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October 4, 2015

Six Former TV Stars Who Should Forget Movies and Come Back to TV

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 22nd 2010 2:00PM
Jennifer AnistonThe common wisdom used to be this: TV was the lesser of the screen arts, and even if you started as a television actor, you had to graduate to the big screen to be really successful .

Common wisdom is sometimes wrong.

Personally I have never subscribed to the notion that film is a "step up" from television or "better" in some way -- as if you can't have quality and integrity on television. But today it is especially apparent that TV can have tremendous quality too, with shows like 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' rivaling the best in film.

So here's my list of six former TV stars who tried the movies -- with varied levels of success -- but should now come back home to TV. ... where they belong.

1. Jennifer Aniston. She's the first person who comes to mind when thinking of a TV star who tried the movies but should now come back. And it's not that all of her movies have been bad. The recent comedy she did with Jason Bateman, 'The Switch,' got some good reviews, and she's had box office hits like 'Marley & Me.' But for the most part, she has been stuck in a whirlwind of bad rom-coms that people -- even big fans -- are getting sick of.

Her ex-'Friends' friend Courtney Cox found a successful home on 'Cougar Town' and Aniston could do just the same thing. It can't be that hard to find a concept or writers who can create a successful show around her. Better yet, Aniston (and all of the stars on this list) shouldn't be afraid of being part of an ensemble. So many stars have tried to headline a big show and failed miserably. Aniston became a big star in an ensemble; she could become even a bigger star in another.

Tim Allen2. Tim Allen. If recent talk is accurate, Allen is thinking of coming back to television next year. He's actually done quite well in the movies after leaving 'Home Improvement,' with the 'Toy Story' movies, 'Galaxy Quest' and a couple of comedies.

But Allen works best on TV, doesn't he? Imagine what he could do with some good writers and a good cast. While Allen could go the Ray Romano route and do something more dramatic, I'd like to see him in a comedy again -- something like 'Modern Family' or 'The Middle.'

Meg Ryan3. Meg Ryan. She started many years ago on 'As The World Turns,' and while I really can't see her going back to a TV show, this is my list and I can include who I want!

'You've Got Mail' is one of my all-time favorite movies, but can anyone name a movie Meg Ryan has done in the past five years? Exactly. Her star isn't as shiny as it used to be and think a return to a weekly show (comedy or drama) could be the answer.

But like all of these actors, she shouldn't just think "star of the show." Ryan would be great as part of an dramedy ensemble (think 'Parenthood').

4. Jennifer Garner. Everyone loved Garner when she played spy Sydney Bristow in ABC's 'Alias,' but her movies have been pretty much hit or miss.

And lately, she's been confined to romantic comedies, when she became a household name for kicking butt.

Of course, she's married to another big-screen star, Ben Affleck, so she's probably going to stick with movies for awhile. But here's my prediction: within four years she'll be back on television in a big, big way.

The way J.J. Abrams is cranking out TV shows. he'll probably end up producing it. Heck, if ABC really does want to go ahead with a reboot of 'Alias,' they should do everything in their power to get Garner again. Who wouldn't watch that?

Gillian Anderson5. Gillian Anderson. The ex-'X Files' star seems to be content living overseas and doing movies and making the occasional appearance on television (such as her Emmy-nominated turn in 'Bleak House'), but the time is right for Anderson to come back to television. Wouldn't it be interesting to see her as the mom in a comedy?

Come on, Gillian. David came back, right?

Jason Bateman6. Jason Bateman. Aniston's co-star in 'The Switch' had success on television as a child actor and as an adult on 'Arrested Development,' but most of his work seems to be heading to the big-screen nowadays (including a possible 'AD' movie -- maybe, possibly, who knows).

I'd like to see Bateman come back to TV. It doesn't have to be as Michael Bluth; he could do well in any smart, witty sitcom or drama. It seems that he's at the point in his career that TV is a little in the rear view mirror, but with the right project, Bateman could be tempted to come back on a weekly basis.

Which former TV stars should ditch movies and return to the small screen?

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Sarah Michelle Gellar

September 23 2010 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aniston earned $25+ mill last year, she should keep at the movies, cant earn that on tv

September 22 2010 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kirsten Bell, definitely.

September 22 2010 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kristen Bell. I watch her movies but think she'd find a better home back on the small screen.

September 22 2010 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tim Allen should take a turn on Damages a la Martin Short and Ted Dansen... a dramatic role might be good for him...

September 22 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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