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
963 494
Ron Swanson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Parks and Recreation

2
872 518
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Walking Dead

3
685 420
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Office

4
808 453
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
How I Met Your Mother

5
854 544
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Big Bang Theory

6
592 422
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Star Trek

7
500 361
April Ludgate is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
penguinmayne added Parks and Recreation

8
541 454
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi

9
564 348
Janitor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Scrubs

10
824 471
Spike is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Gandarla86 added Buffy the Vampire Slayer

11
567 469
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Family Guy

12
512 428
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Seinfeld

13
369 191
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mia W (SweetLilMzMia) added Breaking Bad

14
445 430
Steve Urkel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Family Matters

15
412 381
Michael Kelso is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
That 70's Show

16
341 360
Barney Fife is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Andy Griffith Show

17
493 371
Castiel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Supernatural

18
418 385
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Cheers

19
426 349
Karen Walker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Will & Grace

20
272 388
Abed Nadir is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Community

21
321 342
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Family Ties

22
172 177
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
341 296
Bobby Singer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
wawwhite1 added Supernatural

24
163 105
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
179 125
Suzanne
swirlyt added Orange Is the New Black

26
186 215
Butters Stotch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Tom Islava added South Park

27
244 320
Saul Goodman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Breaking Bad

28
168 119
Crowley is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Lilahjk added

29
180 193
Niles Crane is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Mia W (SweetLilMzMia) added Frasier

30
301 368
Nick Miller is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
New Girl

31
326 324
Mr. Gold is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
wawwhite1 added Once Upon a Time

32
327 378
Angel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

33
184 196
Lafayette Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
wawwhite1 added True Blood

34
309 426
Sue Sylvester is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

35
173 206
Pam is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
True Blood

36
158 111
Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
swirlyt added New Girl

37
75 23
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
gallifreyankhaleesi added Game of Thrones

38
141 180
Patrick Star is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
CheckinaCoulibaly added SpongeBob SquarePants

39
112 133
Mike Ehrmantraut is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Brodka added Breaking Bad

40
236 407
Randy Marsh is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
South Park

41
212 400
Elmo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
Sesame Street

42
121 174
Brooke Davis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
JVall14 added One Tree Hill

43
70 78
Winston Bishop is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
New Girl

44
207 369
Andy Bernard is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History
The Office

45
113 155
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
134 202
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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