Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS.

Today the parents we see on television are a much more realistic depiction of the parents we see (and are) at home. Some TV dads stay home. Many of the families we see on our favorite shows are made up of beloved parental surrogates: siblings, godparents, friends, and neighbors. And you know what? These small-screen families feel most like our own, only better, when they aren't so "perfect."

As we celebrate Father's Day and dads on their annual day of thanks, we take a moment to recognize our current crop of favorite fictional fathers. We toast the laughter and invaluable lessons they've given us.

1. The Toughest Parents Can Be The Biggest Softies

\u200bCedric the Entertainer holding a basketball in TV show The Neighborhood.

Cedric the Entertainer as Calvin Butler in The Neighborhood.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Calvin Butler, The Neighborhood

Calvin Butler (Cedric the Entertainer) is not short on opinions, nor is he shy about sharing them. But under that gruff demeanor is a man who loves his family and his neighborhood. Witness Calvin telling neighbor Dave (Max Greenfield) that he needs to appreciate his mother (Marilu Henner) while she's still around.

Stream full episodes of The Neighborhood on CBS All Access.

2. Pain And Joy Can Coexist

\u200bWalton Goggins in TV show The Unicorn.

Walton Goggins as Wade Felton in The Unicorn.

Photo Credit: Erik Voake/CBS.

Wade Felton, The Unicorn

Watching Wade (Walton Goggins) struggle to reenter the world of relationships while working his way through mourning his deceased wife—and raising two daughters—reminds us that loss is inevitable, but life goes on. Wade is living proof that it's possible to find a way through the toughest times, especially with support from family and loyal friends like Wade's pals Michelle, Ben, Delia and Forrest. Push through the grief, and one day you'll find yourself dancing like nobody's watching when you (think) you're alone in the kitchen.

Stream full episodes of The Unicorn on CBS All Access.

3. Our Homes Are Always Open

Actors \u200bDaniel Ezra and Taye Diggs in TV show All American.

Daniel Ezra as Spencer James and Taye Diggs as Billy Baker in The CW series All American.

Photo Credit: Jesse Giddings/The CW.

Billy Baker, All American

As the varsity coach of fictional South Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) is a father figure to many, including star athlete Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), who eventually moves into his coach's home.

Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger, The CW drama series All American captures their poignant relationship and showcases the positive power of parenting—even when the father figure isn't related by blood.

Stream All American free only on The CW.

4. We Can Work It Out

\u200bLance Barber in TV show Young Sheldon

Lance Barber as George Sr. in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBS.

George Cooper Sr., Young Sheldon

George (Lance Barber) is a Texas high school football coach with a science-obsessed super-nerd for a son. The budding genius's fondness for bowties and Newtonian physics might be difficult for his dad to relate to, but George Sr.'s support and love for Sheldon (Iain Armitage) shines through when it counts, especially when the two put their heads together to convince Mary to let Sheldon attend college in the Season 3 finale.

Stream full episodes of Young Sheldon on CBS All Access.

5. Family Comes First

Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, David Levy, and Annie Murphy in TV show Schitt's Creek.

Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, David Levy, and Annie Murphy in Schitt's Creek.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pop TV.

Johnny Rose, Schitt's Creek

Played by real father and son Eugene and Dan Levy, Johnny and David Rose were once part of a dynasty so rich that Johnny bought the town of Schitt's Creek as a joke birthday gift for his son. But when the Roses lose their fortune, they are forced to live in two adjacent rooms of a rundown motel in Schitt's Creek, the only asset the government didn't seize because they thought it had no value. How wrong they were.

At first dismayed by little things like a leaky roof, Johnny slowly discovers what really matters: family, even if yours is clueless about practical matters like ATMs, insurance, and the cost of Parisian eye cream ("You want the smooth under-eyes of a 16-year-old? Get a job!"). Schitt's Creek's blend of humor and heart won legions of fans and reminded us that love matters more than luxury.

All seasons of Schitts Creek available to stream on Pop Now.

6. Learn To Laugh At Yourself

Rob Corddry and Omar Miller in TV show The Unicorn.

Rob Corddry as Forrest and Omar Miller as Ben in The Unicorn.

Photo Credit: Patrick Wymore/CBS.

