The Biggest ’00s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now


The ’90s could have given us Dawson’s Creek and one of the best years of Saved by the Bell, however nonetheless, it is no match for the ’00s in relation to teen-focused TV. The first decade of the brand new millennium was all about adolescent angst, from Upper East Side prep college wars to vampire love triangles (and even quadrangles?). The excessive school-set reveals of the aughts additionally launched many a profession, unknowingly giving us future Marvel villains and Disney princesses. It’s laborious to consider that many of those reveals are virtually 20 years previous, so to actually put it in perspective, listed below are the largest TV teen idols of the ’00s, within the early days of their fame and now. And for among the greatest teen flicks ever made, we’re Ranking Every ’90s Teen Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.


In 2004, the eponymous teen detective Veronica Mars made her debut, as performed by relative unknown Kristen Bell.

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Kristen Bell
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Bell parlayed the cult favourite standing of Veronica Mars (which returned for a belated fourth season in 2019) right into a sturdy profession in movie and TV. Her most up-to-date comedy collection, The Good Place, got here to an finish earlier this yr, and she’ll be again on Disney+ quickly because the host of the theater child actuality TV present, Encore!, which is getting a second season.

Chad Michael Murray in One Tree Hill
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

After recurring roles in Gilmore Girls and Dawson’s CreekChad Michael Murray scored a lead within the teen drama One Tree Hill, which ran from 2003 to 2012.

To see the place the teenager stars from the earlier decade ended up, try The Biggest ’90s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now.

Chad Michael Murray in 2017
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Murray’s 2020 credit embrace the Hallmark Christmas film Love in Winterland and the motion flick Survive the Night. He additionally made a return to the teenager cleaning soap style when he visitor starred on Riverdale as a charismatic cult chief.

Adam Brody in The OC
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

As Seth Cohen on The O.C., Adam Brody helped introduce a era of teenybopper viewers to Deathcab for Cutie and the hybrid vacation, Chrismukkah.

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Adam Brody 2019

Brody has had a busy 2020, with roles within the motion pictures The Kid Detective and Promising Young Woman, plus the collection Mrs. America. He’s additionally been married to a different star on this record, Gossip Girl actor Leighton Meester, since 2014.

Blake Lively in Gossip Girl
CBS Television Distribution

Two years after she had her breakout second in The Sisterhood of the Traveling PantsBlake Lively hit the small display as Gossip Girl‘s golden woman, Serena van der Woodsen.

For the teenager idol you bear in mind greatest, try This Was the Most Popular Teen Idol the Year You Graduated.

Blake Lively 2018

In 2020, Lively starred within the thriller, The Rhythm Section. And she welcomed her third little one with husband Ryan Reynolds in late 2019.

Taylor Kitsch in Friday Night Lights
NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Friday Night Lights dangerous boy Tim Riggins would not have been the identical if he hadn’t been performed by Taylor Kitsch for everything of the soccer drama’s run.

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Taylor Kitsch 2018
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Kitsch’s most up-to-date function was in final yr’s 21 Bridges, the police thriller that options one of many remaining performances of the late Chadwick Boseman.

Hilarie Burton in One Tree Hill
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Hilarie Burton got here to One Tree Hill with loads of teen star caché—she’d been a bunch of MTV’s Total Request Live for a number of years by that time. She performed Peyton Sawyer for six seasons of the small-town drama.

Hilarie Burton 2019
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Burton can incessantly be seen in vacation TV motion pictures, whether or not on Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel. In 2020, she appeared on the already canceled collection Council of Dads. In 2019, she married long-time accomplice, The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Benjamin McKenzie in The OC
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

In The O.C.Ben McKenzie performed Ryan Atwood, the teenager offender taken in by his public defender’s rich Orange County household.

Benjamin McKenzie 2019

McKenzie’s run as a younger Jim Gordon within the Batman prequel collection Gotham led to 2019. (He’s married to costar Morena Baccarin, who he met on set.) This yr, he made his Broadway debut within the play Grand Horizons.

Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Starting in 2000, Alexis Bledel grew to become synonymous with the function of Rory Gilmore, the high-achieving daughter of single mom Lorelai (Lauren Graham) on Gilmore Girls.

Alexis Bledel 2018
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Since 2017, Bledel has performed Ofglen within the acclaimed collection adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, for which she received a Guest Actress Emmy award.

Tyler James Williams in Everybody Hates Chris
CBS Television Distribution

Tyler James Williams led the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, as a fictionalized model of future comic Chris Rock.

Tyler James Williams 2019
Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

Williams continues to work in TV and movie; most not too long ago, he appeared within the comedies The Wedding Year and The Argument.

Liza Weil in Gilmore Girls
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Liza Weil costarred on Gilmore Girls as Rory’s rival-turned-friend, Paris Geller.

Liza Weil in 2019
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Weil could possibly be seen on the Shondaland primetime cleaning soap How to Get Away With Murder as Annalise Keating’s (Viola Davis) affiliate, Bonnie Winterbottom, till the collection got here to an finish this yr.

Mischa Barton in The OC
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Mischa Barton was the queen bee of The O.C. for 3 seasons, taking part in the troubled wealthy woman subsequent door, Marissa Cooper.

Mischa Barton in 2019
Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

Okay, sustain with us on this one: The MTV actuality present The Hills is a by-product of one other actuality collection, Laguna Beach, which was conceived because the real-life reply to The O.C. In 2019, Barton—who starred on the drama that impressed it—joined the cast of the reboot collection The Hills: New Beginnings, showing as herself. She additionally starred within the 2020 horror-comedy, Spree.

Ian Somerhalder in Vampire Diaries
CBS Television Distribution

Starting in 2009, Ian Somerhalder performed the darkish and mysterious bloodsucker Damon Salvatore on the CW’s enormous hit, The Vampires Diaries.

