Greg Gayne/Warner Bros.
Greg Gayne/Warner Bros.
If it's any comfort to the idled cast and crew of Two and a Half Men (Charlie Sheen, included, we guess), the hit comedy isn't the first to go to the sidelines—or, even be canceled—because of a wayward or ailing star.
Here are five more TV shows that got abruptly sent to the sidelines:
1. Grace Under Fire: You can't say Two and a Half Men's Chuck Lorre hasn't had experience with volatile sitcom stars. In the 1990s, he was forced out of this blue-collar comedy when he battled with its stand-up star, Brett Butler. Later, Butler's behavior led to two production shut downs. The second, in 1998, was the last straw: ABC never reopened the show for business; it was canceled that spring.
2. Charlie's Angels: Even before this detective show aired its first-season finale, breakout star Farrah Fawcett, unhappy with her salary, announced she was leaving. A lawsuit ensued, and as production began on season two, Fawcett (then Fawcett-Majors) took off for a vacation in Iran. (Yup, Iran—that's how long ago this all went down.) ABC told producers to hold everything. The pause was short-lived, but Fawcett's resolve wasn't: She never did return as a regular.
3. Chappelle's Show: In 2004, the comic signed a whopping $50 million deal for two more seasons of his wickedly funny Comedy Central series. Then, with only a handful of new bits filmed, he went MIA: first, to South African, then to Ohio. "I wasn't crazy, but it is incredibly stressful," he later said on Oprah. Chappelle went on; his show did not (outside of the so-called "lost" episodes put together by his network).
4. 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter: In 2003, beloved prime-time star John Ritter was at work on this family sitcom when he took ill, and died of a torn aorta at a nearby hospital. The freshman show went dark. Production remained shuttered for about a month, while producers retooled, and bolstered the cast with another TV fixture, James Garner (whose own health issues years earlier led to the premature end of his detective hit, The Rockford Files.)
5. Cougar Town: In November 2009, a few months into the ABC comedy's freshman season, the network announced filming had been halted in order for star Courteney Cox to take care of a "private family matter." Whatever the problem, it resolved itself enough to allow production to resume after the briefest of stoppages.