10 TV Shows That Were Saved By One Genius Tweak

Lost would've never been the same if Jack died in the pilot as originally planned.

Lost Jack

The blood, sweat, and tears that go into creating a successful TV show which entertains its fans for years is basically unfathomable - it requires hundreds of artists and technicians working together on the same page to execute the showrunner's vision.

And there are so, so many things that can wrong when putting a show out: perhaps a major character isn't cast right, maybe a slight aspect of the story doesn't work, or it's just lacking the special sauce that truly grips audiences from the very first episode.

We've all seen promising shows fail because they couldn't quickly cultivate an audience, and in many cases even hugely successful shows very nearly suffered the same fate.

Yet because someone involved with the production - whether a writer, showrunner, or executive - recommended a tweak to the proposed format, these 10 shows secured their futures, providing each series with the secret ingredient they so desperately needed.

While we can't say for sure that these shows all would've failed without these late-in-the-day changes, knowing what we do about how TV works, it's difficult to accept they would've been nearly as successful...

10. Adding Danny DeVito In Season 2 - It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Lost Jack

Though It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia was well-received by critics in its first season, that wasn't reflected in its ratings, and network FX effectively offered creator Rob McElhenney an ultimatum - add a name cast member for season two, or the show would be cancelled.

In a 2015 interview with The Nerdist podcast, McElhenney explained:

"So, John Landgraf, who's the president of FX, he called me in for a meeting and was like, 'Hey, no one's watching the show, but we love it, we wanna keep it on, but we don't have any money for marketing, and we need to add somebody with some panache that we can hopefully parlay into some public relations story, just so we can get people talking.'
It's not that we were reticent to the idea of adding Danny [DeVito] to the show... it's that we were reticent to add a name to the show. You know, because we kinda liked that we were no-names and it was this weird, small thing, you know."

McElhenney initially rejected the notion of adding a famous actor to the ensemble, but after it became clear the show wouldn't be returning without one, he relented.

And as great as the show's rough-around-the-edges first season was, bringing Danny DeVito aboard as Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee's (Kaitlin Olson) father Frank Reynolds was an absolute masterstroke.

DeVito remains responsible for many of the series' most hilarious and unforgettable moments, effectively serving as the glue that holds the main cast together, all while keeping the network happy.

Given that It's Always Sunny was recently renewed up to its 18th season, it was absolutely the right call.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.