Written by / 1/07/2013 / No comments /

TV ADDITIONS AND/OR REPLACEMENTS THAT WORKED

CHRISTOPHER LLOYD AS JIM IGNATOWSKI ON TAXI
The first season of the classic sitcom had two Tony Danza characters. Of course, Tony Danza played one – Tony Banta was an airhead nice guy boxer. Randall Carver played the second… Small town dreamer John Burns and Tony Banta were so much alike, the producers canned John Burns and brought back a memorable character from an episode of the first season: And as hippie burnout Jim Ignatowski, Christopher Lloyd pretty much stole the rest of the series...
BILL MURRAY AS HIMSELF ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
In the beginning of his hit-and-miss career, Chevy Chase left a gig long before COMMUNITY. Back in 1976 the lanky dry-witted Chase departed the original SNL after one groundbreaking season. Chase began every show with pratfalls and perhaps wanted movie fame instead of sore knees – but during the middle of the second season Bill Murray filled his shoes. It took a few episodes for him to get his bearings: it was the lounge singing motormouth Nick that first assured viewers: “He’s Bill Murray and not Chevy Chase.”
WALTER KOENIG AS CHEKOV ON STAR TREK
STAR TREK creator Gene Roddenberry made sure the Enterprise Bridge resembled the United Nations with an African American, a Japanese, and Scotsman and… a Vulcan… So during season two the addition of a Russian, during the Cold War, was the perfect choice… Chekov made for a mop-haired cool cat to nab a younger audience, but he fit right in with adults as well... 
WOODY HARRELSON AS WOODY ON CHEERS
After the death of Nicholas Colasanto, who played the spaced-out bartender named Coach, it seemed no one could fill those shoes – but Woody Harrelson’s Woody, who was simply sweet and na├»ve rather than old and senile… And for the most part, Woody had even funnier lines...
JOAN COLLINS AS ALEXIS ON DYNASTY
The first season of the nighttime soap had a somewhat poor family contrasting with a really rich one, and after the first season, the po folks, including Bo Hopkins and Katy Kurtzman, were given the boot… Heck, even the chauffeur co-starred that first year – but once they entered Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington in the beginning of Season Two, the show became more popular than ever…
JOHN MENGATTI AS NICK ON THE WHITE SHADOW
There were a few white players on the Carver High School basketball team, and one of them, Salami (Timothy Van Patten) had a cousin from New York named Nick Vitaglia, a street savvy Robert DeNiro type who can’t stand the California sunshine. John not only made Salami a better character but added essential East Coast flavor to the proceedings...
NANCY McKEON AS JO ON THE FACTS OF LIFE
The first season featured about a dozen girls, including a young Molly Ringwald, before it was decided to have only four. And Nancy McKeon’s tomboy Jo replaced all the girls except Blair, Tootie, and Natalie. Her constant bouts with Blair were classic... And her brother Philip McKeon can also be counted, since he replaced Alfred Lutter after the pilot episode of ALICE...
PRISCILLA BARNES AS TERRI ON THREE’S COMPANY
After Suzanne Somers left the building of the popular sitcom, the first replacement was Jennilee Harrison, who did an alright job filling the bombshell airhead role but perhaps she was too much like her “cousin,” so when a blonde with a brain, Terri, a nurse played by Pricilla Barnes, came aboard, the series lasted another three seasons…
CELIA WESTON AS JOLENE ON ALICE
When Polly Holliday’s Flo left for her own sitcom, they replaced her with the Flo from the Martin Scorsese film for which the series was based… Diane Ladd (as “Belle”) faired better cinematically… She was too much like Polly Holliday but not as funny… And so another replacement, Celia Weston as good girl Jolene, clicked with the diner and audiences...
ANN WEDGEWORTH AS LANA ON THREE’S COMPANY
Men everywhere couldn’t understand why horny single guy Jack Tripper (John Ritter) dodged the sultry, lusty cougar neighbor Lana’s persistent advances… No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t land Jack… And at the same time she had to dodge Mr. Furley (Don Knotts)…
MARY JO CATLETT AS PEARL ON DIFF'RENT STROKES
Charlotte Ray left DIFF’RENT STROKES for her own sitcom THE FACTS OF LIFE after the first season, and was replaced by an old gray haired lady Adele (Nedra Volz) who tried too hard with constant one liners… Mary Jo’s Pearl was a perfect replacement and the kind of faithful, hard-working "help" you’d want around your New York penthouse…
CHARLES HALLAHAN AS DEVANE ON HUNTER
After a bevy of growling police chiefs, including John Amos and Bruce Davison, they finally got it right with Charles Hallahan as Captain Charles Devane, who’s both tough and tender as he tries keeping Fred Dryer’s HUNTER in line...
CATHY SILVERS AS JENNY ON HAPPY DAYS
One of the coolest, cutest flirts in sitcom history, Jenny Piccolo, played by Cathy Silvers (daughter of legendary Phil Silvers), had her eye on every dude at Arnold’s and was quite a gossip, keeping the ball rolling during the later seasons…
MATTHEW LABORTEAUX AS ALBERT ON LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
Although this will come to a surprise to the group of Albert-haters on the Internet (especially the imdb LITTLE HOUSE page where they can’t talk about anything else), Matthew Laborteaux was a great addition to the Ingalls family. Mary had gone blind and a new youngster was needed, and in a houseful of girls, the young male viewers needed someone to relate with. A year after playing the young Michael Landon in a flashback episode, Albert was the adopted street urchin and without his presence we wouldn’t have classic cult episodes like the heart-wrenching SYLVIA starring Matthew and Olivia Barash... Okay, so Albert was a bad luck charm – but blame the writers, not him…
OLIVIA BARASH AS MAXIE ON FAME
Speaking of Olivia Barash, her character Maxie helped perk up the second half of the final season of FAME… A character much like herself, Maxie is a cult actress turned singer (Olivia starred in the cult classic REPO MAN only two years prior) and she can really belt a tune – here's proof...
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