The CW is home to some of the biggest series. The network's history of shows have consistently been hits with millions of people, not just in America but all over the world. Many of the actors and actresses on the various shows in the network have had long successful careers after their stint at The CW, while others have disappeared off the face of our TV screens. But those who were fortunate enough to snag the right roles after they left the network have gone on to become even bigger stars than they were prior to leaving.
Some have even earned accolades such as Oscar and Emmy nominations. Because the network is aimed primarily at a younger demographic than most, the shows that air on The CW mostly contain younger actors who leave the network soon after their shows end, hoping to find a place in the populated and wildly competitive world of movies and television. While some actors are lucky enough to gain more popularity post-CW, others are unfortunately not so lucky. Although their career may have gotten off to a great start, it all ends there for some of them.
Here are 8 CW Stars Who Went On To Great Things And 7 Who Flopped.
15 Went On To Great Things: Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel starred as Mary Camden in The WB/CW family drama 7th Heaven for 134 episodes, first having a main role which was reduced to guest appearances as the show progressed. Biel gained fame from her roles in movies like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Blade: Trinity, The Illusionist, Valentine's Day, The A-Team and Hitchcock and from her high profile marriage to actor, singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake. Biel earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in a miniseries or television movie for her performance in the USA TV series The Sinner.
Biel was the executive producer for the show as she wasn't satisfied with the roles she was being offered.
The show performed well ratings wise and earned great reviews with critics loving Biel's performance. The actress is set to return to the show in its second season.
14 Career Flopped: Chad Michael Murray
Once deemed as one of TV's biggest stars, Chad Michael Murray has struggled to find roles since leaving The CW's One Tree Hill. The actor left the series along with Hilarie Burton in 2009. A video was released shortly after news of his departure which saw him explaining that The CW had decided to fire him to save money, though show runner Mark Schwahn stated otherwise.
After his departure, Murray starred in movies like The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, Fruitvale Station, and A Madea Christmas, among others but found little success. Murray also appeared as Jack Thompson in the critically acclaimed but short-lived Marvel series called Agent Carter. After Agent Carter was cancelled, Murray appeared as a main cast member in CMT's little known drama Sun Records, but following the show's cancellation has yet to find a new job.
13 Went On To Great Things: Maggie Q
Based on Luc Besson's movie of the same name, The CW's Nikita was an inspired twist on the popular movie. Featuring Maggie Q in the lead role, the series managed to win audiences and cynics over. Q was the second Asian American to lead her own series - her acting and stunts made her a breakout superstar.
After the series finished, Maggie Q managed to play the lead in CBS' Stalker, but despite the show only airing one season, she failed to disappear from the public eye, landing the role of Tori Wu in the Divergent franchise. In 2016, she was also cast in the role of FBI agent Hannah Wells in the popular ABC political drama Designated Survivor. The series and her role in it has been lauded, and Q's career has continued to blossom since her role in The CW series.
12 Career Flopped: Michael Rosenbaum
Prior to his role as Lex Luthor in the hit superhero series Smallville, Rosenbaum had small, mostly voiceover roles in a plethora of different shows and animated series. With his adaptation of the Superman villain, Rosenbaum gained a huge fan base that tuned in every week to see him and Clark Kent battle it out.
He hasn't found any role to flex his acting muscles in.
The actor has continued to provide his voice for a number of animated shows and movies, most of them about DC superheroes. Apart from this, Rosenbaum has appeared as a guest star in a few shows here and there. In 2015, he appeared as lead character Buddy Dobbs in TV Land's short lived series Impastor, but after the series' cancellation hasn't landed any significant TV or movie gigs.
11 Went On To Great Things: Blake Lively
Blake Lively's career has only grown since she appeared in Gossip Girl as Serena van der Woodsen. The actress, who is famously married to Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, has been keeping busy since Gossip Girl's end with roles in movies like Savages, The Age of Adaline, The Shallows, and Café Society. Lively earned acclaim for her performance in The Shallows, with many critics noting that the movie's best aspect was Blake Lively's performance.
Lively is set to appear in Paul Feig's mystery movie A Simple Favor alongside Anna Kendrick and Henry Golding. She is also set to appear in an upcoming movie based on the Mark Burnell novel The Rhythm Section which is being directed by The Handmaid's Tale director Reed Morano.
10 Career Flopped: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar is easily among the most recognizable people on this list. The actress who headlined Buffy The Vampire Slayer made waves with her character in the Joss Whedon created series. Following the series' final season in 2003, Gellar reprised her role as Daphne in the Scooby Doo live-action franchise.
Gellar subsequently appeared in other smaller movies that failed to make a mark critically or commercially.
In 2011, Sarah Michelle Gellar returned to The CW to lead the series Ringer, alongside Nestor Carbonell and Ioan Gruffudd, but the show was cancelled after one season. Gellar's second attempt at finding a place in prime time TV wasn't any more successful. The aforementioned series was a CBS sitcom called The Crazy Ones which lasted one season before CBS pulled it off the air. Gellar attempted to revive her career recently, but has not found any notable roles since Buffy.
9 Went On To Great Things: Justin Hartley
Smallville fans would surely remember Justin Hartley who played superhero Oliver Queen in the series for a number of seasons. First appearing as a guest star, the character's popularity following the departure of Kristin Kreuk's Lana Lang and Michael Rosenbaum's Lex Luthor prompted the show runners to hire the actor as a series regular.
After the show wrapped up, Hartley struggled to find roles with two of the shows he previously got involved with getting cancelled after a season each. While he played minor roles on shows like Chuck, Hart of Dixie and even as a recurring character on Revenge, his star seemed to be dimming with each forgettable role he took. That was until Hartley landed the role of Kevin Pearson in NBC's This Is Us. The show was not only a hit with the critics, it has become a ratings mammoth and propelled Hartley's career to new heights.
