TVLine Wish List: 30 Actors From Cancelled Series We Want Back on TV Now!

The dust from up-fronts week has settled, and a harsh reality has come into focus: Whether or not we loved, liked or felt somewhat ambivalent about their most recent series, many of our favorite thespians won’t be popping up on our TV sets come this fall.

RELATED | TVLine’s Fall TV Preview — Your Guide to New and Returning Shows!

Of course, this sticky situation could easily be remedied as summer vacations end and activity begins to percolate in the writers’ rooms of new and returning series at all five networks.

RELATED | Fall TV Grid: What’s on When? And Versus What?

To help push the process along, we’ve cooked up a gallery of 30 actors from recently cancelled series who deserve juicy regular or recurring roles this fall.

So click through the photos below, then hit the comments to brainstorm which actors you’d cast on which series. And do sound off on other recently pink-slipped stars your DVR simply can’t live without!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. lisa says:

    Should have just written “the entire cast of fringe” <3

    • Rachel says:

      thought the exact same thing!

      • I think asking for the entire cast of Fringe is a bit much ,, BUT , I would not mind seeing the following ,,
        Zach Gilford , never watched his hows but have seen him mentioned a few times and the dude is filling out well ,
        Megan Hilty , I like her , I want to see what she can do in a more serious drama though where she does not need to smile , and can play a hard ass professional .
        Scott Speedman , handsome guy , almost thinking he needs to play the straight man against an amazing Comedian , something similar to what James Wolk just landed.
        Justin Hartley, thinking he should be in something a lot more serious then he has done so far where he can play a darker character.
        Kyle Bornheimer, again another actor that needs a much darker , almost psychopathic character.
        Nene Leakes , YES ,, Anyone Else see her as an Attorney in The Good Wife ?
        Victor Garber, Loved him in Eli Stone , this man needs a job, can we land him at The Crazy Ones ?
        Wes Brown ,, he needs a show !
        Theo James, needs a job but not as a lead that has to carry a show , .


    • mbr says:

      I think Anna and Noble already have some other great projects at the movies. That’s because they aren’t here

      • Missmurray says:

        Anna is only doing voice acting for a movie so THAT doesn’t count. Frankly I hope Anna stays away from American tv show and movies. She should keep making Australian movies where she belongs.

    • That was my first thought too!

    • 4theloveoffilm says:

      THIS. Absolutely, yes. This. All of ’em, including Georgina Haig.

    • Carla says:

      You are ABSOLUTELY right!!

    • Julio says:


    • Jeff Alves says:

      Oh! Pls… I will love to see it. Seth Gabel, Josh, Anna, John, Jasika, Michael… Gene, of course.
      In the truth when I saw the Jasika’s picture I think “Oh God! TvLine, count the Gene in this Top 30” lol

  2. Mellie says:

    No John Noble? Come on TVline.

  3. rod says:

    The entire cast of Happy Endings !!.

  4. SylwekG says:

    I don’t want to see Kris Polaha in any show I will like. I mean, every single show with him gets cancelled. North Shore, Life Unexpected, Ringer, Made in Jersey. Something else?
    But I’m looking forward to see Megan Hilty and hope that her next show won’t be such a train wreck like Smash.

    • wi says:

      indeed. That guy should fire his agent.
      Also goes for the Kyle guy from all the failed sitcoms.

    • Miranda says:

      At least Life Unexpected got two seasons… Mind you, enough episodes to fill out an entire season, so I suppose that’s not saying much.

  5. I assume by not including anyone from Happy Endings, that’s just you holding out hope for a USA pickup, or in deep denial, right?

  6. tlh45 says:

    How could you not have Gary Sinise on this list? They need to find a new show with him and Sela Ward…they were good together.

  7. David Stumme says:

    Nene? Nope, she can stay off the air.

    • SylwekG says:

      Last time I checked she was still in Glee, so I don’t understand what she is doing here.

    • BookGirl says:

      I second, third, and fourth this. Her 15 minutes were up oh-so-long ago.

    • Daisy says:

      I totally agree with you? Seriously? She’s a one-note ‘actor’ at best. I can’t stand her. Sure she’s gotten some funny lines, but that’s the writing and not the way she delivers them. She’s a horrible ‘actor’.

      • cookie says:

        I’ve been saying this all along. She’s horrible.

      • vern1331 says:

        Kristen Ritter and most definitely Nene Leakes. Everyone over here is totally hating on her. The truth of the matter is, she’s funny and highly entertaining, and we can’t blame her if Ryan Murphy capatalized on that, and placed her in roles that were suited to her persona on RHOA. We haven’t seen her in a different role or character, so we have no basis for a comparison and should not be so harsh in critiquing her. She made the New Normal for me and I cried tears of laughter for performance on Glee. Nene Rocks and I can’t wait to see what her new role she’ll take on next in the scripted world. Keep flying high Nene!!!

