When a series with an [[{{Ensembles}} ensemble cast]] has each episode focus on a different character. In other words, a series where every episode is a different character's [[ADayInTheLimelight Day In The Limelight]].

Not to be confused with LimelightSeries (where the focus stays on an ensemble of previously minor characters). Compare PlotTailoredToTheParty, where the overarching story is designed to place each character into the spotlight sooner or later (Rotating Protagonist is more episodic), and SwitchingPOV, where we see different characters' ''perspectives'' rather than just them.

If all these stories are happening simultaneously, but shown in different episodes, it's FourLinesAllWaiting.

Not to be mistaken for EverythingsBetterWithSpinning.


* ''Manga/SevenSeeds'' does its best at keeping the focus on each Team at times, though it's noticeable that certain characters get more focus during these moments. The ''Hail Of Corn'' arc introduces all the members of Team Summer A, but with a bit more focus on Ango, as the arc continues.
* ''Anime/BoogiepopPhantom'' does this.
* ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent'' does this for almost every episode.
* ''Anime/SonicX'' doesn't really have a protagonist. Depending on the episode, the focus may be on Sonic, Chris, Shadow, Tails and/or Cosmo, or Amy, give or take a character or two. [[TropesAreNotGood This has not been received unanimously warmly]]; some fans felt this cheapened Sonic's characterization as a dynamic protagonist, especially since he was sleeping and running around without a goal most of the time.
* ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'' does this. Character arcs may last two or three episodes instead of just one, but the principle is the same.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' changes protagonists every arc. The viewpoint, however, is almost always Keiichi, but he rarely remains as the focus of the narrative in the second half of the series (he stops being the point of view character for the first time a short arc before it, in fact).
* ''Manga/SoulEater'', particularly the first three episodes/chapters which introduced each of the three main meisters and their partners ([[SinisterScythe Soul]] and [[AlmightyJanitor Maka]] first, followed by [[HighlyVisibleNinja Black]] [[LargeHam Star]] and [[MorphWeapon Tsubaki]] and finally [[SuperOCD Death The Kid]] and the [[GunsAkimbo Thompson sisters]]). They then got a few MonsterOfTheWeek episodes each before the main plot kicked in.
* ''{{LightNovel/Durarara}}'' does this throughout, though characters do repeat and some episodes aren't about any one in particular.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}} Chronicles'', a short lived Spin-off of the Pokémon anime, focuses on everyone except Ash while Ash was in the Hoenn region. It rotates per episode; one episode will focus on Misty, another on Gary, another on Professor Oak, Casey, Ritchie, Tracey, and a few stories solely focusing on Team Rocket. This show might as well be called "Rotating Protagonist: the Series".

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/TheBraveAndTheBold'': Every month Batman would team up with a new hero. Often, this and other TeamUpSeries in its mold were used to test the waters regarding the second-billing character. The tradition would be carried on in a modern ''Brave and the Bold'' series, where every issue features two ''different'' heroes or groups working together.
* Marvel had a counterpart to the above in the original ''Marvel Team-Up'', where heroes would join forces with Spider-Man, and ''Marvel Two-in-One'', where the Thing would have a new partner every issue. As with ''The Brave and the Bold'', a modern ''MTU'' series dropped the superstar regular angle and featured new team-ups every time. However, the latest incarnation of the series is ''ComicBook/{{Deadpool}} Team Up'', which naturally features the eponymous anti-hero alongside the issue's guest star. ''Deadpool Team-Up'' is notable for primarily featuring more obscure characters such as U.S. Archer and It, the Living Colossus. There is also the Marvel Age ''Supervillain Team-Up'', which features Dr. Doom teaming up with a different supervillain and/or team each issue. The Sinister Six, the Circus of Crime, the (original) Masters of Evil, Magneto...
* DC's ''Great Ten'' miniseries did this - every issue focused on a different member of the titular team. Since the series was cut short due to weak sales, Mother of Champions and Socialist Red Guardsman shared the last one.
* Creator/MarvelComics' ''Solo [[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]]'' and DCComics' ''Comicbook/TeenTitans Spotlight'' showcased various members who didn't already have their own series. However, during the former's first year or so, the rotating protagonist in question would star the issue's back-up feature, as ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}} was the star of the lead feature.
* The first six issues of Marvel Comics' ''ComicBook/YoungAvengers'' each focus on a different member of the team.
* Heroic Publishing's ''Champions'' series mostly uses this kind of format.
* This is the hook for the latest version of ''ComicBook/HeroesForHire'': Misty Knight uses her contacts to "maximize the potential of [her] address book", calling in favors from different heroes in every issue. The only constant besides Knight herself is Paladin.

