When the Fox television network premiered Married With Children back in 1987, much of the greater public was appalled. They thought the stories were mind-numbing, the characters were trashy and their language and clothing, or lack of, would corrupt American culture. Fox ignored the haters and followed up with another legendary show, The Simpsons, and again were met with heavy criticism from parents. But the only thing Fox was doing differently than anyone else was appealing to a different crowd.
For the first time in history, a national television network was targeting youth, and didn’t care what the old people thought. The WB channel, a subsidiary of CBS, took that youth-audience idea and ran with it, creating loads of dramas, targeting teens and tweens like nothing TV had ever seen before. The WB soon rebranded to UPN, and is now known as The CW.
And how does a network appeal to young viewers? Well for one thing, they employed younger casts than their competition. Sure there were still parental characters, but the kids had most of the power. Within this teen realm, stars were discovered and careers were launched. And the famous girls outnumbered the boys by far. The CW has employed so many beautiful actresses it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to the 15 on this list. Here are only the finest actresses, with name recognition, talent and beauty.
15 Leighton Meester - Gossip Girl & 7th Heaven
Ah yes, Blair Waldorf, yet another rich white girl on the CW. Her character is the archetype on which all successful CW dramas are built. A little bit of lying, a little too hopeless in love, evil and self-centered, yet somehow charming and extremely hot. Who wouldn’t want to watch that? Leighton Meester is one of the cutest names in Hollywood, and that’s why it is recognizable. The actress hasn’t really had major success outside of Gossip Girl, but it doesn’t matter, she doesn’t need it. She seems comfortable whether she’s doing a shampoo commercial, or singing the hook on a single. Her husband, OC star Adam Brody, is on that same plateau of laid back stardom. Meester has a new project coming up later this year called Making History. It’s a comedy and Meester plays Paul Revere’s hot daughter. Other characters include Sam Adams and John Hancock. Fox ordered 9 episodes, and then I assume it will be cancelled.
14 Michelle Williams - Dawson’s Creek
As mentioned in the intro, The WB is what the CW used to be called, and Dawson’s Creek was arguably the WB’s most popular show. Not only was Dawson a ratings monster, it also propelled many of its stars into highly lucrative careers. The lead was played by James Van Der Beek, who has since been in many failed shows, but still has star power. Another major player was Joshua Jackson, the Canadian star who has played in over 30 films. Then the names get bigger, like Katie Holmes, a smoke-show whose career suffered largely due to her odd marriage to Tom Cruise. The only reason Katie is not on this list is because we chose Michelle Williams instead. As far as beauty goes, it’s a coin toss, but career-wise Michelle has risen above. She has been nominated for an impressive four Oscars, including her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, and her latest nod for Manchester by the Sea.
13 Rose McIver - iZombie
Rose McIver has been in Hollywood for quite some time and even played a yellow ranger in Power Rangers RPM. She currently stars as Olivia on iZombie. The TV dramedy is actually based on a DC comic book. Rose carries the show, which proves that her star may still be on the rise. She has also appeared on hit shows like CSI, Masters of Sex and Once Upon a Time. As far as films go, Rose made her premiere as a child in The Piano, and more recently received critical acclaim for her role in The Lovely Bones. In Lovely Bones Rose played Lindsey Salmon, the younger sister of Susie Salmon, who is murdered and then hidden by her killer. While the police unsuccessfully investigate Susie’s disappearance, the family comes undone. The film is based on the best selling novel, which is also very entertaining, written from the creepy point-of-view of dead Susie.
12 Ashley Benson - Pretty Little Liars & 7th Heaven
Ashley Benson currently plays Hanna on the hit show Pretty Little Liars, but I must admit I had never watched the show. Then, however, when I saw Spring Breakers, also starring Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, I had to find out who that gorgeous blonde was. Ashley possesses that effortless sexuality, something many actresses just do not have. She stole the show in a star studded film. Unfortunately, looks is about all Spring Breakers is worth-- it’s strictly eye candy. The plot is awful and the acting is just as bad. But if you like hot girls partying in bikinis, than this is the movie for you. The film is supposed to be pulpy, but the artistry did not come through. Other projects on Ashley’s resume include an appearance on How I Met Your Mother and a prank on Punk’d, but otherwise she hasn’t been too busy.