    • wi says:

      Isnt she one of the Somewhere Housewives?
      Why is she on the list?

    • The Beach says:

      That’s a big Nope for Nene from me too. Why Ryan Murphy is so obsessed with her is beyond me. Please don’t put her in American Horror Story, Ryan!

  8. Mindy says:

    John Noble?

  9. The whole cast of 30 Rock.

  10. MSEW says:

    Krysten Ritter. Annalynne Mccord. Zach Gilford. Ellie Kemper. Megan Hilty. Maya Rudolph. Scott Speedman. Matthew Perry. Victor Garber. Elizabeth Perkins. <——-my votes.

    Vanessa Williams has been from show to show to show since Ugly Betty and it's sad, but I cant see her in another one season (666) bland (desparate housewives) role.

    Lutz is your pick out of all the amazing 30 rock cast members?!

  11. Adrian Arciniega says:

    Put Laura Benanti from ‘Go On’ and Casey Wilson form ‘Happy Endings’, then it would be a perfect list.

  12. Zachary says:

    Agree with Bornheimer, Rudolph, Perry, Kemper, Lacy and Polaha (but only if he does a comedy).

    Disagree with Nene Leakes (WTF?), Michael Urie (David Krumholtz is way cooler), and John Lutz (because you could have said Tina Fey or anyone else on 30 Rock, not that Lutz isn’t funny). Jesse Bradford was one of the lesser parts of GWK. Cregger and Hayes dominated.

    And where the hell is Justin Kirk?

    • tvfan says:

      Do we really need Kyle Bornheimer in another lame sitcom?
      It may not be is fault, but he doesn’t have enough presence to be the lead.

      • Zachary says:

        He might be better as a side character. I don’t know. I like him though, he has insane timing, a unique knack for physical humor, a fair amount of charisma, and was mentioned on Psych this week. I’ll watch whatever he’s in. Someday he’ll find a hit show. Took Clooney a few tries.

  13. SuzyQ says:

    Maria Bello, and glad you had Cudlitz, he’s my #1 pick!

    • kajar says:

      I agree with Maria Bello. Please, let’s get her into a show that will stick. She’s to good of an actress to be on the sidelines.

      • NottaProb says:

        Maria Bello as a hardened MMA star in Brazil who becomes a coach for underprivileged runaway teen females at a youth shelter in an inner city, after her training team dies (all but her) on a bus trip to an out of town competition and she can’t compete anymore? A drama obviously, minus any sap — more like The Wire than Touched by an Angel.

  14. Dan says:

    Michael Cudlitz! he’s such an amazing actor. He should totally join ‘Homeland’ or get his own series.

    Zach Gilford too, been a fan of his since ‘Friday Night Lights’ they should have tried to get him for ‘Chicago PD’ (the Chicago Fire spin-off) but that’ll most likely get cancelled anyway so it’s probably for the best that he didn’t end up there.

    • EWJ says:

      Pretty amazing idea to have Zach in Chicago PD!

    • Jules says:

      Oh my God, I would love that!! I’ve also been a fan of Zach’s since Friday Night Lights, he was so great on that. And to get him on Chicago PD, yes I would totally be on board with that. Maybe it won’t get cancelled then. :)

  15. Love you, Michael! BUT you lost me with NeNe. That she would inhabit the same list as Regina ing is just wrong.

  16. Matthew Perry? Seriously? How many shots does this guy deserve?

    • Jason says:

      I think he has the record for most failed TV series. At least five before friends and three or four after friends. Of course he doesn’t need to work he has millions from Friends

      • Matthew Perry should not be cast to carry a show , nor should he be part of any pure comedy , he had done some good work check out his performances as part of The Good Wife ,

    • Mike R. says:

      Most of his show shouldn’t have been cancelled Studio and Go On we’re great shows.

  17. Really says:

    PERFECT LIST. I mean it. Just add Michael Steger , Kevin Alejandro , Daniel Lissing , Dave Annable , Janet Montgomery , Goran Visnjic , Radha Mitchell , Jessica Lucas , Sarah Jones.

    • Christine says:

      Yes to Dave Annable! I would love to see him back on TV soon.
      And I agree with Theo James from the list, too

    • Lisa says:

      Please GOD no more Kevin Alejandro. So NOT talented and just downright terrible. He always plays the same character (although sometimes he’s straight and sometimes he’s gay, he’s still the same character).

  18. gennytv says:

    and Sophia Bush!

