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Billing Displacement / Live-Action TV

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In General:

  • Admirably, some TV shows do avert this:
    • The opening titles on each episode of Charmed are different depending on which regulars appear.
    • Heroes and Eastwick list the regulars in alphabetical order (which is why some episodes of the latter carry the credit "starring ashley benson" and others "starring jon bernthal" (the typeface for the credits is all lowercase), although this makes an exception of Paul Gross, who always has "And" status), and only list regulars if they actually appear in an episode in original (i.e. not stock) footage. (That said, Santiago Cabrera did get credited for an episode where he only appeared in stock footage.)
  • Disney Channel does this a lot with their teen stars who were in movies in the 90s or early 2000s who now star in a show. When they show some movie that the actor had a minor part in, they will bill them as the top stars (similar to the iCarly example above). For example, when they showed Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, they advertised it like Emily Osment (Lily on Hannah Montana) was the star, despite the fact that she was almost a minor character. To quote one of the trailers "Spy Kids 3 starring Emily Osment... and a bunch of other famous people."
    • They did the same with their original movie Tru Confessions. The star and focus of the movie was Clara Bryant. All of the advertising focused on how it was Shia LaBeouf's "most dramatic role ever," and you'd never know it wasn't a movie all about his character.


  • At the beginning of The 10th Kingdom, Ann-Margret is listed among actors who appear throughout the entire miniseries, yet she doesn't actually appear until the very end. The same goes for Camryn Manheim as Snow White, who other than a Dream Sequence appears only in part four.
  • Something similar is done with 21 Jump Street, which was also an ensemble piece. In fact for much of the run, Holly Robinson (Peete) was probably a more prominent cast member than Johnny Depp (helped by the fact that she was the only cast member to stay for the entire run).
    • In fact, for the fifth season DVD sets go so far as to have Depp as the main focus on the cover despite the fact that he only appears in one episode, and it's leftover from season 4!
  • 24:
    • Reiko Aylesworth appeared as Michelle Dessler in every episode of Season 2 and had a pivotal role in the season, but was only credited as a guest star through all of it. Meanwhile, Penny Johnson Jerald was credited as a main cast member, but only appeared in a quarter of the season before taking off and not returning until the final few episodes. Aylesworth was credited as part of the cast in early releases of the Season 2 DVD set... but it also credited Sarah Clarke as Nina Meyers as part of the cast, even though she only appeared in a handful of episodes during the first half of the season.
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    • Season 4 was easily the biggest example of this. Of the credited cast members, only Kiefer Sutherland, Kim Raver and (later on) Roger Cross appeared through the majority of the season, while all the other credited leads ended up getting written out early on. Meanwhile, supporting cast members Louis Lombardi, Carlos Bernard, and Mary Lynn Rajskub appear prominently throughout the season but were only credited as guest stars. The way things ended up, most of the guest stars in that season ended up being more fitting as main characters than most of the season's actual credited main characters.
    • For the fifth season , Carlos Bernard is billed fourth in the main cast behind only Kiefer Sutherland, Kim Raver, and Mary Lynn Rajskub (when he appeared in an episode anyway), and he's even credited second after Kiefer Suterland on the back of the DVD box. However, he has barely any screen time in the season and was (until a retcon in a later season) killed off midway through it. On the other hand, Jude Ciccoella, who plays Mike Novick, has a cast photo, appears in the majority of the season and plays a pivotal role in the plot, is credited as a guest star the entire time.
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    • The DVD set for Season 6 lists Roger Cross as a member of the main cast again, even though he's only a guest star this time around and he gets killed early on. It doesn't credit Carlo Rota, Eric Balfour, or Marisol Nichols, even though all three are members of the main cast and two of them appear throughout the entire season while the third appears in the majority of the season before also getting killed off.
    • The Season 7 DVD credited Jon Voight as a member of the main cast cast even though he's only a Special Guest in the season playing a villain and not even the main one.
  • The Sci-Fi Syfy miniseries Alice was hyped with commercials advertising Tim Curry and Kathy Bates. Bates plays the villainous Queen of Hearts, so that could be considered acceptable. But Curry has a grand-total of three minutes of screen-time in the first act. The main characters (Alice and Hatter) are played by relative unknowns.
