10 TV Roles that Almost Went to Another Actor

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For a lot of us, the television shows we watch aren't just about the stories and the characters, but about the actors and actresses who bring them to life, too. It would be hard to imagine Michael Scott played by anyone other than Steve Carell, or a Ron Swanson than the one Nick Offerman brings to us (and, in fact, I refuse). Yet there are always multiple actors and actresses considered for every role — even if we don't like it.

Here are some TV roles that were almost played by a different actor.

#1 A whole new cast on "Seinfeld"

Despite the roles they've played since, most of the "Seinfeld" cast is still best-known for their role in the '90s sitcom "about nothing." However, Jerry's comrades were almost played by entirely different actors. Rosie O'Donnell, Megan Mulally, and Patricia Heaton all auditioned for role of Elaine, which ultimately went to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Steve Buscemi, David Alan Grier, Paul Shaffer, and Danny DeVito both had their eyes on the role of George Costanza, ultimately played by Jason Alexander. Meanwhile, Tony Shalhoub was considered in place of Michael Richards as Kramer.

#2 Scott Foley as Ted on "How I Met Your Mother"

Scott Foley has had plenty of notable roles, including stints on "Felicity," "True Blood," and "Grey's Anatomy." He was almost Ted Mosby, currently played by Josh Radnor. Although that didn't work out, Foley hasn't had trouble finding another gig; he currently plays Jake Ballard on "Scandal."

#3 "Facts of Life" reunion on "FRIENDS"

It's known that Courteney Cox originally auditioned for the part of Rachel, but many don't know that the roles of Rachel and Monica almost inspired a reunion for the 1980s show "The Facts of Life." Nancy McKeon, who played Jo, read for the part of Monica, while Lisa Whelchel, who played Blaire, read for Rachel's part. Another '80s darling nearly joined the cast, too. Jon Cryer (then most famously known as "Duckie") was considered to play the part of Chandler.

#4 Whitney Houston as Sondra on "The Cosby Show"

Actress Sabrina Le Beauf is the Sondra we all know and love from "The Cosby Show," but her role almost went to singer Whitney Houston. Houston was actually offered the lead, but turned it down to focus on her singing career. If she hadn't, we might never have had her version of "I Will Always Love You," a song I am fairly certain can actually move mountains.

#5 Katie Holmes as Buffy on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Young actress Katie Holmes nearly nabbed the lead role in the 1997 show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Holmes turned it down, though, so she could go to high school; the role instead went to Sarah Michelle Gellar. A year later, however, Holmes appeared in another '90s teen sitcom, "Dawson's Creek."

#6 A Different Jim and Pam on "The Office"

It's hard to picture a different Jim and Pam than the ones we had; John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer just seemed so right in their respective roles. However, Adam Scott ("Party Down"; "Parks and Recreation") was almost Jim on "The Office." Meanwhile, Pam was almost played by "24" actress Mary Lynn Rajskub.

#7 Michael Keaton as Jack on "Lost"

The initial incarnations for Jack Shephard on "Lost" looked much different than the Jack Shephard we ended up with. "Lost" creator J. J. Abrams said he wanted to work with Michael Keaton and therefore considered Keaton for the role of Jack — but that was back when Jack was intended to die halfway through the first episode. As the script evolved and Jack was made a series regular, Keaton was dropped from consideration; Keaton also wasn't interested in a series.

#8 Ray Liotta as Tony Soprano on "The Sopranos"

Can you image "The Sopranos" without James Gandolfini? It almost was. Actor Ray Liotta was actually the first choice for the role. However, he opted not to sign on so he could focus on his film career.

#9 Matthew Broderick or John Cusack as Walter on "Breaking Bad"

Before Bryan Cranston was in "Breaking Bad," he was a goofy, fun-loving dad named Hal. So maybe it's not so weird to imagine Walter White played by Matthew Broderick or John Cusack? Both actors were offered the role by AMC... but Cranston ultimately became the Walter White we loved to hate.

#10 Tom Selleck as Mitch on "Baywatch"

The Hoff was iconic in his role as Mitch on "Baywatch." But Mitch was almost played by "Magnum P.I." star Tom Selleck. Selleck was offered the lead role. However, he turned the role down because he didn't want to be seen as a sex symbol. David Hasselhoff was fine with that, though.

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