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Directed by Cast Member

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Jonathan Frakes behind the camera on the set of Star Trek: First Contact.

Leonard Nimoy: Melllvar, you have to respect your actors. When I directed Star Trek IV, I got a magnificent performance out of Bill because I respected him so much.
William Shatner: And when I directed Star Trek V, I got a magnificent performance out of me because I respected me so much.

Later on in an ongoing TV series run, one of the cast members may get the idea in their head to take a turn at the helm. They'll have been around a set and crew for some time now and having shifted from the floating jobbing actor life to a more stable schedule, a desire to try something new may be piquing up. Now considering that by this stage they will have a decent relationship with the production staff, who probably don't want to say no and who also don't want the stars to getting ideas of wandering off into their head, the idea of directing an episode will come up.

Not much will change stylistically in this episode since a good budding director will try to emulate the ongoing style to fit it while a bad one would hopefully be steered heavily by the established staff. However, the episode may be noted for completely leaving out the actor's character or reducing them to a walk-on role, so that they can focus on the directing. On the other hand, maybe they go for the opposite, having an episode that does focus heavily on them, so that they don't so much have to deal with directing other people's acting.

Of course, you might not want to trust the coffee passed to you by the guy who went to film school, worked as a runner for five years and spent every day sucking up to the director to no avail...

Writer-actor, director-actor and other hyphenated jobs titles are normally used to refer to someone who develops more than one role simultaneously. That is not this trope. This trope is about those whose careers evolve (or attempt to evolve) into another role, using their current employment as a springboard. Think Dual classing vs Multi-classing with Directed by Cast Member being Dual Classing.

See also Descended Creator and Written by Cast Member.


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This is very common in anime dubs, with many voice actors moving onto voice directing and working on their own shows with roles of varying sizes.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Clark Gregg directed an episode in Season 5, and another one in Season 6. Bonus points for the actor who portrayed the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. becoming a literal Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • Alan Alda directed numerous episodes (he also wrote for the show - in fact, he directed most of the episodes he is credited for writing).
    • Harry Morgan and Mike Farrell also directed several episodes each. David Ogden Stiers directed a couple. Even Jamie Farr had one episode behind the camera.
  • Friends: David Schwimmer, who parlayed this into a career directing feature films and TV shows in which he does not star in (most notably Run Fatboy Run).
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O'Neill) was one of the series' executive producers from day one. The crew joked in one of the DVD featurettes that this was partly to make sure he showed up on time for shoots.
    • Michael Shanks (Dr. Daniel Jackson) directed several and wrote a few (interestingly, one of Shanks' early episodes involved robot clones and he was able to get out of half of the screen time by just killing the clone).
    • Amanda Tapping (Samantha Carter) directed an episode (season 7's "Resurrection", which, incidentally, was written by Michael Shanks).
  • Robert Carlyle directed an episode of Spin-Off Stargate Universe.
  • Sanctuary - Amanda Tapping has taken more than one spin in the director's chair, while Robin Dunne made his directing debut in season 4. Tapping also served as the executive producer for the show, and she has joked that was done so that she can save the show some money by not paying herself.
  • The West Wing - Richard Schiff, the episodes "Talking Points" and "A Good Day". Tim Matheson who played vice President John Hoynes also directed the seventh season episode "The Last Hurrah".
  • Schiff's co-star on The West Wing, Bradley Whitford, directed the season (ultimately the series) finale of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He also wrote two episodes of The West Wing, one each in the show last two seasons.
    • Whitford's co-star on Studio 60, Timothy Busfield, directed six episodes of the show.
  • Tom Welling got seven episodes (one each in seasons 5–9, and two in season 10) on Smallville. The first one was considered to be one of his character's better episodes. Michael Rosenbaum, John Schneider and Justin Hartley all directed one episode each (in seasons 6, 3 and 10, respectively), while Allison Mack directed two (one each in seasons 8 and 9). Hartley also got to write one episode of season 10.
  • There's a reason both the page image and the page quote reference Star Trek: A fairly large number of Star Trek actors have directed at least one episode, and Jonathan Frakes, Robert Duncan McNeill and Roxann Dawson have in fact become more famous within the industry as directors than actors. Note that many of the cast member-directors are now or were professors of directing and acting for the stage: Frakes (Rockport College), Avery Brooks (Rutgers University), Andrew Robinson (USC), René Auberjonois (Juilliard).
    • Averted during the run of the Original Series. None of the original cast ever directed a TV episode of any Star Trek series. That said, Leonard Nimoy has directed two of the films, and William Shatner a third.
    • On TNG, besides breakout director Frakes, Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton and Gates McFadden have all spent time on the other side of the camera. Frakes also directed two of the franchise's movies. Though he's not as famous for it, Burton has actually directed more episodes of Star Trek than any other alum, with 29 episodes to his credit. (That said, Frakes will tie him before the end of 2023; he also has those two movies.)
