#5 Sydney Tamiia Poitier in ‘Knight Rider’

When it comes to acting pedigree, you don’t get much higher than Sydney Tamiia Poitier. Daughter of Oscar-winner Sidney Poitier, this young actress has worked her way through film and TV, with recurring roles on shows like Joan of Arcadia and Veronica Mars. Now, as one of the stars of the new Knight Rider, she could finally break out on her own and become an actress to look out for.

Those who watched last spring’s Knight Rider TV movie were undoubtedly intrigued by her character, an FBI agent who happened to enjoy the company of women. The lesbian twist was a bit of a shock, even moreso because it wasn’t mentioned other than that one time. Though new showrunner Gary Scott Thompson hasn’t decided either way if he wants to keep the character gay, the prospect of some on-screen girl-on-girl tongue action has us excited.

#4 Anna Torv in ‘Fringe’

J.J. Abrams has a pretty solid track record of turning his female leads into popular sex symbols. Keri Russell was once so big that the simple act of cutting her hair caused shockwaves throughout the TV and fashion worlds. Jennifer Garner kicked butt on Alias and now has a solid film career. And Evangeline Lilly moved from small-time Canadian actress to hot leading lady.

Now Abrams is going to do it again with Anna Torv, the Australian star of Fringe. Though audiences down under might recognize her, the decision to cast a complete unknown to American audiences on a pilot that cost $10 million wouldn’t make much sense unless there’s something very special about this woman. Indeed Torv navigates the pilot well, standing up to overwhelming odds and fighting for love. And though it’s her acting talents that fans will grow to love, it doesn’t hurt that she’s stripped down to her underwear and thrown into a water chamber in the first episode.

#3 Leven Rambin in ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’

Since being sexy is almost a requirement these days for young stars on soap operas, it’s no surprise that Leven Rambin will undoubtedly win over more than her fair share of male admirers. The All My Children star joins the cast of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles for season 2 as John’s new high school friend (though new doubt they’ll stay just friends for long).

Turning 18 in May, Rambin is sure to remind many viewers of another young blonde former soap star who hit it big in a hit Monday night sci-fi series two short years ago – Hayden Panetierre. Can Rambin duplicate the success and adulation of the indestructible cheerleader? With Rambin’s looks and skills (she has two Daytime Emmy nominations), she’s in the perfect position to be the blonde heroine audiences would most like to save Monday nights.

#2 Brea Grant in ‘Heroes’

Every geeky guy in America fell in love with Brea Grant when she played Jean on Friday Night Lights, Landry’s would-be girlfriend who’s idea of a good date is staying in and watching a Mystery Science Theater 300 marathon. Some guys may prefer some porn star-looking buxom blonde, but Brea Grant has spunk, and we love spunk.

Though some were sad to see Landry toss Jean aside in favor of the “sexier” Tyra, it allowed for Grant to move on to win an even larger geek audience as she joins the cast of Heroes this season as one of the new villains. She’ll play Daphne, a speedster who runs like the wind and squares off against Hiro. Daphne works fast, and so does Grant – if a mere three episodes of Friday Night Lights made us take notice, showing up for even longer on a more popular show may render her unstoppable.

#1 Jessica Stroup in ‘90210’

Sexiest Breakout Stars: #1 Jessica Stroup in '90210'

Devoted fans of the CW might recognize Stroup as Sam’s girlfriend and possible spawn of Satan last season on Reaper. However, she’ll be guaranteed a larger audience with the hot new show that has everyone talking, 90210. Stroup plays Silver, a would-be socialite who hosts her own YouTube series. The resident “lonelygirl15” of the most well-known zip code in America, Stroup is sure to delight audiences and become an online sensation in her right.

It might be hard to pick which of the kids from 90210 will succeed (à la Jennie Garth) and which will fall into obscurity (à la Gabrielle Carteris). But we’d put good money on the fact that Stroup’s gorgeous looks, acting talent, and comic timing will help her find a devoted fan base that will be eager to follow her every move.

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