If there’s one proverb that actress Katherine Heigl may want to consider, it’s that you should be careful what you wish for.

After all, the Emmy Award-winning star of Grey’s Anatomy has openly tossed around the notion of leaving her successful television career to attempt stardom on the silver screen — as highlighted by her upcoming romantic comedy The Ugly Truth, in theatres next week.

It’s easy to understand Heigl’s grand ambition; movie stars have always commanded greater respect than that of the TV thespian. But the 30-year-old actress may be in for a fairly challenging climb. After all, the Hollywood history of actresses jumping from television to movies has been bleak. Just ask Morgan Fairchild.

These days the trend more likely favours the migration of movie actresses to television as admired cinematic mainstays like Holly Hunter, Kyra Sedgwick and Glenn Close now shoulder their own successes on the small-screen.

One reason for this movement may be the fact that there are simply more roles for women on TV. As a recent survey by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University noted, “females accounted for 43 per cent of all characters in prime-time last season.” Surely, that escalating figure does not translate to the big-screen.

In addition, only three of the top 25 highest-grossing film actresses working today even began their career in television. The pendulum has swung.

Still, maybe Heigl will beat the odds. She’s certainly found success in such big-screen hits as Knocked Up.

If she does manage to bridge the acting gap and become a star of the silver screen, she’ll certainly join an elite group that also features these talented TV actresses turned cinematic starlets:

Marisa Tomei

After playing Lisa Bonet’s wacky sidekick on The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, Tomei got the last laugh with an Oscar win for My Cousin Vinny.

Queen latifah
A rapper before starring on TV’s Living Single, Latifah skyrocketed to cinematic superstardom with her Oscar-nominated role in Chicago.

Sally Field
Although she began in 1960s television as Gidget, Field soon earned an Oscar in 1979’s Norma Rae and has starred in everything from Steel Magnolias to Forrest Gump.

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