    • On DS9, Brooks, Auberjonois, Alexander Siddig, Michael Dorn and even Fake Guest Star Andrew Robinson directed episodes, with help from Frakes and Burton.
      • Pointedly averted by Nana Visitor: aware of the predilection of her castmates to direct episodes, she always claimed, "[Then-child actor] Cirroc Lofton will direct an episode before I do." As Lofton aged and this actually became a reasonable possibility, she switched to "my [then-infant] son".
      • While normally the episodes directed by a cast member either don't feature their character or only feature them briefly, the much-praised Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond the Stars" sticks out because it was directed by and totally focused on Avery Brooks. The episode was about racism in the 1950s, and the writers thought that the episode would suffer if it wasn't directed by someone who has to live with it today.
    • On Voyager, Frakes and Burton were amongst the stable of directors, with Robinson ducking in occasionally. The first "shipboard" director was McNeill, with Robert Picardo, Tim Russ and Dawson getting involved as well.
      • One of the complaints Garrett Wang had about his time on Voyager was that he never got to a direct an episode, despite asking several times. In fact, Wang holds the dubious distinction of being the only actor in the entire franchise who wanted to direct but was never allowed to. This puts his character Harry Kim's Butt-Monkey status in a rather unflattering light.
      • Ethan Phillips also made it clear that he had no intention of ever calling the shots on an episode.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise was the first show in the franchise to never have any instalment directed by one of its own actors. Apparently United Paramount Network (already struggling in ratings across its entire lineup) was too risk-averse to allow actors without prior directing experience to learn on the job. ENT star Scott Bakula did already have such experience from his previous show Quantum Leap, but apparently didn't want to direct on ENT. Meanwhile, Burton, Dawson and McNeill all spent time in the director's chair.
    • Shows during the Secret Hideout era have likewise kept actors out of the director's chair, the sole exception being Frakes, who in addition to being the pre-eminent Star Trek director has had his character appear in two of the era's five shows. (Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard is the first time he's spent more time in front of a camera than behind it in over 30 years.) Picard Season 2 also had Lea Thompson appear in a bit role in the 5th episode after directing the 3rd and 4th.
  • William Shatner did direct ten episodes of T.J. Hooker. James Darren (who played Officer Jim Corrigan) directed an episode himself. In fact, Darren directed several other shows (including Melrose Place a few years before he appeared as Tony Marlin). However, despite also appearing in Deep Space Nine (as holographic crooner Vic Fontaine), he never directed an episode of Trek.
  • Scrubs has seven episodes directed by Zach Braff (who, at the point he started directing episodes, had already written and directed one movie), including "My No Good Reason", "My Princess" and "My Way Home" ("My Way Home" even being one of the most well-received episodes of the later years of the show's run). Bill Lawrence has said Braff is probably the best director in the crew for large-scale shoots, which is why the more unusual episodes often go to him.
    • "My Unicorn" was directed by Matthew Perry who also guest-starred in the episode.
  • David Boreanaz directed the Angel episode "Soul Purpose", where Angel spends all his time bedridden in hallucinations. He also directed a fourth-season episode and the 100th episode of Bones.
  • Robin Williams directed the final episode of Mork & Mindy (along with HBO's Comic Relief TV special, his only directorial effort).
    • Robin Williams claimed later that he lost any desire to direct after appearing in the flop Popeye, saying that he could never be critical of anyone else's performance without being reminded of his experiences on the film.
  • Peter Falk directed an early episode of Columbo and also wrote one of the post-1989 episodes. According to Mark Dawidziak's book, The Columbo File, creators/producers Richard Levinson and William Link gave Falk an episode of the series to direct "to shut him up". Furthermore, the script they gave him to direct, "Blueprint For Murder", was the one they considered the most difficult to direct. They were stunned when he brought the project in well under budget and also surprised that he did a fantastic job directing it. Unfortunately, Falk never went behind the camera again.
    • In addition, regular guest star Patrick McGoohan directed a number of episodes, including three of the four episodes where he played the murderer.
  • Edward James Olmos has directed three episodes of the new Battlestar Galactica. He also directed the 2009 BSG TV movie, The Plan.
  • The Bob Newhart Show - Peter Bonerz started directing episodes in Season 2, beginning a successful career behind the camera on this and many other series.
  • Susan Flannery has been a regular director on The Bold and the Beautiful in addition to her starring role as Stephanie Forrester for several years now. Her directing skills so impressed CBS that she was invited to direct a few episodes of another soap on CBS, Guiding Light.
  • The Brady Bunch - Robert Reed directed four episodes. As he was recently at odds with the producers of the show over plotlines, this was done in an attempt to alleviate tension.
  • In Chuck, Zachary Levi directed a major third-season episode, "Chuck vs. the Beard".