11 Sarah Michelle Gellar - Ringer
Many people forget that Sarah Michelle Gellar played in Ringer back in 2012. The series didn’t last long, which is too bad, since it was some of Gellar’s finest work. In the series she played identical twins, one of whom witnessed a murder, struggled with an addiction problem, and worked as a stripper. Sarah has always had a knack for playing the sexually perverse hotties, like when she rose to stardom in Cruel Intentions. Gellar also had a big hit with I Know What You Did Last Summer, where she met her future husband, Freddie Prinze Jr. Gellar’s career has never gotten back to that I Know What you Did Last Summer height, but she’s been trying. She and Freddie found mild success with Scooby Doo, and Gellar received favorable reviews for the sitcom The Crazy Ones. She played the daughter of Robin Williams’ character and the series came to an end after his sad and untimely death.
10 Lucy Hale - Privileged & Pretty Little Liars
Lucy Hale is another hot young actress on the CW show Pretty Little Liars, and she’s the last one from that show on this list. There are just so many hotties on that show, and we had to draw the line somewhere. Lucy Hale has won multiple Teen Choice Awards for the drama, and has been nominated for several more. Lucy is also a musician and released the 2014 album, Road Between, which had two hit singles on the country charts. She was originally discovered on a spin-off of American Idol, and has described singing as her first love. Recently, Lucy appeared as a co-host on New Year’s Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. While Ryan dropped the big ball at NYC in Eastern Standard Time, Lucy represented Central Time in New Orleans. She even got to interview the Governor of Louisiana and his very friendly, pretty, and drunk wife.
9 Ashley Tisdale - Hellcats
Remember Hellcats? That show had quite a few hotties, and Ashley Tisdale was on the list. She played Savannah Monroe, the aggressive captain of the cheerleading squad. As we all know Ashley double dipped, into another pool of teen talent, known the world over as Disney. Disney and CW casting have a lot in common, if you haven’t noticed, and the only major difference is that Disney has found more success with comedy, while the CW chose the drama route. Tisdale was very wholesome for quite some time during her High School Musical days, and then once it was over she began doing those risque photoshoots that many fanboys had been dying to see for years. She obviously followed the example of her Musical co-star, Vanessa Hudgens, who wasted no time in shedding her good girl image. It is interesting to note, however, that Vanessa is the younger of the two actresses, at 28, while Tisdale is a surprising 31.
8 Mischa Barton - The Beautiful Life
Ashton Kutcher was the producer on this series so you know it wasn’t going to last. The dude has had some great success on That '70s Show, Punk’d and Two and a Half Men, but all the rest of his stuff is really bad. Like that Jobs movie? Oh, man it was bad, even though Olaf, aka Josh Gad tried to help out. Getting back to Mischa though, she played Sonja, a supermodel, on The Beautiful Life. In reality Mischa’s life hasn’t been so pretty lately. Recently found on many of those “washed up” lists, Mischa’s career has suffered badly from too much partying. For a while after The OC, she was on top of the world, and then, a la Lindsay Lohan, the partying affected the looks, and the looks affected the casting. Too bad. In her peak Barton was a doe-eyed goddess.
7 Aly Michalka - Hellcats and iZombie
Here’s another CW beauty who has been in multiple shows on the network, starring in both HellCats and iZombie. Aly’s beauty has transcended both these shows, however, as many of her fans have watched neither program. Aly made her name instead via social media, smartphone image hacks, and the band she has with her equally hot sister AJ. What many fans don’t know is that these sisters have some extreme views on religion. Their most radical belief is that evolution does not exist. What? Yes, that’s what they told Blender magazine. Aly has also said that, “[Religion] is something that guides me. But I feel like when you make a declaration of your religion, people automatically go after you when that purity ring comes off. So I don't want to set myself up for that kind of judgment.” Well, don’t worry, the ring is definitely off and we’re not judging one bit.
6 Kristen Bell - Veronica Mars & Gossip Girl
Kristen Bell is one of those actresses that ages like a fine wine. This woman seems way hotter now than she ever did during Veronica Mars, the show that launched her career. Mars was a big TV hit that was not recognized by Hollywood producers, and had to raise funds on Kickstarter in order to make the Mars movie happen. Ever since, Bell’s career has been on fire. And once Frozen hit the stratosphere, Bell became a household name. The next thing you know she’s on commercials, sitcoms and huge movies, like Bad Moms, with Mila Kunis. She also has a very public marriage with Dax Shepherd. They have spoken openly about many controversial issues including domestic abuse, alcoholism and sex. Dax is in the upcoming big budget comedy flick, Chips, and is working on making himself a household name as well.
