Long Runner, the show that stands the test of time. But not all Long Runners pass that test unscathed. Actors die, or get fired, or lose a contract dispute, or retire, or simply don't want to play the same role for the rest of their foreseeable career, or are concerned about being Type Cast, or don't want to deal with the costars of that series anymore. But creators and executives don't want to let their Cash Cow Franchise or treasured premise go so easily. Alternately, often the inverse is true and shows often become Long-Runners due to allowing cast turn over. So the show continues with replacement cast members...and so occasionally you get shows where the show's main cast is completely different from the original. There's also the numerous cases of animated series whose dubbing cast changes due to a Channel Hop or an export-stoppage being overturned. Nearly all of the above can apply to characters in Literature and other works without human actors if the series spans enough time In-Universe and/or has a high turnover.
To qualify for this, a significant percentage of the work's main cast, including recurring, named supporting cast, has to change. Red Shirts, extras, and guest stars don't count. A one-man show only needs the one person to change, but that won't cut it for an Ensemble Cast. Essentially, either Suspiciously Similar Substitute or The Other Darrin, en masse. (Though it can be spread out over time; it's a Long Runner, after all.)
Having a lot of turnover is by itself a neutral phenomenon, but for many people, it's a cause to believe a show has Jumped the Shark, is Ruined Forever or is a Franchise Zombie, especially if the departing cast were a main reason for the show's appeal to them. Conversely, the incoming cast may find themselves working for only one season anyway.
- Ben 10 had a Time Skip aging up the main and recurring kid characters. In addition, it was decided that Dee Bradley Baker should voice all of Ben's aliens, then later the crew decided "nah, give the guy a break." The result is many characters (and alternate forms of characters) having three actors, even when actor availability isn't an issue.
- In addition to The Other Darrins taking over in its English dub after 8 production years, the Pokémon Anime characters themselves qualify: outside of Ash, Pikachu, and Team Rocket, only Brock has been a co-star in multiple series and even he is currently relegated to The Cameo and/or Gaiden episodes. Ash's mother and Professor Oak are the only other exceptions,note and they usually only show up at the beginning and/or end of each series.note
- The eighth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) did away with Irma, Casey Jones, Mondo Gecko, the Punk Frogs, the Neutrinos, Leatherhead, Baxter, Groundchuck, and Dirtbag, in favor of new characters like Titanus. The ninth season eliminated the newbies from season 8 as well as the Rat King, replaced Shredder and Krang with Dregg, and Bebop and Rocksteady with Hi-Tech. April was replaced with Carter. In the tenth season, April came back to replace Carter while Hi-Tech was replaced with Mung.
- Many long-running Japanese anime programs tend to replace their voice actors over time. For example, Sazae-san, Japan's longest-running anime, has had three different voice actors for Katsuo and Wakame.
- The James Bond film series has four major recurring roles: Bond, M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny. Eighteen actorsnote have played these roles over the twenty-four official movies. Two more intermittently recurring roles — Blofeld and Felix Leiter — have been played by seven actors apiece.
- The Little Rascals film series' cast significantly changed at least every two years throughout its 20+ year span. This was almost always due to the actors quickly becoming too old to portray cute little kids.
Genres and Production Blocks
- Most Soap Operas are run on this trope. Since many have been running 40+ years, and people don't want to spend the entirety of their lives on one show, they tend to leave the soap after a few years to pursue alternative employment options. To replace them, either the character actors are changed or new characters are brought in. This means that the main casts of soaps tend to change drastically every few years. As an example, New Zealand-produced soap opera Shortland Street first aired in 1992, and as of 2011 only one of the original cast members remains (Dr Chris Warner).
- NBC's Late Night block has gone through this a bunch of times:
- The Tonight Show has gone through at least five different hosts, all of whom brought in their own people to run the show in a new direction. The only exception may be when Jay Leno was brought back to the show in 2010.
- Late Night has gone through a similar situation but with only three hosts - four if you count its predecessor, Tomorrow with Tom Snyder.
- Later. First it was a one on one private interview on a simple set between Bob Costas and another person. After Costas left it became Later with Greg Kinnear with a live audience. A series of rotating guest hosts each brought their own sensibilities to the show. Now it's Last Call with Carson Daly which is completely different than any of the others.
- Saturday Night Live's cast and crew turnover is as legendary as its peak-and-valley history. In fact, the near-constant changing of cast members and writers is the reason why this show's quality shifts, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.
