4. Gossip Girl – Eleanor Waldorf
A different actress played Blair Waldorf’s mother Eleanor in Gossip Girl’s pilot. Her name is Florencia Lozano, but she was replaced when the show was put into full production with Margaret Colin, who made her small screen debut on the show in episode four. The part was reportedly cast because Lozano looked too young to play Blair’s mother.
Giovanni Rufino / © The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection
3. Parenthood – Sarah Braverman
Maura Tierney was originally cast as Sarah Braverman on Parenthood, but she had to withdraw from the role so that she could recover from breast cancer surgery. Initially, production tried to accommodate her treatment by temporarily halting production, but her treatment plan conflicted with the series’ filming schedule. A few months later, Lauren Graham was cast in the part.
2. The Big Bang Theory – Penny
When The Big Bang Theory first aired in 2007, it immediately became a hit, thanks in large part to the incredible chemistry of the entire cast. It may be hard to believe, but in the beginning, that cast didn’t include Kaley Cuoco as Penny. In the unaired pilot for the series, there were no Howard or Raj characters at all, and the main female character was a whole lot different! The character was instead called Katie and was played by actress Amanda Walsh. Katie was envisioned as “a street-hardened, tough-as-nails woman with a vulnerable interior.”
“In the first pilot, the character of [Katie] was not as appealing as that proverbial girl next door,” president and chief content officer at Warner Bros. Television Group Peter Roth said. “It was not the actress [Amanda Walsh] but rather the conceit of the character.”
The pilot wasn’t picked up, but the series got another shot to try again. The character Katie was replaced by a new character named Penny. Cuoco, who had originally auditioned for Katie got a call back, and became Penny.
Michael Yarish / ©CBS / courtesy Everett Collectionv