10 Daytime Actors Who Made It Into Primetime

Daytime dramas are a place of longevity, full of legendary actors who stay on their soap operas for years, even decades, playing the same – or sometimes two – notable characters. names like Genie Francois, Christian Alfonso and Eric Braden are not often seen in prime time because they stick to their daytime legacy on soap operas like general hospital, days of our lives and The young and the restless.

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But once in a while, an actor will part ways with his soap opera in order to branch out in his career and find thriving homes on prime-time television. Of Full house preferred to a Punch big chunk half of the famous Supernatural duo, many actors have managed to break into prime time after starring in your favorite soap operas.

Justin Hartley

Justin Hartleyit is Acting’s first big gig came in 2002 when he booked the role for Fox on the SCS soap Passions. The actor stayed on the show for four years before getting his first prime-time break on shows like Smallville and Mistresses. Hartley then starred in The young and the restless as Adam Newman for three years before leaving daytime for a major prime-time role.

In 2016, Hartley got his biggest break yet when he starred as Kevin Pearson in NBCit is It’s us. The actor played the memorable character for six seasons until the series finale in 2022.

Emma Sams

Emma Sams was a general hospital veterinarian since her debut as Holly Sutton in 1982. The actor has since come and gone from the soap, her last appearance being a short-lived stint in 2022 where the soap revealed her presumed dead character to be very much alive and working with one of Port Charles’ most infamous villains.

But between all her stints as Holly, Samms managed to branch out into prime time in 1985 when she starred as Fallon Carrington Colby in Dynasty. After four seasons, Samms reprized her role as Fallon in the series’ spin-off. The Colbys for its two-season run.

John Stamos

Whether you know him as IS doctor Tony Gates, handsome Uncle Jesse, or as the drummer of beach boys, John Stamos has been everywhere on prime time in its long and memorable career. But even before he appeared on your TV screen at night, Stamos could be found in the daytime favorite soap opera of the 80s.

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Stamos’ first role was as Blackie Parrish in general hospital from 1982 to 1984, working alongside great soap opera actors like Anthony GearyGenius Francis and Parent’s Sanctuary. The actor’s daytime success led to starring roles in lesser-known sitcoms before scoring his unforgettable role on Full house.

Nathan Fillion

Nathan FillionJoey’s first major television role was as Joey Buchanan in A life to live, a character he played for three years and later reprized a decade later for a cameo appearance. It wasn’t long after that short second stint on OLTL that Fillion scored his biggest prime-time role to date.

Fillion played lead character Richard Castle on ABC Chateau for all eight seasons of the show, and then scored another starring role as John Nolan in ABC’s latest crime drama The recruit,of which the actor is also an executive producer.

Julie Berman

Julie Berman was better known as Lulu Spencer on general hospital after the legacy character got SORAS in 2005. Berman held the role for almost a decade and was one of the few GH actors to go to prime time on one of the soap opera’s spin-offs General Hospital: night shiftbut it wasn’t Berman’s last appearance on late-night television.

Shortly after his daytime departure, Berman landed the recurring role of Dr. Sam Zanetti on Chicago Mediterraneanthe first-season love interest of Dr. Connor Rhodes whom she played for eight episodes.

Zach Tinker

In the world of daytime soap operas, Zach Tinker is known as a successful revamp of the soap opera on more than one show. The actor first graced everyone’s screens in a Fen revamp on The young and the restless in 2018, and after becoming the revamp of days of our lives Favorite Sonny Kiriakis in their Peacock miniseries Beyond Salem in 2021, Tinker’s flawless portrayal earned him a permanent spot as Sonny on the soap opera.

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Between Tinker stays like half a Days super couple, the actor had a memorable role in season 3 of ABCBig Sky: Deadly Trails where he portrayed Mark, the victim of the premiere that the entire season is centered around.

Shemar Moore

Shemar MooreThe very first major role of was that of Malcolm Winters in Young and restless, a role he held for more than a decade alongside Y&R legends Bryton James and the end Kristoff Saint-Jean. Although the actor still makes trips back and forth to Genoa City from time to time, he is also known for his popular prime-time role.

Moore went straight from BBC daytime to BBC prime time in 2005 when he scored the role of Derrick Morgan in Criminal mindsanother character he played for over a decade until he parted ways with the show in 2016.

Nicolas Bechtel

While the young actor Nicolas Bechtel made his television debut on days of our lives in 2012, he made his big breakthrough in 2013 when he landed the role of Spencer Cassadine in General Hospital. Bechtel played Spencer for more than 100 episodes, a role that earned her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 2016.

After leaving the soap in 2016, Bechtel went from daytime to prime time when he starred in disney channelit isstuck in the middlenext to the future Wednesday Star Jenna Ortega. Bechtel played Lewie for all three seasons of the show until its finale in 2018.

Jensen Ackles

Image via Warner Bros./CW

For most people, Jensen Ackles is known for a major role on television. But for soap opera lovers, Ackles will always be Eric Brady on days of our lives, a character he played for three years alongside Days alum Alison Sweeney and Deidre Hall.

It wasn’t until five years later that Ackles got his big prime time break when he played Dean Winchester on Supernatural. The actor remained in the role for the entirety of the show’s 15 seasons and recently starred in ABC’s primetime drama. Big sky.

ryan paevey

ryan paevey got his breakout role in 2013 when he starred as Nathan West in General Hospital. After a thrilling five-year story around being a detective in Port Charles and finding love with Maxie, the character’s story came to an end in 2018 when Nathan was devastatingly killed on the job.

Paevey’s career continued in a major way when the actor found a home on the Hallmark Channel, helming over a dozen rom-coms, including A little daytime drama where he played a soap opera actor alongside a former soap opera star Jen Lilley.

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10 Daytime Actors Who Made It Into Primetime – Deadline