John Stamos Triumphantly Returns to Television on 'Glee'

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Michael Raymond-James.

Michael Raymond-James is another recognizable face gunning to become a household name. In a memorable turn on "True Blood," he played the murderous Rene. Now, he portrays a private investigator on FX's "Terriers."

Anne Dudek is also rising through the ranks. After meaty recurring roles on "House," "Big Love" and "Mad Men," she landed the big-sister role on "Covert Affairs," which recently finished its first season.

It's not only loyal fans who keep an eye on their favorite television actors. Networks know that certain celebrities add huge value to their programs.

Anne Dudek.

"You can enforce a brand's equity – the same goes for a television program – through a celebrity's equity," said Matt Delzell, a director in the celebrity-endorsement division at The Marketing Arm, in Dallas, Texas. "And if your brand awareness is low – if you're a new product on the market – a celebrity can play a big role in awareness-building."

It sounds like a foolproof strategy, but audiences can be fickle.

"Viewers often form relationships in their mind with their favorite character," said Smith. "If the actor's new character is dissimilar to the fan's favorite one, the viewer may a hard time accepting the actor in that role. It's the reason so many actors are type-cast."

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