10 Breakout Stars for the New TV Season

We define breakout stars as actors who are about to make the big leap from relative obscurity to basking in the spotlight, and this year's new fall TV shows are brimming with them. Here are the ten who have the best shot at becoming household names.

Billy Gardell

Mike on Mike & Molly
Though you may only recognize him from those Round Table Pizza ads, Gardell has been on the comedy circuit for some time now. But for as large as he is, he's never been the one we were supposed to see. That's about to change now that he's landed his first major starring role in Chuck Lorre's new CBS sitcom.

Jon Michael Hill

Det. Damon Washington on Detroit 1-8-7
Jon is a native of the stage who is getting his big break on ABC's new cop show. He's got a knack for comedic timing and that subtle physical comedy that really fleshes out a character, and that's on full display in his role as Damon. But what makes him a potential star is an immediate likability; this is a guy you just want to hang out with.

Boris Kodjoe

Steven Bloom on Undercovers
Not to take anything away from his acting skills, but the main reason Kodjoe makes this list is apparent just from looking at him. He's big, he's got model good looks, and his smile makes women swoon. He's best known from Showtime's Soul Food, but should soon be catapulted to A-List thanks to his starring role.

Carter MacIntyre

Leo Nash on Undercovers
Becoming a star sometimes involves a lot of luck, and MacIntyre certainly had karma on his side when he landed the role of Leo Nash, a hilarious smart-mouthed agent on one of fall's highest-profile shows. Previously, his biggest role was on a MyNetworkTV show, so being cradled by J.J. Abrams and NBC should easily put him on the map.

Alyson Michalka

Marti Perkins on Hellcats
She's already a star to 'tweens, but among older folks, Michalka is still relatively unknown. Reinventing herself from her earlier image (she and sister Amanda were child pop stars Aly & AJ), she's now anchoring the CW show and growing up before our eyes.

Maggie Q

Nikita on Nikita
Unless you're hardcore into the Hong Kong action movie scene, you've probably only heard the name Maggie Q in passing. Her biggest splash in America came in Mission: Impossible III, and her ass-kicking (while looking very sexy) will continue with Nikita.

Michael Raymond-James

Britt Pollack on Terriers
We all knew the guy could act; we were just waiting for someone to hire him. He dazzled us as Rene Lenier in the first season of True Blood and is showing a playful range as Britt. He reminds us of a young Benicio Del Toro, and has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.

Peter Serafinowicz

Fa'ad Shaoulin on Running Wilde
He's a star in his native England, but to most Americans, Serafinowicz is just another guy who talks funny. That'll change if Running Wilde takes off, because he's a scene stealer who, when matched up against Will Arnett, robs one of the industry's best.

Ben Schwartz

Bill Hoyt on Undercovers
This improv genius is best known as Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation, but he'll soon get a chance to be more than just a bit player thanks to his sycophantic role in Undercovers. Let's just hope he gets the material to blossom.

James Wolk

Bob/Robert on Lone Star
Where has this guy been all our lives? Wolk completely inhabits his role, and has the difficult task of playing a character who we're supposed to root for even though he does despicable things. And you know what? He pulls it off masterfully. Wolk's boyish good looks will draw the female crowd, and his "aww shucks" charisma make him a beer buddy to guys. He'll go far.

Who are your picks to break out this year?

Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (10)
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I cannot believe they have already cancelled Lone Star. It has only had 2 episodes. James Wolk is a great actor. It is premier week. You cannot watch all the new shows on and the old ones that you watch. You can tape them and watch them later.

They did not even give it a change, only 2 episodes. really!!!!!!!!!!


maggie Q all the way and then Alyson Michalka
O love Maggie on Nikita BUT Grace Park is THEEEEEE hottest!
I think the new character Danny from Mad Men should be on this list (if they gave him some more screen time).
As I am a good looking 6'1" anglo male it is easy to understand my absolute facination with James Wolk and his character on Lone Star. Men like James and myself have been totally overlooked the past 10 to 20 years that go back to the dayes of John Wayne, Charleston Heston, James Stewart, and many other stars of that era. The others that are highlighten are the usual studies in different types, but very talented, actors. What a pleasure to now have a good looking male star to appreciate.
I've been a huge Aly Michalka fan for a long time. I love her and she's so pretty.
I actually really like Mike and Molly - the lead characters are both great, as is Molly's "family" and Mike's "partner" -
James Wolk was pretty natural in Lonestar, and has a sort of Clooney-thing going on with that smile. That won't hurt either. Didn't think too much of the series though...
It looks like i should be watching Undercovers since there are so many breakout stars on that show...
The main reason I wanted to watch Terriers is for Michael Raymond-James. I loved him on True Blood, and was eagerly anticipating what else he could do. After the first episode I watched, I knew MR-J was having a great time and giving a great performance.

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