If actors are lucky to make lightning strike once in their careers, the performers on this list are blessed beyond belief.
We surveyed the current TV landscape and took stock of the 15 current TV stars with the most impressive list of consecutive-ish hit series, and you might be surprised to see who made the cut.
A COUPLE OF GROUND RULES before we dive in:
♦ “Current” TV stars refers to living actors or actresses (i.e. small-screen legends such as Lucille Ball and Robert Guillaume are not eligible) who are still actively working in the biz.
♦ Extra weight is given to a star who was present at a series’ launch and stuck around to the series finale (and remained a series regular throughout).
♦ The longer the series has remained on the air (for better or worse), the hotter the win streak.
♦ Bonus points were given to those stars with few misfires between hits.
Last but not least: This is a subjective exercise vs. an exact science. In other words, there will be omissions. And we invite you to call us out on those glaring O’s in the comments. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even see the most popular call-outs in a follow-up, readers’ choice list!
THE BIGGIES: Veronica Mars (2004-07) > Heroes (2007-08) > Gossip Girl (2007-12) > House of Lies (2012-16) > The Good Place (2016-20)
FUN FACT: Bell has already revisited two of her most successful series, reprising her titular roles in Veronica Mars (for Hulu’s 2019 revival) and Gossip Girl (for HBO Max’s current reboot).
THE BIGGIES: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) > Angel (1999-2004) > Bones (2005-17) > SEAL Team (2017-present)
FUN FACT: The 16-month stretch between Angel‘s May 2004 series finale and Bones‘ Sept. 2005 launch represents the longest period of time TV has been without a hit series starring Boreanaz in the past 24 years.
THE BIGGIES: Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999) > Men of a Certain Age (2009-11) > Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021)
FUN FACT: In a 2020 Variety profile, Braugher admitted that success has not come easy. “I’ve always been frustrated with the roles that are available,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been able to book these jobs, but it’s not as though I had a lot of auditions. It’s not as though there’s been a platter laid out for me to feast at in terms of roles.”
THE BIGGIES: 8 Simple Rules (2002-05) > Charmed (2005-06) > The Big Bang Theory (2007-19) > The Flight Attendant (2020-present)
FUN FACT: Cuoco’s hit-packed resume is even more remarkable when you consider she is only 35.
THE BIGGIES: Gilmore Girls (2004-07) > The Good Wife (2009-16) > The Resident (2018-present)
FUN FACT: Czuchry made good use of his small window of availability in 2008 between Gilmore Girls and Good Wife, appearing in a four-episode arc on another critically adored series, Friday Night Lights.
THE BIGGIES: Cheers (1982-1993) > Becker (1998-2004) > Damages (2008-10) > Bored to Death (2009-11) > various CSIs (2011-16) Fargo (2015) > The Good Place (2016-20) > Mr. Mayor (2021-present)
FUN FACT: Despite appearing in 27 episodes of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm over its 10-plus seasons, Danson has never been a series regular.
THE BIGGIES: Lost (2006-10) > Person of Interest (2011-16) > Evil (2019-present)
FUN FACT: Emerson’s real-life other half, Carrie Preston, boasts an impressive track record of her own via two full-time hits (True Blood and Claws) and one celebrated recurring gig in between (The Good Wife).
THE BIGGIES: One Life to Live (1994-97) > Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place (1998-2001) > Firefly (2002-03) > Castle (2009-16) > The Rookie (2018-present)
FUN FACT: Despite his primetime success, Fillion never shunned his daytime roots. To wit: He returned to OLTL in 2007, reprising his role as Joey Buchanan for the funeral of onscreen grandpa Asa Buchanan.
THE BIGGIES: The West Wing (1999-2006) > Psych (2006-2014, plus three movies thus far) > Suits (2017-19) > The Wonder Years (premiered September 2021)
FUN FACT: The Peacock has been very good to Hill, and vice-versa: All three of his resume anchors aired on NBC Universal outlets.
THE BIGGIES: 227 (1985-1990) > Southland (2009-13) > American Crime (2015-17) > The Leftovers (2015-17) > Seven Seconds (2018) > Watchmen (2019)
FUN FACT: During the two-decade gap between 227 and Southland, King was busy carving out a name for herself on the big screen with roles in Boyz n the Hood (1991), Friday (1995), Jerry Maguire (1996), Ray (2004), Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005).
THE BIGGIES: Sports Night (1998-2000) > Six Feet Under (2001-05) > Dirty Sexy Money (2007-2009) > Parenthood (2010-15) > 9-1-1 (2018-present)
FUN FACT: Prior to his breakout role in ABC’s Aaron Sorkin dramedy Sports Night, Krause was TV’s go-to sitcom guest star, having dropped by Seinfeld (1992), Ellen (1994), Caroline in the City (1995), Cybill (1995-97), The Drew Carey Show (1996) and 3rd Rock From the Sun (1997).
THE BIGGIES: Saturday Night Live (1982-85) > Seinfeld (1989-98) > The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006-10) > Veep (2012-19)
FUN FACT: The cherry on top of Louis-Dreyfus’ enviable primetime hat trick: She snagged at least one Emmy for each of her three lynchpin sitcoms.
THE BIGGIES: The O.C. (2003-07) > Southland (2009-13) > Gotham (2014-19)
FUN FACT: Out of all The O.C.’s OG teens, McKenzie has arguably enjoyed the most post-show success on the small screen. Welcome to rock-steady employment, bitch.
THE BIGGIES: Reno 911! (2003-09; 2020) > The Soul Man (2012-16) > Getting On (2013-15) > Claws (2017-present)
FUN FACT: Just as impressive as her resume staples are the smart, varied shorter-term projects Nash has chosen to fill her short windows of availability with (see: Masters of Sex, When They See Us, Never Have I Ever, etc.).
THE BIGGIES: Everwood (2002-06) > Brothers & Sisters (2007-10) > Revenge (2011-15) > The Resident (2018-2021) > The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
FUN FACT: If you exclude Revenge, VanCamp’s career trajectory mirrors that of her similarly successful Resident co-star Matt Czuchry (i.e. successful WB series, followed by a prestige broadcast drama, giving way to a medical procedural).