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Grey's Anatomy

TV Shows That Have Lost Their Leads: Did They Survive?

Rumor has it that Private Practice star Kate Walsh is planning to leave the show after the first 13 episodes of Season 6, which has fans wondering if the show could possibly survive without her. This is the second time this year Shondaland fans have had to worry about that question; many of Grey's Anatomy's leads renegotiated their contracts this year, and although everyone is returning, there was a long period of time where people were speculating that Grey's Anatomy would have to go on without the titular Grey.

Can a show survive if the lead leaves? We've taken a look back at some examples of TV shows losing their leads, and how they've fared after the change.

The Office: When Steve Carell left The Office after Season 7 for full-time movie stardom, people questioned if the show could survive without the iconic Michael Scott. It managed to limp along through Season 8 and has been renewed for Season 9, but it does seem like a sinking ship, in both ratings and comedic quality.

Two And a Half Men: After eight seasons at the helm of CBS smash hit Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen went completely crazy and lost his job. His character was killed off, and Ashton Kutcher was pulled in to replace him. Millions still tuned in. Sorry, Charlie, but Two and a Half Men is #winning without you.

Game of Thrones: The death of the honorable Ned Stark (Sean Bean) at the end of Season 1 left Game of Thrones fans in shock. However, the show's second season has been even more popular than the first — it probably helps that Ned's death was always part of the plan, since the show is based off of a book series.

ER: Proof that medical shows can survive major cast upheavals, ER lost its entire original cast (including George Clooney) over the course of its 15 seasons, and people still loved it.

Charlie's Angels: Farrah Fawcett was propelled to stardom in Charlie's Angel role, but she only stayed on the show for the first of its five seasons. Although the show maintained decent ratings without her, it never reached the same level of success after her departure.

8 Simple Rules: This is the saddest case: John Ritter tragically died of an aortic dissection in the middle of filming 8 Simple Rules Season 2. His death was incorporated into the show, which lasted through Season 3, but it was never really the same.

NYPD Blue: When David Caruso left his own vehicle, NYPD Blue, in Season 2, people were sure the show would go downhill. Instead, it successfully reinvented itself as more of an ensemble piece, with Dennis Franz's Andy Sipowicz at the center. The show eventually aired 12 seasons. David who?

Do you have other examples? Chime in below!

Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.

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06.2.2012 / 02:06 AM EDT by Rebecca Martin
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