TV News

After Nina Dobrev, Who’s Next? – Several Notable Actors Could Be Leaving Their TV Shows

Imagine a world in which Buffy the Vampire Slayer continued on for an 8th season after Sarah Michelle Gellar left. It just feels wrong, right? Well, that’s the reality facing Vampire Diaries fans now that Nina Dobrev has announced she is leaving the show at the end of the current season despite the fact that the CW already renewed it for another season. It’s not quite like the show is called “Elena’s Vampire Diaries” or that the titular diaries are all that important to the show anymore, but Dobrev’s Elena is one of only two characters on the show who appears to have a diary, the other being Paul Wesley’s Stefan Salvatore (or at least he used to). So, technically, unless someone else starts keeping a diary the show would be more accurately called “Vampire Diary” from this point forward. Beyond that bit of semantics, Elena is arguably the central character of the show. Even though she’s ceded the spotlight to Candice Accola’s Caroline in the back half of the current season, Dobrev leaving the show still registers as shocking. But Vampire Diaries fans may not be the only ones in for such a shock in the coming months.

When Dobrev made her announcement through Instagram, which is quickly becoming the go-to social media platform for celebrities, she curiously said, “I always knew I wanted Elena’s story to be a six season adventure, and within those six years I got the journey of a lifetime.” Of course she would have always known she wanted Elena’s story to end after six seasons because the contract she signed back when the show first started only obligated her to play Elena for six seasons, which is the standard length of a contract for series actors on an American TV show. So, what’s really happened here is that an actress has fulfilled a contract and decided against signing a new one. She’s possibly being followed out the door by co-star Michael Trevino (who plays Tyler Lockwood) since he’s booked an ABC pilot in first position, meaning that if it gets picked up it will supersede his Vampire Diaries obligations.

There are those who would prefer that the CW rescind its order for a seventh season and simply end the show with Nina Dobrev’s final episode. However, surely the CW wasn’t shocked by Dobrev’s departure, assuming they didn’t already know about it beforehand, depending on when exactly she made her decision. When they offered an early renewal for season 7, they must have been fully aware that while Dobrev was a question mark Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder were locks, both signed up through season 7. One could easily imagine a “Plan A” scenario in which the show about two brothers competing for the same girl continues on as it always has and a “Plan B” in which the show becomes about two brothers coping with that girl’s sudden departure. Dobrev has forced “Plan B,” and most likely seriously upped Candice Accola’s screen time.

A potential passing of the baton between Caroline and Elena

A similar decision now lies before multiple other shows and networks. According to Deadline, these are the notable TV actors whose contracts expire after the current season:

  • Nathan Fillion (Castle)
  • Stana Katic (Castle)
  • David Boreanaz (Bones)
  • Emily Deschanel (Bones)
  • Ted Danson (CSI)
  • Almost everyone on Criminal Minds (Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, Shemar Moore, Kirsten Vangsness, AJ Cook)
  • Charlie McDermott (The Middle), who booked a pilot before everyone else in the cast negotiated new contracts to stay on the show. He’ll now become a recurring character on The Middle should his pilot get picked up.

castleeeCommon sense would dictate that the people from Castle and Bones will re-up for at least another year, Castle because it’s still going strong and Bones because surely they’d like to actually have a final season which is promoted as such. Common sense would also dictate that it’s an all or none proposition meaning that Castle wouldn’t try to move on without Stana Katic or Bones with David Boreanaz. Law & Order: SVU has soldiered on with Mariska Hargitay after Chrstopher Meloni left, but Castle and Bones both seem far more dependent upon its central male/female pair than SVU ever did. However, Deadline says Fillion, Katic, Boreanaz, and Deschanel are all non-committal, possibly as a negotiating tactic, which is why neither show has been renewed yet. CSI is already considered a bubble show based upon its ratings, and Danson leaving might make cancellation a much easier decision. Who the heck knows about Criminal Minds, which has already undergone multiple cast turnovers.