  • The All-New Mickey Mouse Club or "MMC", which aired on Nick's rival (and repeat offender, see above) The Disney Channel, featured Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera, among the cast of pre-teen/teen performers or "Mousketeers".
    • Disney even cashed in on their popularity by releasing a "Best Of" DVD featuring highlights from their appearances as opposed to full seasons/episodes.
    • The show also featured Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, and Timberlake's former N Sync bandmate JC Chasez, though they're generally not brought up as often as the first three are. And to date, there hasn't been a DVD dedicated to them (the aforementioned DVD was made long after Chasez faded into obscurity but before Gosling became a household name, and Russell was never that big a star to make the DVD).
  • When most people think of the Angels in America Mini Series and don't know the source material, they think the leads are Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and Emma Thompson, because those three got top billing. Of course, Emma Thompson has indisputably the smallest role of the main eight actors, but she's a bigger star than Justin Kirk, never mind if he plays the main character, so she gets the top billing, and he gets snubbed a Golden Globe nomination because people only realized halfway through voting that he belonged in the Lead and not Supporting category.
  • Arrested Development credits Alia Shawkat before Tony Hale and David Cross, even though she gets less to do in every season AND was less famous prior to the show than Cross (this was probably due to Hale and Cross missing a number of episodes in the first season whereas Shawkat had perfect attendance; ironically she would go on to be absent from one season three episode. If anything, Hale was likely going to be billed before Michael Cera and Cross anywhere between Jason Bateman and Cera).
    • Also notable, to a lesser extent, is Portia de Rossi being billed ahead of Will Arnett despite GOB usually being a more important character in the show than Lindsay; once again, this is justified due to de Rossi being more known that Arnett at the time of the show's launch.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The season two credits listed Na'Toth, played by Mary Kay Adams, as a main character, but she only appeared in two episodes that whole season and vanished from the series after that (a guest appearance in season 5 notwithstanding).
    • Crusade's credits likewise indicated that Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Tracy Scoggins), CO of Babylon 5, would be transplanted to the series' main cast, but she only had three appearances, one of them being a crossover with the parent show.
  • Ditto with Barney & Friends. Aside from being massively popular in the '90s and having a huge Periphery Hatedom, the only thing most people remember about the show is that Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato appeared on a number of episodes from 2002 to 2004. Never mind the fact that there were a few other members of the cast who would find future success, like Trevor Morgan, Madison Pettis, and Kyla Pratt, but good luck finding people who know who they are, let alone that they were on ''Barney;" because when people bring up the show's alumni, it will be Gomez, Lovato, and no one else.
  • For a long time, promotional material for The Big Bang Theory (TV spots, print ads, billboards, etc.) would have Penny front and center, while Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj were almost always far off in the background, giving the impression that the show is more or less about a hot blonde girl that a bunch of nerds fawn over (despite Leonard being the initial protagonist and Sheldon becoming the Breakout Character of the show). Then again, Sex Sells, and this show relies on it.
  • Boardwalk Empire places any new cast members at the end of the opening credits, even when they end up among the top five or so most prominent characters of a given season, like Bobby Cannavale in Season 3, Jeffrey Wright in Season 4, or Jack Huston and Gretchen Mol in Seasons 2-4.
  • Breaking Bad: It should come as no surprise that top billing goes to Bryan Cranston. What is surprising is second billing going to Anna Gunn instead of Aaron Paul.
  • The VHS release of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Part 2 has Spike and Drusilla on the spine. Drusilla doesn't appear at all in Season 3 and Spike is in one episode. On Part 1.
    • More recent DVD releases of Season 3 include Spike's picture on one of the discs but omit Oz, despite Spike appearing in only one episode as mentioned and Oz being a main cast member that year.
    • Justified on the Region 1 Season 3 DVD cover, as Faith was basically a main character for the season, though she has the honor to be the only recurring character to appear on any Region 1 DVD cover for the series.
  • On the covers for DVDs of Call the Midwife, none of the nuns are featured, even though they are all major characters — and one of them is played by Jenny Agutter, to boot! This is especially egregious with season 2, when Dr. Turner is on the cover; this is probably because of his romantic arc of the season, but you'd think they'd give cover space to Sister Bernadette (his romantic partner) as she's even more important to the plot than he is.
