No matter how far you disappear off the public’s radar, TV will always be there to welcome you back with open arms. Just ask Charlie Sheen. TV has put more celebrities back into circulation than a sex tape. Here are our top ten from among them.
10. Matt LeBlanc
After the ignominy of ‘Friends’ spinoff ‘Joey,’ as well as a failed movie career, it didn’t look like there was anywhere for LeBlanc to go — at least not as a fictional character. Instead, Showtime’s ‘Episodes’ had the bright idea of casting LeBlanc as a crude and selfish version of himself… and it’s the best role he’s ever had.
9. Rob Lowe
A huge movie star and heartthrob in the ’80s as part of the Hollywood Brat Pack, Lowe was mired in sex scandals throughout the ’90s until Aaron Sorkin saw him as the natural lead for political drama ‘The West Wing.’ And he was even better as blind optimist Chris on ‘Parks and Recreation.’
8. Adam West
TV’s Caped Crusader for the Sixties generation, West re-invented himself as a comic actor (which, after ‘Batman,’ wasnt hard) with a recurring guest role on ‘Family Guy’ as the bizarre Quahog Mayor… erm… Adam West. See, playing yourself is how you make a TV comeback. A whole new generation won The West.
7. Patrick Duffy
The actor who played Bobby Ewing in ‘Dallas’ is soap’s comeback king. He came back from the dead after he was killed off in the show to play the part until the initial run ended in 1991. Duffy then headed the 2012 re-boot. This was canceled but, hey, even death couldn’t stop Duffy.
6. Neil Patrick Harris
The child actor who played prodigal doctor Doogie Howser M.D. in the early ‘90s appeared to be condemned to the obscure fate of all teenage stars that peak too young. But roles in hit TV shows ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Family Guy’ gave him a whole new lifeline.
5. Mark Paul Gosselaar
Gosselaar grew up on TV as lovable Zak in family-friendly ‘Saved By The Bell,’ but proved his mettle in adult TV drama when offered the chance to replace Rick Shroeder (in another child actor comeback role) in ‘NYPD Blue.’ Now, Gosselaar is a respectable primetime lead in ‘Franklin & Bash.’
4. Tom Selleck
The mustached master of manliness conquered the airwaves in ‘Magnum P.I.’ before going off to Hollywood (we know, what a comedown). But, he returned to his kingdom as one of ‘Friends” most beloved guest characters, Monica’s on-and-off boyfriend Richard. Now he’s running the NYPD on CBS hit drama ‘Blue Bloods,’ mustache first.
3. Jason Bateman
After the howler that was ‘Teen Wolf II,’ Bateman struggled to get a movie career going. But as the lead on Fox’s quirky sitcom ‘Arrested Development’ he showed America how good he could be in the right role. Bateman has gone on to star in every independent movie ever produced.
2. Kiefer Sutherland
‘80s young-gun movie star Sutherland was languishing in the dark recesses of straight-to-video movies when he took on the role of terrorism expert and torture fanboy Jack Bauer in the Fox real-time thriller ’24.’ He has been America’s favorite anti-hero ever since, and has singlehandedly kept Fox News on the air.
1. Julianna Margulies
At some point in the actress’s career, we’re sure she thought she had peaked at being George Clooney’s love interest. But Margulies showed she had the presence of her ‘ER’ co-star in a key role in ‘The Sopranos,’ and then as the lead in CBS courtroom drama ‘The Good Wife.’