Look back on any actor’s CV and you’ll find one – an early TV series that, if it did get picked up, lasted only a handful of episodes, and was likely forgotten faster than continuity in a JJ Abrams “Star Wars” film. The show likely didn’t do anything much for the actor’s career, but it might’ve kept the lights on until the bigger break later on.
Today, we’re looking at 10 TV shows that you likely have never heard of, or forgotten about, featuring a future star. Now, we’re not talking very recognisable shows of yesteryear – like Tom Hanks’s early comedy series “Bosom Buddies” or Ryan Reynolds’ number “Two Guys and a Girl” – but the relatively unknown shows that most actors involved probably aren’t often asked about.
Enjoy the list! Track down some of these, er, beauties if you like!
Working Stiffs (1979)
Between some guest-starring spots in the likes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Hour” and “Family”, and his big movie break in 1982’s “Nightshift”, future Batman Michael Keaton starred opposite fellow up-and-comer James Belushi as two janitors trying to work their way up. It lasted three weeks on the air.
A year after the hit film, NBC turned the Steve Martin starrer in a short-lived (12) series. Playing the role young Joaquin Phoenix played in the film, then-unknown Leonardo DiCaprio!
A second TV adaptation of the series, released in, proved much more successful.
The Beat (2000)
About fifteen years before he saw green as Bruce Banner, MCU staple Mark Ruffalo started in a short-lived drama about uniformed police officers in New York City. Also starring future “Burn Notice” star Jeffrey Donovan, the show was yanked after 13 episodes.
Chicago Sons (1997)
Before his comeback in “Arrested Development”, former teen star Jason Bateman played one of three brothers living together in an apartment opposite Wrigley Field. Though it got good notices, the show was cancelled after its initial 13 eps.
Bennett Brothers (1987)
Before big break on “E.R” and before his equally big break on “Mad About You”, future TV stars George Clooney and Richard Kind played two very different brothers in this woeful NBC pilot. It was never picked up.
The Duck Factory (1984)
Before his big break on sketch comedy series “In Living Color”, Jim Carrey played Skip, an animator working on the series “The Dippy Duck Show”. Though you mightn’t have heard of it, the series won two Emmys before it played out its 13 episode run.
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe (1975)
A con-man and an accountant-wanna-be private eye team up to fight crime in this very early two-hander starring Jeff Goldblum and Ben Vereen. It was the creation of TV legend Stephen J.Cannell.
Reuniting with the team behind his earlier hit “Booker”, Richard Grieco signed on to play a man who does someone a huge favour (something his father did before him) each and every week — well, for the three weeks it lasted.
A New Kind of Family (1979)
Before his big break as a ‘brat packer’, Rob Lowe starred in this short-lived sitcom about two single mothers raising their kids in the same apartment. The series, which lasted just 11 episodes, also featured Janet Jackson.
Based on the Alan Arkin film of the same name, the short lived series starred Hector Elizondo (“Chicago Hope”) in the role of a single dad trying to raise two boys while juggling three jobs.