This is Back To School Week in the United States, and nobody wants to be the new kid. But this is Back To TV week on Cookies and Sangria, and we are all about celebrating the new faces. These are actors you may not have heard of before, or who haven’t been on network TV much, but we have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot more of them. Think about it: all of the TV greats, from the cast of Friends to George Clooney to… I guess people who didn’t hit the big time in 1994? … were once “that new guy on that show.” Keep your eye on these newbies – one of them just may be the rookie of the year.
Priyanka Chopra in Quantico
Previous Work: A lot A LOT of movies, making her one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actresses, singer, Former Miss World, Guess model, social media famous.
Why You Should Watch Her: Quantico, a show about a group of young FBI recruits, is Priyanka’s American television debut. She’s a star internationally, like an Angelina Jolie of India, so it’s about time she gets a big break in the U.S.
When You Can Watch Her: Sundays @ 10pm beginning on September 27th on ABC
Ryan Guzman in Heroes Reborn
Previous Work: Pretty Little Liars, Step Up Revolution, Step Up: All In, The Boy Next Door
Why You Should Watch Him: He was JLo’s man candy in The Boy Next Door, Lucy Hale’s karate-kicking paramour in PLL, and now he’s in primetime as the resident hottie when the Heroes come back this month.
When You Can Watch Him: Thursday, September 24th @ 8:00p on NBC
Zoe Lister-Jones in Life in Pieces
Previous Work: Fawn from New Girl; Lily from Whitney; literally all of the Law and Orders.
Why You Should Watch Her: Zoe has seriously made the canceled sitcom rounds, from Whitney to Friends With Better Lives to Bored to Death. That doesn’t mean that she’s unlucky, it just means that she must be immensely castable. The new sitcom roster is pretty slim this year, but Life in Pieces looks potentially funny – a rare multicam CBS pilot that looks like it could be more reminiscent of NBC when it’s good.
When You Can Watch Her: Monday, September 21 @ 8:30 PM on CBS.
Stark Sands in Minority Report
Previous Work: Lead in the original Broadway casts of American Idiot and Kinky Boots, Chasing Liberty, Inside Llewyn Davis,
Why You Should Watch Him: Stark has had a number of random roles on TV, but he’s most famous for being a two-time Tony nominee for his roles in Broadway smash hits. He plays the lead of Dash in Minority Report, which is a movie I’ve never seen, but apparently the TV show is about Stark as a Precog who has the ability to predict crimes. Not sure if I’ll understand the show, but I’ll get Stark’s enormous talent, for sure.
When You Can Watch Him: September 21st @ 9:00pm on FOX
Evan Ross in Wicked City
Previous Work: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay (1 and 2); 90210; CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story
Why You Should Watch Him: If Evan looks a little familiar, he should. Maybe, like us, you enjoy dystopian teen novel adaptations and made-for-tv biopics. Perhaps you follow celebrity weddings and babies: his wife is Ashlee Simpson. Or maybe you just know a celebrity dynasty when you see one: his mother is Diana Ross, and his sister, Tracee Ellis Ross, is currently on Blackish. Anyway, talent and good looks run in the family and it looks like Evan has both. Besides, Wicked City looks pretty promising.
When You Can Watch Him: Tuesday, October 27 at 10:00 pm on ABC.
Donna Lynne Champlin – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Previous Work: A whole lot of Broadway (Billy Elliot, Sweeney Todd, etc); a brief appearance in Birdman; several TV guest spots.
Why You Should Watch Her: Donna has some major theater credits, and if you’re wondering if that even translates to television, the answer is yes: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a musical comedy. She plays the lead’s coworker and I’m hoping for more than a lot of drama and more than a few solos: Champlin is an Obie and a Drama Desk winner. YouTube her, you’ll be impressed. [An aside: she also hails from our hometown of Rochester, New York.]
When You Can Watch Her: Monday, October 12 at 8:00 PM on the CW.
Denise in The Muppets
Previous Work: Head of marketing at Up Late With Miss Piggy
Why You Should Watch Her: After decades together, who could possibly wrestle Kermit’s affections from Miss Piggy? We NEED to know who this Denise is. Also: The Muppets will be a mockumentary-style comedy that looks like one of the only truly hilarious shows slated for a 2015 premiere.
When You Can Watch Her: Tuesday, September 22 at 8:00 PM on ABC