Forrest and Ben, The Unicorn

Forrest (Rob Corddry) and Ben (Omar Miller) are champs when it comes to friendship and loyalty, but their skills as wingmen leave a lot to be desired, as they discover when they volunteer to take to widowed single dad Wade (Walton Goggins) out to meet women. Ben's attempts to flirt barely draw a glance from the ladies passing by, while Forrest's startle people enough to make them stumble. They might not have much game, but they've got plenty of humor. Life's too short not to laugh, even if you're sometimes the butt of the joke.

Stream full episodes of The Unicorn on CBS All Access.

7. Take A Stand For What's Right

\u200bCress Williams , Nafessa Williams, and China Anne McClain in TV show Black Lightning.

Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce and China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce in Black Lightning.

Photo Credit: Annette Brown/The CW.

Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning

After years of fighting The 100, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) hung up his superhero suit to spend time with his daughters and serve his community as principal of Garfield High. But he's soon reminded—and he reminds us, as Black Lightning—that problems don't get solved on their own, so we must all take a stand against injustice when we see it.

Stream Black Lightning free only on The CW.

8. Change Is Scary, But It's Unavoidable

\u200bMatthew McCann and Matt LeBlanc on the set of TV show Man With A Plan.

Matthew McCann as Teddy and Matt LeBlanc as Adam in Man With A Plan.

Photo Credit: Robert Voets/CBS.

Adam Burns, Man With A Plan

When his wife returns to work, Adam Burns (Matt LeBlanc) finds out he'll be spending a lot more quality time with his kids. Suddenly, this old-school dad is confronted with the challenges of modern parenting, from deodorant emergencies to veganism to a13-year-old girl "all whacked up on hormones." His three kids expect their "Fun Daddy" to be a pushover, but Adam learns to take charge and lay down the law—with plenty of laughs along the way. He's a good reminder that life is bound to throw you curves, so you might as well lean into them.

Stream full episodes of Man With A Plan on CBS All Access.

9. Men Make Great Hosts

Will Estes, Vanessa Ray, Bridget Moynahan, Tom Selleck, Sami Gayle, and Donnie Wahlberg in TV show Blue Bloods.

Will Estes as Jamie Reagan, Vanessa Ray as Officer Eddie Janko, Bridget Moynahan as Erin Reagan, Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, Sami Gayle as Nicky Reagan-Boyle, Donnie Wahlberg as Danny Reagan in Blue Bloods.

Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.

Francis "Frank" Reagan, Blue Bloods

"Family matters" is the underlying theme of this series, which regularly features four generations of the Reagan clan at the home of Frank (Tom Selleck) in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, for their weekly Sunday dinner. While the law-enforcement officer spends plenty of his off-duty time refereeing family squabbles, he's rightly confident that at this table, everyone has each other's backs.

Stream full episodes of Blue Bloods on CBS All Access.

10. Never Give Up

Max Greenfield in the TV show The Neighborhood.

Max Greenfield as Dave Johnson in The Neighborhood.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Dave Johnson, The Neighborhood

An eternal optimist, Dave Johnson (Max Greenfeld) refuses to be daunted by the initially reluctant reception he and his family get from their new neighbor Calvin Butler (Cedric the Entertainer) in The Neighborhood. True, Dave's prone to social blunders and he faces setbacks—including falling off the roof and accidentally knocking out the power in the Butlers' house—but he keeps trying.

Like every glass-half-full guy, he knows instinctively that things are hard before they get easy. And sure enough, as the show unfolds, he and Calvin discover each other's humanity under their differences.

Stream full episodes of The Neighborhood on CBS All Access.

Photo Credit: 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


It can't be easy raising a kid genius, but on CBS' Young Sheldon, George Sr. (Lance Barber) barely breaks a sweat. If he were to pen a parenting how-to guide, the pages would be filled with (quite a few) quips about sharing the duties with a helicopter mom, dealing with a space-invading mother-in-law, and demonstrating fierce loyalty to your loved ones. Here are just 10 things that make this father of three one for the books.

Watch Young Sheldon on CBS. Stream all episodes only on CBS All Access.

He Lets His Kids Learn For Themselves

Iain Armitage and Lance Barber in Young Sheldon

Sheldon and George Sr. in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

George Sr. knows sometimes children need to figure things out themselves—such as when child prodigy Sheldon (Iain Armitage) dismantles the fridge to stop a humming noise, leading to a stiff repair bill and payback-via-paper-route for the precocious boy. So when Mary (Zoe Perry) reminds George Sr. of a time when Sheldon got stuck in a sleeping bag, he's quick to reassure his wife: "He made his way out. Just took him five or 10 minutes."