  • Coach - Craig T. Nelson directed 25 episodes (this extends to his other series, as he also did an episode of Call To Glory and two installments of The District).
  • Several members of the production team of British Game Show Countdown are former contestants of the show.
  • Dalziel and Pascoe. Both Warren Clarke (Dalziel) and Colin Buchanan (Pascoe) directed episodes.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show - Jerry Paris went on to a long directorial career on this and many other shows.
  • Drake & Josh:
    • The episode "Battle of Panthatar" was directed by Josh Peck.
    • Drake Bell got his turn by directing the first part of the "Really Big Shrimp" special
  • Feel Good: Mae Martin is the main character, who co-created and co-wrote the series as well.
  • Kelsey Grammer has directed numerous episodes of Frasier, many focusing on his character although his first episode, "Moon Dance", only featured Frasier in 2 scenes. Dan Butler (Bulldog) has also directed an episode, albeit one in which his character does not appear. Several of Grammer's episodes are ones with notable flourishes: "Three Valentines" involved one continuous take as Niles sets his trousers on fire, as well as three independent storylines; "RDWRER", which is set mostly in a Winnebago; "Rooms With A View", which is set in a hospital waiting room with flashbacks being done by transitions to other rooms; and in "Don Juan in Hell: Part 2", Frasier ends up in a cabin full of guest stars every girl he's ever dated (including his mother, as he always was a Freudian).
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Alfonso Ribeiro directed an episode in the sixth and final season.
  • Unsurprisingly, several episodes of Hawaii Five-O were directed by Jack Lord. Additionally, Lord's stand-in, Beau Van Den Ecker, directed a few episodes, as well as appearing in bit parts and serving as the show's Associate Producer.
  • Adrian Paul directed several episodes of Highlander: The Series.
  • Kenan & Kel
    • The episode "Three Girls, a Guy, and a Cineplex" was directed by Kenan Thompson.
    • Kel Mitchell got his turn in the director's chair by directing the episode "The Crush".
  • Hugh Beaumont directed a number of Leave It to Beaver episodes.
  • Paul Schrier (Bulk) directed several episodes of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers with Jason Narvy's (Skull) assistance, much to many people's surprise given the morons they played. Reportedly, they were offered this opportunity to make up for many of their scenes in The Movie being cut.
  • The Monkees: Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork directed episodes. Dolenz later had some success as a TV director in Britain.
  • Night Court - John Larroquette, Harry Anderson, and Charles Robinson all helmed episodes.
  • Patrick McGoohan always had complete control over The Prisoner (1967), so it isn't surprising that he wrote and directed many episodes - usually under pseudonyms.
  • Michael Chiklis (Vic Mackey) has directed a few episodes of The Shield.
  • Dick Christie directed a few episodes of Small Wonder.
  • Parodied in a sketch by The State: An actress is starring in and directing a TV costume drama. The scene shown is a monologue of hers, which is repeatedly injected with camera instructions.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: Frank Bonner directed 5 episodes, and Howard Hesseman and Gordon Jump directed one each.
  • The X-Files:
  • Carroll O'Connor directed episodes of Archie Bunker's Place and In the Heat of the Night.
  • Colin Ferguson (Carter), Joe Morton (Henry), and Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Allison) have all directed episodes of Eureka.
  • Jason Bateman directed the Arrested Development episode "Afternoon Delight". The episode is "standard fare" (as in, a show with a large ensemble where the majority of the characters gets a subplot each).
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show: One episode directed by Mary Tyler Moore herself.
  • CHiPs: episodes directed by Robert Pine and Larry Wilcox
  • The Incredible Hulk (1977): several episodes directed by Bill Bixby, plus two directed by Jack Colvin ("Goodbye Eddie Cain" and "East Winds").
  • The F.B.I.: Nine episodes between 1970 and 1974 directed by Philip Abbott.
  • Diagnosis: Murder: One episode is directed by Barry Van Dyke.
  • Dragnet: All episodes of the 1950s and 1960s versions were directed by Jack Webb.
  • The Rookies: Two episodes directed by Georg Stanford Brown ("Cliffy" and "Someone Who Cares") and one by Gerald S. O'Loughlin ("A Time to Mourn"). Brown obviously enjoyed directing so much that when the series ended, he pursued directing as a career, helming dozens of TV shows over the next decade. As for O'Loughlin, he directed one more time, an episode of Family, before deciding to stick to acting.
  • The Streets of San Francisco: One episode directed by Michael Douglas ("Spooks for Sale").
  • Kojak: Several episodes directed by Telly Savalas.
  • Starsky & Hutch: Both Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul have directed episodes (Glaser ultimately made directing a career, while Soul dabbled briefly in directing, helming episodes of Miami Vice, Hunter and Crime Story).
