Is David Boreanaz the Most Successful Primetime TV Actor?

Fox announced that this season of Bones, its 12th, will be its final one. The last 12 episodes will premiere January 3. The 9 pm Tuesday time slot will become its sixth different time slot across five different nights over the course of the series. That kind of shuffling is usually a death knell for most shows, but Bones managed to mostly retain its audience turning it into Fox’s longest running scripted drama about dead people.

All this leads to the interesting question: Has this made David Boreanaz TV’s most successful prime time actor? Maybe not in awards won, but in longevity, visibility and syndication? Maybe. Let’s check out his career.

Boreanaz started with a few uncredited parts in movies before he landed a role in Married With Children in 1993 at 24 playing Kelly Bundy’s biker boyfriend.

Four years later in 1997 he would get his “big break” as Angel in Joss Whedon’s cult classic series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Boreanaz appeared in 58 out of the 144 episodes playing Michelle Gellar’s love interest.

Because of the popularity of his character, two years later in 1999 Angel would get his own spin-off series titled, what else, Angel. In fact, it could be argued Angel turned out to be a much better show compared to Buffy towards the end of their respective seasons. Unfortunately, after five seasons and 111 episodes, Angel ended in 2004 despite being the second highest rated show on WB.

From 2001 to 2008, Buffy went into syndication on FX. It returned to syndication in 2013. In 2010, Buffy also went into syndication on Logo with reruns airing on MTV. In the same year, it aired in Canada on MuchMusic and MuchMore and on Chiller. In 2011, Oxygen and TeenNick also began airing episodes. In 2015, the series started to be shown on ABC Family. Meanwhile, Angel was syndicated by SkyOne.

While Boreanaz only appeared in 58 episodes of Buffy, it was still significant seeing how many networks began airing reruns.

Just a year later in 2005 after the cancellation of AngelBones would premiere starring David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, Zooey’s sister. Bones will run for 12 seasons airing 246 episodes.

Syndication for Bones began in 2008 on TNT.

When all is said and done, David Boreanaz will have been on prime time tv for 20 years with 3 shows that went into syndication, 2 of them hugely popular. His two decade career brought him from a fresh-faced 27-year-old in Hollywood to a seasoned 47-year-old.

While Betty White holds the Guinness World record for longest TV career, and interestingly enough appeared in an episode of Bones, she wasn’t a lead in prime time for as long as Boreanaz.

This is all to say, christ, I’ve been watching this guy for 20 years? What have I been doing with my life?

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4 years ago

yes!! this man needs more recognition. he’s so talented. thank you

4 years ago

Guy’s awesome. When they killed Angel as a series I was gutted.

C.J. Shelby
C.J. Shelby
4 years ago

Followed his career for 20 years, right alone in age too. David Boreanaz, as he matured through life to a very distinguished actor, man, husband, father we as fans watched his life grow through these changes. It’s really fascinating if you think about that when there is not too many that you can say the same about. He was on our tvs to PC and phones (as technology changed) every week for 20 yeas. Can’t forget the countless interviews, especially on comic cons. Where he was just this charming funny guy, very warm very big kid mentality, and just like… Read more »

4 years ago

David is like a fine wine…he only gets better with age. He is kind and generous to co-stars and co-workers, a dedicated husband and father, and a first-rate entertainer on our tv screens. I will miss Seeley Booth but can’t wait to see what he does next.

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