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When your beach shorts go back in the closet and the temps dip below tank top weather, you’re going to need a little extra motivation to hit the gym. We found it on TV. (That’s a win-win.) Check out the new hard-working, hard-bodied lot joining traditional primetime television this fall-from former college football players to regular dudes who’ve developed sick jump rope and CrossFit skills, here are the top dozen faces (and physiques) motivating us this September.
The 39-year-old former soap star (hence the obligatory hairless, chiseled chest) is hitting up the big leagues with his role in NBC’s buzzy new dramedy This is Us, a feel-the-feels show about the intertwining lives of people turning 36 who share the same birthday. (We’re getting hints of Parenthood here.) Ironic that his character is a TV sitcom star who struggles to be taken seriously though he is forced to spend most of his screen time shirtless? Hartley makes this conflict believable-and also funny.
This Is Us, NBC, premieres Sept. 20. Follow Hartley on Twitter @justinhartley.
Your girlfriend’s high school crush (Ventimiglia played Jess, the bad boy heartthrob on Gilmore Girls, before moving on to Heroes) is back and starring alongside our high school crush (Mandy Moore) in NBC’s This is Us. He looks pretty comfortable chilling butt naked in the first ten seconds of the show, which may have something to do with the fact that Ventimiglia abstains from booze and has followed a strict lacto-vegetarian diet (no eggs) his whole life.
This Is Us, NBC, premieres Sept. 20. Follow Ventimiglia on Twitter @MiloVentimiglia.
Sterling K. Brown
Emmy-nominated Brown (he just got a nod for his role as Chris Darden in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson) rounds out NBC’s This is Us cast as a man who has just discovered his birth father after being abandoned as an infant. Brown’s shirt stays on in the pilot (note: the trailer has had record-breaking views – this show is looking solid despite the mushy feels), but the gym regular (and basketball fan) will be ready if the moment comes – he told Furthermore (a blog from Equinox) that he uses an elevation training mask to kick up the intensity of his sweat sessions.
This Is Us, NBC, premieres Sept. 20. Follow Brown on Twitter @sterlingkb1.
The 90210 alum isn’t filming on the beach anymore, but he’s got another reason to look cut: Lanter’s been cast as a soldier in NBC’s forthcoming action-adventure show Timeless, which follows three unwilling heroes as they travel back in time to thwart a criminal who has stolen a time machine.
Timeless, NBC, premieres Oct. Follow Lanter on Twitter @MattLanter.
34-year-old McRae (you know him from Sons of Anarchy) plays an MLB outfielder in Pitch, Fox’s new show about the first woman to play in the major leagues. We’re guessing the ‘act like a pro athlete’ thing wasn’t much of a stretch: check out McRae’s jump rope skills on Instagram.
Pitch, Fox, premieres Sept. 22. Follow McRae on Twitter @TheRealMoMcRae.
He’s been a soap star and pop idol in his native Mexico, and now Herrera is adding ‘horror genre’ hero to his resume. The 32-year-old plays a young priest helping a family in his parish battle demonic possession (as you do) in The Exorcist, a reimagining of author William Peter Blatty’s 1971 bestseller and William Friedkin’s 1973 movie classic. Herrera works out his own battles at the CrossFit box (this move is blowing our minds a little bit) and with his boxing coach.
The Exorcist, Fox, premieres Sept. 23. Follow Herrera on Twitter @ponchohd.
He’s missing Mel Gibson’s feathered mullet, but otherwise Crawford has the deranged yet charming thing down (along with don’t-mess-with-me-strength) as he brings his own Southern swagger to the role of Riggs in Fox’s Lethal Weapon reboot (and spars perfectly with costar Damon Wayans).
Lethal Weapon, Fox, premieres Sept. 21.
Tune in 24 fans, this is looking good. In ABC’s new drama Designated Survivor, Canto plays an advisor to a low-level White House cabinet member (Kiefer Sutherland) who becomes President after a major attack on the US Capitol leaves everybody else dead. You may never see Canto out of a suit this season, so we’re here to give him credit for being a triathlete and super sweaty biker.
Designated Survivor, ABC, premieres Sept. 21. Follow Canto on Twitter @adancanto.
The Sons of Anarchy alum is also working alongside Kiefer Sutherland in Designated Survivor as a secret service officer to the commander in chief – a perfect fit for the former college football player and SlamBall champion (who told Vibe he now prefers a mix of yoga, running, and weights).
Designated Survivor, ABC, premieres Sept. 21. Follow Garrett on Twitter @lamonicagarrett.
At 44, Sunjata’s one of the veteran actors on this list (seriously, that’s old in Hollywood) but any guy fit enough to play a studly TV firefighter and boxer (Rescue Me) will probably see lead roles for some time to come. Next up: Sunjata’s starring alongside Piper Perabo in ABC’s new drama Notorious, about a criminal defense lawyer and news producer who manipulate the media to their advantage.
Notorious, ABC, premieres Sept. 22. Follow Sunjata on Twitter @DanielSunjata. Photo credit: Brian Higbee.
The 6’4″ University of Washington tight end turned actor-comedian (you know him from Community and The Soup) is no stranger to getting in shape. He’s leaned out from his college days but McHale still hits the gym regularly and told us he follows the 4-Hour Body diet, which he explained is a “slow carb diet, so you can eat things like beans and lentils – which are carbohydrates, but they’re not the same as wheat or potatoes – and all the protein and vegetables you can” plus a “big, huge cheat day.”
The Great Indoors, CBS, premieres Oct. 27. Follow McHale on Twitter @joelmchale. And don’t forget to check out his new book, Thanks for the Money, on October 25.
As an action hero, MacGyver’s typically been a ‘brains over brawn’ type of guy, but with 25-year-old Till at the helm, we’re pumped to see some more physical crime-fighting in the MacGyver reboot. Till, who has relied on hypertrophic training to prep for roles in the past (he played the mutant Havoc in the last three X-Men movies), isn’t taking any shortcuts: “My stunt double has been just kind of sitting on the sidelines the whole time,” he recently told ET.
MacGyver, CBS premieres Sept. 23. Follow Till on Twitter @lucastill.
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