Our Favorite TV Sitcom Meltdowns

Charlie Sheen and Angus T. Jones didn't invent "winning" on this scale, as we look back at some of the biggest PR disasters in television history.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Just because television comedies are supposed to make us laugh and forget our troubles doesn’t mean that hit sitcoms and their stars don’t have headaches of their own.

In fact, some of the most popular sitcoms in TV history are as well known for drama as they are for comedy. Yup, it’s all laugh tracks and lame jokes until somebody has a meltdown. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorites among the most notorious offenders.


Two and a Half Men


Charlie Sheen might call it “winning,” but getting fired from one of the highest rated shows in television history doesn’t seem like something to celebrate to us. Pulling in over one million dollars an episode would have afforded Sheen a lifetime of coke and hookers.

But in the end, Sheen's beef with boss, Chuck Lorre got the infamous playboy and fodder for Lorre’s trademark vanity cards, killed off and replaced by Demi Moore’s ex, Ashton Kutcher.

30 Rock


What does Alec Baldwin want? We’re not sure even he knows. After threatening to quit “30 Rock” several times over the course of the show’s first six seasons and recently tweeting about leaving NBC “just in time,” Baldwin then revealed via Twitter that he offered to take a twenty-percent pay cut to give “30 Rock” a full seventh and eighth season.

With the show now set to end after season seven, Baldwin, who once talked about ditching TV for a political career, recently signed a two-year deal to develop new projects for NBC. “Could this mean Schweddy Balls” the sitcom is finally happening?



There’s no “I” in “We” and apparently there isn’t one in “Friends” either. In the case of the ridiculously popular sitcom on which they starred, the cast of “Friends” wisely realized that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and decided to negotiate their salaries collectively.

The move paid off as the cast went from a mere $22,500 per episode back in season one to a cool million per “Friend” for the final season. It’s not exactly a meltdown, but we’re sure a few network heads were reeling at the cost of keeping TV’s most expensive coffee shop in business.

South Park


Was it love of Xenu or love of money? Why exactly Isaac Hayes, the late celebrated soul crooner who gave voice to Chef and his “Chocolate Salty Balls” left “South Park” we may never really know.

After the long-running irreverent animated series ragged on Scientology in the controversial “Trapped in the Closet” episode, Hayes, who was a member of the church, defended the show and its creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. However, a few months later Hayes reportedly quit the series due to its “intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs.”

Stone was quick to point out the fact that Hayes never complained about “South Park’s” cracks on other religions such as Christianity and Judaism. And Hayes, himself later claimed his decision was motivated by money. Parker and Stone dealt with Hayes’ departure by having Chef fall from a cliff to his death and get eaten by animals. Isaac Hayes died in much quieter fashion of a stroke in 2008.



When her eponymous sitcom hit the ratings jackpot, Valerie Harper thought she did too. Harper and her husband and “Valerie” producer, Tony Cacciotti asked the network for more money and a piece of the show’s syndication earnings.

Considering the fact that the show was named after her, Harper felt she was irreplaceable and didn’t flinch at the NBC programming head, Brandon Tartikoff’s threat to replace her with Sandy Duncan. But Tartikoff called Harper’s bluff and swapped her for Duncan in the show’s third season. Her character was killed off in a car accident, but it was the all mighty dollar that really did “Valerie” in.



It might be called “Community,” but the cast and producers of the beloved NBC sitcom are anything but.The behind-the-scenes drama between star, Chevy Chase and former showrunner, Dan Harmon went public after Chase went on an expletive laden rant on Harmon’s voicemail in which he called his boss a “fat f**k,” a “piece of sh*t” and worst of all, a “bad writer.”

Chase later apologized for the message, but was back at it again soon enough. This time, it was an on-set rant about his character, Pierce Hawthorne’s racial bigotry. If you’re trying to squash racism you probably shouldn’t drop the “N word,” but Chevy did just that. Of course, he quickly apologized, but not before this latest meltdown hit the news.

Though he appears in the fourth season, Chase has recently left the show, months after Dan Harmon was forced out, making the set of “Community” a much more boring place to work these days.

Growing Pains


Kirk Cameron may have played a girl-crazy teenage boy on the popular ‘80s sitcom, but in real life, the only thing he’s crazy about is God. Just when “Growing Pains” was hitting a high, Cameron found Jesus and started getting preachy on set, demanding any adult-themed storylines be toned down.

Cameron even went so far as to get co-star, Julie McCullough fired after she appeared in “Playboy.” But Cameron wasn’t the only one experiencing “Growing Pains.” His TV sister, Tracy Gold battled with eating disorders from a young age. When she put on some weight during a hiatus, fat jokes were written into the script at her expense, causing Gold to spiral back into severe anorexia.

Though she’s since recovered, Kirk Cameron is still taking heat from fellow celebrities for his views on homosexuality and evolution, including his “Growing Pains” family, Gold and on-screen dad, Alan Thicke.

Diff’rent Strokes


When it comes to sitcom drama, this 80s hit is legendary. While the show was known for its “very special episodes” which touched on such extremely unfunny topics as pedophilia, drugs and kidnapping, the show’s real life behind the scenes drama was just as intense. After getting pregnant during the show’s sixth season, Dana Plato’s character, “Kimberly Drummond” was written out.

Though producers originally planned to write her pregnancy into the show, Plato’s substance abuse issues gave them second thoughts. Plato’s on-screen adopted brother, Todd Bridges claimed that the two had a sexual relationship during the course of the show and that she also gave him pot when he was a teen.

Things only got worse for Plato, Bridges and the show’s biggest star, Gary Coleman when “Diff’rent Strokes” went off the air in 1986, but that’s a story for another day.

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


Will Smith is one of most popular stars in Hollywood these days but if you ask his former, “Fresh Prince” co-star, Janet Hubert, “Big Willie” is an “a**hole.” Hubert, who played “Vivian Banks” on the show for three seasons, blamed Smith for having her replaced by Daphne Reid, after she became pregnant.

Nearly twenty years later, Hubert is still peeved with the “Fresh Prince,” telling “People” a cast reunion “will never happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn’t know the word for.” Guess Aunt Viv won’t be “Getting’ Jiggy wit It” anytime soon.

Two and a Half Men… Again!


Taking a page from Kirk Cameron’s Good Book, “Two and a Half Men” star, Angus T. Jones found God and perhaps lost his mind when he openly criticized the show that made him television’s highest paid child actor. In a video recently posted on YouTube, Jones said he was done with “Two and a Half Men,” which he referred to as “filth” and he urged viewers to stop watching.

However shortly after, Jones, with a little help from his PR reps, issued a statement apologizing for any “disrespect” or “lack of appreciation” of the cast and production team. Charlie, who?

What's your favorite TV sitcom meltdown? Let us know in the comment section below!