  • The first two seasons of The Crown (2016) controversially had Matt Smith (who plays deuteragonist Prince Phillip) get top billing over protagonist Claire Foy.
  • With the departure of Grissom in CSI, the top billing went to Laurence Fishburne, who plays newcomer Dr Ray Langstrom. While several cast members outrank him both in rank, importance and time on the show, Laurence Fishburne gets the top billing, being the most well known star on the bill.
    • And then, when Fishburne left, Ted Danson came in, again with top billing. Justified as, unlike Fishburne's character, Danson's character comes in as the supervisor to the team (as Catherine was demoted after the LA incident.)
  • Deadwood has Timothy Olyphant as the pilot's apparent hero getting top billing, even though Ian McShane quickly becomes the show's central figure and antihero, with more lines and screentime than Olyphant in almost every episode.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation is yet another show that is today best known as barely a footnote in a future music superstar's career: Aubrey "Drake" Graham.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Mission to the Unknown": William Hartnell is given top billing despite the Doctor not appearing or being mentioned once in the entire story. This is because Hartnell's contract stipulated he would be credited each week, even if he did not appear. (The actors playing companions Vicki and Steven didn't get a credit, as their contracts contained no such clause, although they were credited in TV listings magazines.)
    • "Closing Time" has Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill billed as main characters, despite only appearing in a 30-second cameo.
  • A more retroactive example, Miranda Cosgrove and Jerry Trainor are billed as the topped stars of the Drake & Josh Christmas Special even though Drake Bell and Josh Peck are the title characters.
    • Jennette McCurdy also had a very small role before she became Sam on the show on a very obscure movie that didn't even see the light of day. After her success in the show, the people who made the movie tried to release it again on the back of Jennette's new found star power. It led to her denouncing the movie for being misleading.
  • In Earthsea, Amanda Tapping is credited among the other major actors, but her actual screentime is literally under ten seconds.
  • ER could often fall victim to this.
    • Mekhi Pfifer had his name added to the opening credits starting in Season 9, and was billed third. This was not because he was a new lead character; Goran Višnjić and Maura Tierney were both billed after him, yet were easily more central than he.
    • Paul McCrane was moved to the And Starring billing position after Eriq La Salle's departure, and was the central antagonist during this time (while also becoming at least slightly more sympathetic). After McCrane left the show, Laura Innes, who had more or less become the female lead, moved to this position, implying she would remain a major player, but was suddenly seen very rarely.
    • Many of the supporting cast appeared more often, and in some cases, more prominently than the main cast, but were never added to the opening credits. Laura Ceron and Deezer D appeared in more episodes than anyone except Noah Wyle and Laura Innes, but remained minor characters. John Aylward and Leland Orser, in most of the seasons they featured, really should have been billed in the opening titles.
      • In the third season, Jorja Fox had the major recurring role of Dr. Maggie Doyle, who in all respects was treated as a regular for the entire season. She also was a fan favorite. Maria Bello appeared in the last three episodes as a relatively minor character. Bello got promoted to the main cast for Season Four, Doyle appeared here and there before being Bobbed, then Doyled, then Bobbed again.
    • The series had a habit of billing actors who were once regulars in the opening credits for episodes in which they returned. This made Noah Wyle's returning guest arc in Season 15 confusing as he was billed first in the opening titles for each of the episodes, but wasn't really a regular anymore.
    • The back of the box for the fifteenth season has all of ER's most popular previous regulars such as Noah Wyle, George Clooney, Sherry Stringfield, Julianna Margulies and Eriq La Salle ahead of the regulars for that season, even though some of the aforementioned stars only appeared in one episode (out of twenty-two).
  • Firefly lists Sean Maher 7th in the credits, when he probably has the second-largest role after Mal. They seem to have made a point of listing the original crew before the three people who join them in the pilot.
  • Oddly enough, Full House credited John Stamos first, despite the fact that Bob Saget was the lead actor. It was his house, dealt with his kids and his attempts at raising them. Uncle Jesse (Stamos) was just one of two friends called upon to help care for the kids after his wife's death.
