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October 25, 2014

7 Actresses Who Should Star in 'Parenthood' Instead of Helen Hunt

by Kelly Woo, posted Sep 15th 2009 5:00PM
Helen Hunt and Maura tierneyLet's say first that Maura Tierney is pretty much irreplaceable.

As we already said in our 'Parenthood' pilot preview, Tierney was the MVP of a star-studded cast that includes Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Monica Potter, Erika Christensen and more. But she was forced to drop out of NBC's midseason dramedy in order to battle cancer.

Now comes word that she might be replaced by Helen Hunt. And to that, we say: Nooooo! N to the O!

Helen Hunt and Maura tierneyLet's say first that Maura Tierney is pretty much irreplaceable.

As we already said in our 'Parenthood' pilot preview, Tierney was the MVP of a star-studded cast that includes Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Monica Potter, Erika Christensen and more. But she was forced to drop out of NBC's midseason dramedy in order to battle cancer.

Now comes word that she might be replaced by Helen Hunt. And to that, we say: Nooooo! N to the O!

Hunt is an accomplished, Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress ('Mad About You,' 'As Good As It Gets'), but we've never been huge fans. More importantly -- and with no disrespect to Ms. Hunt -- we think her acting style wouldn't work in this part. 'Parenthood' was one of our favorite pilots, and it would be sad if Tierney's departure ends up derailing the series. (And it could -- she was that good in the pilot.)

So, we got to thinking -- who could possibly fill Tierney's shoes as the struggling single mom of two teens? It'd have to be someone who's got both dramatic and comedic chops and exudes a no-nonsense yet vulnerable relatibility. Here are seven actresses who just might fit the bill:

Tea Leoni1. Tea Leoni
This gifted actress hasn't found the right movie vehicles to show off her talents, so why not move to the small screen? Nowadays, TV offers better female roles, so she'd hardly be slumming it.

Amy Ryan2. Amy Ryan
Sure, her movie career is heating up, but that's what summer hiatuses are for. We'd love to see Ryan, who's starred in 'The Wire' and 'The Office,' on our televisions week in and week out. Plus: She even resembles potential brother Krause.

Natalie Zea3. Natalie Zea
It might be weird to see her play Peter Krause's sister, considering she was his love interest on the cancelled 'Dirty Sexy Money.' But Zea's guest-starring turn on 'Hung' (which totally made that show) showed she's got the range to do anything.

Marisa Tomei4. Marisa Tomei
As my co-worker Andy Scott points out, she's played moms successfully before in 'The Wrestler' and 'In the Bedroom.' It's a long shot, considering how she's racking up Oscar nominations, but it could be a bold career change ... think Glenn Close.

Lauren Graham5. Lauren Graham
Graham and Tierney share dark coloring and a natural acting style, but Graham is more of a comedienne. Not sure she's really right for the role as written; then again, it could be tailored for her. She's that awesome.

Diane Lane6. Diane Lane
She is too beautiful and too talented for dreck like 'Nights in Rodanthe.' And with her earthy sexiness, Lane could really bring out that side of this character.

Molly Parker7. Molly Parker
The 'Deadwood' and 'Swingtown' star is a relative unknown, but she's got serious game. Plus, we want to see all the 'Deadwood' alumni land somewhere.


Honorable mentions:
Laura Linney: She'd be our No. 1 choice, if she weren't already set to star in her own Showtime comedy
Diane Farr: Originally cast in 'Parenthood' in Monica Potter's role, but had to drop out due to her commitment to 'Californication'
Carla Gugino: As much as we love her, she is kind of a show killer


What do you think: Who should replace Maura Tierney on the new 'Parenthood' series?

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