- Out of the original American Idol line-up, only Ryan Seacrest has appeared in every season.
- The Bill lasted for 26 years, starting in 1984. Nearly the entire original cast were still present as of the 1992 season, but there was a gradual erosion from that point onwards. A fair portion of the original cast were still in the show in 2000, but a massive cast clean-out saw the removal of some of these characters (notably Peter Ellis as the Chief Super, who had been a regular since 1984), after which nobody seemed to have contractual immortality anymore. At least one original cast member (Jeff Stewart as PC Reg Hollis) still managed to stick around until the 24th season in 2008 however, while one cast member from the original 1983 pilot episode (Trudie Goodwin as Sergeant June Ackland) was there until the 23rd season in 2007.
- The eight-season run of Arrow only had Stephen Amell (Green Arrow) and David Ramsey (John Diggle) credited as leads through the entire run. Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance) remained on the show for the majority of its run beginning to end despite only being in a recurring role during Season 5, but she was technically playing two different characters between the first four and last four seasons on the show.
- Out of the original cast of Criminal Minds, only Matthew Gray Gubler (Spencer Reid) and Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia) have appeared in every season as series regulars, even if the latter was credited as a guest star in season 1 despite the fact that she appeared in every episode of the season bar one, while A.J. Cook (Jennifer Jareau) has appeared in every season though her character only appears in four episodes of season 6 due to her being Put on a Bus.
- Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan) is the only character to have appeared in every episode without being absent for one episode prior to his departure during season 11 and has made guest appearances in season 12 and 13. In fact, Garcia is now the longest-serving character of the show by episodes, after Thomas Gibson's departure during season 12, having equalised the record with Gibson due to him missing an episode during season 6.
- Since the original CSI premiered in 2000, its later seasons have seen the departure of three of its leads (Grissom, retired, and Catherine, new job, and Ray Langston (who replaced Grissom), forcibly resigned), two of its secondary leads (Sara, quit from PTSD but now back as effective regular, and Warrick, Killed Off for Real) and a number of its recurring supporting roles (Wendy, Sofia, and the very short tenure of Riley, meant to replace Sara). Most of the departures were of the "actor wanting to move on" variety, but contract disputes and in Warrick's case, personal problems, also factored. As of the series' conclusion in 2015, the only actor to be a part of the regular cast for all fifteen seasons was George Eads as Nick Stokes, and this was only because of the show's abrupt cancellation, he was Put on a Bus in the finale and would no longer have been with the cast had the show continued. Because of this, he did not appear in the 2-hour Grand Finale, even though Grissom, Catherine, and Brass all did make return appearances. Eric Szmanda (Greg Sanders) also deserves a mention. Although he only had a recurring role as a lab tech in the first two seasons, he became a regular cast member in season 3 and remained as such throughout the finale.
- Dallas: Larry Hagman (J.R.) and Ken Kercheval (Cliff) were the only actors to remain with the series for all fourteen seasons. Hagman was the only actor to appear in all 357 episodes. Kercheval was not added to the opening credits until Season Three. Taking the infamous shower scene into account, Patrick Duffy (Bobby) was the only other actor to appear in every season.
- In Degrassi: The Next Generation, the cast has changed once since the show started in 2001 (not including Archie "Snake" Simpson):
- Season 5 had the first block of characters graduate from the school but maintained most of the cast in college. Season 7 had the second half of the initial cast graduate, and they cut down a lot of the older cast leaving four.
- By Season 10 the entire original cast (save Snake) was gone, leaving Chantay as longest time on set (starting in Season 4).
- Clare (introduced in Season 6, made a regular in Season 8) has been on the show longest right now, her class graduated in season 14.
- Degrassi Next Class marks the third time the cast turned over and barring Principal Simpson, no character has any link to the original 2001 cast.
- Doctor Who of course invented The Nth Doctor in order to survive 50 years and counting but also rotates through a long list of the Doctor's companions; the show's time travel premise makes it fairly easy to write old companions out and new ones in.
- The longest-lasting regular cast members have been Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor (six years, two months), Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor (four years, six months), and Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka (three years). In terms of screen longevity, Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor is the longest-serving at seven seasons, with three seasons now considered the usual length for the lead actor. In terms of companions, Fielding's Tegan and Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane are the only companions to appear in four consecutive seasons, though Sarah Jane completed three while Tegan only completed two complete seasons and portions of two others. In terms of number of episodes, no companion has surpassed Frazer Hines's record of 113 episodes as Jamie McCrimmon.