  • Game of Thrones is pretty all over the place when it comes to whom they bill in the opening titles. Peter Dinklage was the And Starring credit for the first season but has received top billing for all the others, despite really just being part of the ensemble (even if he is a huge favorite). Despite playing very prominent characters, Maisie Williams (Arya), Sophie Turner (Sansa), Alfie Allen (Theon), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey) and John Bradley (Sam) have only ever been listed among the secondary cast members (the sixth season rectified this for Turner, while the seventh did for Williams), while Liam Cunningham (Davos), Stephen Dillane (Stannis), Carice Van Houten (Melisandre) and Natalie Dormer (Margaery), who play supporting roles that often don't even appear for half of a given season, are billed among the main cast. Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo, one of the more major characters of the first season, was billed in the closing credits, after the guest stars, as "also starring". From the second season onward, it seems that screen time or number of episodes you appear in has nothing to do with whether or not you get billed in the opening titles. James Cosmo (Lord Commander Mormont), Conleth Hill (Varys) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn) have each been billed in the opening sequence since the second season, and yet have less screen time of late than they did in the first season, when they were mere guest stars. Most of the names billed in the fourth season appeared less frequently than Pedro Pascal (Prince Oberyn), who was billed as a guest star.
  • The 1975-78 Thames Television sitcom Get Some In! was originally presented as a vehicle for Tony Selby (who later found fame as Sabalom Glitz in the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy eras of Doctor Who), but Robert Lindsay, who played a major character but was not the star, receives top billing on the DVD release as a result of his starring roles in such series as Citizen Smith and My Family. Selby has likened this to releasing a Doctor Who DVD in which he is billed above Colin Baker.
  • Some promos for reruns of Gilmore Girls say things like "Melissa McCarthy is cooking up some comedy on Gilmore Girls," when she had been a supporting cast member and over a third of the episodes don't even include her character (additionally, Gilmore Girls is a Dramedy rather than pure comedy). While the actual stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel have had decent careers since the show, McCarthy is now better known than either of them for her lead role in the sitcom Mike & Molly and lead roles in a couple of hit comedy movies.
  • Glee:
    • Amber Riley receives top billing despite only having small appearances in three episodes in Season 4. Naya Rivera, Mark Salling and Harry Shum Jr. also receive top billing despite only appearing in half of the episodes. Newcomers Jacob Artist and Melissa Benoist have had important roles in every episode and are still listed as "guest stars".
    • Actors being billed as main cast members despite numerous absences is nothing new for the show. Jessalyn Gilsig (Terri) is easily the biggest offender, appearing in six episodes of the second season, one of which was a one-line cameo, despite being credited for every one. Starting in Season 4, however, it started bleeding over to the rest of the cast, with a large portion of the now-college-aged cast missing strings of episodes and being shoehorned into others while the new cast members continue to consistently appear and receive their own A-plots.
  • The Green Hornet TV series is best remembered for being one of Bruce Lee's earlier acting roles in America before becoming a huge film star in Hong Kong, even though he only played the sidekick to the title character played by Van Williams. Certain home video releases of the series advertise the show as "The Green Hornet: Starring Bruce Lee as Kato" and show Bruce Lee's face taking most of the cover. In Hong Kong, the series was even aired as "The Kato Show".
  • Due to the fact that the title credits of House did not change for the first six seasons, several actors got hit with this. Peter Jacobson, Olivia Wilde and Kal Penn were billed as "Also Starring" starting in the middle of the fourth season despite spending a significant amount of time as House's main diagnostic team, with Foreman and especially Chase and Cameron appearing sporadically and receiving little focus for long stretches of time. The credits were finally updated in Season 7 to reflect Jennifer Morrison's departure (near the beginning of Season 6, but whatever), and Olivia Wilde is given main cast billing... and promptly misses sixteen consecutive episodes that season. As in Seasons 4-6, Amber Tamblyn then comes in, credited as "Also Starring" but receiving more focus than several main cast members. Season 8 finally fixes the problem, with that season's new cast members debuting in the credits and Olivia Wilde downgraded to "Also Starring" for her few appearances.
  • Legends of Tomorrow:
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • Despite being a cast member since Season 2, Ice-T was billed below several cast members who joined in later, specifically Diane Neal (Seasons 5-9), Michaela McManus (Season 10), Danny Pino (Seasons 13-16), and Kelli Giddish (since Season 13). Giddish and Pino were also billed before original cast member Richard Belzer until Belzer's departure in Season 15.
