Movie stars have been migrating to the small screen and signing up for a series slash steady job for a while now. America Ferrara famously transitioned in 2006 when she signed up for her very own series "Ugly Betty." Recently HBO snagged Oscar-nominated Toni Collette for "United States of Tara," action star Thomas Jane (The Punisher) for "Hung," and up-and-coming comedian Danny McBride for "Eastbound and Down." Meanwhile, TNT reeled in Jada Pinkett Smith for the medical series "HawthoRNe." Some actors are actually former TV stars, who couldn't quite launch their film career during a time when producers are searching for sure-things. Here's a list of actors who are attempting a career-revamp:
Jon Foster in "Accidentally on Purpose"
The indie actor started out in films like Life as a House and The Door in the Floor before attempting commercial stardom in 2004's teen-centric series "Life as We Know It" and 2006's very short-lived lottery series "Windfall." After a few more under-the-radar indies, including the Sienna Miller-Peter Sarsgaard helmed adaptation of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, he signed on for a lead male role opposite Jenna Elfman. He'll play your average guy in his 20s, devoid of responsibilities and obsessed with video games, until he's forced to alter his life after a one-night stand with a woman in her 30s makes him an instant dad.
Back-Up Plan: He has an untitled dramatic indie with Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker) in the works.
Chevy Chase in "Community"
The 65-year-old seasoned comedian has been in this business for more than 40 years. But like many elders of our community, he must be trying to figure out how to survive as the cost of living increases, because holding out for major roles is no longer an option. Chase is one of the legendary alums of "SNL" who went on to immortalize countless characters from Fletch to the dad in National Lampoon and even the Invisible Man. In 2007, he began his slow migration to a steady recurring role on TV. First, he had a brief stint on "Brothers & Sisters" as Nora's love interest, then he had an evil arc as the nefarious Roark on "Chuck." Now, you'll be able to see him every week on Joel McHale's comedy series "Community," where he'll represent the over-the-hill students that frequent community colleges to re-sharpen their minds.
Back-Up Plan: He has roles in the live-action family comedy Jack and the Beanstalk, the adult comedy Not Another Not Another Teen Movie, and the star-studded comedy Hot Tub Time Machine.
Erika Christensen in "Parenthood"
You may have first seen this young starlet in 2000's Oscar-winning crime drama Traffic, but she actually started her career making the rounds on the small screen, guest-starring on shows like "The Practice" and "Frasier." After a few lead roles in films like Swimfan and The Perfect Score, she gave up the audition-grind for a mysterious role in the ABC drama "Six Degrees." Unfortunately, it failed to garner enough viewers and was eventually canceled. Now she's signed on for NBC's "Parenthood," playing a talented lawyer and wife of a stay-at-home dad (Sam Jaeger from "Eli Stone"), who feels like she's missing out on her daughter's childhood.
Back-Up Plan: She has roles in the adaptation of Veronika Decides to Die alongside former TV star Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the horror thriller The Tortured opposite Jesse Metcalfe ("Desperate Housewives").
Monica Potter in "Parenthood"
The 38-year-old mother of three first lit up the big screen in 1997's Con Air before starring in Robin Williams' Patch Adams, the rom-com Head Over Heels, and Morgan Freeman's Along Came a Spider. It wasn't until 2004 that she graced the small screen for a season of "Boston Legal." This year, she starred in the horror film The Last House on the Left and co-starred in TNT's attempt at a contemporary ad-men dramedy "Trust Me" until it was canceled. Now she's signed on for NBC's "Parenthood," playing a supportive wife who takes a break from her career to be the mother of a straight-A teen and a young boy with Aspergers.
Dax Shepard in "Parenthood"
This comedian got his start as Ashton Kutcher's tool of trickery on MTV's "Punk'd" before parlaying that opportunity into a film career with roles in comedies like Without a Paddle and Employee of the Month. In his return to television, he'll play an ambitionless slacker who is trying to avoid starting a family with his longtime girlfriend, Katie (Marguerite Moreau from Queen of the Damned).
Back-Up Plan: He's slated for roles in Robin Williams and John Travolta's comedy Old Dogs, and Kristen Bell's rom-com When in Rome. But he'll also star in his first writing credit Get 'Em Wet with Will Arnett.