He's Perceptive

Montana Jordan and Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon

Georgie and Sheldon in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Eddy Chen/2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The Cooper household is full of mishaps, so when things get too calm and the kids seem to be working together, George Sr. senses something is going on. And when it comes to Georgie (Montana Jordan) and his get-rich-quick schemes—such as extracting platinum from roadside gravel ("The thing's a gold mine!" cracks Georgie)—something is almost always going on. Mary wonders why her husband can't just be thankful for some quiet time. "Because," reasons George, "that's when life kicks you right in the plums." Turns out he was smart to be suspicious of his sons' DIY platinum project: Georgie and Sheldon end up almost burning down their school.

He's Supportive

Lance Barber and Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon

George Sr. and Sheldon attend a lecture in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS.

When Sheldon asks his father to take him to a Natural Science Museum lecture about carbon dating, George Sr. is quick to jump on the opportunity ("We could use that to figure out how old your grandma is," he jokes). George Sr. may have had an ulterior motive—getting out of helping Meemaw (Annie Potts) with her yard sale—but the generous gesture doesn't go unnoticed.

He's A Dad To Everyone

Montana Jordan Isabel May Iain Armitage and Raegan Revord in Young Sheldon

Veronica stays at the Coopers' in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

If you task George Sr. with taking care of someone, he doesn't fall short. Take Georgie's crush Veronica (Isabel May), a student Sheldon tutors. After Mary finds out about the girl's abusive home life and invites her to stay with the Coopers for a few days, George Sr. swiftly takes her in as one of his own—protecting Veronica from her mom's ignorant drunk of a boyfriend, and even referring to her as "my kid."

He Really Knows His Kids

Lance Barber Iain Armitage and Montana Jordan in Young Sheldon

George Sr., Sheldon, and Georgie go on a trip in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Michael Desmond/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

From working around Sheldon's bathroom schedule to remembering the exact temperature of how he likes his meat cooked ("at least 165 degrees, except for chicken which is 180"), George Sr. has one goal for a weekend with Georgie and Sheldon: Don't kill one of them before Sunday. Witnessing a space shuttle launch becomes a bonding experience for the three guys, and even elicits the ultimate compliment from Mary: "You're a good dad."

He Puts His Own Spin On Lessons

Lance Barber and Zoe Perry in Young Sheldon

The Coopers have dinner in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBS.

George Sr. has a simple, albeit unorthodox, way of getting his children to appreciate their parents. When Georgie decides to pay for cable and lock his father out of the TV, George Sr.'s plan consists of charging him for room and board: $50 a month for food and laundry services, plus a $10 P-I-M-A (pain in my ass) tax. "My way of getting compensated for you taking years off my life," George says of the surcharge. We're definitely filing this away for our future parenting plans.

He's Honest

Iain Armitage and Lance Barber in Young Sheldon

George Sr. and Sheldon in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Michael Desmond/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

George Sr. supports all of Sheldon's academic and intellectual endeavors, but he doesn't blow smoke. His reaction to Sheldon's, ahem, less-than-genius-level violin skills? "Well, that's unfortunate." His response to the mere idea of Sheldon playing football? "Oh, God, no. Could you imagine?" George Sr. doesn't give his son false hope, and doesn't put on a facade in front of others.

He Knows Who's Boss

Lance Barber and Zoe Perry in Young Sheldon

George Sr. and Mary Cooper in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

We all know who's really in charge of the Cooper house: Mary. George Sr. knows this as well, so when Georgie tries to persuade his father to let him have a TV in his room, he gives it to his son straight. "Your mother won't let me have a TV in my room," says George Sr., "so you're not getting one in yours."

He's A Proud Dad

Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon

Sheldon with a dog in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Screen Grab/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Sheldon faces a lot of fears—birds, germs, hugging, and corduroy, to name a few—but George Sr. is always proud of his son's successes, even the small ones. So when the neighbors' new dog takes a liking to Sheldon, the pint-size cynophobic decides to overcome his fear by dressing in a makeshift suit of armor to pet the pooch. George Sr. expresses his pride for his youngest son…but not until Sheldon stops hiding in the bathroom after getting licked. (Remember what we said about germs?)

He's Always There For His Kids

Lance Barber and Iain Armitage on Young Sheldon

George Sr. helps Sheldon in Young Sheldon.

Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBS

When Sheldon finds out that Mary has hidden a Caltech letter from him, he seeks help from his dad. George Sr. puts on his coach's hat and helps Sheldon make a game plan to persuade Mary to let Sheldon go to college. His passion for helping his son achieve his dreams might be the thing we admire most about George.