Among the actors listed, it would be most shocking to see Fillion and/or Katic walk away from Castle (or for the show to continue without both of them), but it was shocking to see Dobrev leave Vampire Diaries and yet here we are.

Source: Deadline


  1. When I heard about Nina leaving I wasn’t surprised. All three of them seemed like they were over it. In fact, I was more surprised that Ian and Paul signed on for another season. I think I’d be happy if they ended it after this season rather than risk another mediocre to bad season.

    1. If the show hadn’t already been renewed for another season I wouldn’t have been shocked by Nina Dobrev’s departure. However, I didn’t know anything about the contractual status for any of the actors before all of this went down. So, when the CW handed out that early season 7 renewal I (and apparently many others) assumed it meant everyone would be coming back. This would be like the CW renewing Supernatural and then 2 months later Jensen Ackles announced he was leaving the show, although VD is obviously way more of an ensemble than Supernatural.

      You are right, though – the main trio have been coming off as “over it” in interviews over the past year, especially Dobrev and Wesley. It’s possible that Wesley and Somerhalder signed up for a season 7 several years ago. Deadline said that sometimes happens as shows goes on, actors adding another season to a contract in exchange for some concessions or profit participation or whatever else. Either way, Dobrev’s Instagram announcement summarizing everything that’s happened to Elena or Katherine or whatever other doppleganger throughout the six seasons sort of reminded me of a post-Buffy the Vampire interview with Alyson Hannigan where she laughed off the hypothetical idea of a season 8 on the basis that so much craziness had happened to Willow and everyone else across the 7 seasons she honestly had no idea what else was left to do.

      I am willing to give an Elena-less season a chance because around the time that Damon came home from the other side and had his hug with Stefan in the early goings of the current season I realized that I no longer personally considered Elena the central character of the show anymore. It seemed like it had shifted to being about the Salvatore Brothers, with even Bonnie more linked to Damon than Elena. At the same time, Elena seems like the social glue of that group (Damon, Stefan, Caroline, Bonnie, Tyler, Matt), and if you take her away I don’t quite know how they’ll fit together anymore.

      This could be like the regrettable years when The Office tried to soldier on without Steve Carell. This could also be like the UK Being Human which replaced its entire cast halfway through, and I’d argue it surprisingly became a better show as a result. I don’t know that an Elena-less season 7 will be better than season 6, which I think started out strong before taking a sharp left turn into mediocrity, but I think that at the very least the first couple of episodes with everyone trying to move on without her will be compelling.

      1. Yes, season six has been a toss up. There have been a lot of awful storylines. Honestly, I only care about Damon anyway. The reast of the characters and story lines feel trite. The one exception I will make is that I also really enjoy Kai, but it looks like they may write him out. Then again, I loved Enzo and they ended up making his character petty this season. I don’t know the show just feels off to me.

      2. “The show just feels off to me”

        That’s probably the perfect way to sum it up. By this point of the season [spoiler alert if you’re not caught up], Caroline and Stefan have both turned off their emotions, Enzo seems to have no point to him anymore, Kai has kind of been tossed aside, Matt and Tyler haven’t been seen in several episodes, apparently Tyler’s curly-haired ex-girlfriend/witch is just not a character on this show anymore even though her older sister is marrying Alaric, and Damon and Stefan’s long since dead and forgotten mom is actually a vampire and not so much dead. By the time we got to the end of their last episode and they took their hiatus I looked up to realize how few episodes are actually left in the season and realized that the re-emergence of the vampire cure and the fallout with Stefan and Damon’s mom is seriously going to be the driving force of the rest of the season. That just seems so weak, kind of like once the Gemini Curse storyline was resolved the show completely lost its direction and after filling time with the cancer storyline with Caroline’s mom it just started throwing stuff at the wall. Because I seem physically incapable of disliking anything Candice Accola does as Caroline Forbes I’ve been able to enjoy a lot of it because she has had so much to do. Plus, Kai has been a delight every time he’s been on screen. But when I step back from it all I realize how formless it all looks, especially compared to the earlier seasons.

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