Damon Wayans says he’s leaving Fox’s Lethal Weapon for personal reasons in December, after completing the series’ current 13-episode Season 3 order. In a video interview, he said the 16-hour workdays and the fact that here’s a “58-year-old diabetic” drove him to the decision.
“I’m giving them enough time to find a replacement,” he told the Electronic Urban Report on Tuesday. Watch a clip above.
Warner Bros TV, which produces the series, had no comment on today’s news. Fox deferred requests for comment to the studio.
Wayans was disgruntled about Lethal Weapon going back to last season, when he clashed with co-star Clayne Crawford — the Riggs to his Murtaugh — in a very public feud. WBTV eventually fired Crawford over his alleged on-set behavior. Seann William Scott was cast as his replacement in mid-May, playing a new character, and the show was renewed for a third season.
Wayans also has been vocal about the physical demands of doing a network drama series and the toll they have had on him. (He previously did the ABC comedy My Wife & Kids, a multi-camera sitcom which has a far lighter work schedule.)
In today’s interview, which we hear was done after Wayans had had a bad day on set and surprised many, he indicated how unhappy he has been on Lethal Weapon, saying that he is leaving to “try to find my smile again.”
He said he’s exiting the show after production on its initial 13-episode Season 3 order wraps in December, leaving the door open to Fox picking up more episodes without him — though that probably isn’t likely considering the circumstances. He said his job on the cop action-drama was putting too much strain on his personal life, noting that his daughter and mother both had recent surgeries that he missed because of filming
“It’s hard for me to play this loving, supportive father/husband/friend on TV but be the guy in life that who’s telling everybody, ‘I can’t — I have to work.’”
Asked by Jill Monroe what’s next, Wayans said: “I’m gonna return to the stage and try to find my smile again. … I think you have to look yourself in the eye and go, ‘Who are you?’ And it can’t all be about work. You know, I’m from a big family, a loving family, and I haven’t seen them. All the family gatherings — I’m too tired [or] can’t because it conflicts with work. I have seven grandkids. I’ve been missing recitals and graduations, and to me it’s not worth it.”
The reloaded Lethal Weapon is off to a solid start for Fox. Season 3 of the series spawned from the movie franchise premiered September 25 with 3.4 million viewers and a 0.8 in 18-49, the latter matching its Season 2 premiere with Crawford. It and NBC’s This Is Us led all Tuesday premieres in Live+3 gains, jumping by 59% to a 1.3 in the demo and 63% in total viewers (to 5.6 million).