34 Responses

  1. jane james
    jane james at |

    Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      from imdb: “The series was intended to be a starring vehicle for Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross. As a result, the show’s initial focus was more on the parents, with the kids more as background characters.” – that was surprising! I will add him to the list – as well as Scott Valentine’s Nick character from the same show: intended to be on just one show but so popular he because a regular character – what a ‘hunk’! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Peter Boucher
    Peter Boucher at |

    Ted Knight as Ted Baxter on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show”……..

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      Good one! Adding him to the playlist right now –

      Reply
  3. Peter Boucher
    Peter Boucher at |

    Tanya : Here is some trivia for you and I will try to be precise with this tidbit on Ted Knight as I am a trivial movie buff / nutcase when it comes to movies. Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Psycho” (1960). At the very end of the movie, Norman Bates (played incredibly by the late Anthony Perkins) is captured and in a padded cell room and sitting while wearing a Straitjacket. As the camera is going to down a corridor to Norman’s padded room, there is a Security Guard who opens the door to let one of the characters from the movie into the room. The Security Guard then closes the door and stands guard in front of the door. The Security Guard ??………is none other than Ted Knight. I thought you might like to know that……

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      I didn’t know that! Thanks for sharing –

      Reply
  4. Scott McKinstry
    Scott McKinstry at |

    FRASIER Crane, who started as a secondary character on Cheers.

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      Well played – added to the playlist!

      Reply
  5. Eli Cox
    Eli Cox at |

    Topanga Lawrence was originally supposed to be a minor character on Boy Meets World.

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      Added her to the playlist -thanks!

      Reply
  6. Laura
    Laura at |

    Spike on Buffy. He was only supposed to be a few episode arc and ended up staying in the rest of the series and then transferring to Angel when it was over.

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      I think Spike is one of the best vampire characters ever – added him, thanks –

      Reply
  7. Tanner
    Tanner at |

    Kramer from Seinfeld. He really should have been on this list to begin with. And yes, he does count as a side character as much as Barney Stinson is one.

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      Added Kramer and Barney –

      Reply
  8. Jonathan
    Jonathan at |

    JJ Evans on Good Times

    Reply
  9. Larry Boocker
    Larry Boocker at |

    Jamie Farr as Klinger on MASH.

    Reply
  10. tim
    tim at |

    this one may not make the cut but I would give a vote to Dwight Schrute from the office. To me at least he was funnier than Steve Carell’s character michael. and now that Carell is gone he is the hands down star of the show if you ask me.

    Reply
    1. Orrin Konheim (article's author)
      Orrin Konheim (article's author) at |

      Dwight Schrute was in the opening credits from day 1. I wouldn’t count him as a secondary character because there’s a whole lower tier of secondary characters below him and you could argue that someone like Andy or possibly Angela, Oscar, or Creed (it seems like everyone has their favorite) really broke out because they started out lower on the chain

      Reply
  11. Cahootie
    Cahootie at |

    Fez from That 70s show, I can’t be the only one who thinks he’s the best character

    Reply
    1. mACSJS
      mACSJS at |

      definitely! should have been on the list. fez is cult status!

      Reply
  12. Chris
    Chris at |

    Troy and Abed

    GOB and Tobias Funke

    Reply
  13. brian
    brian at |

    Half of these shows are terrible. Why did you talk about the American Dad guy as if the show doesnt air anymore. (past tense)

    Reply
  14. Alaric
    Alaric at |

    I assume Big Bang Theory was originally more about Leonard but Sheldon has totally stolen that show

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      Added him to the playlist –

      Reply
  15. Bailey
    Bailey at |

    Kim Kelly from the 1999 show Freaks and Geeks (played by Busy Phillips) was originally just going to be in the pilot episode, but she was so popular in the pilot that she became a major character in every episode.

    Reply
    1. Tanya Bennett
      Tanya Bennett at |

      Then she definitely belongs on the playlist –

      Reply
  16. Stephen Cook
    Stephen Cook at |

    You’re probably a lot younger than me, so here’s some old school stuff that younger people may remember.

    How about Don Knotts as Barney Fife in the Andy Griffith show.
    The show was originally supposed to center around Andy and Aunt Bee raising Opie. Barney was a secondary character.

    Art Carney as Ed Norton in the Honeymooners.

    Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Fred and Ethyl Mertz in I Love Lucy.

    Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke show.
    The show was going to center around Rob’s work and Laura was supposed to catch his hat and listen to his stories. Supposedly Rose Marie was a little cranked, cause she was intended to be the lead female in the show. In the first year she’s introduced in the credits before Mary Tyler Moore.

    And finally, Cliff Claven. He wasn’t even in the opening credits the first year of Cheers. He originally auditioned for the part of Norm, and when he didn’t get it, pitched himself as the bar “know it all.”

    Reply
    1. Peter Boucher
      Peter Boucher at |

      @ Stephen Cook. That’s one heck of a compelling list that you have complied and never would have thought of it. The one that I like, however, is not a secondary TV character, but a secondary movie character. The Movie ? “Full Metal Jacket” directed by the legendary director Stanley Kubrick and the drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman portrayed by actor R. Lee Ermey. There was actually an actor that was hired for the part, but Kubrick was displeased with him. The purpose of Ermey to be on the set was because he was acting as a coach or instructor for the original part of Sgt. Hartman. Kubrick asked Ermey to fill in the actor’s shoes for a day of shooting, and Kubrick gave Ermey the role. Not only that but Ermey was one of only two actors that Kubrick gave a free reign to improvise if they chose. The other one ? The great Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove”.

      Reply
      1. Tanya Bennett
        Tanya Bennett at |

        Phew! Added them all Stephen – thanks for the excuse to watch some clips from my favorite TV shows 🙂

        Reply
  17. Peter Boucher
    Peter Boucher at |

    Ed Norton (Art Carney of “The Honeymooners”), Myrna Turner (Penny Marshall of “The Odd Couple, who went on to star in Laverne & Shirley and one of the better movie directors today). Ed McMahon (Johnny Carson’s second hand man. And Bea Arthur who started off as Edith’s cousin, Maude in “All In The Family” in which the series “Maude” was created, then “The Golden Girls

    Reply
  18. Leah
    Leah at |

    Surely Eddie (the dog from Frasier) should at least get an honourable mention. His ineffable and undeniable cuteness makes practically every episode.
    It’s probably stupid to mention this, but Will & Grace could almost be renamed Jack & Karen (though I don’t think it would work as well if they weren’t supporting characters, but they’re still one of the best bits about the show).
    Also, Sue Sylvester from Glee was only supposed to be a recurring character because Jane Lynch was working on another project at the time, but when that fell through they made her a main part.
    I don’t know if this counts, but another Glee one would be Blaine. I think that originally Kurt’s love interest for season 2 was supposed to be Sam Evans played by Chord Overstreet, but allegedly Overstreet and Dianna Agron who plays Quinn had great chemistry on screen so they rejigged his character so that they could date. Which left the question of who Kurt would end up with, so the writers cooked up the dapper, blazer wearing dreamboat that was Blaine Anderson. Since then Blaine has had like a bajillion solos and his glee club The Warblers released their own album which became number one on iTunes and went on tour with the main cast. Blaine was so popular among fans that they transferred him from Dalton Academy to McKinley High in season 3 so that he could join New Directions and be in every episode even getting his own story arcs. Of course most of Blaine’s success is probably due to their casting of Darren Criss, who was already something of an internet sensation because he played Harry in A Very Potter Musical (not to mention he’s an adorkable, smouldering sex hobbit), but I remember reading once that he was actually thinking of giving up the dream of becoming an actor until Blaine came along and due to his success on Glee he’s been on Broadway, gotten parts in movies and I think even has a solo album in the works. So, yeah, does that count?
    I apologise for talking so much. Turns out I had alot to say on the matter and an alarming amount of random Glee trivia just swimming about in my head.

    (Sidenote: the character of Kurt was created especially for Chris Colfer who originally auditioned for Artie, but the creators liked him so much that they put a new character into the show just for him. So, when you think about it, without Chris Colfer there’d have been no Kurt, and without Kurt there’d have been no Blaine, and without Blaine there’d have been no Darren Criss (or not as much of him to be more correct) and my comment would’ve been a hell of lot shorter. I’m finished now, I swear. I bet no one’s even bothered to read this.)

    Reply
  19. TotalAnon
    TotalAnon at |

    how about Stewie? he’s the most popular character in the show and he started out as practically a 3rd string QB compared to other characters on Family Guy.

    Reply
  20. daddyostjames
    daddyostjames at |

    ?to me Hudson leik on “Xenia” I would only watch episodes that had Callisto she was a wicked babe and #1stunner!??

    Reply
  21. jj
    jj at |

    patrick star!!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply