12 New Stars About to Burst Onto Your TV Screens This Fall

Tons of budding talent is coming from the small screen.

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If you're only tuning in to TV shows starring your favorite famous faces, you're really missing out. Because the next George Clooney or Oprah might just be getting their big break this year. The following 12 actors and actresses, who you may have seen here and there, are poised to become the next big things. Without further ado, it's time to meet 2019's batch of breakout TV stars.

1
Arica Himmel 

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Mixed-ish, the second spinoff of Black-ish (the first, Grown-ish, premiered January 2018 on Freeform), arrives on September 24th on ABC. This one takes us into the past to explore the origins of Black-ish matriarch Rainbow Johnson, played on the original series by Tracee Ellis Ross. Those are some big shoes to fill, and newcomer Arica Himmel does a spectacular job of playing a teenage Bow in the '80s.

2
Abby McEnany

key art of abby mcenany in work in progress
Courtesy of Showtime

Abby McEnany is a veteran of the Chicago improv scene, the same comedy community that gave us Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Steve Carell, among others. And now, she's finally going nationwide with Work in Progress, a semi-autobiographical Showtime series that follows a 45-year-old woman with OCD and clinical depression. Her struggles, which at first seem so insurmountable, eventually lead her to a relationship unlike anything she ever expected. We won't give away much more, but if you're looking for a show and a star that will prove how amazing life can be, you need to check out McEnany's series when it premieres on December 8th.

3
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

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Shutterstock

This New Orleans native has been building his reputation on the big screen, with captivating performances in Jordan Peele's Us and as the villain Black Manta in 2018's Aquaman. But now, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is ready to capture a new audience on TV via the HBO series Watchmen, which premieres on October 20th. The show is just loosely based on the legendary graphic novel from Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins—and we don't know much yet about Mateen's character, Cal Abar, other than that he's married to Regina King's character, Angela Abar. Yes, there's still a lot of mystery surrounding Watchmen, but we know one thing for sure: Keep your eye on Mateen.

4
Kennedy McMann

kennedy mccann as nany drew
Kharen Hill/The CW

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Nancy Drew for a new generation. The wildly popular kid sleuth has solved mysteries in dozens of books, movies, and TV shows since the early 20th century, but, in the upcoming CW revamp (set to thrill audiences beginning October 9th), Kennedy McMann breathes new life into this iconic character.

In this version, Nancy is a high school graduate, ready to leave her crime-solving youth and home town behind for college. But then a caper presents itself that she just can't walk away from—especially since she's one of the prime suspects. McMann makes the role her own, creating a Nancy Drew who doesn't feel like yet another throwback to a bygone era, but a heroine very much of her time.

5
Simone Missick

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On three of Netflix's Marvel shows (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders), Simone Missick kicked a whole lot of butt as a recurring secondary character, Detective Misty Knight. But this fall, she's proving to audiences that her acting chops run a lot deeper than cheesy superhero dialogue. On All Rise, a new ensemble legal comedy from CBS, premiering September 23rd, Missick plays a former Los Angeles prosecutor finding her sea legs as a newly-minted Superior Court judge. It's a fish-out-of-water story that promises not just to get Missick noticed, but finally in the big leagues where she belongs.

6
Theo Germaine

Theo Germaine
Screenshot via Youtube

If you can't get enough of dark, smart, and sly political satire, Netflix's The Politician is your match made in TV heaven. The show launches on September 27th and tells the absurd story of a high school student body presidential race gone wrong. Though the series features well-known names like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange, even from the trailers it's obvious that emerging star (and out trans actor) Theo Germaine steals the show as an extremely devoted high school "campaign manager" who's the definition of extra.

7
Kristine Froseth

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Norwegian-American model-turned-actress Kristine Froseth first came to our attention in the excellent Netflix teen rom-com Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, but she's going from supporting player to lead in the upcoming Looking for Alaska, which premieres on Hulu on October 18th. Adapted from a novel by John Green, the series stars Froseth as the title character, Alaska Young, a troubled but fascinating outcast at an Alabama boarding school. A new kid in town, Miles "Pudge" Halter (Charlie Plummer), who's wrestling with his own demons, falls for her hard, and the wheels are set in motion for a very unlikely courtship.

8
Alexa Swinton

alexa swinton
Alamy

If you wish there were more shows on TV like Stranger Things—i.e. series about kids with supernatural powers and troubled small town police chiefs trying to solve otherworldly mysteries—then you'll love the upcoming ABC series Emergence. The show, which premieres on September 24th, stars 8-year-old triple threat Alexa Swinton (she's also a singer and dancer from numerous off-Broadway productions). And she might just be the next Millie Bobby Brown (AKA Eleven from Stranger Things).

9
Bowen Yang

bowen yang
NBC via Youtube

In its 44 seasons, Saturday Night Live has never had an East Asian cast member. That changes on September 28th, with the premiere of the 45th season when Bowen Yang, a standup comedian and the host of pop culture podcast Las Culturistas, officially joins the cast.

Yang was a member of the SNL writing staff for the 2018-2019 season, but only made it in front of the camera a few times, most notably as Kim Jong-un in a skit with Killing Eve star Sandra Oh. Based purely on the few minutes he was on screen, we can't wait to see what he does starring on the sketch comedy series full-time.

10
Dafne Keen

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Shutterstock

If you saw the Oscar-nominated movie Logan, then you know the film's real star wasn't Hugh Jackman as Wolverine; it was Dafne Keen's Laura, a mostly silent mutant clone who, without saying a word, managed to convey a raw pathos most actors thrice her age couldn't dream of. This fall, though, 14-year-old Keen gets a chance to shine in a fully speaking role on the upcoming series His Dark Materials. Based on the fantasy novels of Philip Pullman, the show centers on Keen's Lyra Belacqua, an orphan tracking down kidnapped children who may be trapped in another dimension. Even in a rich sci-fi universe filled with creatures like dæmons—anthropomorphic alien-animal sidekicks—Keen is still the most compelling part of the show, which debuts on November 4th on HBO (and November 3rd on BBC UK for British viewers).

11
Jackson White

Jackson White
Screenshot via Youtube

Based on the Tom Perrotta novel of the same name, HBO's Mrs. Fletcher tells the coming of age story of a college freshman—and also, that of his mother. Jackson White plays the role of Brendan Fletcher, who's discovering college and sex just as his mother is rediscovering her own desires. If it's anything like its source material, the HBO series, which makes its debut on October 27th, is sure to be sincere, funny, and relatable at the same time. And it's also bound to put newcomer White on every casting director's wish list. Indiewire is already calling him "impossibly endearing."

12
Lilly Singh

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Lilly Singh is hardly a new face to many—after all, she has close to 15 million followers on YouTube. But she is new to TV. On September 16th (technically 17th), she replaces Carson Daly's NBC slot with A Little Late With Lilly Singh, single-handedly shaking up the white boys club that is late-night network television. In fact, Singh is the first openly bisexual woman of color to host a late-night show. You'll need to stay up until 1:35 a.m. to see her, but, trust us, Singh is so funny, it's worth losing out on a bit of sleep. And for a look at the amazing programs already on TV, Here Are the Best HBO Shows You're Not Watching.

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