    • Likewise, both B.D. Wong and Tamara Tunie were part of the cast since Season 2. Though they only got their Promotion to Opening Titles in later seasons (Season 4 for Wong, Season 7 for Tunie), they were still billed below cast members who joined in later, specifically Diane Neal, Adam Beach (Season 9), and Michaela McManus. It even applies to both Wong and Tunnie themselves; Wong is billed and promoted before Tunnie despite the latter debuting much earlier and having more screen time.
  • Mad Men Season 5 lists Jessica Pare (Megan) 12th, even though she has by far the second-largest role in the season.
  •'s cast list for The Noddy Shop shows Teryl Rothery and Harry Andersen first before listing the show's actual stars. These two are not main characters, but rather minor roles: Harry Andersen played the Character of the Day Jack Fable, while Teryl Rothery played Mrs. Skittles in the Noddy's Toyland Adventures segments. This was likely done because these actors happen to be more well-known than the rest of the cast.
  • In the opening credits for The Office (US), the only people ever listed were Steve Carell (Michael), John Krasinski (Jim), Rainn Wilson (Dwight), Jenna Fischer (Pam) and B.J. Novak (Ryan) until season 6, when Ed Helms (Andy) got a Promotion to Opening Titles and in season 7, James Spader (Robert California) was also promoted (then left the show after that season). While that may seem like a lot of characters, The Office had a relatively large ensemble cast. B.J. Novak was an especially blatant example, because as the seasons went on, he had less screentime than some of the actors who weren't in the opening credits.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • In the first season, Raphael Sbarge is credited as a regular despite only appearing in 10 episodes (season one has 23), one of which was only as a voice actor. By comparison, Meghan Ory is in 18, despite being a recurring cast member. (In season two, Sbarge was demoted to recurring and Ory promoted to regular... although the latter wound up appearing in less episodes than she did in season one before leaving.)
    • Michael Socha has been cast as a regular in the fourth season when his character from the spinoff was transplanted. Yet he's barely a secondary character.
    • Ginnifer Goodwin is billed before Jennifer Morrison. While Morrison's Emma Swan is the protagonist in the present day timeline, Goodwin's Snow White is most often the focus character in the past/flashback timeline.
  • Most of the characters on Orange Is the New Black appear in the majority of the episodes, and at this point most of the inmates have had flashback episodes, so being listed in the opening titles is little more than a formality. Still, here are some of the more notable displays of the trope:
    • Michelle Hurst is listed among the main cast in the first season. While her character does appear in every episode of the season except the finale, her role is not much more prominent than any of the other inmates, excepting a very involved flashback episode.
    • Natasha Lyonne appears in every episode of the first season, but is not Promoted to Opening Titles until the second, where her role is not really any more prominent and her screentime is pretty much the same.
    • Taryn Manning is promoted at the beginning of Season 2, having been the main antagonist of the first season. She doesn't really do much until the next season, and her storyline is totally removed from Piper's, despite the first season ending with a nearly lethal fight between the two.
    • Danielle Brooks plays a prominent role in the first two seasons (she's promoted at the beginning of the second), but has virtually no story to speak of in the third.
    • Samira Wiley's character has arguably the biggest role of the black inmates in the second season, where they were all pretty much front-and-center as the main plot of the season was Vee segregating and manipulating them. She's not promoted until the third season, in which her role is much less prominent.
    • Dascha Polanco's character has been one of the most prominent since the very beginning of the show, but she is only promoted in the third season.
    • Vicky Jeudy is the only actress portraying one of the main black inmates (Taystee, Poussey, Suzanne, Black Cindy, Janae) who is not in the title credits in the third season, although she appears just as much as the others, as many of their scenes are all together.
    • Laverne Cox, one of the most high-profile cast members, being a transwoman actually playing a trans character, has been a guest star for the entire show, with no promotion in sight.
    • Lea DeLaria is fairly prominent, especially in the third season, but is not expected to be promoted until the fourth.
    • Even though she only appeared in eight episodes of the show, it's pretty easy to forget that Ruby Rose is not part of the main cast given how high-profile she is.
