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10 TV Characters Who Lasted Longer Than Planned

Ingram Publishing

Have you ever wondered what your favorite show would have been like without a favorite character that was not the star?  Well here are 10 of those characters.

E! Online has the full list, but here is the top 10:

  1. Sue Sylvester on “Glee”.  When “Glee” was starting, Jane Lynch was working on a Damon Wayans pilot and could only commit to a small, recurring role.  But when the other show wasn’t picked up, “Glee” became her full-time gig.
  2. Dylan McKay on “Beverly Hills, 90210″.  The higher-ups at Fox didn’t like Luke Perry or his character, and only had him doing two episodes.  And even then, Aaron Spelling had to pay him out of his own pocket.  But when Fox saw how the audience loved him, they made him a regular cast member.
  3. Sophia Petrillo on “The Golden Girls”.  It’s hard to imagine the show without Estelle Getty, but her character was only meant to appear in the pilot.  However, viewers loved her so much that she ended up sticking around.
  4. Andy Bernard on “The Office”.  Ed Helms was originally signed on for only 10 episodes, but his personality matched so perfectly with the character that the writers had in mind that they brought him back as a regular.
  5. Ben Linus on “Lost”.  Michael Emerson was only a guest-star at first . . . but they kept him around.  Ben became one of the most compelling characters on TV, and Emerson went on to win an Emmy for the show’s fifth season.
  6. Mimi Bobeck on “The Drew Carey Show”.  Originally, Kathy Kinney’s character had just a small part in the pilot.  She was a woman in bad make-up applying for a job in the make-up department.  But the viewers loved her, so they made her a regular on the show, as Drew’s nemesis.
  7. Summer Roberts on “The O.C.”.  Rachel Bilson was only supposed to play a, quote, “stereotypical mean girl BFF.”  But she was a hit and later became one of the show’s main stars.
  8. Spike on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.  James Marsters’ character was intended to be just another one-off villain for Buffy to defeat, but ended up being one of the most fully-developed characters on the show.  He also joined the spin-off “Angel” as another “vampire with a soul.”
  9. Steve Urkel on “Family Matters”.  Jaleel White was only supposed to do one episode, as a nerdy guy who takes Laura on a date in the first season.  But he was so popular that he kept being brought back until the show became all about Urkel.
  10. Frasier Crane on “Cheers”.  Kelsey Grammer was hired for six episodes of “Cheers”, and went on to play the character for a full 20 years between “Cheers” and its spin-off, “Frasier”.

Interesting Fact:  Kelsey’s run is tied with James Arness of “Gunsmoke”.

The only other TV actor to have played a character longer than that is Richard Belzer, who’s been playing Detective John Munch since 1993 . . . first on “Homicide:  Life on the Street”, then in the “Law & Order” franchise.

 

 

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