A NASTY blowup on the set got Bette Midler's TV hubby canned -- that's the real story behind the departure of character actor Kevin Dunn.
The showbiz vet, who's played in films such as "Dave" and "Godzilla," was fed up with long hours, constant retakes and Bette's diva routine, say sources on the show, "Bette."
"Kevin felt there was no room on the set for anything but Bette's ego," a set insider told The ENQUIRER.
The tension between Dunn and Bette festered for weeks and eventually the two stopped talking to each other.
"The final straw came when Bette and Kevin got into an on-set screaming match in front of the whole cast and crew.
"That day, Bette said something Kevin just could not handle and he blurted out that he thought her idea was 'ludicrous.'
"Things escalated from there and before you knew it, they were screaming, 'I hate you!' at each other at the top of their lungs.
"After that, Kevin was history."
The high-priced series has been sliding in the ratings. After getting off to a promising start when it debuted in the Top 20 its first week out, the show dropped dismally to the No. 62 spot.
And morale is falling faster than the ratings, according to sources on the show.
"Bette" has already been picked up for its whole first season. But, revealed the insider: "Everyone is fearing the worst.
"There were warning signs from the start. 'The Parent Trap' star Lindsay Lohan was originally cast as Bette's daughter on the show.
"But she left after the pilot because she saw storm warnings. Now, with Kevin's departure, everyone has an uneasy feeling.
"CBS may just cut its losses, pay everyone off and put 'Bette' out of its misery."
-- MARC CETNER
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