It can be hard to pick yourself up when you’re down, but there are a few select TV stars who do it admirably, sometimes time and time again. One of these people is Lisa Kudrow, who originally found success on the mega-hit sitcom Friends, and then returned to TV in the cable comedy The Comeback, a show, coincidentally, about Valerie Cherish, a former television actress having a career resurgence via a new hit show.
Although The Comeback technically failed its first go around, getting cancelled after just one season, after much fan fervour, it’s coming back to HBO Canada this Sunday. And who knows, if the new season does well, it could be back for a few more. In honour of Kudrow’s comeback via The Comeback, we remind you of some other stars who have gone from one small screen success to another.
Oh, and don’t forget to catch The Comeback’s comeback on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO Canada.
17 amazing comebacks by fading TV stars
Rob LoweLowe was elected a true TV star in Aaron Sorkin's political drama The West Wing, but in more recent years, he's moved to another show in different genre with NBC's Parks and Recreation. Starting off as a guest star, Lowe was quickly promoted to a regular, as both he and character health nut Chris Traegar became as essential to the show as waffles and bacon and eggs.NBC
Julia Louis-DreyfusIt's hard not to dance like Elaine when you think about Julia Louis-Dreyfus' career. She has actually had two comebacks since Seinfeld ended, first with The New Adventures of Old Christine, and now with HBO hit Veep. It's arguable, but the latter series might be a career best for her, as she finally gets to take the full spotlight as the--spoiler alert!--first woman to attempt to go from Vice President of the United States to POTUS.Bell Media
Edie FalcoWe'll never know if Carmela Soprano made it out alive on The Sopranos finale, but Edie Falco certainly has flourished since that show went dark. She's received many accolades--great reviews, Emmys!--for her follow-up gig: playing the title character on Nurse Jackie. And deservedly so. Her portrayal of the drug-addicted hospital worker is both an upper and a downer, and at just the right moments.Bell Media
Will ArnettBy Gob, we think he's got it! And by he, we mean Will Arnett, whose big TV break came from playing Gob on Arrested Development. Although Arnett struggled to find a comeback gig after Development ended originally, his most recent show, The Millers, has done surprisingly well and is currently on its second season. Once again, he's working with a great supporting cast, with Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale playing his parents instead of Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walters.Bell Media
Katey SagalJust call her the mother of comebacks! Katey Sagal has played the matriarch of a number of families since landing the part of Peggy Bundy on Married … With Children, having ruled the roost on parenting-themed comedy 8 Simple Rules and, even more so, on familial motorcycle drama Sons of Anarchy. She's really the can-do-all mom, also voicing a main character on a series that has also seen many revivals, Futurama.FX
Jimmy FallonAfter Jimmy Fallon left SNL, many worried for his future, thinking that his talent for impressions and inability to keep laughs in wouldn't translate elsewhere. But the joke was on them, as he landed the new Late Night gig, which then lead him to taking over the Tonight Show legacy. He might be the most well-liked--in real life and on the internet--late-night host of current times, due to his genuine and of-the-moment approach to interviewing and comedy.Bell Media
James SpaderAlthough he might be on a show of the same name now, James Spader is definitely not on TV's blacklist. After spending years laughing and lawyering with William Shatner on Boston Legal and then a short time running The Office, Spader is now the star of one of the biggest second-season dramas on network TV. And this new character, criminal Raymond Reddington, is arresting from top (see: his cropped hair) to bottom.NBC
Claire DanesClaire Danes was just a teenager when she won her first Golden Globe for her small screen skills, having broken out (in the good way) on the short-lived drama My So-Called Life. And she's still raking in the trophies to this day, thanks to TV movies like Temple Grandin and, of course, Showtime series Homeland. Now, instead of crying over bad boys with great hair, she's crying over …. bad men. Very, very bad men.Showtime
David BoreanazIt's almost as if playing a vampire has given David Boreanaz the gift of immortality when it comes to TV. The man has gone from hit show to hit show since playing bloodsucking brooder Angel on Buffy. First there was Angel, his own Buffy spin-off, and then there was (and still is) Bones. He may actually be best known for that show too, given that it has been so popular it's been on for double the amount of time.Fox
Connie BrittonIt's really true that true clear eyes and full hearts can't lose, at least where Connie Britton's concerned. The former Friday Night Lights actress has worked hard to keep employed since she lost her plum gig playing Tami Taylor, first appearing on Season 1 of American Horror Story for FX and now headlining ABC musical drama Nashville. Her powerhouse performances in both these shows elevated them from specific brands of camp to cross-genre scores. ABC
Patricia HeatonThey said everybody loved Raymond, but if you look at Patricia Heaton's recent track record, you might say everyone was truly all about Debra. While her first TV hubby, Ray Romano, has gone from job to job since Everybody Loves Raymond, Heaton has risen to the top as Frankie Heck on The Middle. Here, she gets to play less of the nagging wife and more of the try-hard mom, which is really positive and progressive change of pace.ABC
Neil Patrick HarrisWho would have diagnosed Doogie Howser destined for big things on the small screen way back when? Not many of us, but we all bow down to Neil Patrick Harris (NPH for short) nowadays and not just because of his career-making role as Barney Stinson. He's also a constant fixture on the awards circuit, having been tasked to host live broadcasts of the Tonys, the Emmys and the Oscars. It helps that HIMYM showed us he's a true triple threat.CBS
Craig T. NelsonThere was once a time when we all thought Craig T. Nelson would best be known for playing the lead on Coach, but then came a little NBC family drama called Parenthood. Playing patriarch Zeek Braverman, Nelson has found himself a new small screen home, and he'll stay there until the show wraps after five seasons later this year. His work on the show is so convincing that rumours Zeek is getting killed off this season had fans worldwide pre-grieving.NBC
Ben McKenzieIf anyone is proof that moving to California can be a good career move, it's Ben McKenzie, who went from wearing tank tops on teen soap The O.C. to wearing a bulletproof vests on the low-rated, but critically-acclaimed drama Southland to mega-buzzed Batman origin drama Gotham. And we thought Seth Cohen was the one with a big career ahead of him.Bell Media
Bryan CranstonSometimes it's good to go bad, especially if you're Bryan Cranston. Although he had already done well playing dad Hal on Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston reached a new career high, if you will, when he was dealt the part of a lifetime: chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-dealer Walter White on Breaking Bad. And he'll continue riding that buzz too, as his next TV role consists of playing FDR for HBO.AMC
Matt LeBlancLisa Kudrow isn't the only Friend who's still there for you coach potatoes. Sure, Matt LeBlanc stumbled a bit with spin-off Joey, but he has since had a resurgence with the help of Episodes, where he gets to play a parody of himself.Bell Media
Mayim BialikWant to make a bang years after you took a break from acting following that show that made you famous as a teenager? Join the biggest comedy on TV, The Big Bang Theory. That's what one-time Blossom star Mayim Bialik did and now she's a regular, playing scientist and girlfriend of Sheldon Cooper, Amy Farrah Fowler. She doesn't have to wear floppy hats anymore, either!Bell Media