Top TV Stories of 2008: Star departures - VIDEOS
by Mike Moody, posted Dec 24th 2008 10:02AM
William Peterson is out and Lawrence Fishburne is in. That's the plan, anyway, over at CSI central.
Peterson's decision to say goodbye to CSI was one of the big stories of 2008. The actor's onscreen phase-out started earlier this month with the introduction of Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Raymond Langston, but he's not really saying goodbye. Peterson will remain on the hit CBS show as an executive producer and will likely appear as a guest star in future episodes. His final ep airs January 15.
Since CSI is one of those ever-lasting franchises, like Law & Order, I wouldn't rule out a complete return for Peterson a few years from now. Maybe he'll spin-off another show. I'm sure fans wouldn't mind seeing CSI: The Gil Grissom Chronicles.
Me, I don't really care. I don't watch CSI (I guess I'm not that intrigued by forensic science). So let's talk about the 2008 TV star departures that meant something to me.
Same Name, Different Jokes
Amy Poehler recently left Saturday Night Live after seven years, including four behind the "Weekend Update" desk. Poehler announced her decision to leave the show about a month before becoming a real-life baby mama (she gave birth to son Archie on Oct. 25). That means no more Hillary Clinton, no more "Tranny!" and, of course, another change for "Weekend Update." Poehler said goodbye to SNL on the Dec. 13 show. Her final minutes on "Update" were interrupted when the hilarious Fred Armisen, playing visually-impaired New York Gov. David Paterson, wandered in front of the camera:
I'll miss her on SNL, but it's time Poehler got her own series. She's moving on to star in a new NBC comedy produced by Greg Daniels and written by Mike Schur, both from The Office. It's not an Office spin-off just, you know, a show that might take place in the same Office universe, which has me excited. Schur cracked to E! Online that the untitled show might be called Amy Poehler, Beyond Thunderdome!. The pilot is set to shoot in February, and it could be on the air by next April.
Poehler also recently launched Smart Girls at the Party, a short web series aimed to inspire young girls. The first ep, which featured Poehler interviewing a 10-year-old writer, hit the web in November. The show is a fun blend of Charlie Rose and Reading Rainbow that celebrates the talent of creative kids.
The Doctors are Out
Maura Tierney checked out of the ER in October, before the end of the series' final season. The former News Radio cast member is headed to FX's Rescue Me as a possible love interest for Tommy Gavin, played be Denis Leary. "She's a female version of Tommy," Leary told Entertainment Weekly. I'm really looking forward to seeing that, since Tommy is a foul-mouthed, self-centered, alcoholic macho man who's life always seems to be falling apart. I wonder if we'll get to see Tierney talking to Jesus and spraying the "C" word all over New York city.
Tierney's Nurse Abby left the ER still breathing, unlike Dr. Pratt, played by co-star Mekhi Phifer. Pratt was killed off in September, apparently by Turkish mobsters. (ER sure got weirder since the '90s, didn't it?)
We also saw some star departures in the world of sci-fi TV this year. Michael Rosenbaum and Kristin Kreuk left Smallville early in the year before the current eighth season. Their departures were announced just months after Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar left the show. Surprisingly, Smallville has held up pretty well without Rosenbaum, who's Lex Luthor was always a highlight of any episode. Kreuk returned to the show for "Bride," last month's mid-season finale. Her mini-arc will wrap after a few episodes when the show returns in January.
Rumors about Rosenbaum returning to the series are still flying after "Bride" concluded with a shot of a shadowy bald figure seemingly recuperating from massive injuries. Hopefully, we'll soon find out if he'll be back. I'm all for it. Reintroducing Lex, if only for a few late-season episodes, would really cap off a great year of Smallville. Rosenbaum hasn't done much since he left the show, except play an adult Charlie Brown in James Gunn's latest PG Porn video:
He's not gone yet, but Dr. Who star David Tennant is expected to leave the show after a few eps in 2009. Outgoing Dr. Who producer Russell T. Davies will write Tennant's last two eps himself, which might possibly feature the Doctor "regenerating" into British actor David Morrissey, if rumors are to be believed.
The Dr. Who spin-off Torchwood lost a pair of cast members this year. Burn Gorman and Naoko Mori's characters, Owen and Tosh, were killed off in June in an episode appropriately titled "Exit Wounds." I was sad to see these two go, but it was obvious that the writers were having a tough time keeping the undead Owen alive. His final scene with Tosh is one of the series' most memorable moments:
Other memorable star departures of 2008:
Ebert and Roeper from At the Movies
Gaius Charles and Scott Porter from Friday Night Lights
Who are you gonna miss?
More top TV stories of 2008