Special Guest Star


Special Guest Star

Stunt casting can really irk fans, especially when an episode feels like it was built around a very special guest star. The trick is making the guest and show meet halfway, instead of making the show come to the guest. Bad: Julia Roberts on Friends and Madonna on Will & Grace. Good: Steve Martin on 30 Rock.

Did Entourage Have Too Many Special Guest Stars?

Entourage

Entourage's season finale featured almost as much star wattage as the MTV VMAs, airing at the same time as Sunday's episode. Eminem, Minka Kelly, Ryan Howard, Drew Brees, Mark Cuban and Christina Aguilera all stopped in to help set up the series for its final season.

Eminem thrives at VMAs ... then leaves

But as Jump the Shark fans well know, guest stars can be a sign of strength or weakness. read more

The View Taps Reality Mom Kate Gosselin as Co-Host

Kate Gosselin

When Elisabeth Hasselbeck said Kate Gosselin should "get the camera off the kids" and "get a job," she didn't mean her job.

But desperate times call for desperate hosts, and The View says Gosselin will serve as a fill-in host for Hasselbeck ... read more

Benjamin Bratt Talks Cleaner Slate of Guests

The Cleaner, Benjamin Bratt

Are special guest stars always a shark jump? The Cleaner's Benjamin Bratt says no way — especially when they include Whoopi Goldberg, Mia Kirschner, Gary Cole, and Joe Don Baker, some of the actors appearing on his A&E drama this season. read more

Distracting Guest Stars: This Ain't Your Little Sister's Hilary Duff

Christopher Meloni and Hilary Duff

A new trend is making us jumpy — shark jumpy, that is: Young, hot musicians going for acting cred by guest-starring on gritty procedurals.

First Taylor Swift guested on CSI. Then Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz appeared on CSI: NY. Now, Hilary Duff is joining NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Tuesday, 10 pm/ET). Duff has aimed for acting cred before, playing an oversexed popstar in the movie War, Inc., but no one saw it. Now on SVU, she's playing an irresponsible young mother who becomes a suspect in her daughter's disappearance. Really? It was hard enough for us to buy her as the heroine in A Cinderella Story, and that part was made for her.

We understand that guest stars are important to series, and that the bigger the name, the better the ratings. With procedurals, the more salacious the crime, the bigger the buzz for the show and guest star. But does seeing such recognizable stars — and ones not known for dramatic acting — take you out of the story? Weigh in after the jump

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Has Stunt Casting Gone Too Far?

Chevy Chase

Whether it's Julia Roberts on Friends or Robin Williams on Law & Order: SVU, ratings spike and Emmy nominations roll in for stunt casting. Lately, Chuck has had a parade of guest stars, including Nicole Richie and the recently announced Chevy Chase and Scott Bakula. Do high-profile guest stars take you out of the story, or do you love familiar faces?

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