Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris

With Charlie Sheen’s latest sitcom Anger Management debuting tonight on Comedy Central, we take a look back at his and a few other of TV’s greatest comebacks.

Charlie Sheen

In the 1990s, Charlie Sheen was on his way to a solid film career. Despite films like Wall Street, The Rookie and The Chase under his belt, it was when he switched to TV comedy and took over the lead role in sitcom Spin City after illness forced Michael J Fox to leave the show that he really began to shine.

It was then when he became the centre piece of new comedy Two and Half Men, a role that was make him a household name. The show, despite being critically panned was a massive success, becoming the most watched sitcom in America and earning Sheen a hefty $48million a year at the height of its power.

A high profile falling out though happened though, after the actor insulted the shows lead writer and creator Chuck Lorre, wanted a wage increase and entered rehab for problems with drugs and alcohol. After being fired from the show, it looked like the end for Sheen, after a series of unflattering interviews made the actor a joke.

From the ashes though, Sheen has returned with his starring role in new comedy show Anger Management, which has been a roaring success, with its debut in America breaking all ratings records on cable. With another 90 episodes already commissioned, the future looks very bright for Sheen and the show.

Neil Patrick Harris

The man known as NPH can nowadays seemingly do no wrong, adored by nearly all audiences.

He captivated audiences back in the early 1990s as Doogie Howser, a genius child doctor, but was cast aside after the show ran its course. Like many child actors, he was type cast and unable to get away from the oversized white coat he’d donned in the show and found his new home on stage, comfortably out of the spotlight.

Then in 2004, it all changed after his amazing cameo in Harold and Kumar Go To Whitecastle. Playing a fictionalised, crazed version of himself, he caught the eye of the producers of new sitcom project How I Met Your Mother. Looking for someone to play a womanising idiot on the show, NPH’s performance in the stoner comedy got him what would become an enormous role.

Now the main attraction on one of TV’s biggest sit-coms, now coming into its eight year, NPH has even gotten himself guest spots on Glee, American Idol and several Hollywood films. The world is now his oyster.

Alec Baldwin

While a mainstay of Hollywood in the 1990s, Alec Baldwin fell horribly out of favour come millenium.  Not able to secure the big roles anymore, Baldwin became more famous for his messy divorce with actress Kim Basinger come the turn of the century.

His salvation though came in the shape of Tina Fey, writer and star of comedy show 30 Rock. The comedy show took the previously cameo only Baldwin and finally gave him a role to get his teeth into. As the controlling yet likeable network executive Jack Donaghy, Baldwin absolutely steals the show, with the role giving his career a massive boost.

Earning him three Golden Globe, two Emmys a whole bunch more gongs and more nominations than you could shake a stick at, Baldwin is now back on the Hollywood map in a major way, with people positively knocking down the doors to get a bit of him.

Quite some turnaround.

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen may now be the first lady of the US chat show, but she wasn’t always on top of the pile. Despite a very successful career as a stand-up comedian in the 1980s, Ellen didn’t strike it big on either TV or film until she was given her own sitcom in the shape of Ellen.

Although the show was popular with critics, with its observational humour backing up the always charming DeGeneres perfectly, it was a rating s flop, despite its brief spike after both character and star became openly gay.

It was only when she took some time away and came back to TV as a celebrity chat show host that Ellen really grabbed the US audience’s imagination. Her laid back style and overall sense of fun still makes her show a whole bunch of fun.

She’s since become the queen of US daytime TV, with her chat show always doing gangbusters in the ratings, nailed a major voice role in Pixar’s Finding Nemo and even got a judging role on American Idol for an entire season.


FemaleFirst Cameron Smith

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