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Top 10 TV Actors Successful On More Than One Show

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Noah Levy You've got to respect these performers for their ability to find great small screen roles several times over. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re looking at the top 10 TV actors successful on more than one show. For this list, we're looking at actors that have had starring roles on more than one either critically acclaimed or commercially successful television show. Special thanks to our users drewbrown or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Noah Levy

Top 10 TV Actors Successful On More Than One Show


You’ve got to respect these performers for their ability to find great small screen roles several times over. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re looking at the top 10 TV actors successful on more than one show.
 
For this list, we’re looking at actors that have had starring roles on more than one either critically acclaimed or commercially successful television show.
 

#10: Rob Lowe

This is *literally* the best way to start this list. After years of success on the big screen, this eminently likeable actor first transitioned to a TV leading role in 1999 on Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed “The West Wing,” earning a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. A few years after leaving the Bartlet Administration, he immersed himself in the world of family drama on the ABC show “Brothers and Sisters.” Following the show’s cancellation in 2011, he relocated full time to Pawnee, Indiana to play the endlessly upbeat Chris Traeger on NBC’s beloved sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” Lowe shows no signs of stopping, as his Fox show “The Grinder,” which premiered in 2015, proved to be another critical and commercial success.
 

#9: Mary Tyler Moore

A groundbreaker if ever there was one, Moore found success in two beloved, pioneering shows in the ‘60s and ‘70s. She first became known as housewife Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show for five seasons, netting two Emmy Awards. But it was her self-titled sitcom which debuted in 1970 that turned her into the legend she is today. Moore broke down barriers by starring as a single woman pursuing a career in the city, a concept that was practically sci-fi at the time. In addition to changing the television landscape, the show aired for seven seasons, and gave Moore three additional Emmys. 
 

#8: Betty White

Recognized by Guinness World Records as the female entertainer with the longest television career, Betty White starred in more than her fair share ofsuccessful shows. Active in the industry beginning in 1939, White got her start on the ‘50s sitcom “Life with Elizabeth,” where she starred as a young newlywed. She later went on to play Sue Ann Nivens on the critically acclaimed “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” However, it was her role as the widowed Rose Nylund on NBC’s “The Golden Girls” –alongside a couple of other multi-show successes – that turned her into a beloved superstar, which ran simultaneously with another one of White’s successes, the syndicated “Mama’s Family.” Then, in 2010, White experienced career resurgence when she starred on another female led sitcom, “Hot In Cleveland,” giving the elderly but capable actress another well-deserved opportunity to shine.
 

#7: Alyson Hannigan

This actress became an icon when she starred as the magically gifted Willow Rosenberg on the cult phenomenon “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” Willow became one of the most popular characters on the show, even appearing in a few episodes of the David Boreanaz spin-off, “Angel.” Looking to get into morecomedic roles after Buffy ended in 2003, Hannigan signed onto the well-received sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” That show, which saw Hannigan as the lovable but manipulative Lily Aldrin, lasted for nine seasons. Probably Hannigan’s greatest claim to fame is that she was one of the two main characters whose arc didn’t infuriate viewers come the series finale.
 

#6: Kelsey Grammer

Playing the same character for 20 straight years sounds like a recipe for insanity, doesn’t it? Grammer made his debut as psychiatrist Frasier Crane in the third season of “Cheers,” and played the intelligent but pretentious shrink until the series wrapped in its eleventh season. A mere four months later, Grammer returned to TV for the Seattle based spinoff “Frasier,” where he played his signature character for eleven more seasons, hanging up his headphones in 2004. Although we never expected that he would be the Cheers character we’d be following for so long, Frasier became one of the most successful spinoffs ever, giving Grammer four Emmy Awards, and giving us decades of this beloved breakout character.
 

#5: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Three iconic roles and a whopping seven Emmy awards? Louis-Dreyfus made her debut as the feisty, assertive, and dominating Elaine Benes in “Seinfeld,” cementing her status as one of the funniest women on TV. It was a hard act to follow, but she managed to break free from the infamous “Seinfeld Curse” in 2006, starring for five seasons as the title character in “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” And if that wasn’t enough, in 2012 she debuted as Vice President Selina Meyer in HBO’s Veep, a role that led her to four consecutive Emmy Awards. If that’s not spongeworthy, then we don’t know what is.
 

#4: Bryan Cranston

Chemistry is the study of change, and there’s no better way to showcase that than by looking at the man who many consider to be one of the most versatileactors of our time. After a memorable five-episode arc as Dr. Tim Whatley on “Seinfeld,” in the first half of the 2000s, Cranston gained a following for his performance as bumbling dad Hal on the popular Fox sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle,” but never gave the impression that he could do more than comedy. Thus, people were skeptical before he first appeared as Walter White on AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Well, five seasons and four Emmys later, Cranston stands as one of our greatest performers, and a central figure in the so-called golden age of television.

#3: Ed O’Neill

The beleaguered father character is so overdone that it takes a true talent to elevate it above just another tired archetype. Ed O’Neill is that talent. Also starring multi-show success Katey Sagal, “Married…With Children” featured O’Neill portraying patriarch Al Bundy, whose dry but loving performance was a major factor of success in the shows eleven season run. Normally it’d be hard to follow a run like that, but in 2009, he found himself at the head of a new,more diverse clan as Jay Pritchett in ABC’s wildly successful “Modern Family.” This has led O’Neill to receive three Emmy nominations and has exposed a new generation to his trademark dry sense of humor.
 

#2: David Hasselhoff

You ever hear about this guy? They say he’s huge in Germany. The well-sculpted actor first rose to popularity on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” but gained more mainstream fame in the hugely successful series Knight Rider. After the show ended in 1986, the Hoff returned to television three years later where he starred as Mitch Buchannon on the bod-fest Baywatch. NBC dropping the show after one season turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it was picked up in syndication, where it ran for ten more seasons and turned out to be one of the most popular shows of all time. While Baywatch may look a bit silly now, Hasselhoff made a fortune from it, and his perennially shirtless body became iconic.
 
 
Before we reveal our top pick, here are a couple of honorable mentions:

Neil Patrick Harris

Juliana Margulies 

William Shatner

Edie Falco

Richard Dean Anderson

Larry Hagman
 

#1: Michael J. Fox

It’s impossible to say anything bad about this actor or his characters. Fox became a household name in the 1980s as Young Republican Alex P. Keaton onthe sitcom “Family Ties,” which subverted normal sitcom tropes by featuring what the producers described as “Hip parents, square kids.” Alex became the focus of the show, earning Fox three Emmy Awards during its run. After nurturing his film career for a few years, Fox took on the role of Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty in 1996 on “Spin City,” which won him another Emmy Award. The series led to an emotional goodbye when he had to leave the show in 2000 due to worsening conditions from Parkinson’s Disease. However, in 2013, he returned to TV with a short-lived self-titled sitcom that dealt with his condition, and reminded everyone that MJF is a TV icon.
 
Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite actors that were successful on multiple shows? For more top 10s posted every day be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com
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