- A special mention for Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Although he was only a regular cast member during the Jon Pertwee era, he first appeared in Season 5 and made occasional return appearances for years afterwards in Doctor Who, having one last appearance in the Spin-Off The Sarah Jane Adventures before Courtney's death (as well as reprising the character for audio dramas). Meaning he started his role in 1968, and last played the character on TV in 2008, 40 years after he was first cast. Not only that, one of the Cybermen in the penultimate episode of 2014 was implied to have been made from the Brigadier's body, meaning that his role kept on going for several years after his death.
- Not only that, senior production staff rotate on a regular basis; the end of 2009, when Russell T Davies and David Tennant both left, saw the entire creative team and regular cast replaced, as did the end of 2017, which saw the departure of Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi.
- ER transplanted most of its original cast over the fifteen seasons; while some (Susan Lewis) came back and then went away again, and some of the characters came back in the final season, the final cast was composed of none of the members of the original cast. This even gets lampshaded in the final season. One of the new characters meets one of the original characters and they realize that the staff of the hospital changed so much over the years that they have no common acquaintances. All the people who worked in the hospital when the original character left already stopped working there by the time the new character arrived.
- The game show Family Feud has through many hosts. Richard Dawson was the original host from 1976-85, and after a three-year gap, the show was revived from 1988-94 with Ray Combs. Dawson returned for the 1994-95 season. After another hiatus, the show came back in 1999, with the hosting duties going to Louie Anderson (1999-02), Richard Karn (2002-06), John O'Hurley (2006-10), and Steve Harvey (2010-present).
- Les Filles d'à côté only lasted three years in both its formats. But an insane production schedule meant this French sitcom (which verged on a comic Soap Opera) meant 336 episodes were created. It kept its full original cast for the first 130 episodes. But Cécile Auclert (Fanny) dropped out first, exhausted by the workload, and was followed very quickly by Hélène le Moignic (Magalie) for broadly the same reason. Later in the series, Thierry Redler (Marc) dropped out of the show. With half the original core cast gone, the producers experimented with new girls Next Door and a new flatmate for Daniel, but eventually conceded the best thing to do was to reboot it entirely with a pretty much brand new cast as Les Nouvelles Filles D'à Coté. In the second run, only Claire (Christianne Jean) and Gérard (Gérard Vives) remained from the original cast. note .
- Grey's Anatomy has only 4 of its original 9 main cast members among the 14 currently (season 14) listed among the main cast... but there are also 9 actors and actresses that are neither current nor first-season regulars but have nonetheless been regulars at some point. (Though one of them has returned to recurring status in Season 14.)
- Only James Arness and Milburn Stone lasted through all twenty seasons of Gunsmoke.
- Happy Days: Of all the regular characters that were billed at one point or another during the series' 11-year-run, just four remained from the first through last seasons: Henry Winkler (Fonzie), Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham) and Anson Williams (Potsie Weber). Two of the other original characters Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) and Don Most (Ralph Malph) left after the seventh season, while Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham) briefly left for the 1982-1983 season. Of the remaining characters, we all know what became of Chuck Cunningham, later addition Scott Baio (as Chachi Arcola) left along with Moran in 1982 but also returned, and various other characters came and went through the years.
- The cast of Kids Incorporated, which ran from 1984-1993, changed almost every season, and had at least one member drop out with new replacements every season.
- Knots Landing: Michele Lee (Karen) and Ted Shackelford (Gary) were the only actors who were regular cast members for all fourteen seasons, though Joan Van Ark (Valene) was a regular for the first thirteen and returned for the Series Finale. Lee was the only actor to appear in all 344 episodes.
- Lassie saw the cast regularly change every few years which resulted in Lassie changing from owner to owner in its 19-year run, from living on a farm to traveling with some park rangers to eventually winding up at a ranch. The "Timmy" era was the longest and most well known, lasting 7 years in total.
- The world's longest-running Sitcom, the BBC series Last of the Summer Wine (1973-2010) went through many major characters over the course of its run. As well as the sheer length of the series, this was because most of the characters were elderly, and so had to be replaced whenever an actor died or became too infirm for regular work. Only Peter Sallis (Clegg) and Jane Freeman (Ivy) were in it from beginning to end, and Sallis's role was significantly reduced in the final seasons due to his declining health.
