The answer: Several are doing just fine professionally. And a few are doing extraordinary work on and off camera. Some of it can be seen this week on TV.
The showcase is called "Dramaville," and it will serve as a weekly forum for top British dramatic series and films. The network bills "Dramaville" as "the home of groundbreaking British drama." And Elba, who played the drug dealer Stringer Bell with such power and grace on "The Wire," will serve as host.
Think PBS "Masterpiece Theatre" and the way Laura Linney introduces and sets up the film or series being shown each week
Elba will also be featured within the "Dramaville" showcase when the sequel to his detective series "Luther" debuts in September. He has been nominated for an Emmy as outstanding lead actor in a miniseries for his performance in that show. He was also nominated as outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for a turn he did on Showtime's "The Big C."
One Emmy nomination for drama, and one for comedy. Not a bad year. The Emmys will be awarded Sept. 18 in a live broadcast on Fox.
Having just as strong a year is West, aka Jimmy McNulty, the self-destructive Baltimore police detective whose journey was at the heart of "The Wire."
West stars in the series that BBC America is using to launch "Dramaville" on Wednesday night. Titled "The Hour," it's a six-part mystery-thriller set in the world of TV news at the BBC of the 1950s.
Think "Good Night and Good Luck," the George Clooney feature film version of Edward R. Murrow's days at CBS News in the 1950s, with a bit of "Mad Men" thrown in. There is sex, sexism, and tons of drinking and smoking and people desperate to advance their careers. And it is all played out against a crumbling social class system in post-World War II Britain.
The casting on this series is through the roof: Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw, Tim Pigott-Smith, Juliet Stevenson, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Oona Chaplin.
And even with that cast, West's performance as BBC presenter Hector Madden stands out. If you were impressed with West as McNulty, you'll be blown away by him here — there are so many more nuances and wrinkles to this character. And Madden radiates sexual energy in a way McNulty never approached.
No one, though, is doing more good work in TV and his community of New Orleans than Wendell Pierce, who played McNulty's one-time partner, Detective William "Bunk" Moreland.
Pierce is such a whirlwind of good and hard work, it's hard to keep up with him, even on Twitter. Here's a sample of recent tweets from Pierce on his professional life:
• "Please read about the work I'm doing with the Classical Theater of Harlem" to reopen with "Henry V."
• "I'm shooting 'Parker' with Jason Stratham, Jennifer Lopez," Michael Chiklis and Nick Nolte. First day tomorrow." ("Parker" is a thriller directed by Taylor Hackford.)
• "Yes that is my voice you heard narrating on NFL Network Hall of Fame Specials. Congrats to the inductees, especially, Marshall Faulk. Homeboy."
And that's in addition to his continuing performance as trombonist Antoine Bastiste on HBO's "Treme." Pierce has also been playing another musician, blues guitarist B.B. King, in the feature film "B.B. King and Me" that started filming.
And then, there's Pierce, the actively engaged citizen and community developer of New Orleans. He recently announced that he and a partner are opening the first of four planned Sterling Farms fresh food groceries in his hometown in an attempt to serve what Michelle Obama described as "food deserts" in urban America.