Movie stars on TV

28 June 2023
The biggest stars are in your living room.
collage of people

Television ain’t what it used to be: not for audiences nor for those making the stories we love watching. This includes actors who used to be defined as movie or TV stars, finding the task of bouncing successfully back and forth between the two mediums no easy feat. TV stars found it notoriously difficult to get away from the characters people were used to watching in their living rooms week after week, while movie stars would not dare to touch television. In the mid ‘90s, Charlize Theron would be lightheartedly (yet altogether seriously) warned by mega movie star Tom Hanks to “never do television”.

But just a few years later, in 1999, The Sopranos came along and changed everything, opening the format to long-form storytelling, big budgets, and deep, juicy roles. Followed by the likes of The Wire and Band of Brothers (ironically produced by Hanks) and later on Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, television started to become a medium that attracted even the biggest names: from Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Lange, and Reese Witherspoon to Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, and Angela Bassett.

Right here on M-Net channel 101, we have hosted some of these mighty movie stars in the likes of Big Little Lies, American Horror StoryThe Good Lord Bird, 9-1-1, and True Detective, and continue to invite them into our homes. Take a look below.

Dwayne Johnson
Let’s start big. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson went from wrestling star to movie star to star of everything. In between making gigantic blockbusters, producing movies, becoming the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, and the sexiest man alive, he also spent time making successful shows like Ballers and Young Rock, the latter a sitcom based on his life.

Watch Young Rock season 3 Saturdays at 18:30 on M-Net.
Stream all five seasons of Ballers on Showmax.

Sylvester Stallone
A mega action star, Sly Stallone got his big break playing Rocky in Rocky, a movie he also wrote. It turned into a major franchise that continues to this day with the Creed instalments. In addition to the Rocky empire, Stallone is well known for action movie franchises Rambo and The Expendables. His time on television has always been minimal … until now: not only is he headlining a new mafia show called Tulsa King, but he also has his own reality show following his family, called The Family Stallone.

Watch Tulsa King season 1 Mondays at 21:00 on M-Net. Please note: from Monday 17 July, the show will move to 20:00.

Harrison Ford
Yet another action star with huge franchises to his name, Harrison Ford had also done only random bits of television here and there, mostly as he was trying to make it as an actor. When he landed his iconic role as Han Solo in Star Wars his time on television stopped. He made blockbuster after blockbuster, including playing the title role in the Indiana Jones movies (a role he’s reviving this year in the fifth instalment). It was not until last year that he appeared in a leading, recurring role on television, playing Jacob Dutton in 1923.

Watch 1923 Thursdays at 21:00 on M-Net.

Chris O’Donnell
Maybe you remember, maybe you don’t … or maybe you weren’t born at the time, but O’Donnell used to be quite the hot movie ticket in the ‘90s. This included lead roles in School Ties, Scent of a Woman, and The Three Musketeers. He even made two Batman movies. For the past few years he has focused almost exclusively on playing Callen in NCIS: Los Angeles, also appearing as the character in crossover episodes with Hawaii Five-0 and NCIS: Hawaiʻi.

LL Cool J
O’Donnell’s NCIS: LA co-star may have been better known as a rapper, but he also squeezed in time to make movies, appearing in Halloween H20, Deep Blue Sea, and Any Given Sunday. Since 2009 he’s been on NCIS: LA. With the show ending after the fourteenth season, it will be interesting to see what these two stars do next.

Watch NCIS: Los Angeles season 14 Fridays at 19:00 on M-Net.

Sarah Jessica Parker
SJP shuffled to and fro in the ‘80s, finally focusing on movies in the ‘90s … until she started her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City in 1998. Before that, she had appeared in movie hits and cult classics such as Footloose, Ed Wood, and Hocus Pocus. She continued to make movies during Sex and the City, and beyond. On television, she also had a short stint in Glee and then landed a lead role in Divorce, which lasted for three seasons and earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Most recently she’s reprised two of her iconic roles, one as the witch Sarah Sanderson in Hocus Pocus 2 and the other as Carrie Bradshaw in the revival series And Just Like That … .

Stream all six seasons of Sex and the City on Showmax.
Watch And Just Like That … season 2 Mondays at 21:00 on M-Net, starting 17 July. As a result, the last three episodes of Tulsa King will move to 20:00.

Which movie star do you love watching on television the most?

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