That ’70s Show launched the careers of some of Hollywood’s well-known actors today like married couple Ashton Kutcher, 43, and Mila Kunis, 38, who played each other’s love interests in the show, Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart. Wilmer Valderrama, 41 (Fez), Topher Grace, 43 (Eric Forman), and Laura Prepon, 41, (Donna Pinciotti) also made a name for themselves after the show. Then there’s Danny Masterson, 45, who played Steven Hyde — currently facing charges for three counts of rape by force or fear by the Los Angeles County District Attorney.
Now that you’re caught up with the cast’s present life, let’s take a look down memory lane. Let’s talk about the reasons that led to the sitcom’s end in 2006 after 8 seasons. There have been numerous speculations about it throughout the years. As it turned out, there were really a few factors to blame. Here are they.
The Exit Of Some Original Cast Members
Grace was the first of the main cast to leave the show. He left at the end of season 7 in 2005. The actor had always wanted to play more serious roles. So after saving enough from the series, he was able to be selective with projects. He then decided to focus on doing films which he’d always wanted to do. He was immediately cast as Eddie Brock/Venom in Spider-Man 3 after leaving That ’70s Show. Even before that, he succeeded in juggling his sitcom schedule with shooting for movies like In Good Company, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, P.S., and Mona Lisa Smile.
Kutcher was the next to exit the show. He was last seen in episode 4 of season 8 before returning for the finale. The reason for his departure was that he wanted to explore more roles and jobs as a producer. Combined with Grace’s exit, it surely turned off a lot of fans. To fill in the missing characters, Josh Meyers, 45, was cast to play this new guy, Randy Pearson. Fans didn’t like him at all. They thought he didn’t have the same charms as Kutcher or Grace. By then, it became evident that the show was starting to sink.
‘That ’70s Show’ Started Receiving Poor Ratings
There were 11 million households tuned in to season 1 of the show. But that didn’t last long. Between season 1 and season 7, Rotten Tomatoes’ audience scores declined below 60%, all the way to 23% by season 8. The last season was only watched by 7 million households. The show also has a 77% average audience score which is pretty low compared to successful series like Friends (94%) and The Big Bang Theory (82%). Time even described the season finale as “doing the same old thing they did in eight years.”
No More Story Left To Tell
That ’70s Show had run its course. Most of the characters’ stories have met their end and any attempt to extend them would have made matters worse. For instance, Donna eventually got back together with Eric in the final episode after breaking up with Randy whom she dated almost the entire 8th season. Hyde inherited his dad’s record store, Kelso landed a job as a security guard at the Playboy Club in Chicago, and Fez and Jackie seemed like they were off to start a real relationship. Of course, the actors had also outgrown their characters throughout the duration of the show.
That ’70s Show was topped by other networks’ shows that had a similar 8 PM timeslot. Some of their rivals were Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, and Will and Grace. It wasn’t the comedy series’ original schedule. But Fox’s other shows American Idol and medical drama, House were starting to take off. Bumping the fading show off its prime schedule just made sense.
“The final episode takes place on New Year’s Eve 1979, because we thought we’d just wrap up the ’70s while we wrap up the series,” executive producer Mark Hudis said of ending the show before it got worse. “There were people losing it while we were working on the last episode, of course. We didn’t want specific answers for everyone, but we at least wanted them to have hopeful futures. You’ll see certain things happen to the characters that opens up the possibility for a future, but that future is up to you to imagine. I feel like it would be a gigantic mistake to show you that future 10 years from now.” Fair enough.