Did you know that before he hosted his eponymous chair-throwing, fist-flying talk show, Jerry Springer was the mayor of Cincinnati?
Going from politician to TV star may be an unusual path, but the opposite route is actually quite common.
Here are 13 stars who made -- or tried to make -- the leap from primetime to politics.
Fred Thompson's plans to announce his candidacy for the 2008 presidential race once again brings up the question of "equal time" provisions that are in place to assure a single candidate is not given more airtime on television than anyone else.
Thompson, a Republican and former Tennessee senator, played DA Arthur Branch on NBC's Law and Order for five seasons. NBC, in keeping with the provisions, has stopped airing episodes that feature Thompson, but TNT, whose schedule overflows with Law and Order reruns, will keep airing the Thompson episodes.
Law & Order actor and former senator Fred Thompson hasn't officially announced he's running for president, but based on opinion polls, people seem to like him.
The man who played D.A. Arthur Branch on the Law and Order franchise is also being endorsed by his ex-wife and former girlfriends.
Lorrie Morgan, a country music singer whom Fred dated, said, "women love a soft place to lay and a strong pair of hands to hold us."
First of all, I think it's great that Freddy Fred knows how to treat a lady. I'm someone who could use a few lessons in treating women right, since the last two I dated got loose from their chains, ran into the road, and were both hit by a garbage truck. Also, you have to feed them every day, which is sometimes easy to forget.
Sam Waterston wants a promotion. For the last 13 years Waterston has played Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy on the long-running (some say too long) NBC drama Law & Order. Now that co-star, and former U.S. Senator, Fred Thompson (who played District Attorney Arthur Branch) is leaving the show to run for president of the United States his job position is now open. And, it seems that Waterston's McCoy wants to move into the slot.
According to an anonymous source close to the show, Waterston is negotiating to have his character step into the D.A. role when Law & Order returns at the beginning of 2008. How McCoy would slip into the position, as well as his replacement, have yet to be determined. When asked to confirm this news L&O creator Dick Wolf as well as Waterston declined to comment.
While actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who plays D.A. Arthur Branch on Law and Order, has not officially announced whether or not he plans on running as a potential Republican presidential candidate, NBC prez Kevin Reilly says it is "highly unlikely" that Thomson will return for the series' 18th season.
There has been a lot of talk already as to how a Thompson campaign would affect past episodes of Law and Order, considering "equal time" rules and all that.
So does this mean he's actually going to run? Since I can't read Fred Thompson's mind, that's tough to say. But as Hollywood Reporter points out, the threat of a writers strike means many series will begin filming earlier than usual, which means Thompson will have to decide sooner rather than later if he's going to stay with the series.
Why? Because of the FCC's equal time rules, says The Washington Post. It's a fairness policy that the governing body has had for decades; it ensures that every candidate in a political race has an equal opportunity to promote themselves. The rule doesn't apply to newscasts, interview shows, and news-oriented events (like debates, I'd imagine), but it definitely applies to entertainment shows like L&O. This isn't a unique circumstance; the article cites Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan as two candidates whose movies were pulled from TV during their political campaigns.
Thompson has an unusual past that will make him an interesting candidate. Besides appearing in a big ol' pile of television shows and movies, he also has some serious experience in Washington, D.C. Before becoming an actor or a Senator, he was an attorney and was on the Watergate committee. If he does join the race for president, he'll be running against fellow republicans Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain for the nomination. And, in 2005, he returned to politics briefly when President Bush appointed him to be an advisor for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts during his confirmation process.
Hell. If Arnold Schwarzenegger can do it...
Fred Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee and the actor best known for the role of District Attorney Arthur Branch on Law and Order, recently signed on to ABC Radio as a "special program host and senior analyst." When he's not providing commentary, he'll be filling in for venerable radio icon Paul Harvey when Harvey is on vacation. I just hope Thompson can make those air purification systems sound as appealing as Harvey can. I've purchased so many of them I'm afraid I'll be contaminated if I try to leave my apartment.
TV Squad Hot Topics
Most Popular Articles
From Our Partners
- [Video] 'The Bachelor' Season 19: Estrogen Mayhem and a Pregnancy Test
- 'The Originals' Episode 2.9 Photos: Mommy, Daddy and Hope!
- If I Am Going Down That Dark Alley Then I Want These Characters With Me
- 'The Flash': The Good and Evil from 'Power Outage'
- 'The Vampire Diaries' Winter Finale Photos: Christmas Memories
- More From BuddyTV
- Despite The Mentalist's Coupling, Final Season 'Is Not Fifty Shades of Grey'
- Does Supernatural's Dean Lack Game? Where Does Flash Keep His Cash? Did Good Wife's Grace Goof? And More Qs
- Emily Deschanel Talks Bones Season 11: 'I'm Up For It!"
- Forever Video: Henry and Jo Want to Know Who Put Out a Hit on This Brit
- The Missing Sneak Peek: Emily Finally Says What She's Really Thinking
- More From TVLine
- Shia LaBeouf Says He Was Raped During Art Event
- Kylie and Kendall Jenner (Plus Nicki Minaj, Usher and More) Pose For New Beats By Dre Ad
- 'Stars Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Is Finally Here
- Ryan Knight of MTV's 'Real World' Dies at 29
- How 9 Celebs Set Their Thanksgiving Tables and Celebrated with Family
- More From ET