  • Laverne & Shirley: Penny Marshall directed four episodes of the series, serving as a springboard to her career as a feature film director. Cindy Williams and Michael McKean each directed an episode.
  • Miami Vice: Both Don Johnson and Edward James Olmos have directed episodes.
  • Randolph Mantooth directed 2 episodes of Emergency!. His character spent one of them in the hospital after being hit by a car in The Teaser, but he still had a lot of screen time. Kevin Tighe directed several episodes, writing another, and Michael Norell wrote 4.
  • The Office (US): Paul Lieberstein directed seven episodes, B.J. Novak did five, Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson all called the shots on three, and Mindy Kaling and Ed Helms... well, helmed two each. (Lieberstein, Novak, Carell, and Kaling also wrote several episodes, and all but Carell directed one of their own scripts at least once.)
  • Neil Patrick Harris directed an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
  • Hugh Laurie directed the "Lockdown" episode of House, a Bottle Episode involving a (you guessed it) lockdown which neatly sticks characters in pairs in a single set for the entire episode, rotating through the pairs. So Laurie is free to be behind the camera for most of the episode and when he's in front of it it's in a tight character-focused box.
  • As if sweeping Best Actor Emmy awards wasn't enough to take up Bryan Cranston's time, he also directed the second and third season premieres, as well as the midseason premiere of the final season of Breaking Bad.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: As mentioned above, Bryan Cranston directed the episodes "Stereo Store", "Vegas", "Dirty Magazine", "Experiment", "Buseys Run Away", "Billboard", and "Malcolm Defends Reese". Christopher Kennedy Masterson directed the episode "Hal Grieves".
  • Over 30 episodes of Married... with Children were directed by Amanda Bearse (Marcy), who directed numerous other shows as well.
  • Here's a strange one: Dennis Dugan was brought in for four episodes near the end of Moonlighting, where he played the infamous "guy Maddie met on a train and immediately married for no apparent reason in order to provide a love triangle". This failed utterly and his character was written out and never seen again. However, Dugan himself stuck around to direct five unrelated episodes including the series finale (and now Dugan is probably better known as a director than as an actor).
    • This trope itself was parodied in the Moonlighting episode "Atomic Shakespeare". In one scene, 'Petruchio' (David Addison) pulls out a list of demands for Kate (Maddy Hayes). He reads out 'Top billing, 10% pay rise and a chance to direct' and then says 'oops, wrong list of demands'. (Ironically, Bruce Willis has never directed for real.)
  • Matthew Gray Gubler (Dr. Spencer Reid) directed twelve episodes of Criminal Minds:
    • "Mosley Lane" (5x16): This one was definitely a Tear Jerker episode and, especially considering it involved heavy acting with teenagers and young children, was incredibly well executed. When you're able to get multiple really good performances out of kids, you're doing something right.
    • "Lauren" (6x18): This one was Paget Brewster's (Emily Prentiss) "goodbye episode" (due to the fiasco called Executive Meddling during season six which A.J. Cook was fired and Paget's role was reduced. Both returned for season seven) and she wanted Matthew to direct it. Another fantastic episode which involved AJ Cook (JJ) returning for this episode and Emily faking her death. Needless to say, it was a Tear Jerker.
    • "Heathridge Manor" (7x19): Very intriguing episode which was described by Matthew as "eerily cerebral". This one was more about the psychological horror rather than the blood and guts.
    • Other episodes Gubler directed are: "The Lesson" (8x10), "Alchemy" (8x20),"Gatekeeper" (9x7), "Blood Relations" (9x20), "Mr. Scratch" (10x21),"A Beautiful Disaster" (11x18),"Elliott's Pond" (12x6), "The Capilanos" (13x17), and "The Tall Man" (14x5).
    • On another note, directing is actually Matthew's passion.
  • Mad Men has two season-4 episodes directed by John Slattery (who plays Roger Sterling).
    • Season 5 featured directorial efforts from John Slattery and Jon Hamm. Slattery's episode - "Signal 30" - was particularly acclaimed (in part due to a script penned by Dog Day Afternoon writer Frank Pierson) and was deemed by many critics as one of the season's best episodes.
    • This allows for some pretty cool visual irony: the opening scene of Slattery's first episode, "The Rejected," involves Roger Sterling and Don Draper discussing new regulations on cigarette advertisements over the phone with Lucky Strike; one of these requirements, as Roger reads out, is avoiding using wide angles, low and other forms of Hitler Cam to make a smoker seem superhuman. At the same time, Don Draper is smoking, and Slattery makes sure to use...wide angles, low shots, and other forms of Hitler Cam to make Don know the rest.
    • Jared Harris (Lane Pryce) directed the 7th season episode Time & Life even though his character hanged himself 2 seasons earlier making this Directed by former cast member.
