“Lethal Weapon” secured a third season on FOX at the last minute following a big change to the show’s cast. The heads of the network say they feel pretty comfortable with their decision to move ahead.
Co-lead Clayne Crawford was fired from the show May 8, just a few days before FOX set its lineup for 2018-19. He had been reprimanded a couple of times earlier in the season after complaints of emotional abuse and creating a hostile environment on set. One incident reportedly involved the show’s other lead, Damon Wayans, being hit by shrapnel from an effects show in an episode Crawford directed.
On Sunday, FOX announced the show’s renewal, with Seann William Scott joining the cast as a new character in the fall. Given the situation, it worked out as well as FOX and producer Warner Bros. could have hoped, FOX chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman say.
“This was not our choice” to scramble at the 11th hour, Walden says. “… Our partners at Warner Bros. came to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they could not deliver ‘Lethal Weapon’ as we’ve known it before. There were some real challenges in the cast. They thought long and hard about it. I know that was not their first choice, but ultimately these were the circumstances that they could offer us the show.”
After discussing a number of actors, the studio and network agreed on Scott. Newman says they’re looking to the example of shows like “NYPD Blue,” which “chang[ed] out one of their leads going into the second season. … I think they did that beautifully with a great new character, and the show continued on a great path.”
“I think we made the right choice,” Walden adds. “We are prepared to support it from a marketing point of view about a new dynamic, but a good one. A lot of the show that people love is still intact.”
“Lethal Weapon” will air at 9 p.m. ET/PT Tuesdays in the fall on FOX.