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Carl

What TV Show Launched the Most Stars?

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What TV show had the most burgeoning, unknown talent in their cast? Bosom Buddies had Tom Hanks, but Peter Scolari and Donna Dixon faded fast.

We're not talking established stars here, but folks who became famous after (and sometimes because of) the show.

My selection is Taxi, a great show from 1978. Check out the cast:

Danny DeVito

Tony Danza

Christopher Lloyd

Andy Kaufman

Marilu Henner (who can still recite her lines from the show today - apparently she has some kind of photographic memory)

Judd Hirsch

Jeff Conaway

The merits of these actors can be debated, but collectively their star power is undeniable.

Another tidbit about the show: the instrumental theme song was done by Bob James, who also did "Take Me To The Mardi Gras," which might be the most sampled song of all time.

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Perhaps you are looking for the most stars to come from among continuous weekly ensemble casts, Carl; which would limit the number of regulars or guests who might be launched to greater endeavors. If that is your criteria, All In The Family comes to mind. That series' characters spawned future series, The Jeffersons and Maude, replete with their own stars and spin-offs.

But on a broader scale, as you first worded "TV show", the title holder of TV-series-as-star-maker has to go to The Twilight Zone. In addition to featuring veteran Hollywood stars, the 1959 program that lasted initially for 5 years introduced the world to such future stars as, Ron Howard (his first dramatic appearance, predating Andy Griffith,) Carol Burnett, Dick York, Julie Newmar, Robert Redford, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert Duvall, Ted Knight, Ted Cassidy and oh, so many more.

I've been on a personal TZ reawakening jag lately and find that infant TV show extremely compelling. It is amazing to see the bit parts during certain episodes filled by today's recognized Hollywood veterans.

Edited by Guest

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Another one is Cheers

Woody Harrelson (went on to do movies)

Kelsey Grammer (Fraiser)

Ted Danson (CSI, Becker, etc.)

Kirstie Alley (movies, tv)

Shelly Long

George Wendt

and more

For movies, Outsiders and Dazed & Confused come to mind.

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I guess Saturday Night Live would be the obvious choice here.

I would definitely agree. It amazes me how many famous people have been cast members on SNL. I mean, there are the obvious people (John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy etc.) but then there's people like Robert Downey Jr., Paul Giamatti and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, all who I didn't know were on SNL.

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SCTV was in the same vein as SNL, started back in '76 with the likes of -

John Candy

Robin Duke

Joe Flaherty

Eugene Levy

Andrea Martin

Rick Moranis

Catherine O'Hara

Harold Ramis

Tony Rosato

Martin Short

Dave Thomas

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Freaks and Geeks. It only lasted a season, but it's the best high school show of all time and it started the career of the entire Apatow crew that has basically ruled modern comedy over the last decade.

In addition to the guys from the Apatow crew, it also featured Busy Phillips (Cougartown) & Linda Cardellini (E.R.). Coincidentally the theme song from this show "Bad Reputation - Joan Jett" is one of the nominations of this week's Top 10.

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I suppose any of those variety shows could be cited. I'm in the midst of watching all the Carol Burnett shows, and there are more great people on there than I ever realized. Steve Martin was on there fairly often, even. That surprised me the most so far.

In Living Color was a good one (as noted above). That one even "launched" Jennifer Lopez, she was a fly girl.

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He's not listed on the list of cast members, only as a host in 2005.

Hmm. You're right. Don't know why I thought he was a cast member.

Other people who were cast members on SNL you may not have known:

Laurie Metcalf

Ben Stiller

Gilbert Gottfried

Anthony Michael Hall

Sarah Silverman

Joan Cusack

Chris Elliot

Randy Quaid

Rob Riggle

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Speaking of Ben Stiller, his skit show from 1992 is another one. All 4 cast members went on to do other things.

Ben Stiller

Janeane Garofalo

Andy Dick (News Radio)

Bob Odenkirk

another show is Arrested Development

Jason Bateman (currently starring in feature films)

Michael Cera (Super Bad)

Will Arnett

and a few other cast members have been in movies since

Jeffrey Tambor & David Cross were already somewhat established prior to joining the cast.

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