Carin Baer / ABC
The change: Forced with a drastically reduced budget for the series eighth season, creator David E. Kelley fired the shows biggest stars: Dylan McDermott, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams, Chyler Leigh and Marla Sokoloff. In their place, he introduced James Spader and British actress Rhona Mitra.
The impact: Fans liked the addition of Spader, and the actor won an Emmy for his role. Instead of bringing the series back for a ninth season, however, the network decided to give them a spinoff series, Boston Legal and added William Shatner. Both Spader and Shatner have won Emmys for their work on the new series.