Derek Luke in "Trauma"
He had his official debut in 2002's Antwone Fisher, then continued with the sports films Friday Night Lights and Glory Road before starring in dramatic films like Catch a Fire and Miracle at St. Anna. He's had a pretty respectable film career, but not a very long resume. In his first recurring role on TV, he'll play a paramedic whose faith is tested after the loss of two good friends.
Cliff Curtis in "Trauma"
You may have noticed the 41-year-old New Zealander in Three Kings, Training Day, Live Free or Die Hard and Push. But now you'll get to see him in this action drama, where he'll play the charming, adrenaline-fueled, risk-taking flight medic who's suffering from survivor's guilt after the worst rescue disaster in San Francisco history.
Back-Up Plan: You can catch him in Eddie Murphy's dramedy A Thousand Words and M. Night Shyamalan's highly anticipated adventure fantasy The Last Airbender as Firelord Ozai.
Jane Lynch in "Glee"
Much like Ken Jeong from The Hangover, she's had a good year. After 20 years in the business, she's finally got some traction. She's had plenty of guest spots on TV over the years, from "Cybill" to "Arrested Development," but in 2005 she caught everyone's attention as a pervy co-worker in 40 Year Old Virgin. From then on she had no problem scoring increasingly larger roles in Talladega Nights, Walk Hard, The Rocker, Role Models, and Julie & Julia. She even managed to secure two recurring roles in "Two and a Half Men" and "The L Word," while consistently attempting to secure a series of her own. Her most recent attempt was Starz's work place comedy "Party Down," but she ditched that for FOX's instant hit "Glee," where she plays a cheerleading coach with a grudge against the glee club teacher.
Back-Up Plan: She'll voice a character in the animated film Paul with comedians Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Simon Pegg, and Bill Hader.
Freddie Prinze Jr. in "24"
The former teen heart-throb first entered our hearts in 1997's I Know What You Did Last Summer, then stole it completely in the classic teen rom-com She's All That. After several low grade films like Summer Catch and Down to You, he finally made it back on our radar in the kiddie movie Scooby-Doo. Taking advantage of the moment, he created his own series on ABC titled "Freddie." Unfortunately, he couldn't recreate the magic that his fellow Latino George Lopez did. After a few animated and indie gigs, he was supposed to have joined the NBC superhero comedy "No Heroics," but it wasn't picked up because it was too expensive. Luckily, he'll join the cast of "24" for the entire season, playing a marine who heads the new CTU's Field Operations, and thinks he's as good as Jack.
John Cho in "FlashForward"
The 35-year-old Korean actor is no stranger to TV. After getting his start in the American Pie films, he managed to score himself a role in The WB guy comedy "Off Centre." Even though the series was short-lived, he starred in what would soon be a pop culture favorite, the pot comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. But while that comedy may have put him on the map, his FOX chef series "Kitchen Confidential" failed to take off, so he kept his face on the screen with guest spots on "Grey's Anatomy" and "Ugly Betty," and his friends' shows "Til Death," "House," and "How I Met Your Mother." And even though he kicked ass as Sulu in the Star Trek reboot, he still signed on for the sci-fi drama "FlashForward," where he'll play an impatient FBI agent who's engaged to a woman (Gabrielle Union) he's keeping a secret from.
Back-Up Plan: He has plenty of Star Trek films to look forward to, considering how much the film grossed. Plus, he'll round out the pot trilogy with A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.
Gabrielle Union in "Flash Forward"
She had her start on several TV shows, from "Moesha" to "7th Heaven." She perfected the bitch persona in She's All That and 10 Things I Hate About You, then turned it around in Bring It On. Even though people took notice when she had a lead role in Bad Boys II, her career didn't exactly take off. After her first shot at a steady gig in the sci-fi drama "Night Stalker" failed, she tried again with a guest spot on "Ugly Betty" and a mid-season casting on the criminally canceled cop series "Life." Hedging her bets, she signed on for the D.C. series "Body Politic," which was canned before it even aired, and "FlashForward." On the dramatic sci-fi series, she'll play John Cho's lawyer fiancee.
David Koechner in "Hank"
The often ignored comedian has been performing awkward comedy for about 14 years now, getting his start with random characters on "SNL." But he really caught our eye in 2004's Anchorman, then proceeded to weird us out in Waiting..., The Dukes of Hazzard, Talladega Nights, and Get Smart. However, instead of latching on to one of his buddy Will Ferrell's TV ventures, he joined Kelsey Grammer's new series "Hank," as his annoying brother-in-law.
