitting to sexual abuse of an underage girl. The police never found anything conclusive, but Collins admitted to having “inappropriate sexual conduct” with three girls in an interview that year.

Next: This CBS show was anything but “winning” with its stars.

5. Two and a Half Men

Charlie Sheen sitting on a couch pointing the remote at the TV on Two and a Half Men

Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men | CBS

Charlie Sheen’s public meltdown in 2010 included slights directed at Chuck Lorre, creator and showrunner of Two and a Half Men. The actor’s drug use and belligerence forced the show to replace his spot with Ashton Kutcher. However, Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones converted to Christianity shortly after, publicly calling the show “filth that contradicts his moral values.”

Next: A messy divorce changed everything for this HGTV show.

6. Flip or Flop

Christina and Tarek El Moussa of Flip or Flop standing in front of a house

Christina and Tarek El Moussa of Flip or Flop | Scripps Networks Interactive

HGTV’s popular house-flipping reality show, Flip or Flop, was turned upside down when formerly married hosts, Tarek and Christina El Moussa, revealed their separation in December 2016. The announcement came after an ugly altercation involving a gun in May 2016, when police had to visit their California home.

Tarek filed for divorce in January 2017 and the two have seemingly resumed a more amicable relationship, even walking a red carpet together in May 2017. HGTV, Tarek, and Christina are continuing the series’ production, but the show won’t be the same.

Next: Assaulting a producer is one way to hurt a show.

7. Criminal Minds

Thomas Gibson rides an elevator and dons a badge in a scene from Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds | CBS

CBS suspended longtime Criminal Minds star Thomas Gibson in 2016 when he kicked a co-executive producer. Originally a temporary suspension, ABC Studios and CBS Studios (joint producers of the series) launched an investigation and announced Gibson was permanently dismissed. A major upset for the veteran drama, Gibson had been on Criminal Minds since its premiere in 2005.

Next: Parkinson’s disease pushed this show’s hand.

8. Spin City

Michael J. Fox sitting in a chair at a political rally

Michael J. Fox | Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

In 2000, Michael J. Fox announced he had Parkinson’s disease and left Spin City. Charlie Sheen replaced him, dominating the ensemble-based series with a romantic storyline involving him and Heather Locklear. The series saw ratings plummet, ultimately proving a Fox-less Spin City just would not work.


Next: This popular ’90s series was ruined by its own star’s demands.

9. Growing Pains 

A young Kirk Cameron and Julie McCullough pose for a photo in blue shirts

Kirk Cameron and Julie McCullough in Growing Pains | ABC

Kirk Cameron called himself an atheist at the start of his career on ABC’s successful family sitcom, Growing Pains. But after becoming a Christian in the series’ later years, his religious beliefs often hurt production. He demanded storylines and dialogue he found racy be cut from the scripts.

The mood suffered too as Cameron allegedly insisted the show fire actress Julie McCullough for posing nude in Playboy. She was replaced with Cameron’s off-screen love interest, Chelsea Noble.

Next: Drugs destroyed this successful ’90s sitcom.

10. Grace Under Fire

 Brett Butler. talks to a sailor holding flowers in front of a door in a scene from Grace Under Fire

Brett Butler on Grace Under Fire | ABC

Brett Butler starred in the beloved ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire for five years before she was fired in 1998. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she was asked to leave the set after displaying irrational behavior due to drug use. At the time, the show was five weeks into production on a new season. Instead of trying to continue without her, ABC pulled the plug on the show altogether.

Next: Assault and a co-star coup kept things interesting.

11. Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson stands in between to cars in Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear | BBC America

The BBC dropped Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson in March 2015 following an altercation with a producer at a hotel. According to BBC, Clarkson gave Oisin Tymon a split lip and hospital visit. A 27-year network veteran, Clarkson admitted getting fired “was my own damn fault.” Co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May wouldn’t return to the show without Clarkson, which forced the BBC to hire new stars.

Producers brought on Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc to lead a revamped version of the show in Season 24. Unfortunately, the new iteration had unsteady ratings and received negative feedback from critics. LeBlanc remains as one of the show’s presenters, but recent episodes haven’t drawn the high ratings it used to.

Next: A reality family’s secrets are exposed.

12. 19 Kids and Counting

The Duggar Family

19 Kids and Counting | TLC

TLC canceled its popular reality series 19 Kids and Counting after a magazine found and published a 2006 police report about one of those 19 kids, Josh Duggar. The report claimed he had sexually molested five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters. The series ended in July 2015. Duggar is now married with three children of his own and counting.

Next: This reality TV mom can’t deny these claims — although she tries.

13. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

Six family members pose sitting on and standing behind a couch

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo | TLC

Another reality hit for TLC, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo followed the lives of child beauty-pageant star Alana Thompson and her family, particularly her mother “Mama June.” Reports surfaced in 2014 suggested June dated a convicted child molester. She denied these allegations even as they destroyed her reality show. The network canceled the series in 2014.

Next: A show about firearms is controversial enough.

14. Sons of Guns

Will Hayden and his two co-stars pose in his shop Red Firearms in Sons of Guns

Sons of Guns | Discovery Channel

Airing on the Discovery Channel from 2011 to 2014, this reality series followed Louisiana business, Red Jacket Firearms, which manufactures and sells firearms to law enforcement and collectors. The show ran for five seasons until Will Hayden — the star and owner of the shop — was arrested on various sexual assault charges. Following his arrest, the channel pulled Sons of Guns from its lineup.

Next: A beloved reality TV judge becomes a real-life monster.

15. The Good Life

Cee Lo Green staring into the camera on The Voice

CeeLo Green | NBC

TBS canceled its reality show, The Good Life, in 2014 following a storm of controversy created by the series’ star and host, CeeLo Green. The singer was accused of drugging and raping a woman in Los Angeles. He unwisely combatted the allegations with a series of tweets on the subject of rape, including remarks like, “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!”

Additional reporting by Michelle Regalado.

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