5 AnnaLynne McCord - 90210
This was a really tough entry to commit to. McCord is a gorgeous, gorgeous girl, but her career kind of tanked after 90210 and there were so many other beautiful women to choose from. Runners up included Kat Graham, Amy Jo Johnson, Gina Rodriguez, Keri Russell, Rachel Bloom, Lyndsy Fonseca, Jessica Lucas, Katie Cassidy, Jaime King, Britt Robertson, Jessica Lowndes and more. You Google any of those ladies accompanied by the word “hot” and you will feast your eyes on some wonderful stuff. And then there’s Rachel Bilson, that sweetie from The OC, CW’s Hart of Dixie, and those super hot Magnum ice cream bar commercials. Bilson and McCord were my final two. They’re opposites in every way. The good girl versus the villain. Girl next door vs sexpot. And in the end the sexpot won. AnnaLynne is so attractive, even her name is sexy. Hope I made the right call.
4 Jessica Biel - 7th Heaven
This show is a throwback to the early days of Jessica Biel’s career, before she was a household name. Now Biel is a wonderful loving wife, mother and occasionally an actress, but back then she was that one girl who got in trouble for taking her clothes off when she was still underage. You may recognize the striking photos if you saw them again. One features the starlet in black and white, topless, back facing the camera, and she’s sitting in the bathroom sink of a men’s restroom. The magazine was called Gear, which was in print from 1998 from 2003. Biel graced the cover of the March 2000 issue with the article title in bold print, Fallen Angel, which was in direct reference to 7th Heaven. Well, the producers at the old WB/CW weren’t too happy with the bad publicity that the semi-nude photoshoot received, and Biel’s character was immediately written off the show. Her career eventually recovered. Most young actresses aren’t so lucky.
3 Amber Heard - Hidden Palms
Many don’t remember Heard being on this short run CW drama, because back then Amber Heard was still a nobody. I knew it, you knew it, and she knew it. And that’s why she went out and seduced poor old Johnny Depp, and then framed him with some crap charges, and then she took money from the divorce, and gave it to charity, but by then who cares, because guess what, Amber? You finally made a name for yourself. Yes, most people do that by working hard, but no you just had to drag eccentric old Johnny through the mud, didn’t you? Okay, I’m sorry, I ranted a bit there, and it’s obvious now that I’m on team Depp. But think about it, isn’t that why her whole scandal disappeared so soon? Somebody must have investigated things, found out it was all bull, and then tried to hush the story so Heard would stop benefitting from the publicity. I don’t know. Just a theory. But either way, she’s still lovely to look at.
2 Aisha Tyler - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Aisha Tyler is a knock-out and she made this list simply because of the surprise factor. When she shows up on TV she’s just kind of a normal, slightly goofy lady. Who would ever guess that the girl is smoking hot, and has the photos to prove it? Aisha got her big break on Friends, as one of the many girlfriends of Ross Geller. She also hosted Talk Soup, and currently co-hosts the daytime talk show The Talk. Now, I know what you’re saying, how is Whose Line Is It Anyway a drama? All I can say is, it’s improv, my friend, and improv encompasses all emotions. People go from happy to sad to happy again, all in a matter of seconds. They sing, laugh, and cry. Aisha acts as the host and rings the buzzer when things get out of control, or start to suck. She rings the bell a lot.
1 Blake Lively - Gossip Girl
Ryan Reynolds: man does this guy know how to pick them. First he got with ScarJo, and now Blake. It’s highly debatable if he upgraded or downgraded, because both of these women are phenomenal. It’s like hitting the lottery twice, not to mention he’s currently in the peak of his career after killing it in Deadpool. So I’m going to have to say upgrade. #TeamBlake. If Ryan is now doing his best work, that means that Blake is not only a beautiful wife and mother, but she’s also an artist’s muse, and that’s important. Hollywood is a tough business and you have to have the right coach in your corner. And the feeling seems mutual too, since Blake got some of her best reviews after her recent film The Shallows. Sure, I say that now, and then they’ll probably announce a divorce next week. Sorry guys, you seem like a happy couple, I am truly not trying to jinx you.
Sources: Complex, Wikipedia, IMDb