- CBS' The Late Late Show has had four permanent hosts in its 20-plus seasons, starting with Tom Snyder, then Craig Kilborn, then Craig Ferguson, and currently James Corden.
- Law & Order ended with a completely different cast than when it started. The first major cast departure happened at the end of season one. The series lost its last original cast member at the end of its tenth season when Steven Hill's Adam Schiff retirednote , at which point he'd been the only remaining original for 5 years. So half of its run was done with no one from the first season cast. The Other Wiki has an entire section dedicated to the cast/character changes and overlaps. Similarly to Doctor Who, Law & Order's frequent cast changes is credited for its longevity.
- Its spin-off Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been renewed for a record-breaking 21st season, and almost completely overturned its original cast. Only Mariska Hargitay remains as a constant from season one until now; Ice-T from season two until now. Though unlike its parent program it actually maintained nearly the entirety of its original cast, with the exception of one departure in the second season, for its first twelve seasons.
- Law & Order: UK has them all beat with all bar Bradley Walsh having left by the end of the eighth season. When he quit, ITV cancelled the show.
- M*A*S*H had a significant cast turnover during its eleven seasons. Alan Alda (Hawkeye), Loretta Swit (Margaret), and William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) were the only main cast present for the entire run (although only Alda and Swit were in both the first and last episodes as the role of Mulcahy was recast after the pilot and Alda was the only one to be in every single episode). Jamie Farr (Klinger) was also present for the entire run of the show, but he started off as an extra. The military hospital setting made it easy to write characters in and out with the excuse of them getting drafted, transferred, and discharged. While that served to justify the near-immediate replacement of most characters who left, most of the replacements occupied a suspiciously similar role story-wise in addition to job-wise (the main exception being Sherman Potter, who leaned heavily towards the "elder voice of reason" role, while Henry Blake had been only slightly more responsible than Pierce and McIntyre). The other main replacements were BJ Hunnicutt for "Trapper" John McIntyre in the "second wacky doctor" role, Charles Emerson Winchester III for Frank "Ferret Face" Burns in the "thorn in the side" role, and Max Klinger for Walter "Radar" O'Reilly in the "quirky comedic foil" role.
- In the first season of Mission: Impossible, the core cast consisted of Steven Hill (Dan Briggs), Barbara Bain (Cinnamon Carter), Greg Morris (Barney Collier), Peter Lupus (Willy Armitage) and Martin Landau (Rollin Hand, who technically wasn't a permanent cast member until season two, but was in just about every season one episode as a special guest star). In season two, Hill was replaced by Peter Graves as Jim Phelps. This cast lasted two seasons, after which Landau left and was replaced by Leonard Nimoy as The Great Paris, and Bain left without getting a permanent replacement until season five, which introduced Lesley Warren as Dana, and also had Lupus' character occasionally replaced by Dr. Doug Robert, played by Sam Elliot. Warren and Elliot were both gone in season six, with Lynda Day George taking over the role of the team's female member, and Lupus cementing his place on the team. In the seventh and final season, George missed out most of the first half of the season due to being pregnant and was temporarily replaced by Barbara Anderson as Mimi. Thus only two members of the cast - Morris and Lupus - lasted the entire seven-season run of the show, and one of them (Lupus) was intermittently written out of half the episodes of one season due to an aborted attempt at phasing out his character. Number of cast members to appear in every episode: zero.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 lasted long enough to see every actor walk away for personal reasons. It began as a Mad Scientist and his assistant tormenting a janitor and his robots, but eventually ended as a megalomaniacal woman, a Doctor Zaius expy, and a brain guy tormenting an erstwhile temp worker and... well, the same robots, but with different voices. Joel, the creator and main host character, left the show to Mike in the middle of season five, neatly dividing the series (and fans) into two eras. Both hosts went on to start their own movie-mocking franchises in Cinematic Titanic and RiffTrax. Both of those shows feature a mutually exclusive subset of MST3K's cast (except for Mary Jo Pehl and Trace Beaulieu, who have appeared in both series). Then the revival on Netflix came out, with an entirely new main cast (The bots are still there, but are again played by different people). Some of the cast from the original show do show up in bit roles or as guest stars, however.
- Mythbusters is inevitably getting this as the outcome of the show becoming Un-Cancelled but none of the original cast wants to return to the series.