    • In a move completely unprecedented for television, Michael J. Harney is credited in every episode of Season 5, but Healy does not appear in any capacity or even get mentioned at any point during the season. It's currently unclear whether his credit was left in by mistake, or whether Healy actually was supposed to appear but had his scenes cut.
  • When The Outer Limits (1963) was released on VHS, the tape packages sometimes gave top billing to well-known actors who played supporting characters (such as Edward Asner in "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork" and Happy Days' Marion Ross in "The Special One").
  • Christina Ricci receives top billing on Pan Am, although the character played by Kelli Garner (who's given And Starring status) is more important to the storylines.
  • Power Rangers has never put a voice actor in the opening credits if said actor did not also do suit acting. This means that major villains (and some mentors) from more than half of the franchise get billed as guest stars.
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Alien Rangers mini-series continued crediting the vacationing main cast alongside their child counterparts, and the titular Alien Rangers, along with young Bulk and Skull, were simply listed as guest stars. Young Billy's actor was credited as a regular through the entire miniseries even though he only appeared in three episodes, as David Yost was the only member of the main ranger cast to return early, with Billy getting a Plot-Relevant Age-Up to restore him to his true age.
    • Power Rangers Zeo: In the episode "No Business Like Snow Business: Part 1", Amy Jo Johnson is credited as a guest star, despite only appearing in a Stock Footage flashback.
    • Power Rangers in Space: Despite appearing alongside Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy in every one of their scenes, Jack Banning was left out of the opening credits until Narvy left the show the following season.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Russell Lawrence and Melody Perkins were always at the end of the credits with the rotating cast, instead of being credited as heroes. And because of legal reasons, Valerie Vernon was never removed from the credits for the period of time in which her character was gone from the show.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder: Ismay Johnston was credited as a guest star for every single episode, despite having dual substantial roles as both Mission Control and owner of the Local Hangout that season.
  • The Queen, a 2009 series of British docudramas detailing pivotal events from the life of Queen Elizabeth II prominently featured the "five leading British actresses" playing the monarch, to the point that no other cast members were even mentioned on the website. It was strange then that Emilia Fox, the actress playing the queen in the first episode, actually appeared less than the second billed (in the credits)/mostly ignored (in the promotional material) Katie McGrath, who played Princess Margaret.
  • Who's the most prominent sight on the DVDs for Rawhide? Why, Clint Eastwood, natch, whose character is secondary. Now who was the real star of the first seven seasons of Rawhide? The much-forgotten Eric Fleming (though in fairness, Eastwood did take top billing in the final season).
  • Red Dwarf initially credited its four main actors in alphabetical order — hence Rimmer (Chris Barrie) was always listed ahead of Lister (Craig Charles), despite Lister being the show's protagonist. note  Any new main actors who joined the cast were just added straight onto the end of the list; therefore Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) was consistently listed after Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Holly (Hattie Hayridge) despite being a much more prominent character than either of them.
  • Madeleine Stowe is billed first in Revenge, but Emily VanCamp has the starring role.
  • There have also been promos for Roseanne reruns that make a big deal about Johnny Galecki's role in the show. Galecki played a minor recurring character, David, who was not even ever in the opening credits, but later became well-known as an excellent Straight Man (or Only Sane Man) in the hit comedy The Big Bang Theory. (On Roseanne, his role was as a Straight Man as well).
  • Jessica Alba is mentioned twice on the cover of The Secret World of Alex Mack, despite her only having a bit part as Alpha Bitch in a couple episodes.
  • Smash: Debra Messing gets top billing, but Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty are the real stars.
  • In The Sopranos, Lorraine Bracco has second billing, above Edie Falco. It's almost justifiable in Season 1, where they both have very large roles (with Falco's still being larger), but in every other season it's Billing Displacement given Bracco's relegation into the background. In a billing proportional to screentime in the series, Bracco should probably even be below Michael Imperioli and Tony Sirico too.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Evan Evagora has by far the least amount of screen time among the main cast, yet his name is listed before Michelle Hurd's in the opening credits.
  • State of Play (yes, the original British series) was admittedly a who's who of great British actors. However, leads John Simm and David Morrissey don't even appear on the covers of some European releases. Instead, the more well-known Bill Nighy and James McAvoy grace the cover despite playing minor roles. (And in an instance of Covers Always Lie, the Finnish release states it's an "English police series" instead of a political thriller involving mainly journalists, and very few policemen).