  • Lots of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, though this likely has to do with the show being produced in Minnesota, away from major show business cities, and the fact Jim Mallon was the voice of Gypsy for a large portion of the run. Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu, Mike Nelson, and Joel Hodgson all directed numerous episodes as well.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street had multiple episodes directed by Clark Johnson who later directed episodes of The Shield and The Wire as well as feature films. Kyle Secor also directed one episode. Steve Buscemi, who appeared in a guest role in Season 3, got to direct at least one later episode, in which he did not appear.
  • Shannen Doherty directed three episodes of Charmed, including the last one she ever appeared in.
  • Ryan Stiles directed an episode of The Drew Carey Show. Humorously, The Tag at the end of the episode featured the cast members congratulating him before they shoot the final scene, in which the camera ends up zooming in on Ryan and only focusing on him while the other characters marvel at some wondrous shape-shifting object offscreen.
  • Supernatural:
    • Jensen Ackles (Dean) directed the episodes "Weekend at Bobby's", "The Girl Next Door", "Heartache", "Soul Survivor", "The Bad Seed", and "Atomic Monsters".
    • Misha Collins (Castiel) directed the episode "Mother's Little Helper".
    • Richard Speight Jr.. (Gabriel) directed the episodes "Just My Imagination", "Stuck in the Middle (With You)", "Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes", "War of the Worlds", "Unfinished Business", "Gods and Monsters", "Optimism", "Proverbs 17:3", "Our Father, Who Aren't in Heaven", "Galaxy Brain", and "Despair".
    • Amanda Tapping (Naomi) directed the episodes "The Future", "Various & Sundry Villains", "A Most Holy Man", and "Nihilism".
    • Matt Cohen (young John) directed the episode "Gimme Shelter".
  • Patricia Wettig and Polly Draper are just about the only stars of thirtysomething who didn't direct an episode; one episode even featured Elliot (Timothy Busfield) making his directorial debut on a commercial (and yes, this episode was directed by a member of the cast - Melanie Mayron, not Busfield himself).
Peter Horton and Ken Olin did six each, Timothy Busfield did three, Melanie Mayron did two, while Mel Harris directed "Out the Door".
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt helmed three episodes each of Ghost Whisperer and The Client List.
  • Jennifer Garner directed one episode of Alias in season four (unlike her ex-husband, this is her sole effort in the field to date).
  • Tom Wopat, James Best, Sorrell Booke, and Denver Pyle all directed multiple episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard (Uncle Jesse did the most, with 12); John Schneider only directed one, but it was the Series Finale and he also co-wrote it (Schneider was the show's only cast member to write an episode).
  • Scott Bakula directed three episodes of Quantum Leap. Notably, he averted the trope in Star Trek: Enterprise. (Reportedly, he was asked due to his previous experience, but he opted not to.)
  • 30 Rock star Tina Fey wrote and co-wrote several episodes, including the Pilot, but she never directed any. Steve Buscemi, who has a Recurring Character on the show, directed an episode in which his character did not appear.
  • Trackdown. I Spy. The Greatest American Hero. What do these TV series have in common? They all starred Robert Culp, and he wrote and directed episodes for each of them. This was a factor in his not being cast as Koenig on Space: 1999; he told Gerry Anderson that he wanted to write and direct, and was handed his hat as a result. In fact, the only cast member of any live-action Anderson show to have directed an episode is Robert Vaughn, who went behind the camera for The Protectors's only comic episode, "It Could Be Practically Anywhere On The Island" (an episode widely regarded, including by Vaughn himself, as a mistake).
  • Happens in-universe in Extras when the network hires an incompetent director for the Show Within a Show.
  • Danny DeVito directed three episodes of Taxi.
  • Bruce Campbell, who played Autolycus in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, directed episodes of both series including the Series Finale of the latter.
  • Malcolm Jamal-Warner directed several episodes of The Cosby Show.
  • Home Improvement: Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson each directed one episode in season eight.
  • David DeLuise, who plays the father on Wizards of Waverly Place, directed a number of episodes, one or two of which were written by TV son David Henrie.
  • Boy Meets World: William Russ (Alan Matthews) directed several episodes in the later seasons before also directing an episodes of Girl Meets World.
  • Jon Cryer directed three episodes of Two and a Half Men.
  • Matthew Morrison directed the Glee episode "Extraordinary Merry Christmas"
  • Phill Lewis (Mr. Moseby) of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spinoff The Suite Life On Deck directed one episode of the original show and eight On Deck episodes, as well as episodes of A.N.T. Farm and Jessie.
  • Speaking of Jessie, Kevin Chamberlin has directed two episodes; Debby Ryan, in addition to being a co-producer from season two, directed a season three episode (becoming the youngest female to direct for the Disney Channel in the process).
  • James Roday Rodriguez directed eight episodes of Psych and earned co-producer status of the series.
  • St. Elsewhere:
    • Eric Laneuville (Luther Hawkins) directed 19 episodes from Season Two onwards.
