For many actors, landing a lead role on a TV show is a dream come true. The right show provides some long-term job security, the chance to make a good chunk of money, and a one-way ticket to the A-list. But, just like anything, sometimes landing a role on TV doesn’t end up being the dream job that was hoped for.
TV can require working long hours, and sometimes with people you don’t necessarily get along with. The shooting schedules create more room for interpersonal conflicts—sometimes these actors work on a project for 10+ seasons, which means plenty of time to fight with co-stars, producers, and writers. And, everyone’s worst nightmare, sometimes over the course of a show’s run, actors can watch their beloved character turn into someone they despise. We’ve rounded up 18 actors who hated their own shows for one reason or another. Never mind that media training, read on to hear, directly from their mouths, why they have some serious regrets.
18. Katherine Heigl – Grey’s Anatomy
Over the years, Katherine Heigl has earned herself a reputation of being “difficult” to work with, and it all started with her time on Grey’s Anatomy. In 2008, she publicly withdrew herself from consideration for a “Best Supporting Actress” Emmy award, saying that she “hadn’t been given the material to warrant a nomination.” She followed it up by telling David Letterman in an appearance on his Late Show that she wanted to embarrass and shame the Grey’s producers for making the cast work a “cruel and mean” 17-hour day. Heigl later admitted that she didn’t like the direction the writers were taking her character and ended up leaving the show in a very dramatic exit.
17. Johnny Depp – 21 Jump Street
Depending on your age, you may have totally forgotten that Johnny Depp was ever on TV. Many of us remember him as Capitan Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but back in the ‘80s he had a starring role on the teen drama 21 Jump Street. His undeniable good looks combined with an easily fanatical teenage audience meant that Depp’s fame skyrocketed almost overnight. Deeply uncomfortable with his new notoriety, Depp started acting out, exhibiting bizarre behavior in an attempt to get himself fired. In the end, he remained on the show for three of the five seasons, but his distaste for the show and the role that made him an A-list star never really left.
16. Billy Ray Cyrus – Hannah Montana
If we did a quick poll of TV viewers it seems pretty safe to say that they’d be split right down the middle in regards to Disney’s Hannah Montana: half of them would say they hated the show, and half would say they loved it. Their reasons may all be varied, but the general consensus would be there. One person who was definitely on the “hate” side? Billy Ray Cyrus, the real-life father of Miley Cyrus and the on-screen father of her character, Hannah Montana. Billy Ray has said that the show’s popularity set his daughter down a bad path (a lá Anna Nicole Smith), and ruined his relationship with both Miley and his wife Trish Cyrus for a time. Things between the trio seem to have improved, but Billy Ray’s relationship with the children’s show definitely has not.
15. Amy Jo Johnson – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
If you were a child of the ‘90s then there’s a pretty good chance that you spent most Saturday mornings eating cold cereal and watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on TV. As much love and nostalgia as we have for that show, there was one power ranger who didn’t quite feel the same. Amy Jo Johnson, who played the original Pink Ranger revealed in a 1992 interview that the core cast was only being paid about $600 dollars a week while shooting two episodes, and without getting any residual fees (or money for re-runs). That low-paying, highly-demanding work sounds just not worth it, if you ask us. No wonder Amy Jo didn’t love the time she spent on the show.
14. Robert Reed – The Brady Bunch
The Brady Bunch was one of the most family-friendly, wholesome shows to ever air on TV. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could hate it for any reason, but, it turns out, the Brady patriarch himself didn’t care for it. Robert Reed, frequently fought with the show’s producers and executives during the entire run and was forced to keep his sexual orientation (Reed was a gay man who contracted HIV and died from AIDS in 1992) tightly under wraps. He wasn’t the only cast member who had issues on the show — there were allegedly flings between cast members, rampant drug use and lots of mental health issues going on behind the scenes — but he was the most vocal about his distaste for the family program.
13. Shailene Woodley – The Secret Life of an American Teenager
Shailene Woodley has been in a number of blockbuster films and has established a reputation for herself as an activist, but she first got her start in Hollywood on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The ABC Family original was controversial from the beginning—people had a lot of thoughts about a show that revolved around a pregnant teenager—but it developed a pretty solid fan base. However, towards the end of the show’s run, Shailene stopped being such a fan of her own show. She’s cited moral differences as the issue, saying it “was a bit hard to show up to work every day knowing that we were going to project all of these themes out to thousands—millions—of young adults across the country, when in fact they weren’t what I’d like to be sending out.” That’s a dispute we can really understand.
12. Chevy Chase – Community
Chevy Chase is known in the industry as a negative person. It seems that no matter what the project is, or who he works on it with, he just can’t have a good experience. One major example of this? His time on Community. It all started out pleasantly enough—fans loved Chevy’s character and it seemed like a really good comeback move from his career. But then he began feuding with the creator, Dan Harmon, and refusing to shoot scenes. Next, audio leaked of Chevy using racial slurs and calling the show and it’s writing “formulaic and unfunny.” He really rounded out his hate for the show by telling a journalist that it “isn’t like [he’s] working with the greatest innovators of all time.” We’d say those words are pretty indicative of a deep hatred.
11. Mischa Barton – The O.C.
Mischa Barton hasn’t had what you’d probably refer to as a “wildly successful career.” Her biggest role was as Marissa Cooper on The O.C., which was also a role she apparently hated. She’s gone so far as to say that if she had a do-over she probably wouldn’t accept it again. We’re not really sure why she hated it so much, but she did tell an interviewer that “people say be grateful for what you have, but it was certainly not the kind of thing I was expecting it to be.” Guess it makes sense that she opted to leave the show early, then. RIP Marissa.
