Popular TV Shows You Won’t Believe Actors Turned Down

What if your favorite TV character was played by someone else? What if your favorite TV shows had different actors? We’ve all wondered what a certain character or show would be like—or wouldn’t be like—with someone else in the role; and there are many, many instances of actors turning down roles or shows that would eventually become iconic, famous and sometimes even award winning. Let’s take a look at some popular TV shows and roles that actors turned down—and wonder if they regret it!

Breaking Bad: Matthew Broderick turned down the role of Walter White

The role of Walter White has been immortalized by Bryan Cranston, who delivered an award winning performance that left many viewers–especially those who had previously associated Cranston with the fun loving ‘Hal’ from Malcolm in the Middle–astounded. But the role of Walter wasn’t always in Cranston’s hands. Matthew Broderick was one of a few actors who were given the script and offered the exclusive chance to audition for the role; Broderick turned it down for unknown reasons, but his decision has left many fans wondering whether Broderick could have stepped up to the challenge and delivered as iconic a performance as Cranston.

The Office: Paul Giamatti turned down the role of Michael Scott

Few viewers could imagine The Office without Steve Carell as the hilariously dumb Michael Scott–the show’s ratings, in fact, decreased after the actor departed the show for good. But the role of the Office boss wasn’t written with Carell in mind, and he wasn’t even the first choice for the role. The show’s producers sought out Paul Giamatti initially, and offered him the role without the need to audition. Giamatti turned down the role and Carell was eventually cast.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Katie Holmes turned down the role of Buffy

Buffy The Vampire Slayer was one of the most popular teen shows in the 90s and early 00s–but the iconic Buffy was almost played by an entirely different actress. Katie Holmes was the first actress asked to take on the role of Buffy, but Holmes decided to turn down the role and finish her senior year of high school instead. The role was eventually cast with Sarah Michael Geller, though both actresses enjoyed success during this time period; Geller on Buffy and Holmes on Dawson’s Creek!


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