Tom Wopat and John Schneider were the stars of The Dukes of Hazzard. They played Luke and Bo Duke, respectively. Their chemistry and off-screen friendship made them believable as the country cousins. The Duke boys and Daisy were some of the most popular characters on television. In fact, the show was one of the highest-rates series on the air at the peak of its run.
Because Dukes of Hazzard was so popular, the studio started contracting branded products. There was no end to what you could get with the Dukes or their iconic ride on them. However, the stars of the show weren’t seeing their cut of the profits, and they felt like they were being ripped off by the studio. So, they went on strike, hoping for a better deal.
Actually, they started by filing a lawsuit against the studio. Then, they went on strike. To be fair, the Dukes of Hazzard stars deserved their piece of the pie.
How the Original Dukes of Hazzard Stars Were Replaced
The studio was making money hand over fist from Dukes of Hazzard merch. In fact, one report estimates that they had pulled in almost $200 million from merchandise sales alone. However, Schneider, Wopat, and Catherine Bach, who played Daisy, weren’t seeing any of it. Wopat and Schneider were only paid about $26,000 each in royalties.
The Dukes of Hazzard stars felt that they deserved a piece of that action. So, they filed suit. Instead of giving the Duke boys their due or somehow settling with them, Warner Brothers Studios replaced Bo and Luke with Vance and Coy.
When the fifth season of The Dukes of Hazzard aired, fans were shocked to see that Bo and Luke were gone. They were supposedly off racing on the NASCAR circuit. There, in their place were Coy and Vance Duke. The new duo was said to be previously unmentioned nephews of Uncle Jesse. In reality, they were carbon copies of their predecessors. This was not a pleasant surprise for fans. As a result, ratings for the show tanked.
Before the end of the season, Warner Brothers made things right with the original Dukes of Hazzard stars. They started paying Wopat, Schneider, and Bach a fair wage for their parts in the hugely successful show. Coy and Vance were never heard from, seen, or mentioned again for the rest of the show.
On screen or behind the scenes, the Duke boys knew how to get themselves out of a jam.