    • William Daniels (Mark Craig) directed the Season Three episode "The Children's Hour". This is his only credit as a director.
    • David Morse (Jack Morrison) directed the Season Six episodes "Handoff" and "A Coupla White Dummies Sitting Around Talking".
  • ER had episodes directed by Laura Innes (12 total), Paul McCrane (9), and Anthony Edwards (4). Laura Innes and Paul McCrane even directed episodes after leaving the cast.
  • Grey's Anatomy, one of the Long-Runners, has developed a stable of internal directors: Chandra Wilson, Kevin McKidd, Jesse Williams, Ellen Pompeo and Giacomo Gianniotti have all stepped behind the camera. Debbie Allen, who plays a recurring character, has also joined the show's staff as an executive producer and director, and now spends more time behind the camera than in front of it; she often directs four episodes per season, Kidd four, and Wilson two, leaving fourteen others for "outside" directors. And Sarah Drew directed the entire Grey's Anatomy: B-Team Web Video series, though she did not appear in it.
  • Chad Lowe has directed 15 episodes of Pretty Little Liars (appropriately enough given he plays Aria's dad, the second episode he helmed was called "Father Knows Best"). Troian Bellisario also got to direct "In the Eye Abides the Heart".
  • Rick Green, who portrayed Bill on The Red Green Show, directed several episodes.
  • JAG: David James Elliott directed three episodes; "Lifeline," "Take It Like A Man" and "There Goes The Neighborhood."
    • Michael Weatherley (Tony) has directed two episodes of NCIS: the season eight episode "One Last Score" and the season ten episode "Seek".
      • Rocky Carroll, who plays Director Leon Vance, directed the season twelve episode "We Build, We Fight", two season thirteen episodes: "Viral" and "Deja Vu", the season fourteen episode "Off the Grid", three season fifteen episodes "Skeleton Crew", "Family Ties", and "Death From Above", three season sixteen episodes: "Beneath the Surface", "The Last Link", and "Silent Service", and the season seventeen episode "No Vacancy".
  • Out of 111 episodes of Highway to Heaven, "The Secret," "The Good Doctor," "Summit," "Another Kind of War, Another Kind of Peace" and "Oh Lucky Man" are the only ones which weren't directed by either Michael Landon or Victor French.
  • Several of the later episodes of I Dream of Jeannie were directed by Larry Hagman.
  • Don Adams did this in seasons four and five of Get Smart.
  • Jason Alexander directed the Seinfeld episode "The Good Samaritan."
  • Yannick Bisson, the lead of Murdoch Mysteries, directed "Buffalo Shuffle," "Murdoch at the Opera," "Murdoch and the Cloud of Doom," and "Murdoch of the Living Dead."
  • Jerry Trainor directed two episodes of iCarly.
  • Although Armando Iannucci directed the first three series of The Thick of It, the final series featured a number of guest directors including Chris Addison (who plays Ollie Reader). His episode was notable for the fact that his character spent most of the episode alone in a hospital bed.
  • A Mr. Show sketch in the finale was directed by David Cross, which probably explains why it stars Bob Odenkirk and Jay Johnston as the leads, as a two-man sketch would normally be played by Bob and David (Jay usually played supporting roles).
  • Good Luck Charlie had two episodes directed by Eric Allan Kramer ("Wentz's Weather Girls" and "Rat-A-Teddy") and Leigh-Allyn Baker ("Charlie Whisperer" and "Bob's Beau-Be-Gone").
  • The Nova theoretical physics miniseries "The Fabric of the Cosmos" was hosted by Professor Brian Greene of Columbia University, who also wrote the book the miniseries was based on and was credited as executive editor.
  • Melissa Joan Hart directed nine episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, while her co-star Beth Broderick called the shots on three.
  • Although Brotherly Love was shortlived, Joey Lawrence still got to direct three episodes.
  • Unsurprisingly, since then both Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence have directed episodes of Melissa & Joey (six and five respectively).
  • In Haven, Jason Priestley (Chris Brody) directed "Lockdown" and "Real Estate", Lucas Bryant (Nathan Wuornos) directed "Enter Sandman", and Colin Ferguson (William) directed "Just Passing Through".
  • Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) has become a recurring director for House of Cards (US), having directed ten episodesnote 
  • Rob Morrow took the helm of a few episodes of NUMB3RS, in which he played Don Eppes, the season two episode "All's Fair", the season five episode "Cover Me", the season six episode and "Growin' Up".
    • He previously directed in the series Street Time, where he played main character Kevin Hunter. He directed the season one episode "Follow the Money", and two season two episodes: "Lockdown" and "Hostage".
    • He later directed several episodes in The Fosters, where he played recurring character Will. He directed the season two episode "Now Hear This", the season three episode "Minor Offenses", four season four episodes: "Potential Energy", "Safe", "Insult To Injury", and "Dream a Little Dream", and the season five episode "Sanctuary".
