Some actors have a knack for never being out of work. No matter how hard the universe tries to get them off TV, they just keep coming back; David Spade, for example has been on at least a dozen shows over the past ten years, including one where he got to pretend to be married to Rebecca Romijn. Some actors, though, just can’t seem to catch a break, signing on for TV shows that get axed before they have a chance to pick up steam or getting written off shows that wind up living on for many seasons. If we can keep finding roles for Spade, why can’t we find permanent roles for these six "should-be" stars?
Guys, this is Uncle Jesse we're talking about here! As a kid watching Full House, was there anyone cooler on TV? (Note: I didn’t have cable growing up, so my range of cool is much more narrow.) After spending eight seasons playing Danny Tanner's brother-in-law, Stamos has repeatedly tried to get something else going, only to be (eventually) shut down at every turn. Thieves and Jake in Progress never caught on. He had a few good years on ER from 2005 to 2009, only to have the show finally decide to call it quits after 15 seasons. And his role on Glee was only for a few episodes.
What should Stamos’s next move be? Stamos was recently signed on for a Fox pilot called Little Brother. He would’ve starred opposite comedian T.J. Miller. The network didn’t pick that one up, leaving Stamos a free agent. Honestly, I’d be perfectly fine if Stamos went back to the franchise that made him famous. Yes, I’m talking Full House reboot: Aging rock star dealing with the burden of raising twin teenage sons, all while having his extended family constantly butt into his life. Call it Have Mercy and watch the ratings pour in.
What you probably know her from: Saving Silverman, The Whole Nine Yards
I was actually kind of torn over where to put Studio 60 on Peet's resume. On one hand, the show was probably the biggest role the actress has had in years. On the other, few people other than Aaron Sorkin diehards really watched Studio 60. If everyone knew her from the one-and-done series, the show would probably still be on, and this would be a very different list. Peet just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to her choice of TV roles. Studio 60 was critically acclaimed, but wound up getting canceled after its first season. Bent was a dead show walking before NBC even got it on the air.
What should Peet’s next move be? Well, it appears that we may have blown our chances to see Peet on television every week. The actress was set to star in To the Wonder, an upcoming Terrence Malick film, but in typical Malick fashion, her part didn't make the final cut. It’s actually hard to even say what kind of role Peet should play to find TV success. She hit all the right marks in Studio 60 and Bent, bringing the same charm she’s had since Saving Silverman to the small screen. If the networks can’t get people to watch, how is Peet supposed to prove herself?
What you might not know him from: The Smurfs movie
When Community’s first season aired, John Oliver’s Ian Duncan was a big part of the cast, serving as Jeff Winger’s liaison into Greendale. After "Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas," though, Duncan pretty much disappeared from the show. One weird side effect of this is that NBC produced an Ian Duncan the Christmas Wizard figurine but never bothered to produce either Abed or Baby Shirley figurines. Oliver has mentioned that he chose to not sign on for Community in order to stay with The Daily Show, but after the guy provided the voice of Vanity Smurf in the The Smurfs movie, you have to question whether or not he’s making the best choices.
What should Oliver’s next move be? Greendale can always use more professors, right? With Ben Chang rising to power on the campus security side and Betty White’s bizarre professor long gone from the community college’s faculty, Professor Duncan should be able to find a job there. Yes, he may have a drinking problem, but this is Greendale we’re talking about. Besides Jon Stewart, does anyone really stay with The Daily Show forever? Either way, please no more Smurfs movies. What’s that? He’s already working on Smurfs 2? C’mon, John Oliver...
Odds are you may not recognize the name “Judy Greer,” but once you see her face, you know who I'm talking about. Kitty from Arrested Development, Cheryl from Archer, that really nice woman George Clooney talked to on the beach in The Descendants—Greer has been everywhere. She even made cameos on How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory within a week of each other back in 2010. Greer’s most recent chance at a TV show of her own was Mad Love, which also starred Jason Biggs, Sarah Chalke, and Tyler Labine. The show was kind of a How I Met Your Mother Lite and didn’t last very long.
What should Greer’s next move be? Like Peet, Greer appears to be taking her talents to the big screen, following up The Descendants with a role in the upcoming Carrie remake. We’ll still get to hear Greer voice Archer’s Cheryl, which is always a ridiculous treat. Unfortunately, Archer isn’t around for 22 episodes a season, leaving us with a severe case of Judy Greer withdrawal. Greer plays "quirky yet relatable" well—an off-network sitcom like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia would suit her perfectly. The network laugh-track crowd might not be her spot.
What you probably know him from: The Office
What you might not know him from: Traffic Light, The Replacements
For a few seasons, Denman was a huge part of The Office, playing a role that would define the relationship between then Pam Beesly and Jim Halpert. He had the tough role of being the guy we rooted against, cheering for Jim to swoop in and steal Pam from Roy. Denman was a lead in Traffic Light, one of the “Is this the next Friends?” sitcoms from of spring 2011. That show joined Perfect Couples and Mad Love in the trash heap of television history, putting Denman out of work again.
What should Denman’s next move be? It looks like the guys in charge of The Office want to reclaim some of the show's original glory, announcing that Denman will back for the series' ninth and final season. They've already brought David Wallace back, so bringing Denman back as Roy can't be a bad thing, right? Hopefully the plan isn't for Roy's return to shake up Jim and Pam's marriage, because in no way do I want to see that. It's just with all the issues The Office had in Season 8 (cough, Catherine Tate's Nellie Bertram, cough), a familiar face could help fix things. We may have rooted against Roy years ago, but Denman was never the bad guy. If Denman can remind us why we love The Office, the actor should be set up for another shot at his own series.
What you probably know her from: Step Brothers, Parks and Recreation
What you might not know her from: Free Agents, The Dictator
Most people first saw Kathryn Hahn as future Parks and Recreation star Adam Scott’s wife in Step Brothers (the one who couldn’t get enough John C. Reilly action). More recently, Hahn did a stint on Parks and Rec as Paul Rudd’s campaign manager, playing small-town politics as a favor to the Sweetums heir. Before joining the NBC comedy, Hahn starred in Free Agents, a show that also starred The Simpson’ Hank Azaria. NBC canceled that one after four episodes. Yikes.
What should Hahn’s next move be? Hahn’s been showing up here and there in a few shows and movies, popping up in Wanderlust, The Dictator and Girls. If you saw Step Brothers, you know that Hahn is capable of going all out for a role and isn’t worried in the least about looking foolish. While Free Agents was good move with regard to Hahn getting a show of her own, it was a mistake to surround her with a bunch of actors who didn’t have the heft to carry a show. For people to discover Hahn, she needs to be on a show that can pull people in. Azaria is great on The Simpsons, but no one was setting their DVRs to watch him on Free Agents. You build a show that gets people’s attention, and they will come to Hahn.
Which actors would YOU like to see land starring TV roles? Name them in the comments, then make your own official list here.