Bette Midler Says Bette Sitcom Was a Mistake, Regrets Not Suing 14-Year-Old Lindsay Lohan for Quitting Series After Pilot

Miu von Furstenberg 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
25th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards
Photo Credit: AdMedia

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In a candid revelation on the Fail Better podcast hosted by David Duchovny, Bette Midler reflected on her 2000 sitcom Bette, describing it as a compendium of missteps. The show, which draws from Midler's own life, quickly became a learning curve for the celebrated actor.

A pivotal moment came with Lindsay Lohan, who was cast as Midler's daughter in the show's pilot. Despite the successful collaboration during the pilot episode, Lohan departed from the series, a move that Midler believes contributed to the sitcom’s downfall. At that juncture, Lohan's career was on the ascent, following her breakout role in Parent Trap, with hits like Freaky Friday and Mean Girls on the horizon.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
02 March 2014 – Hollywood, California – Bette Midler. 86th Annual Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood &Highland Center. Photo Credit: AdMedia

She suggested that Lohan’s early exit from Bette may have contributed to its failure. “Lindsay Lohan was cast as my daughter in the pilot. Well, after the pilot, Lindsay Lohan decided she didn’t want to do it. Or she had other fish to fry. So, Lindsay Lohan left the building. And I said, well, now what do you do?”

Midler, who juggled the role of executive producer alongside her starring performance, admitted to underestimating the unique challenges of television production. She disclosed her struggles with the frenetic pace and complex hierarchy of TV production, a stark contrast to her extensive background in film, theater, and variety shows.

USA - 15th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards - Beverly Hills
LOS ANGELES – FEB 8: Bette Midler at the 15th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 8, 2016 in Beverly Hills, CA. Photo by Carrie Nelson

“I didn’t realize what the pace was, and I didn’t understand what the hierarchy was, and no one bothered to tell me,” she said. “Well, I was kicked to the curb immediately and I didn’t know what to do about it… I didn’t know that I could have taken charge, that I could have asserted, because I think because I was so terrified of being branded a grandstander.”

She added, “It was a part of the media I simply did not understand,” Midler continued. “I watched it. I appreciated it. it, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t know what it meant to make [a TV series.] I had made theatrical live events, I had made films, I had made variety television shows, I had been on talk shows, but I had never done a situation comedy.”


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