Which Failed Movie Stars Should (Re)Turn to Television?

Which Failed Movie Stars Should (Re)Turn to Television?

Aug 21, 2013

Many movie actors started out on television, but not all television stars have translated to movie stars. Sometimes, as we famously saw with David Caruso and others, the attempted transition is a miserable failure and the actor is better off returning to the small screen. Often they fit right back in, too. 

Last week, in response to news that Katherine Heigl is returning to TV for a new series, three years after quitting her successful stint on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy, Film School Rejects columnist Inkoo Kang asked if hated film stars can find love again on television. Let's change that a bit to consider not only hated film stars but generally unsuccessful movie actors, whether they never really broke out on the big screen or they're a former giant of cinema merely experiencing a drop as a box office draw. 

And these redeemable talents don't have to have gotten their start on TV. Any number of Hollywood's attempted golden boys could count. Of course, the most notable of these, Taylor Kitsch, did indeed get his start on a series, Friday Night Lights. Meanwhile, Sylvester Stallone, who jumped right into film, is potentially making the downward leap for a reprisal of one of his major movie roles, Rambo.

We nearly saw something similar with the rejected Beverly Hills Cop pilot, which would have had former SNL star Eddie Murphy at least minimally appear as Axel Foley. He could have followed in the footsteps of aging actors like Burt Reynolds, Ted Danson and now Robin Williams, who has a new show this fall, more than 30 years since he left his breakout sitcom Mork and Mindy

Both dramatic and comedy actors are consistently in need of restarting their careers with a good TV series, and now that many people prefer the quality on the small screen to the big it doesn't seem like that far a fall. I could see Jim Carrey finding new success on a cable series that allows for something weird and slapstick but without a laugh track so it can play on multiple levels. Depending on how Mike Myers' new foray into documentary directing goes, he could do the same. 

Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds could probably do something on TV, though I'm not sure what. He started out on a sitcom and maybe he could find another network role in something along the lines of How I Met Your Mother. And while we're talking about this summer's box office bombs, maybe it's time for Johnny Depp to take the step back down to where he was in his 21 Jump Street days. Oh, and Jennifer Aniston needs to quickly get back to starring in a sitcom, because while she's not box office poison for a lot of people (as we see with We're the Millers), she is for me.

Might we consider some filmmakers, too? M. Night Shyamalan could have a decent TV series up his sleeve.

Oh, and as for a favorite pick featured below, while John Cusack has never been a TV star, apparently he was wanted for the lead on Breaking Bad. Let that sink in while you consider your answer. 


Which movie actors and actresses need to move over or return to television?

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