Big stars small screen Movie actors flock to TV

We think theres little James Spader cant do, and his recent resume is proof. In addition to playing a mysterious criminal on NBCs The Blacklist, Spader, right, is Ultron in Joss Whedons Avengers sequel.

Meg Ryan has spent the past 10 years sporadically appearing in movies. Now the actress is planning to makeher grand return on TV, not at the box office. She has signed on to produce and star in an NBC comedy about a single mom who decides to return to work at a New York publishing house.

After returning to American Idol for its 13th season, Jennifer Lopez has apparently caught the TV bug. The actress is set to produce and star in a new NBC police drama called Shades of Blue. She will play a detective who goes undercover in the FBIs anti-corruption task force. NBC has picked up 13 episodes.

Viola Davis has collected acclaim and two Oscar nods with her film career, but the actress is now starring in a Shonda Rhimes-produced drama on ABC. On How to Get Away With Murder,a sexy legal thriller,Davis plays a criminal defense attorney and professor.

You might have seen Vera Farmiga on TV early in her career, but most came to know the actress when she transitioned to films such as The Departed and Up in the Air. In 2013, Farmiga took a classic movie role and stretched it out to fill a TV series with A&Es Bates Motel.

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Anna Faris, right, was becoming a comedy queen almost solely on the big screen, thanks to parts in The Hot Chick, The House Bunny and Just Friends. But Faris switched it up with Mom, a comedy on CBS that stars the actress as a single mother and recovering alcoholic trying to put her life back together. Allison Janney, herself a big-screen actress with roles in films like Juno and The Help, co-stars.

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Ashton Kutcher, too, was a TV star who at one point tried to break out into movies — what used to be the typical sign of making it in Hollywood. While Kutcher, center, still works in movies like many others on this list, it was telling when he decided to return to TV for another comedy, replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men in 2011.

Don Cheadles acting career is pretty legendary thanks to film credits like Hotel Rwanda and Crash. But in 2012, Cheadle reminded anyone whod forgotten just how funny he could be — and how well he could lead a TV series — with Showtimes House of Lies.

Although Claire Danes early TV work on My So-Called Life is seminal to her career, her prestigious reputation was built with films such as Romeo + Juliet, The Hours and Shopgirl. So by the time she came full circle in 2011 and returned to TV with Showtimes Homeland, it seemed like a big star had come home to roost.

Oscar winner Halle Berry stars in Extant, a space drama from Steven Spielbergs production company that premiered in July on CBS.

Prior to her barrier-breaking and Emmy-nominated role in Scandal, Kerry Washington was better known for her film work. But in 2012, she became the first African-American actress to lead a prime-time network drama in almost 40 years.

Kevin Spacey is a man notably devoted to theater, but the TV format has even ensnared the American Beauty actor. Its true that House of Cards doesnt *quite* count as TV — its original programming from Netflix that can be watched like a really, really long movie rather than in episodes — but it was also nominated for a bunch of Emmys.

Kat Dennings first credited role was on TV (Sex and the City, to be exact), but by the mid-2000s she was recognized from movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist. In 2011, Dennings hit paydirt on TV with CBS 2 Broke Girls.

Colin Farrell, right, and Vince Vaughn are the leads for the second season of True Detective.

Rachel McAdams is most famous for her big-screen works, but shes no stranger to television. From 2003 to 2005, while starring in hits like Mean Girls, The Notebook and Wedding Crashers, McAdams played Kate McNab on the comedy Slings and Arrows. Now, the actress is one of the newest stars to join HBOs True Detective. McAdams isnt the only one adding a new TV project to her resume.

Showtimes Masters of Sex has lured film star Michael Sheen to TV. Prior to 2013s freshman hit, Sheen was best known for work in movies such as Underworld, Frost/Nixon and Midnight in Paris. His co-star, Lizzy Caplan, has played across both mediums, starring in cult TV favorites like Freaks and Geeks and Party Down as well as big-screen blockbusters like Mean Girls.

Will Smith is making his way back to TV … in a way. The actor, whos long since swapped the small screen for major movie blockbusters, is now set to executive produce a series based on his 2005 movie Hitch.

Sleepy Hollow stars two actors known more for movies. British actor Tom Mison is known for flicks like One Day and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, while Nicole Beharie has shined in the films Shame, The Last Fall and 42.

Katherine Heigl returned to television after spending four years working in film. The former Greys Anatomy actress stars in NBCs CIA/White House drama, State of Affairs.

Scarlett Johansson is reportedly joining other fellow movie stars on the small screen. The actresshas signed up for a limited TV seriesbased on the Edith Wharton novel The Custom of the Country.

Keanu Reeves is set to produce and star inthe upcoming television series Rain,about an assassin who grapples with his identity.

Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT) October 16, 2013

These days, Zooey Deschanel is easily recognizable as the quirky teacher Jess Day on Foxs hit sitcom New Girl. But before that, she was better known for her film work in (500) Days of Summer, Almost Famous and Elf.

Terrence Howard has done his fair share of TV work, but hes best known for his big-screen appearances in movies such as Crash, Hustle & Flow and Iron Man. He and filmmaker Lee Daniels joined forces for theFox drama Empire.

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Susan Sarandon, seen here with her actress daughter, Eva Amurri, is known for films such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thelma & Louise and Bull Durham. But Sarandon has agreedto star with Amurri in a new NBC sitcom.

Jamie Lee Curtis has signed up to star in a soapy CBS drama pilot. In the project, Curtis will portray a doctor and the mother of quadruplets, all of whom grew up as the subjects of a reality show. If all goes well, this would be Curtis first regular TV role since 1989s Anything But Love.

There was a time when you could see Kevin Bacon on your TV screen only if one of the cable channels was airing Footloose. But in 2013, Bacon followed in the footsteps of his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, and made TV appearances a weekly thing with Foxs The Following.

Big stars small screen Movie actors flock to TV


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