  • St. Elsewhere is a Ensemble Cast series with Denzel Washington just one of many and even listed next to last due to the alphabetical credits. However, on the DVD set as Washington front and center on the cover sleeve.
  • Stranger Things gives Winona Ryder lead billing, as she was the best-known name at the time the show premiered. Three seasons in, and the first actor that comes to mind is almost always going to be Millie Bobby Brown. Additionally, Creator/Cara Buono is credited as a main character in every season (albeit usually the last one listed), despite never having a major role in the overall plot.
  • Supergirl:
  • The series Tripping Over features a Five-Man Band of twenty-somethings, across London and Sydney. The DVD cover, while displaying those five characters, only credits the most famous of them, Daniel MacPherson, and three well-known actors (Brooke Satchwell, Rebecca Gibney and Lisa McCune) playing Satellite Characters.
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh is featured on the cover of the 9th season DVD set for The Waltons even though she only appeared in one episode.
  • Wings is increasingly being thought of as the show Tony Shalhoub was in before Monk. Shalhoub is prominently featured on the cover art for all Wings DVD releases despite the fact that his role was relatively minor, and in the case of the Seasons 1 & 2 set, that he was only in a single episode on the set.
  • Dominic West was billed first in the opening credits for every season of The Wire (the only actor in the main cast not billed in alphabetical order) despite the cast always having a more ensemble-like feel. In the fourth season, due to West's schedule, he was more or less a background character and even missed four episodes while the focus moved to a local school. The credits were not changed to reflect this.
  • You Can't Do That on Television, a kids' sketch comedy show from Canada which become the first huge hit for the kids' cable channel Nickelodeon, running for 10 seasons and 143 episodes, is probably remembered now as "that show Alanis Morissette was on", though she only appeared in five episodes.
  • Despite Mathew Baynton playing the protagonist and the antagonist of You, Me and the Apocalypse, as well as providing the opening narration, he is still billed second, behind Jenna Fischer.
  • In all the promos for Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger 100 Years After, as well as the DVD/Blu-Ray box, they focused on the future Kyoryuger team, with only a magazine promo mentioning that they spend more time using their ancestors' powers.

TV Movies:

  • Many Tweenie-Bopper Jonas Brothers Fans were thoroughly disappointed to find that the Jonas Brothers didn't star in Camp Rock, only Joe Jonas did. Disney Channel had announced many times in the trailers for Camp Rock that it starred the Jonas Brothers, failing to mention the fact that two of them were only minor characters and appeared very briefly. Thankfully, they got much bigger roles in rhe second film.
  • TV movie Game Over was an unusual attempt to combine cutscenes from five unrelated FMV Games from the same developer with new footage into a cohesive plot. Yasmine Bleeth and Walter Koenig are the only actors whose names appear on the DVD release, and Bleeth alone is featured on the cover. Both top-billed stars only appear in the FMV footage (taken from the unreleased game Maximum Surge), and Koenig's character has a Same Language Dub by voice actor Manny Petruzzelli. The actual main characters were played by Woody Jeffreys and Dominika Wolski.
  • The Disney Channel Original Movie How To Build A Better Boy gives China Anne McClain top billing above Kelli Berglund (the two play best friends), but Berglund's character is ultimately the focus of the story. This is justified, as McClain is the better-known actress of the two, as A.N.T. Farm is a much better-known show than Lab Rats (being on a higher-rated network and all), plus the movie aired on her home network.
  • TV movie In Search of America has many releases on Public Domain DVDs, all trumpeting Creator/Jeff Bridges as the star of the movie, although he's billed below Carl Betz and Vera Miles in the credits.
  • In the Lifetime movie Kristin's Christmas Past, Debby Ryan is given third billing, despite the fact that her character only appears in one scene and doesn't play a significant role in the story. It's really more or less a cameo appearance.
  • There was a two-part mini-series/made-for-TV movie called Meteor on NBC. Each part was two hours long, and Christopher Lloyd and Jason Alexander were given top billing for both parts. Sounds reasonable, right? It would be, except Christopher Lloyd's character dies less than half an hour into the first part.

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