Fox execs are well aware that “Lethal Weapon” recasting shakeup has fans wondering what will happen now that Martin Riggs is out for Season 3, following actor Clayne Crawford’s incidents of bad behavior on the set of the action drama.
And while they are excited to introduce viewers to the new character his replacement, Seann William Scott, will play, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group say Crawford’s firing wasn’t their decision.
“This was not our choice, you know,” Walden said of the casting shakeup during a conference call with press ahead of the network’s upfront presentation in New York City Monday. “Yes, it sounds very easy going into a third season on a show that we like a lot,” she added. “But, ultimately, our partners at Warner Bros. come to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they could not deliver ‘Lethal Weapon’ as we’ve known it before, that there were some real challenges in the cast. They thought long and hard about it. I know that was not their first choice.”
“But that ultimately these were the circumstances that they could offer us the show,” Walden continued. “And we thought about it a lot and we talked about a lot of different names. And ultimately, when they came back with Seann, and a fantastic showrunner, and a big TV star in Damon [Wayans], and a great cast, and a storytelling engine that works, and a fanbase that is very passionate about the show, I think we ultimately made the right choice and we are prepared to support it from a marketing point of view to educate viewers and fans of the show about a new dynamic, but a good one. And a lot of a show that people love, which is still intact.”
Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, announced “Lethal Weapon”s renewal Sunday, along with the reveal that Scott will be joining the cast next season as a new character who folds into a partnership with Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans).
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television added that the studio had decided not to renew Crawford’s contract following incidents of “bad behavior” on the Fox action drama’s set, for which he apologized. The announcement of Crawford’s ousting comes less than a week after news broke the studio was exploring recasting his part.
“You know, look, to some degree we are certainly going to want our audience to know there is a new character in the show,” Newman said during the call, of how they plan to promote Scott ahead of Season 3. “You know, 90 percent of that cast is coming back. And we have tremendous strength in that case. The Murtaugh family, I think, is a real focal point for the show and is one of the appeals of ‘Lethal Weapon.'”
“So we will certainly be making sure that we let the audience know there is something new and we hearten that a little bit to other shows that have had unanticipated casting changes,” Newman said, pointing to the casting shakeup “NYPD Blue” saw in Season 2.