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A-list movie stars that are now on TV

Matthew McConaughey
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

With increasing frequency, television networks are introducing new shows starring the talents of A-list movie stars. The reasons for this trend may well vary from one celebrity to the next. Some might prefer the security of remaining in one primary location. Others may desire reaching a broader audience. Script quality, wage and steady income might also be determining factors. A number of actors have made the transition quite successfully.

Matthew McConaughey

Recently winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in the “Dallas Buyer's Club,” McConaughey made his big-screen debut in the 1993 film “Dazed and Confused.” Since then, the Texas native has gone on to star in more than 30 movies. He recently gained notoriety for his first ever TV role in the HBO drama series “True Detective.”

Woody Harrelson

Harrelson joined McConaughey in the critically acclaimed “True Detective,” his first television role since appearing as the innocent bartender Woody Boyd in the long-running series “Cheers.” Harrelson too has a lengthy resume of big screen appearances that have garnered him Academy Award nominations.

Kevin Spacey

Spacey's career spans more than four decades and includes acting, directing, screenwriting and producing. His on-screen appearances have included a number of memorable projects from “American Beauty” to “The Usual Suspects.” Recently, Spacey turned his attention to producing the original series for Netflix entitled “House of Cards” in which he also has a starring role.

Kevin Bacon

Early in his career, Bacon enjoyed television roles in the soap operas “Search for Tomorrow” and the “Guiding Light.” However, he soon transitioned to the big screen and has appeared in so many films that fans created a trivia game known as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. He is currently starring in the Fox crime drama “The Following,” in which he plays an F.B.I. Agent in search of a serial killer.

Laurence Fishburne

Having an extensive career in film, theater and television, Fishburne starred in the daytime drama “One Life to Live” during the 1970s. Of his many big screen roles, he may be best known as Morpheus in “The Matrix.” In 2008, he became a regular on the television crime drama “CSI” and is currently starring as the head of the F.B.I.'s behavioral sciences division as Dr. Jack Crawford in “Hannibal.”

Billy Bob Thornton

Appearing in movies since 1986, Thornton sprung to fame when he wrote, directed and starred in the thriller “Sling Blade.” He has since starred in numerous film roles. Thornton joins the long list of movie stars transitioning to the small screen when he appears as drifter Lorne Malvo, in the television adaptation of the Coen Brothers film “Fargo” this year.

Glenn Close

Close won nominations for Academy Awards for her roles in “The Natural,” “The Big Chill” and “Fatal Attraction.” She ventured to television with a role in the FX drama “The Shield.” She later won the part of cold-hearted attorney Patty Hewes on the FX drama series “Damages.”

Steve Buscemi

Buscemi's career began in the 1980s and he has continued to appear in roles on both the big and small screens. In film, he has worked with Adam Sandler, the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino, playing characters having particular eccentricities, neuroses or paranoia. In 2010, he won the starring role as corrupt politician Nucky Thompson in the highly successful HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”

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