  19. Maki says:

    We need KaDee on Tv, she did such an awesome job on PP how not to love her. Alona Tal was pretty good aswell. She played 2 roles in 1 show, and she made 2 completly distinct characters. Fans already cast AnnaLynne as Samantha in The CD so there shouldn’t be any issues.
    Kris Polaha is a show killer. No show lives long with him so don’t cast him in any of my SHOWS. And Justin Hartley disappointed me in Emliy Owens. I would rather see Mamie in a new show.

  20. Hanna says:

    Anna Torv!

  21. cas says:

    I will take Josh Jackson, Zach Gilford, Justin Hartley, KaDee and Victor!!

  22. Katie says:

    Definitely YES on Megan Hilty. I would also like to see Justin Bartha, Andrew Rannels and Georgia King from The New Normal land somewhere!

    • YES!! They could even be really smart and figure out a way to put Megan Hilty and Victor Garber singing together – not all the time as that would be hoky, but they worked his singing into the likes of Eli Stone…

      Jasika Nicole gets an extra special honorable mention because I fell in love with her in the Fringe pilot, and unless I’m very much mistaken she never even uttered a line in the pilot, which is some trick.

      • Lisa says:

        Nicely said. As I clicked through the slideshow, when I got to Jasika Nicole, I had such a grin on my face (and they used the screen shot with Gene, which is simply AWESOME). Someone needs to find another good role for her. She’s fantastic.

  23. Jason says:

    Why choose only actors from recently cancelled shows. How about any actor from Joss WHedon’s shows? ALexis Denisof, Summer Glau, James Marsters, Juliet Landau, Anthony Stewart Head, Nicholas Brendan, Eliza Dushku, Amy Acker

    • Really says:

      YES. I LOVE Summer Glau.

      • Malachi says:

        Summer Glau is awesome, though I think she has somehow inherited “the curse of Ted McGinley” for killing a TV series. To be fair, she did do a spot on “The Big Bang Theory,” and that show is still doing fine, so…

    • Keith says:

      Amy Acker is a semi-regular on Person Of Interest

      • Jason says:

        Oh yeah. Cool. I don’t watch that! I heard that Anthony Stewart Head got some kind of job coming up! I wish joss would reuse some of these people on his new SHIELD show!! Especially Juliet Landau and James Marsters. Would love to see then play a super villain couple or something.

        • kajar says:

          I’m pretty sure Head’s show “The Selection” didn’t get picked up. He is in some upcoming movies though. If they could find a place for him on SHIELD, that would be awesome.

          • Jason says:

            Bummer about Head’s show not being picked up! Yes he would be great as a member of SHIELD or a villain. Have you ever seen him as Repo Man in Repo: The Genetic Opera. He was so good!!!

    • cas says:

      Nicholas Brendan is on Criminal Minds sometimes. I was never a Dushku fan. I would like to see more Denisof on HIMYM this season because Sandy Rivers is hilarious, seriously this guy cracks me up. Yes please, James Marsters on anything, even just guest appearances.

    • Lisa says:

      I want to play this game! How about the cast of Arrested Development? By the way, I’m really hoping Will Arnett’s newest show gets canceled immediately. It looks terrible and it will open him up for a better vehicle. Unrelated: Greg Grunberg. Also unrelated: The cast of Herman’s Head.

  24. Mike R. says:

    You got Joshua Jackson, but forgot John Noble and Anna Torv. I need the Fringe trio back on my TV screen, but Jasik Nicole was also an excellent pick.

    • Missmurray says:

      I hope those two screen hogging hacks stay away from American TV.

      • kajar says:

        Screen hogging hacks? Who in the hell are you referring to? Fringe was an ensemble effort and the entire cast was amazing in it. I’d love to see each and every one of them back on my American TV screen in the future (including Blair Brown and Lance Reddick, not mentioned above).

        • Missmurray says:

          Fringe was NEVER an ensemble show or else people wouldn’t be complaining about how the show isn’t the Anna torv show or the john noble show. John and Anna were given all the Emmy worthy work while josh, jasika, Seth, lance and Blair were given half assed material. Nobody gives josh any type of recognition because he didn’t have 5 people to play. He was called the weakest link and a bad actor.

          So yeah, fringe was nothing but the Anna and John can play 5 people show. Point blank.

      • Mike R. says:

        Whose holding a gun to your head forcing you to watch? That right, no one, I will never understand why people make such a big deal about what other people like to watch.

  25. Malachi says:

    How did you miss Dana Delany? She is amazing.

  26. Dr. Bombay says:

    Jane Krakowski from 30 Rock

  27. Erin says:

    Beth Riesgraf… Leverage.

