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8 TV Actors Who Directed Episodes of Their Own Shows


While we love seeing our favorite actors portray a particular character on TV, a lot happens behind the camera to perfect a scene. One such job – direction – helps the audience navigate a character, the environment surrounding them, the stakes of the episode, and the overall arc of the show.



It’s no secret that, being surrounded by different creatives on a TV set, many actors have learned from those around them and have therefore tried their hand at directing episodes of their own hit shows. Actors become great directors by virtue of their own experiences on-set and with storytelling. Even though it might sound strange to a lot of TV show lovers, it’s true that most of their favorite episodes were directed by particular cast members. Here are 8 TV actors who successfully directed their own hit shows.

8 James Lafferty – One Tree Hill

There’s only one One Tree Hill, and it will always be in our hearts. The CW teen drama that made us fall in love with its unique and promising story, also introduced us to the characters we would cherish for life. Nathan Scott, played by James Lafferty, is one of them. His bad boy turned good transformation was truly enthralling. However, besides playing Nathan with top-notch skills, Lafferty also directed a few episodes on the show. Over the span of nine seasons, the actor directed four episodes while maintaining his perfect character in front of the camera.

Related: One Tree Hill: Here’s Where the Cast is Today

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7 Julie Bowen – Modern Family

The modern mom of three on the show made her directorial debut within the show as well. Julie Bowen plays Claire Dunphy on Modern Family, and after ten years, she finally gathered the courage to direct a few episodes of the ABC comedy. She even posted a picture of herself with her on-screen husband Phil, played by Ty Burrell. She further thanked him and the entire Modern Family cast and crew for supporting her.

6 Melissa Fumero – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Melissa Fumero is widely regarded for playing the bold and capable detective Amy Santiago on the hit sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Like her character, Fumero is also packed with different talents. In addition to playing Amy in every episode of the workplace TV comedythe actress also took charge and directed an episode from season 6. With Gina Linetti, played by Chelsea Peretti, making a surprising return, the episode was definitely enhanced by the skills of the strong women of B99. Apart from Brooklyn Nine-NineFumero recently directed an episode for a fresh American sitcom, Grand Crew, which premiered on NBC in December 2021.


5 Ian Somerhalder – The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalderwho starred as the cunning and witty Damon Salvatore in the fantasy romantic-thriller drama The Vampire Diaries for 171 episodes, also had a chance to direct himself and his fellow cast mates for a couple of episodes. In brief, Somerhalder directed three episodes, two from the final season, which he also co-produced. Paul Wesley, who plays Stefan Salvatore on The Vampire Diariesalso directed a few episodes of the show, just like his on-screen brother.

4 Stephanie Beatriz – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Like her Latina castmate, Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz also sat on the director’s chair to direct an episode for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Beatriz plays the tough detective Rosa on the show, and has garnered a loyal fanbase, thanks to her character’s bold exterior yet soft personality. For 153 episodes, she played one of the main roles on B99 and decided to direct an episode from season six.

Related: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Most Amazing Geniuses / Humans, Ranked

3 Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother

The ladies’ player, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), decided to add another trait under his name by making his directorial debut for the 101th episode of How I Met Your Mother. The CBS sitcom saw a remarkable season high with 10.52 million viewers and overall high ratings for the episode. Undoubtedly, Harris’ debut was a hit exactly like his beloved character. Since then, he has directed a couple of other projects, including two theater specials: Rent and Nothing To Hide.

2 Troian Bellisario – Pretty Little Liars

Troian Bellisario starred as Spencer Hastings on Freeform’s mystery teen drama Pretty Little Liars for seven seasons. The actress stunned the viewers with her double role during the last season, proving her top-class acting skills. However, she took her participation on the show to a next level when she decided to direct an episode from the final season. Bellisario also showed her interest in directing the spin-off, The Perfectionists, but the series ended after releasing only one season. Luckily, the actress fulfilled her wish by directing three episodes of Freeform’s another hit Good Trouble.


1 David Schwimmer – Friends

David Schwimmer played the fan-favorite TV character Ross Geller for ten straight seasons on Friends, and just like his character, Schwimmer is also interested in learning new things. Hence, he decided to capture his friends through his angle for ten episodes. The iconic episode from season eight, where everybody finds about Ross being the father of Rachel’s child, is also directed by the star himself. Schwimmer has also directed two episodes of the Friends spinoff Joeysix episodes of Little Britain USA, and an episode of The Tracy Morgan Show.



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