16 Actors Who Almost Ended Up Starring In These Famous Sitcom Roles


Vince Vaughn – Joey Tribbiani, Friends

Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty Images, NBC

According to casting director Ellie Kanner, Vince Vaughn auditioned and she recalls him being a “good actor”, but he ultimately didn’t fit the role the way Matt LeBlanc did.


Adam Scott – Jim Halpert, The Office

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Adam auditioned for the role of Jim and you can watch his audition here. It’s hard to imagine anyone but John Krasinski now, and Adam getting the role would have deprived us all of him playing Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation.


Octavia Spencer – Donna Meagle, Parks and Recreation

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In her memoir, Retta mentions that Octavia Spencer auditioned for the role before she did.


Jennifer Love Hewitt – Robin Scherbatsky, How I Met Your Mother

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Jennifer was offered the part but co-creator Craig Thomas revealed in a Reddit AMA that she turned it down and chose to do The Ghost Whisperer.


Jim Parsons – Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother

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Jim has talked about his failed audition and how he believes Neil Patrick Harris was a better fit for the part.


Matt LeBlanc – Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

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Matt was offered the role but turned it down as he said, “I’m not the guy for this. I’d be doing the project an injustice to take this.”


Craig T. Nelson – Jay Pritchett, Modern Family

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He turned down the role, saying that he felt “disrespected” by the pay they were offering him.


Rachel Dratch – Jenna Maroney, 30 Rock

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Rachel was offered the role of Jenna and even played her in the unaired pilot, but when the decision was made to make it less of a sketch-show, she was replaced by Jane Krakowski.


Danny DeVito – George Costanza, Seinfeld

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On the Howard Stern Show, Jason Alexander who ended up playing George said that Danny had been offered the part but turned it down.


Johnny Galecki – Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

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Johnny was considered for the roles of Leonard and Sheldon, but opted for the former because he wanted to be able to play a character with a romantic angle, something he previously hadn’t had many opportunities to do.


Rainn Wilson – Gob Bluth, Arrested Development

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He was apparently in the top three considered for the role, but it all worked out as we got to enjoy him in his iconic role as Dwight Schrute for several years on The Office.


John Lithgow – Fraiser Crane, Cheers

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It was written for him but at the time he didn’t consider television roles a good fit with his film and theatre-oriented career. He said, “I turned it down because at that point in my life episodic television was beneath my dignity and look at me now!”


Janeane Garofalo – Monica Gellar, Friends

Rob Kim, NBC

The comedian and actor was the person the creators had in mind when writing the role of Monica, but after seeing Courtney Cox audition they decided to change the character direction, which was originally going to be edgier and snarkier.


Megan Mullally – Elaine Benes, Seinfeld

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On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, she said that she actually came close to getting the part and thought she was going to get it. But she ended up with her own very famous sitcom role on Will and Grace, and it’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing Karen.


Macaulay Culkin – an unnamed lead role, The Big Bang Theory

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Macaulay turned down a leading role in the show three times, and didn’t want to take the part as he was unimpressed by the premise of the show when it was pitched to him.


John Barrowman – Will Truman, Will and Grace

Mike Coppola / Getty Images, NBC

Speaking on The Charlotte Church Show, John spoke about how he was amongst some of the final people considered, but was rejected for the role. After asking for feedback on why, he was told he “wasn’t gay enough.”