Why Alex Désert Left Boy Meets World

Alex Désert, who played Eli Williams in Season 3 of Boy Meets World, left the series after the network chose not to renew his contract for Season 4.

Désert’s primary on-screen co-star, Anthony Tyler Quinn, who played Mr. Turner, would remain on the series for Season 4, albeit in a significantly reduced role.

The show’s decision to diminish (or, in Desert’s case, eliminate) the characters came in June of 1996, which would’ve been about a month after the airing of the Season 3 finale.

Désert stated the following on the Pod Meets World podcast:

If I recall, I don’t think I found out right away. Because I found out with other gigs about not coming back in a very shady way. I think this was upfront. I think it was above board. I’m pretty sure it was dissapointing.

I think, for me, when it happened, I remember going “oh that sucks” but hey okay, that frees up some time. And like I think after that is when I started you know touring alot more with the band”

Alex Désert

Désert’s recollection aligns with Anthony Tyler Quinn’s statement on his interview with the Pod Meets World hosts:

“In June of ’96 I get a phone call from Michael Jacobs and he’s like ‘Okay. I got some bad news.’ And I was like ‘Okay. Uh-oh.’ He’s like ‘so, you’re not coming back for Season 4. Maybe sparingly like five or four episodes. But definitely not Season 5. You’re not coming back.’

Now, I get the concept that in show business there’s no such thing as job security, but this just seemed like a radical reversal. Cause we just had a conversation two months ago that everything was great. So, I just go, ‘What happened?’ and he goes, ‘So the network and the studio came at us last minute with some changes.

They said the kids are going into high school now and we wanna explore that whole dynamic, so we’re going to change it up. It was kind of unexpected, last minute, so there was nothing we could do to save it. He goes, ‘It is what it is,’ and that was it.”

Anthony Tyler Quinn

How The Decision to “Age-Up” The Cast Impacted Désert

Season 4 focused on the coming-of-age Ben Savage, Rider Strong, and Danielle Fishel, with Will Friedle as the focus of most of the B storylines.

Aside from the cast originals, Alan and Amy Matthews and Mr. Feeny, the adult influences were phased out of the cast. 

Since Mr. Williams was intrinsically connected to the fate of Mr. Turner, the decision to move on from Turner tangentially eliminated Eli from the show’s larger storyline. 

Alex Désert’s Career After Boy Meets World

After appearing in 16 episodes during Season 3 of Boy Meets World, Désert starred in the movie Swingers in 1996 and Playing God in 1997. He then appeared as Jake Malinak in 129 episodes of Becker spanning 1998-2003.

In addition to his acting career, Desert is a professional musician, serving as one of the lead singers in the band Hubcat. The band was active from 1989-2000 before reemerging in 2003.

Desert continues his successful acting and musical career, including voice work for The Simpsons TV series and several video games, including World of Warcraft: Shadowlands and Mafia: Definitive Edition.

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