TV 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.

list ordered by

1
958 493
Ron Swanson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Parks and Recreation

2
871 517
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Walking Dead

3
683 419
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Office

4
806 453
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
How I Met Your Mother

5
853 543
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Big Bang Theory

6
588 421
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Star Trek

7
498 360
April Ludgate is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
penguinmayne added Parks and Recreation

8
541 453
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi

9
561 347
Janitor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Scrubs

10
824 470
Spike is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Gandarla86 added Buffy the Vampire Slayer

11
511 427
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Seinfeld

12
563 467
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Family Guy

13
368 190
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mia W (SweetLilMzMia) added Breaking Bad

14
445 429
Steve Urkel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Family Matters

15
411 380
Michael Kelso is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
That 70's Show

16
341 359
Barney Fife is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Andy Griffith Show

17
490 370
Castiel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Supernatural

18
418 384
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Cheers

19
426 348
Karen Walker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Will & Grace

20
268 387
Abed Nadir is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Community

21
321 341
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Family Ties

22
171 175
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
teddybear1029 added The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show

23
338 295
Bobby Singer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
wawwhite1 added Supernatural

24
162 104
Charlie Kelly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
swirlyt added It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

25
179 123
Suzanne
swirlyt added Orange Is the New Black

26
184 214
Butters Stotch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Tom Islava added South Park

27
243 319
Saul Goodman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Breaking Bad

28
166 118
Crowley is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Lilahjk added

29
180 192
Niles Crane is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mia W (SweetLilMzMia) added Frasier

30
326 323
Mr. Gold is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
wawwhite1 added Once Upon a Time

31
299 368
Nick Miller is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
New Girl

32
327 377
Angel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

33
184 195
Lafayette Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
wawwhite1 added True Blood

34
309 425
Sue Sylvester is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

35
173 205
Pam is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
True Blood

36
156 111
Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
swirlyt added New Girl

37
74 22
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
gallifreyankhaleesi added Game of Thrones

38
139 179
Patrick Star is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
CheckinaCoulibaly added SpongeBob SquarePants

39
111 132
Mike Ehrmantraut is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Brodka added Breaking Bad

40
235 406
Randy Marsh is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
South Park

41
211 399
Elmo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Sesame Street

42
121 173
Brooke Davis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
JVall14 added One Tree Hill

43
206 368
Andy Bernard is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Office

44
68 78
Winston Bishop is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
New Girl

45
113 154
Radar O'Reilly is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Lisa DeLong added W*A*L*T*E*R, M*A*S*H

46
133 201
Stiles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
wawwhite1 added Teen Wolf

47
113 164
Rebekah Mikaelson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Neobule added The Vampire Diaries

48
81 49
Amy Farrah Fowler is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Lilytabby added The Big Bang Theory

49
133 204
Michael Westen is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
RoryCholewczynski added Burn Notice

50
159 353
Vinnie Barbarino is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
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