Back-Up Plan: This year he tried to make you laugh in The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard, and he'll try again in Jason Bateman's Extract, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, and the animated film Paul.
Joseph Fiennes in "FlashForward"
The dramatic actor impressed critics in the Oscar-winning films Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love. 1998 was definitely his year. Unfortunately, it didn't last him for long, but hopefully, he can resurrect his career with his new role as a recovering alcoholic FBI agent with a wife and daughter, who is heading the investigation for how and why everyone in the world got a glimpse into the future.
Back-Up Plan: He'll star in the musical biopic of Vivaldi, and the drama Mrs. Darwin.
Matt Long in "The Deep End"
He first flashed those deep dimples on the WB's short-lived "Jack & Bobby" back in 2004. It's been five years and he's only managed to appear in the intro of Ghost Rider, star in the poorly-produced Sydney White, and play backseat to two starlets in the even more poorly-written Homecoming. Luckily, he's resorted to returning to the small screen in ABC's latest law series "The Deep End," where he'll play a blue collar kid who's eager to make his way amongst cutthroat lawyers.
Back-Up Plan: He'll play the supportive best friend of a terminally ill guy in the moving indie drama Riding the Pine.
Kristen Johnston in "Ugly Betty"
She made her unbelivably dorky debut in "3rd Rock from the Sun" as a male alien inhabiting a hot female earthling's body. But ever since the series ended in 2001, she hasn't really transitioned well into film features. After a brief stint on "ER," and playing the best friend in Music and Lyrics and the bitchy maid-of-honor in Bride Wars, she guest-starred on "New Adventures of Old Christine." And, perhaps, after she guest stars on "Ugly Betty" as a new office temp, she can book a few more spots, especially since the British import of the buddy comedy "AbFab" she was supposed to star in didn't get picked up by FOX.
Mischa Barton in "The Beautiful Life"
Where to begin? Some would say she was the core of FOX's hit teen dramedy "The O.C.," especially since it bombed once she demanded to be let out of her contract, but she's yet to prove that she has any profitable talent without the series. If her goal was to star in indies no one ever watches, like The Oh in Ohio and Virgin Territory, then mission accomplished. It's obvious over the last few months that her failure is starting to get to her, but Ashton Kutcher, the producer of her next series, hasn't given up on her. After rumors that she'd been replaced due to hospitalization, Kutcher reassured the press (and probably his Twitter followers) that they were only introducing a character that looks and behaves very similar to her to lighten her load until she was ready to shoot. So tune in this season to watch Barton return to the catty, vapid, and soulless world of the rich and famous, as she plays a hasbeen model who has to reclaw her way back up to the top after a mysterious absence from the fashion world. Hmm, life imitating art?
Back-Up Plan: She just wrapped up the promising ensemble Indian drama Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain with Kal Penn, and will soon shoot the teen comedy The Science of Cool and the drama Upstate with Chace Crawford.
Corbin Bleu in "The Beautiful Life"
You might remember him as Troy's bff in High School Musical, but I first saw him as a young bank robber in Catch that Kid alongside the then relatively unknown Kristen Stewart. Like most HSM alums, he's been trying to crawl from under the Disney empire (and from behind Zac Efron) with small steps. First he starred in the made-for-tv jump-rope film Jump In! and later this year his motorcross indie will hit theaters. But if it doesn't wow critics, maybe his transition back into TV as an up-and-coming male model in "Beautiful Life," will finally inform everyone of how grown up the 20-year-old really is.
Sara Paxton in "The Beautiful Life" Her career got some traction in 2004 when she co-starred in the girly teen rom-com Sleepover, guest-starred on the family drama "Summerland," and got her own Saturday morning series "Darcy's Wild Life." I was almost sure she was on her way when she she got another starring role in the teen fantasy film Aquamarine, but then she went the bitch-route in Sydney White and had the poor sense to appear in the spoof film Superhero Movie. This year everything has changed. She starred in the horror revenge thriller The Last House on the Left and she's starring as the fish-out-of-water, potential It-girl in the model series "The Beautiful Life." Her character will have to learn when to draw the line between doing what it takes to score the big jobs and remembering who she was before she hit the runway.