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In the ''Vocaloid'' FanFic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6854461/1/Good_Night Good Night]], nearly the entire cast trade off the narration role. In the order of doing so for the first part, [[spoiler:Tei, Len, Haku, Kiru, Rin, Luka, Gakupo, Neru, Hankyou, Gumi, Miki, Gakupo(?), and Meiko]].
* The ''FanFic/ElementalChessTrilogy'' never puts any single character in the driver's seat for more than one chapter at a time.
* In the ''FanFic/MassFoundations'' series, [[VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas the Courier, Ethan Sunderland]] and Eric Grimes are the protagonists of the first and second entries, respectively.
* FanFic/Gensokyo20XX is a variant of this, with a different character narrating the events of certain chapters from their POVS.
* ''Fanfic/JustBeforeTheDawn'' has several main characters that the narration regularly rotates to. Tercio is the closest the story has to a main protagonist, but the narrative regularly switches to follow Celestia, Gilias, and Victus. Occasionally more minor characters find themselves the focus as well.

* The ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' films.
** In [[Film/JurassicPark the first film]], the main characters are Grant, Ellie, Ian, Hammond, and the kids.
** In ''Film/TheLostWorldJurassicPark'', Ian is the main character, Hammond and the kids get cameos, and there is a new set of supporting characters.
** In ''Film/JurassicParkIII'', Grant is the main character again, Ellie has a minor role, and there is yet another new set of supporting characters.
* The ''Film/{{Pusher}}'' trilogy follows a different character in each film. Each protagonist is in all of the previous films and none of the future films.
* This seems to be a common feature in films written by Doug Kinney, as both ''Film/AnimalHouse'' and ''Film/{{Caddyshack}}'' jump between numerous main characters throughout their runtime.

* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' practically has this as its ''hat''. Every chapter is from a character's perspective (or sometimes a few characters--the intros especially). Although there's a single in-universe messiah character (the Dragon Reborn), he has two buddies [[note]]all of them are "Ta'veren", which loosely translates to bending reality around them and even more loosely means "Protagonist"[[/note]] who have nearly as much influence on the world as he does, and then nearly every other character with authority gets at least a scene or two, but often many recurring ones. It gets to the point that the minor characters' rotation sometimes overshadows the main plot!
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' has each chapter from a different character's point of view, with that character's name or description as the title of the chapter. The first book starts with a small number of recurring POV characters, and each subsequent book adds or subtracts a few.
* In ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'', Yossarian is the protagonist, but every chapter is titled and focused on a different character ([[MagnificentBastard Milo]] gets three), and Yossarian is often OutOfFocus for long stretches.
* Each chapter in KristineKathrynRusch's ''Fay'' novels concentrates on a different character.
* ''Literature/TheValleyOfHorses'' alternates chapters about Ayla and Jondalar until they meet; it's third person narration.
* In Creator/TamoraPierce's ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' series, each of the books focuses on one of the four main characters as they live together, learn magic, and become [[TrueCompanions a family]], though each book also features scenes from the perspectives of other characters and their own subplots. The second series, ''The Circle Opens'' follows the same format, except the characters are [[TimeSkip four years older]] and leave to go travel with their teachers. The latest book, ''The Will of the Empress'' is the only one save ''Sandry's Book'' which deals with each of the four characters relatively equally.
* Creator/HarryTurtledove's AlternateHistory novels use this trope to explore different aspects of the world, e.g. a war may be narrated from the perspective of officers and grunts and civilians on different sides. Each chapter includes multiple passages centered around different viewpoint characters.
* The ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' books follow a pattern to determine who the protagonist is. Each book follows the next character in the pattern, and the Megamorphs books are longer and everyone gets a turn to be the narrator. Originally the {{Token Non Human}}s, [[AlienAmongUs Ax]] and [[ShapeshifterModeLock Tobias]], only got half as many books because it was assumed they would be less popular; it turned out to be [[EnsembleDarkhorse quite the opposite]], however, and the pattern eventually changed.
* The ''Literature/{{Everworld}}'' books rotate point of view between the four main characters. [[TokenEvilTeammate Senna]] [[VillainEpisode also gets a book]], which results in [[TheSmartGuy Jalil]] having one fewer than the others.
* In ''Literature/TheNewProphecy'', the second ''Literature/WarriorCats'' MythArc, each book features the POV of Leafpool and one of the main cast (Brambleclaw, Squirrelflight, Stormfur, or Feathertail).
* ''[[Literature/TheCasualVacancy The Casual Vacancy]]'' by Creator/JKRowling has protagonists in the double digits, although Krystal Weedon appears to be the heroine for large sections of it.
* ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'' by Creator/BrandonSanderson does this - each chapter is from the point of view of Raoden, Sarene, or Hrathen, rotating between them until the end, where the breakdown of this rotating scheme is one more clue that things are (as usual for a Sanderson novel) going totally haywire around 5 chapters before the end.
** None of the others commit to this trope as fully as ''Elantris'', but other Sanderson works feature at least a downplayed version. ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'' follows two royal sisters who can both be considered protagonists, and the ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' trilogy clearly has [[ActionGirl Vin]] as the main protagonist, but in individual books other characters receive equal-ish billing with her: [[RebelLeader Kelsier]] in ''The Final Empire;'' [[BlueBlood Elend]] and [[HypercompetentSidekick Zane]] in ''The Well of Ascension;'' and Elend, [[AscendedExtra Spook,]] and [[BadassBookworm Sazed]] in ''The Hero of Ages.''
** ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' has a number of protagonists, but each book puts one character's backstory center stage (The Way of Kings focused on [[BrokenAce Kaladin]], Words of Radiance on [[GuileHero Shallan]]).
* ''Literature/{{Fat}}'' rotates every chapter between each of the three protagonists, with the exception of three chapters, one of which is Grenville's recipe for boiling an egg, one of which is an anger management guide and the last of which is a newspaper article about [[spoiler: Grenville's [[InsistentTerminology not-a-rampage]] at the Well Farm]].
* Similar to the Batman example in WesternAnimation, ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' always has the story told from the point of view of Harry, but generally focused on a different person in his (vast) retinue of friends, allies and enemies. Murphy, Thomas, [[spoiler: Elaine]], and Michael Carpenter are the rotating allies, while the Denarians, the Red Court of Vampires, the Faeries, and other unexpectedly recurring creatures/foes form the rotating enemies.

