Landing a lead role in a huge Hollywood blockbuster used to be the crowning glory for anyone hoping to make it as a successful actor. Starring in movies was a gateway to fame and fortune; however, actors can now expect the same level of stardom by gracing our television screens.
Years ago we would flock to the cinema en mass to watch the latest movie starring Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp, but now it seems we are just as excited to tune into our television sets every week.
A lot of our favourite movie actors started off on the small screen, George Clooney first came to everybody’s attention starring in ER from 1994-1999. He has since gone on to become one of the most famous actors of this generation. However, the more recent trend has seen actors who have experienced mediocre success in the film industry make huge careers for themselves on a television show. A prime example of this is Simon Baker, 41, who after paying his dues with small movie roles has achieved global stardom as the lead actor on The Mentalist. The show has won numerous awards, achieved worldwide success and pulls in millions of viewers every week. Baker has received tremendous praise for his role as Patrick Jane, and this has not gone unnoticed by show bosses who have offered him $30 million if he stays on the show for another four seasons. The same can be said for Jonathan Rhys Meyers who is now most remembered for his role as King Henry VIII on The Tudors rather than his numerous movie roles.
If a show turns out to be a success, the actors involved can stand to make a lot of money- A LOT OF MONEY. The stars of Desperate Housewives famously signed a new deal a few months ago that would see them earning over $12 million each if they stay for another two seasons. British export Hugh Laurie, star of the hugely successful House, reportedly earns $400,000 PER EPISODE of the medical drama. The cast of Friends were earning $1 million each per episode of the popular comedy, and before Charlie Sheen went off the rails he was being paid $2 million per episode of Two And A Half Men.
Hollywood, as we know, can be extremely fickle and just because you are famous and in demand one day does not guarantee that you will find work beyond your latest project. It is, therefore, easy to see why work on a television series can be so appealing, especially given the current state of the industry which has witnessed a slump in the number of people headed to the cinema. When shooting a film, actors could be super-busy for four months straight then remain unemployed for the rest of the year. Being the star of a television show can provide actors with a regular income, piece of mind and a stable job.
Not only are television shows generating the big bucks, they are also having a huge impact on today’s popular culture. Young girls are now turning to hit shows such as 90210 and Gossip Girl for style tips and ideas as opposed to their favourite movie stars. The fashions featured on these particular shows appear to be just as important as the storylines themselves.
Let’s not forget Glee, a show which has demonstrated just how huge a television show can become. The franchise is one of the biggest this generation has seen; a dedicated and loyal fan base, millions of record sales, celebrities fighting for a chance to guest star on the show as well as a recent sell-out arena tour. All the actors that currently star in the show are sure to have amazing careers on the back of this success.
Now I’m not saying that movies no longer popular or having a huge impact but in the future we can expect a lot more stars of the small screen walking down the red carpet, gracing the pages of magazines and scoring huge endorsement deals.
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