Young Stars Growing Up on TV

Five Kid Actors Who Have Matured on the Small Screen

Young Stars Growing Up on TV
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Kiernan Shipka from "Mad Men."

Not every young actor is lucky enough to land on a TV series that lasts. But on the rare occasion when a show becomes a hit, the child actors get the opportunity to mature before a loyal audience. Here are five hot young stars who are growing up on TV.

Ariel Winter from 'Modern Family'

When "Modern Family" started in 2009, Ariel Winter's character Alex was often overshadowed by her cooler on-screen sister Haley and her goofy younger brother Luke. But now with Haley off to college, the once totally bookish Alex is coming in to her own. She even proved last season that nerdy girls can have a posse of adoring teen boys all her own. Now all Alex needs is the perfect boyfriend to complete the picture. If the 14-year-old actress could pick her TV beau, she told ShineOn media that she'd maybe pick pop star Justin Bieber or One Direction's Harry Styles.

Max Burkholder on 'Parenthood'

It's hard enough being a kid and growing up on television, but it's especially difficult when your onscreen persona is afflicted with a serious condition. Such is the case for Max Burkholder whose "Parenthood" character, Max Braverman, has Asperger's syndrome. The 14-year-old star doesn't take his role lightly. Each week he and the show's, executive producer Jason Katims, meet with a behavioral psychologist who helps Burkholder interpret the weighty scenes. The hard work is paying off. Earlier this year, the young actor was nominated for a Young Artist Award in the Best Performance in a TV Series - Supporting Young Actor category. And as for Max Braverman, he just was named president of the student council.

Angus T. Jones on 'Two and a Half Men'

When "Two and a Half Men's" executive producer was casting the role of the young boy on his new sitcom in 2003, he said that Angus T. Jones was his only choice for Jake Harper. He first spotted Jones when he was six in the Dennis Quaid movie "The Rookie." But it was his audition that made him the clear frontrunner for the part. Lorre was impressed that Jones wasn't the typical child actor. In fact, during his reading with Charlie Sheen, Jones kept giggling at his older counterpart's antics. When the network expressed concern about Jones' reaction, Lorre defended him saying, "It meant he was paying attention. Charlie's being silly. The appropriate response is to laugh." Now almost ten years later, Jake is way more than half a man. His character joined the army at the end of Season 9. As for Jones, he's one of the top ten richest teen celebs of 2012.

Kiernan Shipka on 'Mad Men'

Being a kid on the smoky and boozy retro show "Mad Men" set can't be easy. Just ask any one of the four actors who have played Don Draper's son Bobby. But not only has Kiernan Shipka managed to keep her role as Sally Draper for five seasons on the series, but she also has worked her way into some major storylines. Although she's only 12 in real life, her onscreen persona has managed to go from bobby sox to go go boots and has done everything from runaway from the suburbs to the city and have her first kiss with a boy.

Jackson Brundage on 'See Dad Run'

When the series "One Tree Hill" flashed forward four years, six months and two days Jackson Brundage joined the cast. He quickly went from the token little kid to a major star playing Nathan Scott and Haley James son, Jamie. By the time the show came to an end earlier this year, Jamie was an integral part of the grown-up ensemble cast and it was easy to forget that he was only 11 years old. He didn't have a lot of down time either. Just last month Brundage's new sitcom "See Dad Run" premiered. This time around he plays the son of TV icon Scott Baio.

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