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If the Actor Appears in Less than Half of the Season’s Episodes of a TV Series, They Are Considered Guest Stars

In a TV series, a guest star is an actor who appears in a few episodes or sometimes within a story arc. Sometimes, a guest star may play a vital role in the storyline, becoming a recurring character, but they are still not recognized as part of the main cast. But when is an actor considered a guest star?

A guest star in a TV series is an actor who appears in one or more episodes. In rare situations, a guest star may play an important recurring character and appear multiple times. They may be requested to join the main cast if their role persists.

The Various Types of TV Acting Roles

You should know these actor roles, from series leads to cameos. Because roles vary by contract and actors can sometimes negotiate how they are credited, these classifications are only a broad overview of the numerous types of playing roles on television. 

Background Actor

Background actors, also known as extras, atmosphere, or background talent, are non-speaking actors appearing in the scenes’ background. They contribute to the appearance and feel of TV programs.

Series Regular

A series regular is a member of the main cast contracted to work on a show for an extended time, frequently several years, even if the show has not been renewed for that many seasons.

Even if they do not appear in every episode, actors may be credited as series regulars. Mandy Moore, for example, has not been in every episode of This is Us, yet she is nonetheless listed as a series regular. The inverse is also true. Even if an actor appears in the majority of episodes of a season or is crucial to the plot, this does not necessarily imply that they are a series regular.

Recurring Role

Recurring actors appear in several episodes over a season or the complete series. These actors are often under contract for a set period or are called in as needed by the script. Laverne Cox’s character Sophia has appeared in 36 of the 91 episodes of Orange Is the New Black as a recurrent character.

Guest Star

Guest stars are actors that appear in one episode or more and play characters who appear in many scenes and have an essential role in the tale. If the character is exceptionally important, a show may bring a well-known actor as a guest star, such as Sterling K. Brown, in an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Co-Star or Day Player

Co-stars and day performers have a restricted quantity of lines and are often just in one or two scenes. The phrase co-star is usually used to describe the screen credit, whereas day player is more commonly used to describe the type of contract or role. A day player may be someone being interviewed at a crime scene on Blue Bloods, a client was looking for assistance on Superstore, or a bartender was giving Liza advice on Younger.

When actors speak to each other as co-stars, they mean co-worker rather than a day player who appears on a show. 


A cameo occurs when a well-known actor or celebrity appears briefly in a scene. The actor may or may not have a line, depending on the reason for the appearance. Cameos are utilized for various purposes, from creating a humorous scene to recognizing creators such as Stan Lee in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 (Source: Central Casting

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