Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Real Reason These ’80s Sitcoms Were Canceled

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House Calls is less remembered for its plot than for its massive controversy. The show starred Wayne Rogers and Lynn Redgrave, but by the third season, Redgrave was gone.

Redgrave claimed she was fired after the show refused to let her breastfeed her newborn in her dressing room. Universal countered by saying she was let go after unreasonable salary demands. According to Redgrave’s husband and business manager, John Clark, it went deeper than that. Their opener during contract renegotiations was a raise, transportation to set, the cost of a nanny, and the ability to breastfeed in her dressing room. The show shot down even bringing the baby to set, and a few weeks later, the role was recast.

While the breastfeeding part was the most publicized, there’s a good chance that was just the tip of the iceberg. Wayne Rogers was a powerful presence on set, sitting in on every production meeting and having veto power over scenes. He also brought his manager on board as a producer, which gave him more control. Sources told both People and TV Guide that Rogers wanted to make himself the sole star of the show, and “the breastfeeding business was just an excuse to get rid of Redgrave.”

Whatever the motives, the end result was the same — Redgrave left the show and launched a lawsuit. Her character was written out, and the bad publicity and decrease in star power alienated audiences, causing it to plummet in the ratings and get canceled.

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