Fox has decided to bring back Lethal Weapon, but not its star.
The network has picked up the police action drama series for a third season without Clayne Crawford, who played Martin Riggs.
Instead, Fox has hired American Pie and Road Trip actor Seann William Scott in his first series-regular TV role to join the show.
Scott will play a new character who partners up with co-lead Damon Wayans’ Roger Murtaugh.
Studio Warner Bros. issued a statement declaring Crawford’s contract was not picked up for the third season. Sources have told EW that the decision was a difficult one and was due to Crawford exhibiting a pattern of toxic behavior on the set and that there is video and audio evidence of such behavior. While not going into exact details, we’re told that in each instance there were disciplinary actions taken by the studio and the behavior continued. A couple crew members even resigned over Crawford’s actions, sources say. Warner Bros. alerted Fox to the issue and told the network they couldn’t keep the actor on the show if renewed — even just from a financial standpoint, ignoring a documented pattern of behavior would put the studio at risk.
Crawford has disputed the claims, saying he takes “great pride in treating everyone in life with dignity and kindness.”
Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn issued a statement about the recasting: “Seann is a fantastic addition to this already amazing cast. Lethal Weapon is packed with action, drama and pure fun and we can’t wait to see Damon and Seann together on screen. Matt Miller, his incredible team and everyone at Warner Bros. have been tremendous partners, and we’re thrilled to bring this show back for another season.”
Previously Crawford issued this about the controversy:
Lethal Weapon was on the bubble for renewal already when the controversy surrounding Crawford broke, which seemed to further jeopardize its chances of coming back. The show has averaged 5.3 million viewers and a 1.3 in the adults 18-49 demo during its second season, numbers that rise to 8.6 million and 1.7 when Fox adds in its multi-platform viewing.
UPDATE: Crawford posted this after the news broke Sunday about the recasting:
Fox will announce its fall schedule on Monday.