[[quoteright:350:[[Series/{{Cheers}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stagger_9346.jpg]]]]
Also known as "staggered" or "staggered but equal" billing. When two stars of equal prominence [[DuelingStarsMovie star in a movie together]], in posters and credits billing, the two names may be staggered next to each other on the same title card- with the one on the left being lower, the one on the right being higher. This way, reading left to right gives one actor prominence, and reading top to bottom will give the other prominence. "Staggered but equal billing" serves to avoid causing tension between the two A-list lead actors over who is more important. Often, they will receive the same payment for their roles as well.

In FilmPosters, another result of a billing conflict could be a MisplacedNamesPoster. If it happens when their roles aren't equally important, it could be a case of BillingDisplacement.

The first time diagonal billing was used in a film was in ''Film/TheToweringInferno'', with Paul Newman and Steve [=McQueen=]. They also received the same salary and ''the same number of lines'' (at [=McQueen's=] insistence). The idea was originally proposed when it was thought that Newman and [=McQueen=] [[WhatCouldHaveBeen would star in]] ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid'', but dropped when Robert Redford was cast instead of [=McQueen=].

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Film]]
* As detailed above, ''Film/TheToweringInferno'', starring Paul Newman and Steve [=McQueen=], is the TropeMaker in film. [=McQueen=]'s role as the fire chief was expanded from a smaller role at his insistence so as to equal Newman's character.
* ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' has a three-man variant of this, with Roy Scheider at lower left, Robert Shaw at center top, and Richard Dreyfuss at lower right.
* Robert [=DeNiro=] and Al Pacino in ''Film/RighteousKill''.
* The poster for ''Film/InsideMan'' manages to do something similar with ''three'' actors: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster. Washington's picture is furthest to the left while Owen's is nearest the top, while their names are angled in such a way that Foster's name is furthest to the left and Washington's is nearest the top.
* In the 2002 film of ''Film/{{Chicago}}'', Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
* In ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'', Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow get diagonal billing, while AngelinaJolie gets the honored AndStarring position on the same card. [[http://vimeo.com/17006903 See it here at 00:18.]]
* Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin in ''Film/{{Westworld}}''.
* ''Boeing Boeing'' had the names of Tony Curtis and Creator/JerryLewis criss-crossed.
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[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* Adam Scott and Ken Marino in the closing credits of ''PartyDown''.
* Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in the ''LaverneAndShirley'' opening title sequence.
* Ted Danson and Shelley Long in ''{{Cheers}}''.
* The Sprouse Brothers on ''TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody''.
* ''{{Series/Bonanza}}'' did a variation, before this method existed: Each episode had the four (later three) stars in the Opening Credits in a different order.
** Episode A: Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon
** Episode B: Blocker, Greene, Landon, Roberts
** Episode C: Landon, Roberts, Greene, Blocker
* In a related way, the VanityPlate for Mike and Bill Productions (as on ''Series/GroundedForLife'') alternated whose name was in huge letters on its own line: "mike and BILL" or "MIKE and bill".
* Creator/BellaThorne and [[ZendayaColeman Zendaya]] in ''Series/ShakeItUp'' and the [[DisneyChannel Disney Channel Original Movie]] ''Frenemies''.
* Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in ''{{Two and a Half Men}}''
* On ''What Not To Wear'' Stacy and Clinton have diagonal billing first as host and then as stylist on the first and second frames of the closing credits.
* Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy in ''Series/{{Hannibal}}''.
* Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz on ''{{Bones}}''.
* Matthew Mcconaughey and Woody Harrelson on ''Series/{{True Detective}}''.
* Seth Green and Givoanni Ribisi on ''Series/{{Dads}}''.
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[[folder:Theatre]]
* Posters for the 1936 Broadway musical ''Red, Hot and Blue!'' placed Ethel Merman's and Jimmy Durante's names in crisscrossing bands because of a billing dispute. (When the two starred again in the 1939 flop ''Stars in Your Eyes'', Merman was billed first.)
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