Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FIRED! Brett Butler

In the 1990's, ABC found great success with a formula it created in the late 1980's- find a popular stand upcomic then build a sitcom around them. It worked originally with Roseanne Barr, then Tim Allen, Drew Carey and even Brett Butler.


Brett Butler's southern charm and dry wit transferred well to television and her show was successful. Ms. Butler, however, had a substance abuse problem that resulted in her taking control in the worst way possible- by ordering the firing of the man who created it. Behind the scenes, she engaged in boorish behavior, exposing her breasts to the young man who played her son. (He was replaced by an older actor the next season.) Soon Ms. Butler's behavior became too bad to ignore. Production on Grace Under Fire halted while she dried out in a network required drug rehab.

Things seemed to get better the second time around. A stronger supporting cast was introduced to lessen the stress on Ms. Butler. Everything unraveled at a taping of the show. While a contingent of network executives watched, Brett flew into a rage at a production assistant, throwing items and using profanity in front of the live studio audience. This was the last straw. She was fired and her show was canceled.