Why TV Is No Longer A Step Backward For Hollywood Stars

It's become a familiar sight — Kate Winslet, teary-eyed at a podium, clutching a gleaming award for another critically acclaimed acting performance.  In 2008, she was holding a Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Reader, and now Winslet has just picked up another gold trophy – an Emmy for her starring role in critically acclaimed television miniseries Mildred Pierce.  In the past decade, TV has increased its legitimacy as a medium for the most talented and respected actors and actresses to dip into, and a way for those just off the A-list to take starring, rather than supporting, roles.


With Dame Maggie Smith starring on another Emmy winner this year, Downton Abbey, and Zooey Deschanel dipping a toe into television with her sitcom New Girl, 2011/2012's TV schedules are littered with actresses we're more used to seeing in cinemas.


Kristen Wiig and Christina Hendricks are among the actresses who have recently made the step from TV to film, with significant roles in Bridesmaids and Drive respectively, and it's not as much of a graduation as it once was.  Likewise, going from film to television is no longer seen as two steps back for talent, thanks to more money being funnelled into projects, and innovative uses of the format.  This fluidity between the mediums has meant that cable shows have seen a steady increase in big name stars, and now even America's 'Fall lineup' on network channels seems to have a higher-than-normal injection of star power, with show premieres featuring actresses like Deschanel, Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls), Christina Ricci (Pan Am), and Amber Heard (The Playboy Club) to name a few.


Cable channels with paid subscriptions in the States, such as HBO and Showtime, are able to commit to higher budgets and riskier subject matter, attracting stars with the high quality, innovative nature, and that all-important award potential of their shows.  Not too long ago, television was the less prestigious format, and film was where the majority of actors got their acclaim, but now each year's lineup of new shows and miniseries announcements are pored over and as newsworthy as movie casting – particularly if well-known actors, actresses and directors are involved.



Read the rest of From Silver To Small, in our October 2011 issue.  Out now!

"TV schedules are littered with actresses we’re more used to seeing in cinemas."
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