Thursday, September 09, 2010

The "When will they do a TV series?" game!

And what a fun game it is! Yesterday I did a post on TV stars who become movie stars. More often though, it goes the other way. When movie stars are riding the crest of popularity, the very thought of doing a television series is absolutely abhorrent. TV is soooo far beneath them.

But then they have a few boxoffice misfires. And they start to age. And younger, newer, fresher faces appear on the scene. Those major starring roles stop coming. As do the paparazzi. And eventually we TV producers hear that “so-and-so is considering doing a series. They’re not sure yet but if the greatest idea in the history of mankind should be proposed to them they’d think it over. The next season you hear they’ll “meet with A-List writers”.

Eventually they’ll jump in, usually with a network commitment. But whatever, we got ‘em!

So here’s the fun game. What year do these big boxoffice stars join us TV grunts in the muck? Remember, cable shows add a certain prestige so that speeds up the process. But if Dustin Hoffman were still getting starring roles better than MR. MAGORIUMS WONDER EMPORIUM he wouldn’t be in an upcoming HBO series. Leave your guesses in the comment section. I’ll start you off with a few and then you’re on your own. Let’s check back in five years and see how right we all were.

Tom Cruise – 2014 (with Katie Holmes and his excuse will be that he’s doing it for “her”)
Seth Rogen – 2012 (when Judd Apatow also returns to TV)
Julia Roberts – 2013 (HBO but it will be her company producing and will probably be excellent)
Drew Barrymore – 2013 (after she realizes she’s made the same movie seven times)
Billy Crystal – 2009 (at least that’s when it should have been considering the amount of movie work he’s getting)
Tobey Maguire – 2014 (but he’ll do pilots in 2012 and 2013)
Megan Fox – (2013 but will get fired after three episodes)

Okay. Now it’s your turn.

Will Ferrell
Jack Black
Will Smith
Samuel L. Jackson
Mark Wahlberg
Katherine Heigl
Penelope Cruz
Johnny Depp
George Clooney
Jennifer Lopez
Ben Affleck
Brad Pitt
Matt Damon
Leo DiCaprio
Kate Winslett
Jennifer Aniston
Michael Cera
Scarlett Johanson
Cameron Diaz
Shia LaBeouf
Robert Downey Jr.
Ben Stiller
Angelina Jolie
Samdra Bullock
Russell Crowe
Adam Sandler
Eddie Murphy


Mark B. Spiegel said...

Back in my stand-up days (in the mid-to-late '90s), I used to do a similar routine called "How Old Would this Really Hot Star Have to be Before She'd Let Me Fuck Her?" I'd go through the hot actresses and models of the day, with the "permission-to-fuck her" age of the woman getting more advanced the hotter she was.

The final punchline (remember, this was the '90s) was something like:

Sharon Stone:


Rockgolf said...

Haven't many of these "movie stars" already done TV?

Will Ferrell - SNL
Jack Black - ?
Will Smith - Fresh Prince
Katherine Heigl - Grey's
Johnny Depp - 21 Jump st
George Clooney - ER
Leo DiCaprio - Growing Pains
Jennifer Aniston - Gee, I think she was in something but the name escapes me.
Michael Cera - Arrested Development
Shia LaBeouf - Some Disney family series
Robert Downey Jr. - Ally McBeal
Ben Stiller - some FOX comedy
Sandra Bullock - Working Girl
Adam Sandler & Eddie Murphy - SNL

Chip said...

Will Ferrell - 2011 but flames out after one season
Jack Black - 2012, something with Tenacious D that fails
Will Smith - never
Samuel L. Jackson - never
Mark Wahlberg - 2011 on HBO cop show
Katherine Heigl - 2011, Gray's Anatomy
Penelope Cruz - not in U.S.
Johnny Depp - never
George Clooney - never
Jennifer Lopez - never
Ben Affleck - guest star only
Brad Pitt - shortly after he dies
Matt Damon - never
Leo DiCaprio - never
Kate Winslett - 2012 in UK
Jennifer Aniston - 2010, guest star
Scarlett Johanson
Cameron Diaz - 2014 comedy hit
Shia LaBeouf - 2015 sitcom
Robert Downey Jr. - never
Ben Stiller - 2015 w/ dad - will flop
Angelina Jolie - right
Samdra Bullock - never
Russell Crowe - 2016 in Oz
Adam Sandler - Please, God, never
Eddie Murphy

John Blough said...

Funny - As someone who grew up near Chris O'Donnell, I had predicted that he would be in a CSI show by 2008. I was wrong, but only slightly.

The joke is on me, as he makes huge $ with that formulaic little mess.

Tom Quigley said...

Actually, Jack Black did do some sitcom work back in the mid-90's... I remember handling the audience for THE SINGLE GUY when he played a sound engineer at a recording studio for Joey Slotnick's character, and getting caught outside the soundstage on a bell with him and an agent... The two of them carried on a conversation about a party one of them planned on going to later that night, and when I tried to contribute, they acted as if I was invisible... Right back atcha, Jack!

danrydell said...

Ferrell 2012, when Tina Fey lures him back into a show she's producing.

Jack Black - YEARS from now when he's getting crotchety.

Will Smith - Never. He's a movie star.

Heigl - I think she's going to hold out for a loooong time -- maybe until the bitter end -- convinced she's a movie star ("But I was in "Knocked Up!").

Depp - Never. He's got enough pirate money to do whatever he wants. He'll wind up making quiet, independent movies later in life.

Clooney - Nope. Can't see it.

Di Caprio - MAYBE on HBO, but not regular TV

Aniston - Should return to TV, and fast. Love her, but her movies don't work most of the time.

Cera - When he's around 40 and the "awkward teen" thing doesn't work anymore.

LaBeouf - 4-5 years, depending on next Indiana Jones movie.

Downey Jr. - Will do a series of HILARIOUS, Emmy award-winning guest spots on a drama, then will become the lead in a spinoff of that drama.

Stiller - Will wind up as a producer/director of a comedy in about 10 years.

Sandra Bullock - Much later, like Downey, she'll guest star on something and win an Emmy. Maybe wind up being like Glenn Close.

Sandler - Nah. He'll produce a show.

Murphy - Should, and he'll be awesome.

DJ said...

If Affleck does it, it'd be to finance a particular movie he wants to direct, kind of like how Clooney does a mainstream movie to finance a personal project.

Unknown said...

We're talking about coming back as moms and dads or wacky uncle types (wacky aunts go to character actors)

Will Ferrel - 2015 - Remake of Odd Couple with Jack Black but wives are dead because divorce isn't allowed on TV. Hot daughter = Meagan Fox

Jack Black - See Will Ferrel

Will Smith - 2020 - The Cosby Show - Bill Cosby finally plays grandpa, Jada Pinkett Smith plays grandpa's new wife.

Samuel L. Jackson - Never, too scary for TV.

Mark Wahlberg - 2030 - Law and Order Toledo

Katherine Heigl - 2014 - The View, replaces Elisabeth Hasselbeck when Hasselbeck becomes US Senator

Fingers cramping... finish later.

Anonymous said...

All of them because TV actually has better scripts and they can do a pet project.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to include Kate Hudson (who would be the least talented thespian on this list BY FAR) on this dumb-A@@ list, who'll gravitiate to TV by 2013-14 (sooner than most on your list will), and do about as well as the equally compelling Nancy Travis did...

David said...

As Rockgolf said, shouldn't this list be "when will they return to TV?" for many of them?

Here's one back at everyone: Tom Hanks? My gut-reaction is "never", but who knows.

Why the stigma with TV? I could see in the old days, but now?

1) The quality of TV has surpassed movies, in general.

2) Potential to make a lot more money.

3) Much easier to do (location, scheduling, home life, etc.)

charlotte said...

What, no Tom Hanks?

Although I'd put him in the "Never-return-to-television-acting/too-rich-now-to-ever-need-to-work-that-much-again-in-terms-of-sheer-volume-of-work-for-less-than-blockbuster-big-bucks" category.

charlotte said...

@David: Wow. Same thought at the same time! :)

-bee said...

Lots of those actors started off on TV or have done TV (Robert Downey in a supporting role in Alley McBeal) already.

Not like in the old days where former big Hollywood stars stooped to doing TV (anyone remember the short-lived TV show Jimmy Stewart did?),

As a spectator from afar, it seems like in England people in the narrative entertainment business have a more sane view about their work, and will cycle between theater, film, tv and radio without feeling like they are making 'compromises'.

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

That's what I thought about Billy Crystal and a few others on the list, but I have no idea how much money these people have.
Shia LaBoeuf-As soon as he's asked
Eddie Murphy-As soon as he's asked

@bee: I think I've read that when when Fred MacMurray agreed to do my three sons--early '60s, IIRC--, people were shocked that such a huge star/quality actor would do TV. They offered him truckloads of money and whatever working conditions he asked for.
On your point about the English view of things, I remember reading an interview with Patrick Stewart that he was shocked that in Hollywood he was considered B list because his very popular show wasn't just TV, it wasn't even network TV.

benson said...

