Fox executives have finally spoken out about Lethal Weapon nearly being canceled, as well as Clayne Crawford's exit.
The actor played Martin Riggs on the first two season of the show. Regarding him being let go, Fox chairman Dana Walden said, “It wasn’t our choice. Our partners at Warner Bros. came to us and said that they could not deliver the show as it was.”
Walden went on to say that the decision to not bring Crawford back was a difficult one, but that after American Pie star Seann William Scott was presented as a replacement the network felt more comfortable greenlighting a third season, Deadline reports.
Scott will be playing an as-yet-unnamed character who will become the new partner to Roger Murtaugh, played by actor/comedian Damon Wayans.
“I think we made the right choice,” Walden said, adding that the addition of Scott brings a “good new dynamic to the show with a lot of its original dynamic intact.”
Fox chairman Gary Newman also spoke about the shows next season, explaining that “90 percent of the cast is coming back.” This includes the family of Murtaugh, which is a crucial element of the series.
“We will be making sure to let the audience know there is something new,” Newman added, pointing out that the network will handle promotion for the new season very carefully.
Crawford's time on the show was shrouded in controversy, as he was reported to have displayed erratic and dangerous behavoir.
He defended himself in a previous statement, saying, "It is true that I have been reprimanded twice during the past two seasons of Lethal Weapon. The first reprimand was because I reacted with anger over working conditions that did not feel safe or conducive to good work under the leadership of a guest director and assistant director, who, in turn, were angry at my response. I met with human resources, I apologized for my part of the conflict, and I completed studio appointed therapy in October. I even shared a sizeable portion of my paycheck with one of the parties involved, per the instruction of the studio."
"The second reprimand happened just a few weeks ago during the episode I was directing. An actor on set felt unsafe because a piece of shrapnel from an effect hit him. It was an unfortunate event that happened in spite of all precautions and procedures being followed. I take responsibility for the incident, because I was in charge of the set," Crawford added.5comments
"I absolutely love, respect, and care for my crew and cast and would never intentionally jeopardize so many jobs. Moreover, I love the process of filmmaking and television. I appreciate and respect the work of everyone involved. It takes a village, and I am incredibly sorry if my passion for doing good work has ever made anyone feel less than comfortable on set or feel less than celebrated for their efforts. Furthermore, I apologize to all the crew and cast for any negative attention Lethal Weapon is receiving because of these incidents," the actor continued.
"I take great pride in treating everyone in life with dignity and kindness. I am very grateful for my job, and I work extremely hard at it. I have a responsibility to do good work for my coworkers, my family, and my home state, and most especially for the fans. I hope they will stick with me and stick with the show,” Crawford's statement concluded.