8 Career Flopped: James Lafferty
One Tree Hill was one of the biggest teen dramas during its time and it turned stars out of its talented cast of relative newcomers. James Lafferty played one half of the two brothers at war in the teen show, playing Nathan Scott for 9 seasons.
With a huge fan base, Lafferty's tenure in One Tree Hill has remained the highlight of the actor's career.
Since the show ended, Lafferty has appeared in the direct-to-DVD sequel to Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko, entitled S. Darko. He attempted to launch an adventure reality series for which he was supposed to serve as an executive producer, but failed to find a network. In 2013 he was cast in NBC's drama Crisis, but the show was cancelled midway through the first season. Lafferty has directed a number of episodes for the E! drama The Royals but has failed to find a good role after One Tree Hill.
7 Went On To Great Things: Sophia Bush
Sophia Bush's Brooke Davis was one of the most popular characters in One Tree Hill. Bush's performance as the spoiled troublemaker turned friend had her earning positive reviews, mainstream fame, as well as numerous endorsement deals with various brands.
Bush also appeared in a few movies post-One Tree Hill which performed well.
She joined the cast of NBC's Partners and after the series' cancellation joined another series which failed to be picked up by a network. Bush then joined the cast of the popular Chicago Fire spin-off Chicago P.D. as Detective Erin Lindsay. Because the various Chicago NBC shows are all set in the same continuity, her character often crossed over in the other connected series such as Chicago Fire and Chicago Justice. Recently, Bush decided to exit the series but has already signed a deal with Fox to develop a new series with her in the lead role.
6 Career Flopped: Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter is mostly known for her role as Cordelia Chase in The WB series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and its spin-off Angel. Both shows aired on The WB network which later became The CW. Charisma's iconic role as Cordelia made her a big star among the shows' fans. Given the popularity of the series, it made sense that fans were expecting big things from her following Angel's cancellation.
Charisma Carpenter appeared as a recurring star in The CW's Veronica Mars, but aside from that did not land any notable role in a show or movie. It seemed like things were back on track for her when she got the role of Lacy in The Expendables and again in The Expendables 2, but the actress was not asked to join the third movie in the franchise. Since then Carpenter hasn't gotten any significant role in a movie or TV show.
5 Went On To Great Things: Alexis Bledel
Alexis Bledel rose to fame largely due to her performance as Rory Gilmore in the The WB/CW television series Gilmore Girls. While the actress had been recognized for her work in movies such as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sin City, it was her role in Gilmore Girls that established her as a mainstream TV Star.
Since then she appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, but none gave her the fame she gained from The CW.
Her career resurged once again due to her brilliant portrayal of Ofglen in Hulu's dystopian drama The Handmaid's Tale. Although Bledel was a guest star on the show, her performance drew acclaim from far and wide and resulted in her snagging the Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series award in last year's Primetime Emmy Awards.
4 Career Flopped: Jason Dohring
Jason Dohring rose to prominence for his role as Logan Echolls in The CW's universally acclaimed teen noir mystery Veronica Mars. After the series' surprise cancellation in 2007, he became one of the main characters in the CBS paranormal romance Moonlight. The series was panned by critics and lost most of its audience by the time the first season's finale rolled around. Thus, it came as little surprise that the CBS decided to not go through with a second season.
He then appeared in a recurring capacity on The CW's Ringer till it was cancelled after it wrapped up its freshman season. Since then he has appeared in recurring roles on shows like The Originals and most recently iZombie. Considering how far some of his fellow CW stars have come, it's a shame his career hasn't reached new heights.
3 Went On To Great Things: Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell is one of TV's most well-known stars today. The actress launched her career with minor roles in TV shows and movies, but it was her titular role in The CW's Veronica Mars which introduced the world to the actress.
Bell's role as the snarky Nancy Drew-esque teen not only made her a teen icon, but also a critic's favorite.
After the series finished, Bell started a year long stint on NBC's Heroes before moving to Showtime's comedy House of Lies where she remained until the show ended in 2016. Bell then landed the role of Eleanor Shellstrop in Mike Schur's NBC comedy The Good Place for which she earned great acclaim and multiple award nominations. Aside from her work on TV, Bell's role as Princess Anna in the Disney animated movie Frozen has also made her a household name.
2 Career Flopped: Leighton Meester
Leighton Meester was supposed to be the next big star from The CW following her breakout role in Gossip Girl. Meester's character was the most critically-acclaimed character from the series, and arguably the most complex.
Meester's stellar performance helped her become a success with fans and critics.
After the series ended, neither her acting pursuits, nor her music career bore fruit. The actress has failed to make a mark in Hollywood with the movies she's been involved in largely not doing well. Her attempt to dive back into serialized content failed, with Fox's Making History which was Meester's first major role after Gossip Girl, being cancelled after one season due to poor ratings. It's safe to say that Meester's career is not doing so well at the moment.
1 Went On To Great Things: Melissa McCarthy
McCarthy's role as Sookie St. James in The CW's Gilmore Girls had already helped her amass a loyal fan base and her popularity has only grown since the series ended. From her role as Dena in Samantha Who? to her role as Molly Flynn in Mike and Molly, McCarthy has enjoyed great critical acclaim on TV and earned multiple Emmy Awards for her work. She also was the second highest paid actress in the world in 2016.
Her role in Bridesmaids which effectively established her as a force to be reckoned with, earned her a Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and paved way for her to become a big movie star. She headlined comedies like Spy, Tammy, The Heat, The Boss and Ghostbusters. With a production house, a fashion line and several upcoming movies on her roster, McCarthy's career shows no signs of stopping.
Which other stars do you feel failed to make a mark after The CW? Let us know in the comments!
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