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Do celebrity guest stars help or hurt a show? EW critic Ken Tucker answers reader questions

Brad Pitt | BRAD WAS RAD Pitt put in a funny appearance on ''Friends''
Image credit: Brad Pitt: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
BRAD WAS RAD Pitt put in a funny appearance on ''Friends''

Do celebrity guest stars help or hurt a show?

Do celebrity guest stars help or hurt a show? When used well, they can advance the plot, but they so often seem to be ratings ploys. --Heather Mroczkowski

I thought ''Friends'' used guest stars like Tom Selleck, Christina Applegate, and Brad Pitt in amusing ways that didn't distract too much from the series' regulars. On the other hand, take ''Will & Grace'' -- please. The first time they used Cher: fun. But too many of their celeb bookings seem like the ploys you deplore. Is anyone really pining to see Grace flaunt Jennifer Lopez (again) or Janet Jackson (yikes) in September?

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Originally posted Sep 03, 2004 Published in issue #781 Sep 03, 2004 Order article reprints