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Should Mischa Barton Retire From Television?

I’m bummed. First, “The O.C.” killed off Mischa Barton in season three (naturally, season four was the show’s last), and now Mischa’s latest attempt at television glory, the CW’s ill-fated “Beautiful Life,” has become the textbook example of early cancellation. And thus, Mischa says she is done with television. “I think I need to back away from the whole TV approach,” she said. “That whole world of network television, probably isn’t, for me, a good idea now. I need to start reading for more serious roles.” But, Mischa, that’s only strike two! Give it one more shot. [Pop Eater]

It feels like we’ve heard this before, from other actresses who were tired of the stress of weekly production and seasonal uncertainty. Let’s see if leaving behind the small screen worked for them.

  • Claire Danes was done with TV after starring in the teen-angst fabulousness that was “My So-Called Life.” She’s worked steadily in mostly well-received films ever since. She also took a break from acting in general when she attended Yale, ushered in with a letter of recommendation from director Oliver Stone. But she is a rarity ….
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar, on the other hand, shied away from television after “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Her subsequent film career is questionable. After she declined the lead in “Romeo + Juliet” (which went to Claire), Sarah turned down a role in the fantastic film “Stardust” (Claire’s role?) to spend more time with Freddie. I say Claire’s got dirt on her. “The Grudge” was one of her few successes.
  • Eva Longoria says she won’t do television again after “Desperate Housewives” ends. She made that statement over three years ago, though. I wonder how much more desperate Eva would have felt at the time of her interview, if she’d realized what staying power the sassy show would continue to enjoy.
  • Miley Cyrus said, “I love doing Hannah Montana, but I don’t know if I would want to do another show,” after this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards. Miley’s concert tours are all screaming successes, but I think that ticket sales would tank if Disney filled her time slot with someone else for girls to obsess over. And Miley’s dad, Billy Ray, didn’t think he’d be in another TV series after “Doc” either.
  • Kirstie Alley reportedly took a deliberate break from TV after “Cheers” wrapped. But when little else materialized, she tried hard on “Veronica’s Closet” for two seasons. Then she waited another five years before starring in all seven episodes of Showtime’s ambitious but hostilely received “Fat Actress.” She probably shoulda stuck to her resolve, because now Kirstie is mostly visible for her failure as a Jenny Craig spokeswoman.

So what do you think? Is Mischa cursing herself by leaving the medium that made her famous?

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