fictional characters The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

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List Rules Vote up the best breakout TV characters of all time

When a television show first starts, the writers of the program already have the star in mind. They write for the characters they think the audience will relate to and like the most and design the show around those characters. However, once the show hits the airwaves, the viewers don’t always agree. Sometimes the true star of the show is the unlikeliest candidate. The breakout character is usually a character who was introduced as part of the supporting cast, but for one reason or another became a fan favorite. This list of the greatest breakout characters in TV history includes characters from both comedies and dramas and has been ranked by the community.

The breakout character on a TV show usually becomes the most discussed and most loved part of the show. He or she has the funniest lines, the best stories, and is portrayed by the favorite actor. After a positive audience reaction, these breakout characters suddenly start to get more screen time and story lines. Characters like Fonzie and Ben Linus were never meant to be huge parts of their shows, but after their introduction, it was inevitable that they’d become pivotal to the show’s success. Some breakout characters, like Frasier Crane, even go on to star in their own series.

Who are the greatest breakout characters on TV? Vote up the best breakout television characters below or add the best breakout star if he or she isn't already on the list.

1
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Ron Swanson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Ron Swanson Parks and Recreation

The Creepiest Characters in TV History The Best Survivor Contestants That Ever Played

2
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Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

3
+ - 718 449
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Sheldon Cooper The Big Bang Theory

4
+ - 517 352
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Dwight Schrute The Office

5
+ - 502 357
Spock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Spock Star Trek

6
+ - 638 399
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Barney Stinson How I Met Your Mother

7
+ - 741 408
Spike is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Spike Buffy the Vampire Slayer

8
+ - 466 396
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Fonzie Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi

9
+ - 461 299
Janitor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Janitor Scrubs

10
+ - 386 307
April Ludgate is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
April Ludgate Parks and Recreation

11
+ - 430 379
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Cosmo Kramer Seinfeld

12
+ - 473 415
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Stewie Griffin Family Guy

13
+ - 381 378
Steve Urkel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Steve Urkel Family Matters

14
+ - 268 144
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad

15
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Barney Fife is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Barney Fife The Andy Griffith Show

The Greatest Misunderstood Teens in TV History These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models

16
+ - 338 329
Michael Kelso is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Michael Kelso That 70's Show

17
+ - 404 324
Castiel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Castiel Supernatural

18
+ - 370 336
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Frasier Crane Cheers

19
+ - 357 308
Karen Walker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Karen Walker Will & Grace

20
+ - 218 339
Abed Nadir is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Abed Nadir Community

21
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Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

22
+ - 280 250
Bobby Singer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Bobby Singer Supernatural

23
+ - 122 134
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Bart Simpson The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show

24
+ - 116 64
Charlie Kelly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Charlie Kelly It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

25
+ - 134 85
Suzanne
Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren Orange Is the New Black

26
+ - 283 280
Mr. Gold is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mr. Gold Once Upon a Time

27
+ - 193 276
Saul Goodman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Saul Goodman Breaking Bad

28
+ - 130 170
Butters Stotch is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Butters Stotch South Park

29
+ - 251 326
Nick Miller is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Nick Miller New Girl

The Biggest Pimps In Television History The Worst Things You Can Make Jokes About

30
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Sue Sylvester is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

31
+ - 135 154
Niles Crane is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Niles Crane Frasier

32
+ - 109 81
Crowley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

33
+ - 147 158
Lafayette Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Lafayette Reynolds True Blood

34
+ - 277 335
Angel is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Angel Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

35
+ - 141 167
Pam is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Pam True Blood

36
+ - 185 354
Elmo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Elmo Sesame Street

37
+ - 202 363
Randy Marsh is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Randy Marsh South Park

38
+ - 77 92
Mike Ehrmantraut is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mike Ehrmantraut Breaking Bad

39
+ - 116 165
Michael Westen is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Michael Westen Burn Notice

40
+ - 136 316
J.J. Evans is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
J.J. Evans Good Times

41
+ - 101 77
Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Schmidt New Girl

42
+ - 249 265
Lex Luthor is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

43
+ - 89 119
Radar O'Reilly is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Radar O'Reilly W*A*L*T*E*R, M*A*S*H

The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History The Best Soju Brands

44
+ - 91 137
Brooke Davis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Brooke Davis One Tree Hill

45
+ - 144 318
Vinnie Barbarino is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Vinnie Barbarino Welcome Back, Kotter

46
+ - 88 131
Patrick Star is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Patrick Star SpongeBob SquarePants

47
+ - 36 38
Winston Bishop is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Winston Bishop New Girl

48
+ - 86 132
Rebekah Mikaelson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Rebekah Mikaelson The Vampire Diaries

49
+ - 185 342
Sylar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Sylar Heroes

50
+ - 155 321
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
J.R. Ewing Dallas