Funny thing is, in England so much of their TV is light years ahead of ours in terms of quality, and you'll see A-listers starring.

bettyd said...

Tom Hanks has won 2 Emmys, so he is in TV now, producing. Acting, well, if he get be in one of his top notch HBO series, he just may.

Eddie Murphy is doing just fine wiht the kids movies. Many people are wondering if he will go back to the very funny MOVIES any time soon, and stop with the kids fare.

Mary Stella said...

Will Ferrell - He'll come back in the next couple of years as a visiting guest star with a limited arc.

Jack Black - Never, as long as movies can still go straight to DVD

Will Smith - Never because we just don't see "Son of the Fresh Prince" flying, even with Jaden as the kid.

Samuel L. Jackson - Within the next five years, but only on HBO

Mark Wahlberg - Next season in a stunt casting small arc on his brother's new show.

Katherine Heigl - 55 years, but Katherine, you're no Betty White

Penelope Cruz - Never

Johnny Depp - Never plus 20 years

George Clooney - Anytime in a prestigious HBO movie or mini-series

Jennifer Lopez - Next month if that American Idol judge gig comes through

Ben Affleck - He'll greenlight himself

Brad Pitt - When George Clooney calls him about that prestigious HBO project

Matt Damon - See above Ben Affleck answer

Leo DiCaprio - Never. Unless they remake Titanic and he gets to join Rose on the floating door

Kate Winslett - Probably starring in something with Jessica Lange in the next year or two. Or Helen Mirren.

Jennifer Aniston - She's already signed up for more Cougar Town episodes

Michael Cera - Never. By the time he's too old to play high school and college age roles nobody will care

Scarlett Johanson - 8 years from now in a Meryl Streep biopic

Cameron Diaz - Would have been this year but Clare Danes (Same initials) got the Temple Grandin part.

Shia LaBeouf - When Transformers IV tanks. (Unintentional pun)

Robert Downey Jr. - Masterpiece Theater

Ben Stiller - He'll conceive a sitcom and star in it with his parents.

Angelina Jolie - Documentary only

Samdra Bullock - Guest cameo on Modern Family (Hey, I can dream.)

Russell Crowe - Never

Neal said...

What about how terrible some of these stars will be? Going from TV to movies requires something extra to really shine, sure, but seeing some of these movie stars -- even ones that have done TV in their early days -- doing TV guest spots proves that there are skills needed for TV acting that you don't need/lose doing movies.

Chas Cunningham said...

I wonder which star of today will host a future PBS video or TIME-LIFE infomercial about the 2010s.

Anonymous said...

On a completely different tack: I love to read books, there are THOUSANDs of novels out there in Library land. Granted some have made it to the small screen in various recognizable forms. Could someone with taste and lots of money please televise some of my favorite books? What !? You don't read!? 'scuze me.

Grubber said...

Katherine Heigl - 2013 and it will be a new show pilot each year. Every showrunner will take great delight in killing off her character in episode 1.

Dave said...

Mark Wahlberg already came back to TV this summer as a recurring character (at least for the first few episodes) on Rizzoli & Isles. I still expect him to return to the show at some point, otherwise there was no real reason to add his character to the show to begin with.

Dan said...

One of my pet peeves is the persistent attitude that TV is a step down from movies. Even if some of the actors you mention are of that opinion, I'm surprised that as a TV writer you would want to perpetuate that way of thinking with posts like this.

Brian T. said...

Will Ferrell: He's already doing some TV work. But I'll go ahead and say 2012 and a new Land of the Lost series based on his movie.

