How ‘That ’70s Show’ Lost Steam In Its Final Season
Published on August 6, 2019
That ’70s Show brought one of the wildest decades ever to our living room every night. For Fox, this became one of their longest-running sitcoms on the network. Season eight, however, saw huge changes for the show that led to its end.
Two Big Stars Exit
By the time season seven ended, the show saw a huge dip in ratings. With an average of seven million viewers, this was their lowest watched season at that point. If the ratings weren’t enough to worry the network, two of the show’s stars were leaving. Topher Grace, who played Eric Forman, left the show following the seventh season. He wanted to get away from the comedic world and do something different. Around that time, he was offered the role of Venom in Spider-Man 3. Grace said goodbye and focused on accumulating a film career.
Ashton Kutcher, who played Michael Kelso, also left after season seven to star in The Guardian. News of both departures hit hard for their cast members. “I cried. It was really hard, actually. One of those times you really see this incredible team. But the two of them are making choices, and I am super proud of them and knowing they’re doing amazing stuff,” Wilmer Valderrama told Fox News.
An Unlikable Replacement
At that point, the cast assumed they’d be around for at least another season. In order to make up for departures, a new character was introduced. Portrayed by Josh Meyers, Randy Pearson was slated to be Kelso’s replacement. Unfortunately, this casting decision led to some backlash from fans.
Kutcher returned for a few episodes to give Kelso a proper farewell, but it was too late. Ratings for the show began to plummet even further. Without two of its biggest stars, That ’70s Show was fading fast.
On January 16, 2006, Fox announced That ’70s Show would end following season eight. For many, it felt like time flew by while on set. “The reason That ’70s Show has been such a smash hit is due to the talent: the actors, the writers, the director, and everybody else who helped make each episode so groovy. Has it really been eight years?” executive producer Tom Werner said in a press release.
While Fox was upset about saying goodbye, they knew the show left an impact on their network. “That ’70s Show is one of our longest-running hit comedies. The show’s success is definitely a testament to the creativity and dedication put forth each week by the talented cast, outstanding writers and producers, and the great crew. There are a lot of things about the ’70s we’d like to forget – especially those involving polyester – but this series has been a wonderful look back at this most memorable decade,” former Fox chairman of entertainment Peter Liguori said in a press release. The final episode of That ’70s Show, which was also its 200th episode, aired on May 18, 2006. This episode finds them ringing in 1980 in between clips from previous seasons.
Time For A Reboot?
With various shows getting the reboot treatment, many wonder if That ’70s Show will follow suit. While others might like it, Valderrama says it’s impossible in this day and age. “Most of the reunion shows and reboot shows have one thing in common, they’re not accessible, you can’t find them anywhere. They’re not necessarily in syndicated TV and they’re definitely not being streamed as though they were a normal show. That ‘70s Show is still one of the most syndicated shows around the planet, so you can still find it on television. And furthermore Netflix has now relaunched the show, and it does incredibly well on Netflix worldwide. So it’s tough to revive a show that is still very much alive,” he told news.com.au. For now, fans will have to relive those unforgettable moments through the power of the internet.