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Old 08-16-2019, 02:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
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Question Supporting characters who suddenly became the lead after the "star" leaves

Happy Days is probably the most famous of these examples as Fonzie (Henry Winkler) became the undisputed star after Ron Howard left. Then again, Fonzie was for all intents and purposes, already essentially the co-lead during Happy Days' heyday.

I'm right now going off the top of my head, but there's A Different World. Whitley and Dwayne became the de facto lead characters after Denise left following Season 1.

On Beverly Hills 90210, Kelly officially became the female lead upon Brenda's departure. And when Jason Priestley (Brandon) left, Jennie Garth became the first billed star.

On ER, Noah Wiley (John Carter), went from being the fourth billed actor in the pilot, to the main character in Season 9 (he was the only original cast member at that point).

Jimmie Walker (and to a lesser extent and officially billing-wise, Jan'et DuBois) all but became this after John Amos and Esther Rolle (temporarily) left Good Times.

A most recent example that I can think of is Bunk'd on Disney Channel. Lou officially became the lead character upon Emma, Ravi, and Zuri's departures at the end of Season 3.

Mila Kunis became the first billed star in That 70s Show's last season after Topher Grace left.

I don't know if this counts, but Zack Morris became the lead character when Good Morning, Miss Bliss (which as the title would suggest, centered on Miss Bliss played by Haley Mills) on Disney Channel was converted into Saved by the Bell on NBC.
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:12 PM   #2
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I don't agree with some of these. For example, no one was really the "star" of ER. It was a solid ensemble show with all the major characters/actors each getting their turn in the spotlight.

Jimmy Walker and Henry Walker were breakout stars, but I don't think they ever became the "leads" in the sense that you're talking about. No one thinks of Good Times becoming "The Jimmy Walker/JJ Show" once John Amos left or Happy Days becoming "The Henry Winkler/Fonz Show" once Ron Howard left.
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Old 08-16-2019, 06:06 PM   #3
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Grady on Sanford and Son for a short time.
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