  • Each of the four main cast members of Elementary has directed at least one episode. Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hill have one each, Jonny Lee Miller has done three while Lucy Liu has directed seven.
  • Emmy Rossum has directed 2 episodes of Shameless.
  • 19 episodes of Girls were directed by Lena Dunham herself. (The show only had 62 episodes.)
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow had David Ramsey (Diggle) directing the episodes "Past Sins" and "Reset", and Katie Cassidy (Laurel) directing the episode "Leap of Faith".
    • The Flash had Tom Cavanagh (Wells) directing the episodes "The Once and Future Flash", "Elongated Journey Into Night", and "What's Past Is Prologue", and Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin) directing the episodes "Godspeed" and "License to Elongate".
    • Supergirl had Chad Lowe (Coville) directing the episodes "Wake Up" and "Rather the Fallen Angel", David Harewood (J'onn) directing the episodes "American Dreamer", "Back From the Future – Part One", and "Immortal Kombat", and Melissa Benoist (Kara) directing the episode "Deus Lex Machina". Lowe also directed The Flash episode "The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 1".
    • Legends of Tomorrow had Caity Lotz (Sara) directing the episode "Mortal Khanbat".
  • Ben McKenzie directed an episode in season 3, 4 and 5 of Gotham, as well as writing an episode in both season 4 and 5.
  • Bassie & Adriaan: Besides playing Adriaan, Aad van Toor co-directed "Het Geheim van de Sleutel" and "De Diamand", and as of "Het Geheim van de Schatkaart" completely took over the director duties.
  • Lana Parrilla who plays Regina in Once Upon a Time directed season 7 episode "Chosen".
  • Tyler Posey who plays Scott McCall in Teen Wolf, directed the season 6 episode "After Images".
  • In The Originals, Joseph Morgan who plays Klaus directed three episodes.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Paul Wesley (Stefan) directed five episodes and Ian Somerhalder (Damon) three.
  • In Jessica Jones (2015) season 3, Krysten Ritter (Jessica) directed the season 3 episode "AKA You're Welcome".
  • Eric Close (Martin Fitzgerald) directed several episodes of Without a Trace, as did his co-star Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Vivian Johnson).
  • Dan Levy co-directed the Christmas Episode of Schitt's Creek.
  • Several actors of Brooklyn Nine-Nine made their directing debut in the sixth season including Stephanie Beatriz for "He Said, She Said", Joe Lo Truglio for "The Bimbo" and Melissa Fumero for "Return of the King".
  • Jamie Lee Curtis directed an episode of Scream Queens (2015).
  • Roger Moore directed nine episodes of The Saint (and as pretty much the only regular cast member, he's the only candidate here) and two episodes of The Persuaders!.
  • Adrian Lester directed an episode of the final series of Hustle (which resulted in Mickey spending much of the episode locked in a car boot).
  • David Carradine directed three episodes of Kung Fu (1972).
  • Dominic West directed The Wire episode "Took".
  • A number of past and present Sesame Street puppeteers have also directed episodes, including Jim Martin (who mostly puppeteered minor characters like Preston Rabbit), Kevin Clash (former puppeteer of Elmo), Joey Mazzarino (Murray Monster and Stinky the Stinkweed; he also wrote episodes, skits, and songs until his departure and eventually became head writer), and Matt Vogel (the current performer of Big Bird and Count von Count). In the early seasons, Jim Henson also directed some Muppet segments.
  • A few episodes of Fuller House were directed by Dave Coulier, who plays Joey Gladstone.
  • On GLOW (2017), Alison Brie directed the third season episode "Hollywood Homecoming".
  • Raymond Burr directed two episodes of Ironside (1967), "Achilles' Heel" and "Nightmare Trip".
  • Barry Morse directed one episode of The Fugitive, "The Shattered Silence". This episode was the last one aired before the two-part finale.
  • Robert Conrad directed episodes of his series Black Sheep Squadron, The Duke, A Man Called Sloane, High Mountain Rangers and Jesse Hawkes. The latter two were also series he produced.
  • Stacy Keach directed an episode of The New Mike Hammer entitled "A Blinding Fear".
  • David Doyle directed one episode of Charlie's Angels.
  • While none of the Angels' actresses got to direct an episode, Kate Jackson did direct two episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs. King, "Unfinished Nusiness" and "The Pharoah's Engineer".
  • John Carter, who appeared in the recurring role of Lt. John Biddle, directed two episodes of Barnaby Jones, "A Short, Happy Life" and "Run to Death".
  • Thomas Carter directed four episodes of The White Shadow. Eventually, Carter abandoned acting for a more lucrative producing and directing career.
  • Criminal Minds: In addition to Matthew Gray Gubler, who was previously mentioned, a number of other cast members have directed episodes...Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler and Adam Rodriguez.