    • Maggie says:

      YES to this! I was so bummed when Leverage got cancelled.

    • Linda says:

      Yes. I want Christian Kane back as well, maybe a family man like he was in Close To Home.

    • Andy says:

      I want the entire crew to find more work. Beth had a pilot, CBS’s Surgeron General something-or-other, but it didn’t get picked up.

      • NottaProb says:

        Beth needs a feisty character. Something about her energy seems to require it. That isn’t saying she can’t act in a serious manner, but she hums in a wonderful way that would be wasted on something named ‘surgeon general’ (though Dana Delany probably would’ve done wonders in that role).

  28. Travis says:

    TV is a better place with Chi McBride

  29. Jacqi says:

    I want Justin Hartley, Kris Polaha, KaDee Strickland, Megan Hilty, Victor Garber, Matthew Perry and Joshua Jackson back!

  30. Marivi Gil says:

    Anna Torv! John Noble!

  31. Angel says:

    I’d have to add Sophia Bush and Jamie Bamber to the list.

  32. Nunaya_Bidness says:

    Michael Cudlitz, Chi McBride and Regina King … preferably in something together!

  33. dude says:

    Sophia Bush, Sophia Bush and Sophia Bush! She needs her own series STAT! Also, Annalynne McCord??? Bitch please.

  34. holly says:

    Nene Leaks REALLY? I can think of a whole lotta GREAT ACTORS that need to grace our screens and she is not one of them..

  35. DavidSask says:

    Kyle has tried to many times, Unless its a care bears film as Shireky NeNe can f**k off, and Matthew Perry outside of Good Wife can retire from comedies!

  36. Norah says:

    Dana Delany, people!

  37. Melody Paris says:

    Agreed! All are great talents.

  38. Lucy says:

    Jack Davenport. Hopefully another show where he gets to keep his accent.

  39. HeatherC says:

    My faves are Scott Speedman, Victor Garber, KaDee Strickland, and Zach Gilford and I would also add Dana Delaney to this list. I think all of these actors should always be on my TV. =) BTW-KaDee and her hubby Jason are expecting their first baby later this fall though so she may not be back on TV for a while! Congrats to them!! =)

  40. Anne says:

    With the reboot of 24 how about Scott Speedman & Michael Cudlitz as CTU agents working with Kiefer (Jack Bauer) & Sela Ward as POTUS or the CTU boss lady?…

    • Stephen S. says:

      Actually, Cudlitz has already been on 24. And his character died. Season 2 when he and Jack and Nina are in the plane, and the plane is shot down and crashed. He survived the crash, but the people who shot the plane down finished the job and killed him.

  41. Karen says:

    Ummm…. Everyone from Happy Endings, John Noble, Ben McKenzie, thankyouverymuch

  42. Liz says:

    The cast of Roswell: Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Majandra Delfino etc…

  43. Lilly says:

    You forgot Paget Brewster and Mark Valley.

  44. DavidSask says:

    Never Nene unless she is Shrieky on Care Bears movie or cartoon, MP please can’t carry a show Good Wife guest arc and that is all, and Kyle, your time is up to find another career or stage act!

  45. adlib19 says:

    It’s greedy of me to want Jo

  46. nini leakes,, john lutz, ANYBODY from Smash? Did you mix the list up with your list of “People who should never be on TV again”? I see about half and half.

    • carlodowd says:

      Have you even seen smash?? Megan Hilty was the perfection that held that show together! She deserves to be on tv week after week where she can sing as loud as she wants! She is a future TONY winner and Nobody must forget that!!

    • Dude, Megan Hilty was the villain of season one. Straight up written so that everyone was supposed to hate her and she is so incredibly talented that she took a character that was supposed to be despised and split the fandom. The way the season was written we were all supposed to be rooting for Karen to beat the bitter washed up Ivy and Megan Hilty was so knock down fabulous that half of the people that watched the show literally blew up whenever Katherine McPhee’s character beat her. It was the most incredible thing. Ivy’s was truly reprehensible in season one and Megan Hilty is so good that people didn’t care. Then in season two they basically made them dual leads. She is a phenomenon and she can’t get back on my TV fast enough for me.

  47. kavyn says:

    Remove Nene Leakes and add Mamie Gummer and I’d agree with this list :-)

  48. Becca says:

    Definitely KaDee Strickland! I was really hoping her pilot would get picked up

  49. King says:

    I absolutely agree with Sela Ward. She so awesome on CSI: NY. It felt like she had been on the show since the beginning. She just fit in really well not to mention her acting has always been engaging and flawless.

  50. Juliab. says:

    YES to Anna Belknap and Sela Ward from CSI/NY.