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
%%* Franchise/StarTrek
%%* Franchise/{{Stargate|Verse}}
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' may be the most famous example, with almost every episode focusing on a different member of the ensemble cast's flashbacks, [[spoiler: later flashforwards and flashsideways.]]
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers'': while Dick Winters qualifies for the central character of the series, in most episodes the plot instead focuses on one of the other members of Easy Company.
* ''Series/{{Skins}}'' combines this with IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: every episode is named after the character that episode is focused on. It even introduces a new cast every two years.
* ''Series/AsIf'', the proto-''Skins'', does this too.
* ''Series/{{Degrassi}}'' fits this to a T. The limelight focuses on the characters on the A plot and minorly on the B plot, and the other characters are barely even mentioned.
* ''Series/{{Misfits}}'' also does this.
* ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' switches focus fairly regularly.
* ''Series/TheWire'' rotates between having protagonists at the Homicide Unit, The Major Crimes Unit, The Pit, the docks, the corners and Hamsterdam, the elections, the schools, and the newspaper.
* ''6 Degrees'' does this for its first season, with each of its six episodes focusing more heavily on one of the main students. This is dropped for the second season.
* A bizarre example occurs in the third season of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': Crichton is 'twinned', and the two Crichtons then get separated, each taking half the cast with them. For much of the season, episodes alternate between following the Moya-Crichton and the Talyn-Crichton.
* ''Series/TheCosbyShow'' becomes this in its last two seasons. All the regulars get their days in the limelight, and in the end Bill Cosby, himself, is the only one who appeared in every single episode.

