13 Actors Who Quit Their TV Roles To Play Other Roles

Every job is a chance to accumulate skill and experience, no matter how small the role. There are many factors affecting an actor's ability to act such as health, family, and financial stability. And all those factors play a part in the complicated equation that determines whether an actor agrees to or declines the role.
Actors may even leave in the middle of production. When that happens, it is because they either seek to diversify their acting experience or desire additional screen time. Other times they just want a better paycheck. Occasionally, exceptions arise. One prime example is Zión Moreno. Gossip Girls (2021) was so special to Moreno that she quit her previous role without hesitation.
This article will focus on actors from TV shows, as they are more likely to leave while production is still in progress. Some of these 13 actors may be familiar names to some of us. Let us find out who they are.

#1 Adam Brody

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Adam initially played in the 2000 comedy Gilmore Girls, portraying Dave Rygalski. Dave only made a few appearances in season 3 and was mentioned in name several times in season 4.

Source: Warner Bros / Everett Collection

In an attempt to explain Dave's sudden absence, the writers of Gilmore Girls said that Dave went to a school in California. So did Adam Brody, except it wasn't for school, because Adam had landed a role in another TV series called The O.C.

#2 Ashleigh Murray

Source: The CW

Ashleigh stuck with Riverdale for three seasons before leaving production in 2019.

Source: HBO Max / Everett Collection

Almost immediately after leaving Riverdale, she starred in the spinoff series Katy Keene, which features a slightly older Josie McCoy.

Source: The CW

Sadly, the spinoff was canceled after just one season despite its critical success, as the low ratings halted the production of the second season, and The CW had other fish to fry.

#3 Lauren Graham

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Lauren was playing Joan in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This caused the rescheduling of the television series.

Source: Disney+

ZEP's new schedule, however, conflicted with another series featuring Lauren, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. The actress couldn't be in two places at the same time, so she chose to leave the former.

#4 Nina Dobrev

Source: The CW / Everett Collection / TeenNick

Mia Jones, the teenage mother was one of Nina Dobrev's first acting roles. When season 9 of Degrassi was in progress, Nina received an acting offer from the production crew of The Vampire Diaries.

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Following the invitation, Mia departed for a modeling job in Paris, giving Nina the perfect excuse to continue her acting career as a vampire named Elena Gilbert.

#5 Charles Seung-hee Lee

Source: NBC

The role of Vince Masuka, the protagonist of Showtime Dexter, was one of Lee's biggest. He also landed the role of Harry Tang in Chuck while Showtime Dexter was in progress, though it was only for six episodes.

Source: Showtime Networks Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection

Initially, C. S. Lee was only a guest star, and Vince was not supposed to be a major character. This was in part due to the writers not being sure how Vince Masuka, a character obsessed with sexual thoughts, should be depicted. In the end, the writers went along with Lee's improvisation, and the series became a critical success.

#6 Chad Michael Murray

Source: The WB

Chad Michael Murray is another actor to leave the production of Gilmore Girls. His character, Tristan Dugray, went to a military school, while the actor himself received a role offering for Dawson's Creek.

Source: Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

In 2003, he starred in a TV series called One Tree Hill, which went on to become a major success. For his character Lucas Scott, Chad Murray received multiple awards.

#7 Regé-Jean Page

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Page's character, the Duke of Hastings became a household name in Bridgerton. So when the actor decided to leave the production, fans were understandably shocked.

Source: Netflix / Everett Collection

Source: Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

With his role as Simon Basset complete, Page could focus on the production of The Gray Man and a future project called Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023).

#8 Elisabeth Röhm

Source: 20th Cent. Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Röhm initially starred in the first two seasons of Angel. But then, in 2001 alone, she got a role in three different TV shows: Angel, Bull, and Law and Order.

Source: NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Having three separate shows meant Röhm's schedule was tight. In the end, she chose to leave Angel.

#9 Jane Levy

Source: Showtime

While Shameless lasted 12 seasons, Jane Levy only starred as Mandy Milkovich for the first one. Starting from the second season, Mandy was played by Emma Greenwell. Meanwhile, Jane had eyes on the lead role of Tessa Altman in Suburgatory.

Source: Karen Neal / ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Shameless went on to outlive Suburgatory, with the former lasting twelve seasons and the latter just three. But Jane did not consider leaving production a bad decision.

Source: Showtime Networks Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection

Suburgatory earned a decent score on IMDB. And in 2016, Jane Levy was featured in the 2016 horror thriller Don't Breathe.

#10 Ross Butler

Source: The CW

When season one of Riverdale ended, Ross Butler was offered a role in 13 Reasons Why. He had two options: Appear less often in both series or commit to only one.

Source: Beth Dubber / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

In the end, he chose to leave the role of Reggie Mantle and take on the new role of Zach.

#11 Shenae Grimes

Source: CW Network / Courtesy Everett Collection

Nina Dobrev was not the only one who left Degrassi. Another actor who came to the same decision as Nina was Shenae Grimes. An explanation for her character's absence was there too: Darcy went to Kenya for a semester.

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Source: TeenNick

Since then, Darcy has not returned. Shenae went on to star in 90210. In a statement made by the actress, the success of 90210 was no surprise.

#12 Tyler Blackburn

Source: Freeform

Tyler left his role when season 4 of Pretty Little Liars was still in progress. The decision came rather abruptly.

Source: Freeform

He went on to star in Ravenswood. The series is a "supernatural spin-off" of PLL, but it only lasted 10 episodes. Because of this, Tyler returned to the original series.

#13 Zión Moreno

Source: Netflix

The 2020 Mexican teen drama Control Z is the second TV Show Moreno starred in. But her portrayal of Isabela de la Fuente ended with the season, as Moreno moved on to the third and most important TV show of her career.

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It was March of 2020 when Moreno announced she got an audition for Gossip Girl (2021), a series which she had special connections with. Zión acquired the role of Luna La.
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