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 Best Re-Casting of Famous TV Roles The Best Anime Series of All Time

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
+ - 662 416
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Sheldon Cooper The Big Bang Theory

4
+ - 463 337
Spock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Spock Star Trek

5
+ - 706 382
Spike is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Spike Buffy the Vampire Slayer

6
+ - 579 377
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
+ - 447 333
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Dwight Schrute The Office

8
+ - 438 376
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Fonzie Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi

9
+ - 413 286
The Janitor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Janitor Scrubs

10
+ - 407 354
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Cosmo Kramer Seinfeld

11
+ - 318 290
April Ludgate is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
April Ludgate Parks and Recreation

12
+ - 446 394
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Stewie Griffin Family Guy

13
+ - 349 361
Steve Urkel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Steve Urkel Family Matters

14
+ - 231 128
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

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

17
+ - 375 298
Castiel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Castiel Supernatural

18
+ - 340 319
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Frasier Crane Cheers

19
+ - 328 291
Karen Walker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Karen Walker Will & Grace

20
+ - 196 317
Abed Nadir is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Abed Nadir Community

21
+ - 257 282
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

22
+ - 256 231
Bobby Singer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Bobby Singer Supernatural

23
+ - 102 117
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
+ - 109 66
Suzanne
Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren Orange Is the New Black

25
+ - 260 258
Mr. Gold is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mr. Gold Once Upon a Time

26
+ - 174 257
Saul Goodman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Saul Goodman Breaking Bad

27
+ - 119 133
Niles Crane is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Niles Crane Frasier

28
+ - 255 358
Sue Sylvester is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

29
+ - 94 61
Crowley is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

The Most Beloved Grumps in TV History Real, Horrifying Punishments in Other Countries

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+ - 135 141
Lafayette Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Lafayette Reynolds True Blood

31
+ - 80 53
Charlie Kelly is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Charlie Kelly It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

32
+ - 107 155
Butters Stotch is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Butters Stotch South Park

33
+ - 130 146
Pam is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Pam True Blood

34
+ - 257 318
Angel is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Angel Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

35
+ - 220 310
Nick Miller is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Nick Miller New Girl

36
+ - 170 338
Elmo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Elmo Sesame Street

37
+ - 130 297
J.J. Evans is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
J.J. Evans Good Times

38
+ - 243 243
Lex Luthor is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

39
+ - 81 100
Radar O'Reilly is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Radar O'Reilly W*A*L*T*E*R, M*A*S*H

40
+ - 85 118
Brooke Davis is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Brooke Davis One Tree Hill

41
+ - 183 352
Randy Marsh is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Randy Marsh South Park

42
+ - 63 77
Mike Ehrmantraut is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mike Ehrmantraut Breaking Bad

43
+ - 102 150
Michael Westen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Michael Westen Burn Notice

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Vinnie Barbarino is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Vinnie Barbarino Welcome Back, Kotter

45
+ - 79 112
Patrick Star is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Patrick Star SpongeBob SquarePants

46
+ - 178 328
Sylar is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Sylar Heroes

47
+ - 146 309
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
J.R. Ewing Dallas

48
+ - 75 117
Rebekah Mikaelson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Rebekah Mikaelson The Vampire Diaries

49
+ - 162 311
Jim Ignatowsky is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Jim Ignatowsky Taxi

50
+ - 95 161
Stiles is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Stiles Teen Wolf