[[folder: Roleplay]]
* Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG does this regularly, seeing as it is written by multiple people on a forum that does not allow one user to make two posts in a row. Basically, this means that one player writes a post depicting a certain series of events from the point of view of a character. The next post, written by another player, is written from the point of view of a different character, which depending on the circumstances can range from further explaining the events written by the last person to being entirely unrelated.
** Considering this is an RPG in which every player has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, a single post can include segments focusing on several different people in different places, doing things that may or may not be related.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'' is divided into chapters, with each one starring a different protagonist. Originally, you didn't even get to ''see'' the main hero/heroine until you reached their chapter; later versions added a Prologue.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' is like this: each character on your crew gets an (optional, but skip it at your own risk) personal loyalty mission, which is custom-tailored to their combat style and inconspicuously reveals enough of their backstory and personality to make you [[VideoGameCaringPotential care about]] [[TrueCompanions them]].
* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series
%%** ''FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears''
** ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVI'' as well; in the first half of the game the story frequently switches from one character to the next, and there is no clear protagonist.
** ''Videogame/FinalFantasyXII'' Each of the six main characters more or less have a period where the story focuses on them, although Vaan, Ashe, and Balthier do have more focus then Basch, Fran, and Penelo.
** ''Videogame/FinalFantasyXIII'' switches between at least three groups of main characters all the time, mixing them up every now and then to let each one interact with every other. It also likes to shift about the leader role (the only character you control in combat), making sure you don't get too comfortable with any given combination of skills and classes. [[spoiler:Once you leave Cocoon and reach Pulse, the full party is assembled, and all six characters start getting relatively equal time, though Lightning eventually establishes the protagonist role once again.]]
* ''VideoGame/OdinSphere''. Each of the first five "books" features a different character, and the sixth book rotates between all of them for the finale.
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIII: Generations of Doom'' takes place over three generations, with a different protagonist and variations in the cast for each.
* ''VideoGame/SuikodenIII'' Has a trinity sight system where the player chooses one of three characters to play as, they ultimately have to play as all of them eventually to progress the story. But choosing who to play as first is optional; there are also three un-lockable characters as well. Obtaining them either has to do with meeting them, or by doing a special task.
* Occurs in ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'', where the plot focuses on different members of the large party at certain stages (Sveta is arguably the most important character overall, but doesn't join until the halfway point) and the HeroicMime main character never gets extra focus, unlike Isaac and Felix in the first ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' games.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Recent story arcs of Webcomic/RumorsOfWar [[TwoLinesNoWaiting pair up characters]] for their day in the limelight. It makes for a veritable Cast-Go-Round, not unlike a SoapWheel. The most recent (read: third) [[StoryArc arc]] explored some of the consequences and repercussions of the very first story arc through the use of several [[WholeEpisodeFlashback Whole Episode Flashbacks]] (Chapters 13, 15, and 17).
* Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'s GeodesicCast has led to rotations ''within rotations'': cast focus typically rotates between:
** John
** One of the other three Kids (which is in itself on a rotating basis: during Act 5-2, for instance, this has rotated from Jade to Dave to Rose).
** Various Trolls
** Other characters (rotating between the Exiles, the Guardians, Doc Scratch, the villains... and so on). FourLinesAllWaiting is a ''simplification'' of the situation. So do many [=MSPAFanVentures=], which are in the same style as Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}. Examples are {{FanFic/Be The Seadweller Lowblood}} and AdultStuck.
* ''Webcomic/{{Superego}}'', itself an MSPA Fan Adenture, rotates between its ten characters and their experiences in a not-quite-normal hospital.
* ''Webcomic/TheMeek'' shifts its focus between the travelling Angora, the emperor Luca, and the rogue Soli.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Literature/LandGames
* After the first few [[WelcomeEpisode Welcome Episodes]], BattyBattalion develops into this.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This is how things work in ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'', so different members of the cast get their own {{Episode Title Card}}s.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' does this in similar vein to ''Star Trek'' and ''Stargate''. Optimus Prime plays the role of Captain but each episode may focus on the Autobots as a team or a specific (group of) Autobots rather than Optimus Prime as a protagonist.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' has an interesting variation on this trope, where Batman remains the protagonist nearly all of the time, but each episode focuses on him teaming up with a different obscure character from Franchise/TheDCU. Though, in some episodes (like "Aquaman's Outrageous Vacation!") even Batman himself gets pushed into the background.
* Season 1 of ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution''.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' and, particularly, ''Unlimited'' are the kings of this trope, focusing on new previously-obscure DCU characters (both villains and heroes) in every episode. Although TheQuestion does get a CharacterFocus, too, what with being the EnsembleDarkhorse.
* Episodes in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' focus on one or two of the Mane Six, or the Cutie Mark Crusaders, either as a group or one of their members.
* ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop'' has this format, and the show's tone changes significantly depending on who's in focus. Max's episodes are more exciting and [[CompetenceZone have more wit-based humor]], [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Goofy's]] tend to be the most light-hearted and silly, Pete's are often plain [[TheChewToy sadistic]], [[LaserGuidedKarma though he does usually deserve it]], [[AbusiveParents if not for his episodes then for PJ's]] which [[PlayedForDrama spend much time not being funny at all]]. It's not uncommon for the episode forms to overlap, and everyone is capable of starring in heartwarming episodes (though Pete does it significantly less often than the other three). It also gives ADayInTheLimelight to its secondary characters.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' follows this dynamic (in part due to being adapted from the lead-less ''Literature/TheRailwaySeries'' novels), with every main engine (along with several supporting ones) getting a spotlight episode on a regular basis. Some seasons tend to give Thomas the lion's share of lead roles (especially later on) but many other engines still get their turn.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'': While Robin was the clear BadassNormal leader of the group, as far the series as a whole was concerned, no one titan really took on the role as the "main character". Rather, most episodes generally focused on the issues and progression [[DayInTheLimelight of a particular titan.]] This even applied to the those shows seasons with Robin having the focus in Season 1, Cyborg taking center stage in season 3, Raven having the focus in Season 4, and Beast Boy getting the focus in Seasons 2 and 5.
* This is common in the AnimatedAdaptation of Creator/RosemaryWells's ''WesternAnimation/TimothyGoesToSchool''. Each episode would focus on a different student of Hilltop School. Most of the episodes would usually focus on Yoko, Lilly, or Nora.