What does Her character was written out mean?

(My emphasis)

On That '70s Show, the veteran actress played the promiscuous elder sister of Topher Grace's Eric Forman for five years. Her character was written out, though Kelly returned for a few episodes in Season 5. Then, she was replaced by Christina Moore in Season 6.

I assumed a number of things but I can be sure to be wrong in each case. It doesn't make sense if it relates to writing down individual letters.

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    macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/write-out (definition 3: "to remove a character from a television or radio series by writing stories that do not include them")
    – MetaEd
    Aug 16, 2013 at 4:35
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    @MετάEd- Yes, but I'm not thrilled with that definition. By simply writing stories that do not include someone the viewer is left wondering what happened to them. To write someone out is to actually write a story such that the character's subsequent absence is explained- maybe they were killed, or moved to Mexico, or joined a nunnery.
    – Jim
    Aug 16, 2013 at 6:31
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    How about ODO? Remove a character from a long-running story or series. I think I'd add something like by using a particular story-line which results in their removal, but their definition is ok.
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 16, 2013 at 6:52
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    @Jim, I disagree very strongly with that. I have followed several tv shows where a favourite character of mine suddenly just vanished without a trace of explanation, and those characters were written out just as much as the ones who were blown up in car accidents or went to live in Burkina Faso. Aug 16, 2013 at 11:22
  • @JanusBahsJacquet If only the phrase Chuck Cunningham Syndrome were more popular.
    – choster
    Aug 16, 2013 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


To "write out" a character from a TV series means to come up with a story line that results in that character's no longer being a regular part of that series. For example, if a TV show set in New York might write out a character by showing her moving to San Francisco for a new job, or more drastically, by having her fall to her death under a subway train.

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