Ian Somerhalder 2019
G Holland/Shutterstock

Somerhalder starred within the Netflix sci-fi collection V Wars, which dropped in 2019 however was sadly canceled in 2020. Forming a vampire drama energy couple, he married Twilight star Nikki Reed in 2015.

Michael B Jordan in Friday Night Lights
NBCUniversal Television Distribution

After impressing critics and audiences along with his work on The WireMichael B. Jordan joined the cast of Friday Night Lights in Season 4, taking part in inexperienced quarterback Vince Howard.

Michael B. Jordan

Jordan is indisputably one of many greatest younger stars in Hollywood, having starred within the Creed motion pictures, entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther villain Killmonger, and main socially related dramas like 2019’s Just Mercy.

Tristan Wilds in 90210
CBS Television Distribution

In the 2008 reboot 90210, Tristan Wilds performed Dixon Wilson, considered one of two siblings who’ve to regulate to the Beverly Hills way of life after transferring there from the midwest with their mother and father.

Tristan Wilds 2019
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In addition to persevering with to behave, Wilds can also be a musician. His most up-to-date album, AfterHours, got here out in 2017.

Jared Padalecki in Gilmore Girls
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Jared Padalecki was one of many many Gilmore boys, and by that we imply considered one of Rory’s love pursuits, the professionals and cons of that are nonetheless hotly debated. Dean, Padalecki’s character, has the excellence of being the primary.

Jared Padalecki 2019
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We most likely do not must remind you the place Padalecki has been since leaving Stars Hollow. For a whopping 15 seasons, he is been taking part in Sam Winchester, considered one of a duo of demon-hunting brothers, on the present Supernatural. It’s coming to an finish this yr, after which he is set to star within the Walker, Texas Ranger revival collection, Walker.

Leighton Meester in Gossip Girl
CBS Television Distribution

Leighton Meester made headbands cool once more as Blair Waldolf, Serena’s greatest buddy and the envy of all of the Upper East Side, on Gossip Girl.

Leighton Meester in 2019

Until its cancellation this yr, Meester could possibly be seen on the sitcom Single Parents. She gave start to her second little one with husband Adam Brody in September.

Paul Wesley in Vampire Diaries
CBS Television Distribution

Paul Wesley performed little vamp brother to Damon, Stefan Salvatore, in The Vampire Diaries, through which his romance with a human woman named Elena (Nina Dobrev) was a key storyline.

Paul Wesley in Tell Me a Story
CBS All Access

Wesley performed a number of roles within the CBS All Access collection, Tell Me a Story (from Vampire Diaries co-showunner Kevin Williamson) and has additionally stepped behind the digital camera to direct some episodes of TV.

Wilmer Valderrama in That 70s Show
Carsey-Werner Distribution

Beginning in 1998, Wilmer Vanderrama performed amorous alternate pupil Fez in That ’70s Show.

Wilmer Valderrama
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Valderrama has stayed busy as an actor and producer. In 2020, he voiced a personality in Onward, guested on the collection Gentefied, and appeared within the video for Justin Bieber‘s tune “Holy.”

Rachel Bilson in The OC
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Rachel Bilson rounded out the primary foursome of The O.C. because the seemingly vapid however surprisingly deep Summer Roberts, Marissa’s greatest buddy and the article of Seth’s affection.

Rachel Bilson 2019

Bilson’s most up-to-date collection credit score is 2018’s Take Two, following a recurring function on Nashville. She additionally grabbed headlines in 2020 when she accompanied Bill Hader, who she was rumored to be relationship, to the Golden Globes. They referred to as it quits this summer season, nonetheless.

Jurnee Smollett in Friday Night Lights
NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Jurnee Smollett was one other Season 4 addition to Friday Night Lights, taking part in aspiring soccer coach Jess Merriweather.

Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country

Smollet had an enormous 2020, with a key function within the DC comedian guide flick Birds of Prey and a starring flip within the buzzy HBO sci-fi collection, Lovecraft Country.

Mila Kunis in That 70s Show
Carsey-Werner Distribution

Mila Kunis was the youngest of the primary That ’70s Show cast, taking part in the boy loopy Jackie.

Mila Kunis

Kunis wed her former ’70s Show costar, Ashton Kutcher, in 2015, and they’ve two youngsters. In 2020, she starred within the movie Four Good Days, performed herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and continued to voice her longtime character Meg Griffin on Family Guy.

Nina Dobrev in Vampire Diaries
CBS Television Distribution

Nina Dobrev did double obligation on The Vampire Diaries, taking part in each girl-next-door Elena and vampire Katherine Pierce.

Nina Dobrev 2019

Since Vampire Diaries wrapped, Dobrev splits her time between visitor spots on varied TV collection and starring roles in movies like Run This Town and Lucky Day.

Tom Welling in Smallville
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Tom Welling received the function of a younger Clark Kent for the teen-focused Superman collection Smallville after an especially aggressive course of. He performed the longer term superhero for 10 seasons.

Tom Welling 2017
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Welling recurred within the earlier seasons of Lucifer and additionally reprised his function of Clark Kent within the Batwoman episode of the annual CW/DC crossover arc. He’s additionally as a consequence of star in a collection referred to as Professionals, in his first lead function since leaving Smallville.

Penn Badgley in Gossip Girl
CBS Television Distribution

Penn Badgley‘s aspiring author Dan Humphrey was the fish-out-of-water child within the early days of Gossip Girl, although anybody who watched the collection to the top is aware of that we are saying that with a wink.

Penn Badgley 2018
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Since 2018, Badgley has been starring within the psychological thriller collection You, as a serial stalker who sees himself as a pleasant, romantic man. A 3rd season is coming to Netflix in 2021.


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