10 TV Shows That Changed Their Cast After The Pilot Episode


Pilot episodes are often quite different from the overarching series they launch, as the writers and cast settle into the new world they create. But sometimes, beyond that learning curve, changes are made to the cast of a show after the first episode ends.

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The pilots discussed here have all been released, so series like game of thrones whose unaired pilot recast roles are not mentioned. From new characters to redesigns to abandoned storylines, these changes prove just how many factors go into building the shows audiences know and love today.


White collar

Diana and Lauren in white collar

The pilot of White collar not only introduced viewers to its central tenet, con man Neal Caffrey working alongside FBI agent Peter Burke to catch other criminals, but also special agent Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason).

After teaming up with Neal, Peter, and fellow Agent Clinton Jones in the pilot, Diana disappeared for the remainder of Season 1, replaced by Junior Special Agent Lauren Cruz (Natalie Morales). This was explained as Diana transferred to an office job in DC, and although she returned at the end of the first season (again taking over from Lauren), the back-and-forth remains somewhat disorienting when revisited.

new girl

Coach and Winston in New Girl

While protagonist Jessica Day has evolved in personality over the course of new girl run, she wasn’t the only aspect of the show to change, as was her list of housemates.

Jess not only moves in with Nick and Schmidt, but also Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) in the pilot, but is replaced from episode two onward by Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris) due to Wayans Jr.’s prior engagement. .in the sitcom. happy endings. Although Coach makes a return later in the series, some new girl the funniest episodes had Winston at their center, and it’s hard to imagine the show without his hilarious antics.


Liv and Zed in Constantine

Before the character retroactively became part of the Arrowverse, Constantine made his television debut via his eponymous show, which aired on NBC for one season, following the occult sleuth through his supernatural escapades.

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In the pilot, John Constantine meets Liv (Lucy Griffiths), a young woman threatened by mystical forces she doesn’t understand, and he tries to help her get rid of this burden. Originally envisioned as the series’ female lead, Liv was written after the pilot in favor of Zed (Angélica Celaya), a seer and artist whose personality more closely matched the creators’ vision for the overall narrative.


Lucinder and Juliette in Psych

Given the importance of crime comedy drama Psych Juliet O’Hara’s (Maggie Lawson) character is, it’s hard to remember a time when she wasn’t interacting with Shawn Spencer and teaming up with fellow detective Carlton Lassiter. But she was actually completely absent from the show’s pilot.

In her place was Detective Lucinda Barry (Anne Dudek), Lassiter’s original partner with whom he had an affair. Lucinda’s absence after the pilot was reasonably explained as her transfer once her relationship was discovered, and while this is one of the biggest changes, the Psych franchise has gone through, it’s not the only one, as some of the main sets used in the pilot have also been swapped out for the rest of the series.

Brooklyn nine-nine

Scully, Hitchcock and Daniels in Brooklyn Nine Nine

The audience was introduced to a (literal) team of characters in Brooklyn Nine-Nine pilot, so it’s no surprise that many fans forget that alongside Detectives Hitchcock and Scully, their friend Detective Daniels was also in attendance.

Described by Sergeant Terry Jeffords as a clerk better at making coffee and doing clerical work than undertaking real investigative work, Daniels’ character was dropped after the pilot, never to be seen again on the show. . The decision seems like a missed opportunity given that Hitchcock and Scully have become some of the funniest Brooklyn nine-nine characters.


Claire the waitress and Elaine at Seinfeld

As a sitcom classic, Seinfeld focused on the day-to-day lives of its main characters, so it’s perhaps appropriate for characters to pop in and out of its stories. There’s no clearer example of this than with waitress Claire (Lee Garlington), who only appeared in the pilot episode.

Originally meant to be the show’s female lead, Claire was later replaced by Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). .

Pretty little Liars

Toby in Pretty Little Liars as seen in the pilot vs. the rest of the series

The complex web of characters that Pretty little Liars focusing on can make it hard to memorize series details, but one big change from the pilot was the actor playing Toby Cavanaugh.

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Toby only had a small role in the pilot, where he was played by James Neate, and can be seen accompanying his sister-in-law Jenna to Alison’s funeral. But in all subsequent appearances, the role has been taken over by the actor fans associate with the character, Keegan Allen.

The golden girls

Blanche and Coco in the Golden Girls pilot

While the Daddy’s Girls is remembered as a female-centric show, the pilot’s showrunners were concerned that audiences felt the cast was unbalanced and aimed to counter this through the character of Coco (Charles Levin).

The character who played the role of cook and housekeeper, Coco only appeared in the first episode of the series, as it was ultimately decided that the four central female cast members were targeted enough for the show. sitcom without any additions.


Sara Lance in Arrow's cast change

Before becoming a protagonist in DC’s Legends of TomorrowSara Lance was introduced to viewers in Arrow, but her appearance in the pilot episode saw the character played by another actor, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood.

Later replaced by Caity Lotz, the character would go on to become a fan-favorite figure in the Arrowverse, and while there have been unpopular opinions about Sara Lance’s direction in recent years, she has undeniably been a standout character in the world.

Gossip Girl

Eleanor Waldorf in Gossip Girl Cast Change

Gossip Girl introduced viewers to not only its teenage protagonists, but also their families in its pilot episode, and among them was Blair’s mother, Eleanor Waldorf.

Played in the pilot by Florencia Lozano, she was replaced by Margaret Colin starting in episode two, as the series creators were concerned that Lozano might not look old enough to have a daughter around the age of Blair. Although initially divisive, Margaret Colin quickly made the role her own and even appeared in the 2021 reboot of the series as the character as well.

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