Kate Winslet on "Mildred Pierce"
The Oscar-winner doesn't really need to transition to TV, but word is she might star in this 5-hour mini-series, playing a single mom who's struggling for independence during the Great Depression. She doesn't actually have anything else on the horizon, but after an Oscar year of The Reader and Revolutionary Road, she deserves a break.
Diane Keaton on HBO series
Come on? The Godfather. Annie Hall. Manhattan. Something's Gotta Give. She never fails to amaze me. However, after a few terrible film choices, like Smother and Mad Money, she's finally decided to ditch the crappy roles being sent to her and opt for what could be a much more respectable fit. In the HBO half-hour comedy, she'll play a "feminist icon who attempts to reignite the movement by starting a sexually explicit magazine for women." It may not sound feasible, but at one point neither did "Hung."
Back-Up Plan: She has plans to do a dramedy with Steve Martin called From Zero to Sixty, and with Harrison Ford called Morning Glory. Things are looking up.
Sarah Michelle Gellar in "The Wonderful Maladys"
She may have been our original Queen B for 6 years, but even during her stint as the unstoppable Buffy Summers, she managed to squeeze in a few film credits, most notably Cruel Intentions. When she ventured off to jumpstart a vampire-less film career, I thought her future roles would resemble something close to the bold and unpredictable bitch that she portrayed in that film. Unfortunately, she opted for vulnerable victim-types in countless horror films from The Grudge to Possession. She even tried edgy indies like Southland Tales, but failed to impress. Now she'll make her return to TV as an immature and overzealous sister who, along with her two siblings, had to raise herself after her parents died.
Back-Up Plan: She'll star in the existential drama Veronika Decides to Die.
Jason Schwartzman in "Bored to Death"
He played a neurotic know-it-all in the 1998 indie classic Rushmore, and the rest was history. You could argue that he's yet to find his footing in Hollywood ever since, but whenever his name is attached to a film it seems like an added bonus. From I Heart Huckabees to Marie Antoinette to The Darjeeling Limited, he's delivered the awkward humor his fans love him for. In 2004, he tried to transition that humor onto the small screen with FOX's "Cracking Up," but nobody was laughing. He'll try again now that he's garnered a few more fans from his roles in Walk Hard and Funny People. He'll play a novelist who mends his broken heart by acting out his dream to live as a character out of a Raymond Chandler novel, resulting in his newfound profession as an unbelievably unqualified private eye.
Back-Up Plan: He'll be in the action comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with Michael Cera, and the adventure comedy The Adventurer's Handbook with Jonah Hill and Jason Segel.
Evan Rachel Wood in "True Blood"
Something about her has always seemed kind of smug, but critics took notice when she co-starred in the buzzworthy crime drama Thirteen. Ever since, her performances haven't really been noteworthy until last year's award-winning film The Wrestler. There's no telling if she's really making a move towards TV permanently, but she does have an enchanting role in this season of "True Blood" as Queen Sophie-Anne.
Back-Up Plan: She's rumored to be starring in Jodie Foster's drama Flora Plum.
Laura Linney in "The C Word"
You may have first noticed her in the 90s when she starred in Congo, Primal Fear, and The Truman Show. Ever since her hot streak, she's had a spotty record, managing to occasionally score with The House of Mirth, Mystic River, Kinsey, and The Savages. She's never fully shunned television, having guest-starred on "Law & Order" and "Frasier," and starred in the HBO miniseries "John Adams." Now she'll star in her own half-hour comedy series, playing a suburban mother who learns she has cancer and is forced to reevaulate her life.
Back-Up Plan: She'll star in the drama Morning, the Mark Ruffalo-directed dramedy Sympathy for Delicious, and the black comedy The Details.
Jon Heder in Untitled Will Ferrell Project
Getting immortalized as one character is every professional comedian's worst nightmare. Unfortunately, Heder is experiencing the Groundhog Day of nightmares, replaying the same slightly retarded, bumbling weirdo in every film he stars in, from The Benchwarmers to Blades of Glory. Luckily, he made the smart move of starting his migration to the small screen in 2008 with a guest spot in "My Name is Earl," and a lead role in the web series "Woke Up Dead." Now he'll star in Will Ferrell's Comedy Central series as an unemployed IT specialist who has to move back in with his parents and younger brother.
Back-Up Plan: He'll star in the adaptation of the bizarro sci-fi adventure comedy Alive and Well.