Jack Black: 2012, in The Fatties: the Series, canceled after eight weeks

Will Smith: never
Samuel L. Jackson: never

Mark Wahlberg: 2014, as the new judge on America's Got Talent, quits after having to perform "Good Vibrations" with a reunited Funky Bunch

Katherine Heigl: 2013, lots of guest appearances on procedural shows

Penelope Cruz: 2027, as the female protagonist's mom on a TBS cop show

Johnny Depp: never
George Clooney: never
Jennifer Lopez: 2021, Hallmark TV movies
Ben Affleck: never
Brad Pitt: 2020, Hart to Hart "reimagining" with Angelina Jolie
Matt Damon: never
Leo DiCaprio: 2039, various TV movies where he's usually the murderer
Kate Winslett: 2018, a gritty drama on FX
Jennifer Aniston: never
Michael Cera: 2029, as Rimmer in the American version of Red Dwarf

Scarlett Johanson: never
Cameron Diaz: 2016, as herself in some lame travel show on cable
Shia LaBeouf: 2017, in Even Stevens: The Next Generation

Robert Downey Jr.: never, but his musical career suddenly takes off in 2019 making him an AOR staple

Ben Stiller: never
Angelina Jolie: 2020, Hart to Hart with Brad Pitt
Sandra Bullock: never
Russell Crowe: 2011, guest appearance on Leverage as Christian Kane's father
Adam Sandler: never
Eddie Murphy: 2020, as the chauffeur on Hart to Hart

Jeff said...

Will Ferrell was on TV last season. Doesn't anyone remember BITCH HUNTER?

escalante blogger said...

I love those celebrities. They are so famous. I want to be like them too. :-)

Ben K. said...

TV already has lower-wattage versions of some of those stars. Tyler Labine is the TV Jack Black. Skeet Ulrich is the TV Johnny Depp. Rena Sopher is the TV Angelina Jolie. Sofia Vergara is the TV Penelope Cruz.

And, of course, The Situation is the TV Mark Wahlberg.

Arthur F. said...

But then why go back to tv to act? With money and "clout" there is always the "exec producer" or simply "producer" role like Tom Hanks often takes for his pet War projects. That works fine because, if it's a hit, they can show up and claim the prizes and do the face-time on tv awards and talkshow circuits. If it misses, they don't get their image messed up by the fall-out.

Also, you should be specific if you mean ratings-week guest-star slot (Brad Pitt on Friends) or real role in a sitcom on legacy networks, or HBO purpose-built, movie-like series. The HBO option isn't really slumming anymore.

As for the HDTV problem, I think their age will be a problem if they wait too long, especially for the women.

Bill Weinberger said...

Jack Black - 1999 'Heat Vision and Jack' (unaired Fox pilot)

Bonus: also included Owen Wilson as the voice of Heat Vision.

Directed by Ben Stiller

Mary Stella said...

What if some of them "compete" on Dancing with the Stars. Will that count?

Anonymous said...

Hey Ben K.- Sofia Vergara is WAY hotter than Penelope Cruz (who's not bad herself, to be sure); hey Mary Stella, you think ANY A-list star is going on DWTS when they get such juggernots as Kate Gosselin, Bristol Palin and Worst Singer Ever Michael Bolton?

jbryant said...

I hope "juggernots" is not a typo, 'cause it's the perfect pun for that show.

VW: ackleto -- what Cathy Guisewite said when she spotted Jared Leto?

Matt Patton said...

If Penelope Cruz does TV, it will probably be in her native Spain, although she probably has at least the next 15 years booked up doing movies with Pedro Almodovar.

She probably won't do TV until much later in her career, like Sophia Loren who did some very good stuff for American TV after her movie career calmed down.

Loren is actually something of a rarity; an honest-to-goodness Big Movie Star who does TV. And does it well. The only others I can think of off of the top of my head are Barbara Stanwyck and Rock Hudson.

In general, TV was a happier medium for film actors who never really made it big in the movie business; Lucile Ball, Raymond Burr, Robert Wagner, Robert Stack. Even Fred MacMurray was more of a second-stringer in films for much of his career (he was the fellow you got after guys like Gable or Alan Ladd turned the script down). It's not a matter of less talent (a lot of the folks I mentioned were better than the people at the top of the bill), but they seemed a more comfortable fit on the small screen somehow. Less of a big image to get in the way. And for most of them, TV was the gateway to a more successful career than they ever had in the movies.

Oh forgot to mention another Big Movie Star who did some great stuff for TV -- Natalie Wood. She was incredible as an unstable alcoholic in the TV film The Cracker Factory, and as Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -- she is one of the best actresses I have ever seen in that part, other than the lady, whose name I cannot remember, who played the role in a production by The Cleveland Playhouse back in the mid-1970's.

KallenK said...

I just looked at this list of "stars" and got depressed. I don't care what happens to any of them.

Audrey B. said...

Megan Fox – (2013 but will get fired after three episodes)
Turned out you were partly right on this one ! She guested in an episode of Wedding Band, her husband show (now cancelled... Coincidence, i think not !).