  • Helen Hunt directed four episodes of Mad About You, including the original finale - and in some appropriate resonance, would also do the opener for the series revival in 2019.
  • Benjamin King directed the Liv and Maddie episode "Repeat-a-Rooney"
  • Kevin Alejandro (Dan) of Lucifer directed the episodes "Once Upon a Time", "Spoiler Alert", "Nothing Ever Changes Around Here" and "Goodbye, Lucifer". D.B. Woodside who plays Amenadiel directed the sixth season episode "Save the Devil, Save the World".
  • John Ratzenberger directed four episodes of Cheers and George Wendt directed one during the later seasons.
  • Peter Graves directed the Mission: Impossible episode "Kidnap." as he'd been on the show for a while, he felt the pitfalls that beset the show's other directors wouldn't trip him up (he was wrong; this was his secondnote  and last time behind the camera
  • Bates Motel put several of its main cast in the director's chair. It started when star Vera Farmiga suggested that Nestor Carbonell ought to direct an episode; he made his debut in the director's chair in season three and went on to direct an episode in both seasons four and five as well. Freddie Highmore and Max Thieriot followed suit, both taking a turn behind the camera in season five. Ironically, the only main cast member who already had directing experience, Farmiga herselfnote , turned down the opportunity when she was asked if she wanted to direct as well.
  • Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton) directed three episodes of True Blood: "Somebody That I Used To Know" (Season 5, Episode 8), "Who Are You, Really?" (Season 6, Episode 1), and "Jesus Gonna Be Here" (Season 7, Episode 1).
  • Better Things: Pamela Adlon starred as main character Sam, while she also co-created, produced and wrote much of the series.
  • The Bisexual: Desiree Akhavan played Leila, the lead character, while she was also the co-creator and director.
  • Roswell, New Mexico: Michael Trevino, who played Kyle Valenti, also directed the fourth season episode "Wild Wild West".
  • Moonlighting: Dennis Dugan played Maddie's temporary husband in the fourth season. He returned to the show in the fifth season to direct five episodes including the series finale.
  • This Is Us: With thirtysomething alumnus Ken Olin as one of the show's producers, this trope very present here - Milo Ventimiglia did 3 episodes, Mandy Moore directed "The Hill", Jon Huertas and Justin Hartley did 2 episodes, Chris Sullivan did "Heart and Soul"
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: Clarence Gilyard directed "Full Recovery".
  • Dawson's Creek had an episode directed by cast member Joshua Jackson, and a second by cast member Kerr Smith, during the sixth season. This is notable since the show is a Teen Drama — though perhaps less so since it's also the Trope Namer for Dawson Casting. Jackson's character was 20 at the time he directed, but the man himself was 25. (That said, he got to direct Adam Carolla and Drew Pinsky.)

    Music Videos 
  • John Flansburgh directed a couple of videos for They Might Be Giants songs.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic directed a number of his own (and others') videos.
  • Dave Grohl directed the videos for several Foo Fighters songs, including "Rope" and "All My Life."
  • After everyone's dissatisfaction with the video to "One Step Closer", Linkin Park's Joe Hahn has been responsible for almost all of their videos.
  • Jerry Casale of Devo directed or co-directed the majority of their videos, as well as their short film The Truth About De-Evolution and their "video albums" The Men Who Make the Music and We're All Devo. He also co-directed "Army Girls Gone Wild" by his own side project Jihad Jerry And The Evil-Doers, and directed the segment of the film Human Highway in which Devo are performing "Worried Man".
  • Adam Jones of tool is responsible for their music videos.
  • Kate Bush directs most of her own later videos.
  • Jared Leto directed videos for Thirty Seconds to Mars under the name Bartholomew Cubbins.
  • Country Music band Lonestar had this happen twice. Drummer Keech Rainwater directed the video for their 2001 single "With Me", and the band directed the video for "Maybe Someday" (2013) by themselves.
  • Between 1994's "State of Mind" and 2003's "Spend My Time", Clint Black directed or co-directed every music video that he released.
  • Rob Zombie directed videos for both White Zombie and his solo work.
  • Trent Reznor co-directed the music videos for Nine Inch Nails' "Burn", "The Hand That Feeds", and "Survivalism". In addition, all the members of his other band How to Destroy Angels were credited for directing the video for "The loop closes".
  • Bella Thorne usually directs her own music videos.
  • Taylor Swift has started directing her own music videos since Lover. She's credited as the sole director for "The Man" (which lampshades the Copiously Credited Creator) and the ten minutes short film of All Too Well.

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    Video Games 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 

  • Scott Wilson, the second voice of Chuck E. Cheese from the mid-1980s to 1994 as well as the original voice of Mr. Munch from his debut until 1994, was heavily involved in the production of the early 1990s CEC TV videos used on CyberStar showtapes.