10. Angus T. Jones – Two and a Half Men
Angus T. Jones has a complicated relationship with his show Two and a Half Men at best. In a YouTube video that was meant to act as a testimonial for his Christian faith, Jones revealed his true feelings for the show, saying, “If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching Two and a Half Men. I’m on Two and a Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it and filling your head with filth.” Woah! He attempted to control the damage, by thanking the cast and crew, but it was too late. He was downgraded to a recurring character and then didn’t appear at all in the show’s final season. Maybe to his relief?
9. Chelsea Handler – Chelsea Lately
Chelsea Handler has always been one of those great tell-it-like-it-is personalities while still being irreverently funny. She has great perspectives on everything from current events, to politics, to celebrity goings-ons. Apparently, it was the celebrity stuff that lead Handler to hate working on her own show, Chelsea Lately. Being on the E! Network meant that Handler was required to keep up with all sorts of celeb news and frequently have reality stars on her show as guests. Apparently, these demands weren’t in line with the show she’d envisioned having for herself and were huge factors in her ending the show in 2014.
8. Shannen Doherty – Charmed
Charmed was one of those shows that was much better at the beginning of its run than it was by the end. One of its stars, Shannen Doherty would strongly agree with that statement. Shannen might even go so far as to say that the show wasn’t even all that great from the beginning. She had these harsh words for her former job: “On Charmed there were a couple of moments when I gave the most brutally honest performance I ever could have given as an actor. What you saw came from my gut. And when I looked at those moments on the show I knew that they weren’t being given their proper due, because they were on Charmed. Its a show for 12-year-olds!” Ouch! She quit the show after season three amid rumors she was feuding with co-star Alyssa Milano.
7. Joe Jonas – JONAS
In an attempt to capitalize on their runaway success, the Jonas Brothers spent two seasons playing a fictionalized version of themselves on the Disney Channel show Jonas. In typical Disney form, the show was geared towards younger viewers and had a pretty juvenile sense of humor. Just what you’d expect, right? Well apparently Joe Jonas either missed the memo or just wasn’t very familiar with Disney, because, after the show was canceled, he lamented that the show wasn’t more mature and highbrow. While he seems to remember his time in the band pretty fondly, he definitely seems to have some serious regrets about doing the show.
6. Nick Lachey – Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica
We’ve heard time and again that being a reality TV star can be difficult. Apparently, having cameras follow you around 24/7, shooting you even in your worst and most difficult moments isn’t always fun. Nick Lachey knows this firsthand. He spent three seasons shooting Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica with his ex-wife Jessica Simpson, and has some serious regrets about the show. The biggest one? That the show was too invasive in the couple’s life, especially so early on in a marriage where they were both still getting their footing. Nick and Jessica ended up filing for divorce a mere six months after the show ended, so in retrospect, signing up for the reality program may not have been the best decision for them. In fact, he’s said it was a factor in why the coupling didn’t work.
5. Mandy Patinkin – Criminal Minds
Every now and then, a star hates and leaves a show because it just wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Many Patinkin left Criminal Minds for that exact reason. He said, “I thought it [Criminal Minds] was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year.” He went on to say, “it was very destructive to my soul and my personality.” And even called the show the “biggest public mistake [he] ever made.” Oof! After a statement like that, it’s no wonder his character was quietly killed off-screen and his contract wasn’t renewed.
4. John Cleese – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Even the legendary John Cleese hated his own show. The comic was at the helm of the first three seasons of Monty Python’s Flying Circus but left to pursue other creative ventures during the show’s fourth and final season. According to the actor, the quality of the show had started to fall by the second season. In addition, he didn’t like many of the sketches, had conflicts with the other cast members, and found most of the people involved hard to work with. John tends to be a little bit like Chevy Chase in that he seems to have hated almost everything he ever worked on, but Monty Python’s Flying Circus brought so many people so much joy that this one is particularly hard to hear.
3. Miley Cyrus – Hannah Montana
This one is kind of sad, tbh. Miley Cyrus hated her TV role more than anyone else on this list. She had this to say about her Hannah Montana days, “from the time I was 11, it was ‘you’re a pop star! That means you have to be blonde and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing.’ Meanwhile, I’m this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup. It was like Toddlers & Tiaras.” While hosting Saturday Night Live, she even went so far as to announce that her Hannah Montana alter-ego had been murdered. Yikes.
2. Chase Crawford – Gossip Girl
The role that really launched Chase Crawford’s career was Nate Archibald on the CW’s Gossip Girl. You’d think he’d have nothing but fondness for his time on the show and the opportunities it gave him. But in reality, it’s quite the opposite. In an interview he gave right before the show’s finale, Crawford said that he was eager to “find his dignity” again once it all wrapped up. In a cold move, he continued on to say, “My dignity is somewhere on set. I think it happened around season two. Leading into season three, it was all out the window.” If that doesn’t make his feelings about the show clear, we don’t know what would.
1. Penn Badgley – Gossip Girl
And the coldest of them all? Penn Badgley. He seriously hated his time on Gossip Girl. He’s been very open about his dislike for the series, and when he was promoting a movie in 2013, he said that it was a nice feeling “to be proud of something.” He didn’t stop there, saying, “it’s a new feeling, and it’s something that I wanna keep going with. I can walk a little taller feeling that I don’t have to be constantly apologizing for the work that I’ve done in the past.” Ouch! That is one way to remind people that you don’t necessarily have to like a TV show just because you’re in it.