Watch Young Sheldon on CBS. Stream all episodes only on CBS All Access.

Happy Father's Day to all the cool CBS dads and the men who play them!

Watch has photographed many of television's top pops over the years, like family men Tom Selleck, Len Cariou, and Donnie Wahlberg pictured above. From suave shoots to stylish portraits, we've rounded up some of our favorite photos to celebrate these great guys.

Stream full episodes of Blue Bloods on CBS All Access.

Donnie Wahlberg

Donnie Wahlberg smiling in white shirt and black watch

Photography by David Needleman.

Just like the character he plays, Donnie Wahlberg is one dedicated dad.

Stream full episodes of Blue Bloods on CBS All Access.

Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck in navy suit with striped tie

Photography by Patrick Demarchelier.

Fun fact: Tom Selleck and his daughter Hannah share a hobby of horseback riding!

Stream full episodes of Blue Bloods on CBS All Access.

Len Cariou

Len Cariou close up in grey suit and tie

Photography by Patrick Demarchelier.

Originally from Manitoba, Canada, lovable TV grandpa Len Cariou has one grown daughter.

Stream full episodes of Blue Bloods on CBS All Access.

LL COOL J

LL COOL J in front of Eiffel Tower

Photography by Gilles-Marie Zimmermann.

Successful father of four LL COOL J shows off his creative side.

Stream full episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS All Access.

Chris O'Donnell

Chris O'Donnell on a rocky beach

Photography by Cliff Lipson.

It's family first for Chris O'Donnell. When he first became a father, he stepped out of the Hollywood spotlight for a while.

Stream full episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS All Access.

Eric Christian Olsen

Eric Christian Olsen holding water guns

Photography by Adam Secore.

Fun fact: Eric Christian Olsen's newest addition to the family, Esmé, was named after J.D Salinger's short story, "For Esmé—with Love and Squalor."

Stream full episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS All Access.

Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield

Max Greenfield and Cedric the Entertainer in stylish suits.

Photography by Eric Ray Davidson.

The Neighborhood stars Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield are fathers on and off-screen. We're betting these two fellas know all the best dad jokes!

Stream full episodes of The Neighborhood on CBS All Access.

Phil Keoghan

Phil Keoghan on the beach

Photography by Christopher Ross.

Fun fact: Phil Keoghan regularly takes his daughter Elle race car driving!

Stream full episodes of The Amazing Race on CBS All Access.

Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon in blue dress shirt

Photography by Art Streiber.

Fun Fact: Mark Harmon's son, Sean, plays the role of young Leroy Jethro Gibbs on CBS' hit TV series NCIS.

Stream full episodes of NCIS on CBS All Access.

Brian Dietzen

Brian Dietzen drinking cocktail at bar

Photography by Cliff Lipson.

Active dad Brian Dietzen works out with his kids. Pull-ups are their favorite!

Stream full episodes of NCIS on CBS All Access.

Sean Murray

Sean Murray LOVE sign

Photography by Tom Corbett.

We are thankful for this sweet snap of Sean Murray in Vegas! What's not to love about this dapper dad of two?

Stream full episodes of NCIS on CBS All Access.

Rocky Carroll

Rocky Carroll photo shoot

Photography by Cliff Lipson.

NCIS star Rocky Carroll has been bringing his daughter Elissa to set since she was a little girl.

Stream full episodes of NCIS on CBS All Access.

David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz drinking coffee in plaid shirt

Photography by Cliff Lipson.

In his Sept-Oct 2017 Watch cover story, David Boreanaz gets real about his remarkable family.

"My work is relevant to where I am in my life, and I'm blessed," he tells us. "I'm blessed with a 15-year-old boy who shows me every day what it is to be brave, to be strong. With a wife who shows me how to be strong, to be brave, to be confident, to be loyal. And a daughter who teaches me the same concepts."

Stream full episodes of SEAL Team on CBS All Access.

Adam Rodriguez

Adam Rodriguez jumping with red sneakers

Photography by Michael Parmelee.

Fun-loving father Adam Rodriguez dotes on his two daughters, sometimes blasting tunes from Elena of Avalor.

Stream full episodes of Criminal Minds on CBS All Access.

Joe Mantegna

Photography by Robert Trachtenberg.

