Movie stars on the tube

By Erin Clarke

In the last few years there have been a lot of actors that are considered “movie” stars working pretty big TV shows.  It seems to be a reversal of the history of TV in which successful TV stars generally transformed into movie stars.  Michael J Fox was one of the biggest TV stars in the world before “Back to the Future” and a few other great 80’s movies, but never ssaw the same “stardom” as he did on TV. So why are bona fide movie stars like Jeff Daniels, Claire Danes and Alec Baldwin all decide to take a trip from the silver screen to the small screen?

I think it has a lot to do with the changes in the types of shows that are now on TV, and it all has to do with the characters they get to play.  The shows on cable TV are just as intense as movies and I would imagine it is very fulfilling to be guaranteed a job when a show is successful, for as much entertainment news that I read, deep down actors seem to be insecure about the next job or about their abilities when they aren’t getting work.

As I mentioned above, it used to be the other way around.  George Clooney was able to make movies and become a movie star based on the mega hit ER.  He was in everyone’s homes as the dreamy pediatrician bad boy Doug Ross and women turned out in droves to the movies Clooney was in based on their love of the character on ER, there was a definite fan base there and it only grew as he became a bigger and bigger star.  But going from movies to TV is different.  Most female actors will tell you that there are more interesting characters and storylines for women now on TV than there has ever been in the movies, there are more starring roles on TV shows as well then there are generally starring roles in movies. Claire Danes, Anna Paquin and Diane Kruger are all the starring role of their shows.  Also it would seem that if a show has a successful 4-6 year run, there are movie opportunities during hiatus and in turn a built in fan base in return when the movies come out.

I have written multiple times about how I prefer cable shows to network, and the work that is being done on TV is basically 10-13 hour movies.  The shows are unreal, have shorter shooting schedules and offer much smaller audiences than that of network shows of the past but the balance seems to be worth it.  I wonder if we can get Affleck and Damon to do a show on cable about buddy drug running cops someday?  Oh well a girl can dream, and until then I will watch Harry Dunne read the news on Sunday nights.  What do you think? Do you like seeing movie stars on TV?

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