Why Lethal Weapon Recasting Clayne Crawford Had To Happen For Season 3, According To Fox

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Seemingly every TV hiatus brings about shocking cast changes, and Fox's Lethal Weapon has arguably caused the most commotion so far, with Martin Riggs portrayer Clayne Crawford parting with the show in a very public way in the aftermath of investigations into the actor's workplace behavior. Fox has now gone public with an explanation into that ordeal, with Fox Television Group CEO Dana Walden saying the recasting decision went above the network's execs, and rested in the hands of production company Warner Bros. TV. In Holden's words:

Our partners at Warner Bros. came to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they could not deliver Lethal Weapon as we've known it, that there were some real challenges in the cast. . . . [WBTV] thought long and hard about it --- I know that was not their first choice, but ultimately these were the circumstances that they could offer us the show.

This explanation appears to match up with the timeline of events that made viewers aware of Clayne Crawford's behind-the-scenes troubles. When reports first surfaced, it didn't look like anything too drastic was going to come of it, allowing Season 2 to head toward its crazy conclusion without any roadblocks. But then, just prior to the finale's airing, the news dropped that Crawford had been removed from the cast, and that the producers were quickly trying to nail down a replacement. So one could easily assume that Fox's powers-that-be may have let bygones be bygones, if not for Warner Bros. TV stepping in.

As one of the latest cases involving a TV star at the center of misconduct accusations, Clayne Crawford's Lethal Weapon situation stemmed from claims about how the actor treated others in the cast and crew. While Crawford himself had admitted to certain instances where his temper got the better of him, it seems clear that the investigations revealed things that were slightly more complicated than arguments over on-set safety. And WBTV didn't think it was allowable for Lethal Weapon to continue its run without a major adjustment.

Fox's Dana Walden shared this reasoning behind Lethal Weapon's shake-up during a conference call ahead of the network upfronts presentation, via TVLine. Specifically where new star Seann William Scott's casting is concerned, Walden said that "a lot of different names" were discussed for a potential new co-star to be partnered up with Damon Wayans' Roger Murtaugh, and that they ended up making the right choice in adding the American Pie franchise vet.

Lethal Weapon's fanbase didn't react too positively to the news that Clayne Crawford was getting replaced, as it meant Riggs is lightly getting killed off to answer the cliffhanger. Understanding that Season 3 now faces a struggle that the previous seasons haven't, Dana Walden had this to say about how the show will approach promoting itself ahead of Season 3.

We are prepared to support [Lethal Weapon] from a marketing point of view, to educate viewers about [what is] a new dynamic, but a good one. A lot of the show that people love is still intact.

Fans can expect to find Lethal Weapon back on Fox's primetime lineup when the fall season rolls around later this year. Check out the rest of Fox's 2018-2019 schedule, and then bookmark our summer premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are appearing soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.