Dedicated dad Joe Mantegna has two daughters who inspire him to pursue philanthropic pursuits, too. The Criminal Minds star participates in numerous charities, including The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, Autism Speaks, and Inclusion Films.

Stream full episodes of Criminal Minds on CBS All Access.

Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson singing with microphone

Photography by David Needleman.

Fun fact: Chris Jackson went from the Hamilton soundtrack to the Moana soundtrack. The dad of two is the singing voice of Chief Tui, and his kids love it when he croons for them.

Stream full episodes of Bull on CBS All Access.

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly laying down in denim

Photography by Jeff Lipsky.

Dad of two Michael Weatherly looks forward to lots of family time while Bull is on hiatus—including quoting his daughter's favorite show Peppa Pig.

Stream full episodes of Bull on CBS All Access.

Walton Goggins

Photography by Sophy Holland.

TV dad of two daughters on The Unicorn, Walton Goggins is also a father to 9-year-old son Augustus in real life.

Stream full episodes of The Unicorn on CBS All Access.

Alex O'Loughlin

Alex O'Loughlin walking brown horse

Photography by Nino Muñoz.

Surprise, surprise! Alex O'Loughlin, his wife, and kids (all boys) love surfing and adventuring around Oahu and Hawaii.

Stream full episodes of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS All Access.

Scott Caan

Scott Caan relaxing in garden

Photography by Emily Shur.

Fun fact: Scott Caan met his girlfriend, and now mother of his daughter, Josie, on set of H50.

Stream full episodes of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS All Access.

Lance Barber

Lance Barber in brown suit

Photography by Cliff Lipson.

A TV dad and real-life father of two, Lance Barber began acting with his high school drama club.

Stream full episodes of Young Sheldon on CBS All Access.

Mike Colter

Mike Colter with rain running down his face

Photography by Williams + Hirakawa.

A dad to two young daughters, Mike Colter is also the second cousin of Viola Davis. Clearly talent runs in the family.

Stream full episodes of Evil on CBS All Access.

Scott Bakula

Scott Bakula with watching cellist

Photography by Randee St. Nicholas

Fun fact: Scott Bakula's four kids have all grown up. The youngest, Owen Barrett Bakula, is now 21 years old!

Stream full episodes of NCIS: New Orleans on CBS All Access.

Billy Gardell

Billy Gardell in purple tie in front of the Empire State Building

Photography by Mary Ellen Matthews.

A doting dad to 16-year-old son Will, Billy Gardell says when it comes to kids "any age they are is a fun age".

Stream full episodes of Bob ❤️ Abishola on CBS All Access.

Nathaniel Arcand

Nathaniel Arcand in front of New York City scene

Photography by Mary Ellen Matthews.

Native Canadian actor Nathaniel Arcand is also known as dad to a daughter and two sons.

Stream full episodes of FBI: Most Wanted on CBS All Access.

Julian McMahon

Julian McMahon in checkered suit in front of Empire State Building

Photography by Mary Ellen Matthews.

This charming Aussie actor has been dad to daughter Madison for two decades.

Stream full episodes of FBI: Most Wanted on CBS All Access.

Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc in classic dinner with a burger.

Photography by Peter Yang.

Golden Globe winner and father of three Matt LeBlanc candidly chats with Stephen Colbert on his parenting roles, both as a TV dad and in real life.

Stream full episodes of Man With A Plan on CBS All Access.

Kevin Nealon

Kevin Nealon in checkered suit

Photography by Cliff Lipson.

Fun fact: Kevin Nealon is also musically talented. He plays the guitar, banjo, ukulele, and recently started taking piano lessons. He also admits to listening to One Direction because his kid loves it.

Stream full episodes of Man With A Plan on CBS All Access.

Jaime Camil

Actor Jaime Camil wearing a flannel shirt

Photography by Fer Piña.

You don't need to look farther than Jaime Camil's Instagram to see that the Jane the Virgin and Broke star is all about fun times with his family.

Stream full episodes of Broke on CBS All Access.

Thomas Sadoski

Thomas Sadoski on red tractor

Photography by Christopher Ross.

Now celebrating his fourth Father's Day, Thomas Sadoski is enjoying the parenting ride with wife Amanda Seyfried.

Stream full episodes of Tommy on CBS All Access.

Like father, like son

Len Cariou and Tom Selleck police car

Photography by Patrick Demarchelier.

These police papas continue the Reagan family business in law enforcement.

Stream full episodes of Blue Bloods on CBS All Access.

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