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Netflix has fired Danny Masterson. He'll still appear on new episodes of The Ranch.

The sitcom’s star has been accused of rape by multiple women.

Ashton Kutcher And Danny Masterson Host Fans In Nashville At Tequila Cowboy For A Launch Event For Netflix 'The Ranch: Part 3'
Danny Masterson at a Nashville event in June for the second season of Netflix’s The Ranch.
Anna Webber/Getty Images for Netflix
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

Netflix has fired actor Danny Masterson, accused of rape by several women, from its original sitcom The Ranch. But when the second half of season two drops on Netflix on December 15, Masterson will still be present in all 10 of those episodes, sources at Netflix have confirmed.

What’s more, he’ll likely be in at least some of the episodes airing in 2018, when the show’s third season will drop in two chunks. (The Ranch tends to debut its 20-episode seasons in two parts, with one part airing in the first half of the year and the second part airing six months later.) Despite the high-profile firing of Masterson, actually replacing or removing him from the series at this point would be all but impossible, especially for the episodes airing December 15, which have been completed for some time.

But even above and beyond the time element, The Ranch is a multi-camera sitcom, which means it would be essentially impossible to do reshoots with a new actor, as has happened with Christopher Plummer taking over a role from Kevin Spacey in the film All the Money in the World — reshoots completed in a matter of weeks.

Multi-camera sitcoms are presented like tiny stage plays, in front of an audience, with multiple angles to capture as many different shots at the same time as possible. (Think The Big Bang Theory.) Thus, reshooting Masterson’s scenes would essentially mean reshooting the episodes very nearly in their entirety, something no production company, not even one with pockets as deep as Netflix, would do.

What’s more, the fact that the show has already been renewed for an in-production third season makes it harder for Netflix to simply walk away from The Ranch. It was easier for the streaming service to announce it would no longer have anything to do with Kevin Spacey on House of Cards because that show had just begun production of its sixth season when accusations against Spacey became public. The Ranch is deep into production on its 20-episode third season.

Netflix hasn’t yet revealed how it plans to move forward with The Ranch without Masterson, though it still has more of the show’s third season to produce. But because of the show’s staggered release schedule and a variety of other factors, Masterson’s firing won’t be noticeable to viewers until well into 2018.

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