- As of the start of season 16, only two of the original six cast members of NCIS are still on the show. The original cast was Mark Harmon (Gibbs), Michael Weatherly (DiNozzo), Sasha Alexander (Kate Todd), David McCallum (Ducky), Pauly Perette (Abby), and Alan Dale (Director Morrow). At the beginning of season 2, Sean Murray (McGee) was promoted from repeat guest star to the main cast and Brian Dietzen (Palmer) was added as a secondary cast member (eventually getting promoted to main cast status). At the end of season 2, Alexander's character was killed off and Dale's character was written out (occasionally returning as a guest star), and they were replaced by Cote de Pablo (Ziva David) and Lauren Holly (Director Shepherd). Holly's character was killed off at the end of season 5 and was replaced by Rocky Carroll (Director Vance). This cast held steady until the beginning of season 11 when de Pablo left the show, being replaced by Emily Wickersham (Ellie Bishop). Then Weatherly left the show at the end of season 13, being replaced by Jennifer Esposito (Alex Quinn) and Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres); later that season, Duane Henry (Clayton Reeves) was promoted to the main cast. Esposito's character only lasted one season, being replaced at the start of season 15 by Maria Bello (Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane)note , and Perrette and Henry left at the end of that season, with Perrette being replaced by Diona Reasonover (Kasie Hines). And that's not counting the turnover in important recurring characters who have not appeared in the opening credits (Joe Spano's Tobias Fornell has literally been around since episode 1, but a lot of other characters have disappeared or been killed off over the years). Given that Ducky has spent much of season 15 and at least part of season 16 on sabbatical teaching and writing his memoirs, it's quite possible that David McCallum is considering transitioning towards retirement (his first big role was in the 60s, after all), which would leave Mark Harmon as the only member of the original cast left. It is understood among NCIS' fanbase that barring a total collapse in its ratings, the series will likely continue so long as Harmon wants to do it.
- New Tricks had no original cast members left by the end of the series. James Bolam (Jack Halford) left after the first episode of Series 9, while Alun Armstrong (Brian Lane) followed after four episodes of Series 10, and Amanda Redman (Sandra Pullman) left four episodes later, and finally Dennis Waterman (Gerry Standing) left two episodes into Series 12 (the final series).
- Only three regulars of Night Court made it all the way through the show's nine-year run: Harry Anderson as Judge Harry Stone, Richard Moll as Bull the bailiff, and John Larroquette as prosecutor Dan Fielding. Three different actresses filled the role of the second bailiff (as different characters). Karen Austin, who played the court clerk and was Judge Stone's original love interest, left before the first season was over and was eventually replaced by Charles Robinson as Mac. Four different actresses played public defenders—Gail Strickland in the pilot, Paula Kelly for the rest of Season 1, Ellen Foley for Season 2, and Markie Post for the rest of the series' run.
- Power Rangers had a few scattered cast changes its first few seasons; most notably Power Rangers Turbo (Season 5) overhauling the entire roster sans the newly Kid-Appeal Character introduced that season at the midpoint. After the show's "Zordon Era" concluded with Power Rangers in Space (Season 6), the show adopted a Sequel Series format ala its source material Super Sentai (which always changed casts every season since its inception in 1975); there would be occasional crossovers with prior Rangers but otherwise each season starts fresh with a new story and new cast.
- The Price Is Right has not had a lot of hosting changes: on daytime (1972-present), the only hosting change was Bob Barker to Drew Carey in 2007, while various nighttime incarnations have had Dennis James (1972-77), Bob Barker (1977-80), Tom Kennedy (1985-86), and Doug Davidson (1994-95). However, the announcer post has changed three times (Johnny Olson from 1972-84, Rod Roddy from 1985-2003, Rich Fields from 2004-10, and George Gray from 2011 onward, plus Burton Richardson for the 1994 nighttime version), and countless numbers of models ("Barker's Beauties") have rotated in and out of the cast over time.
- Sesame Street: Much of the cast has rolled over many times, with the exceptions of Caroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar), Bob McGrath (Bob), Loretta Long (Susan) and very occasionally Frank Oz (Bert, Cookie Monster and Grover), who have been there since Day 1 in 1969, although appearances for McGrath and Long have become less frequent since the mid- to late-2000s, and Oz's characters are almost always played by different performers. Spinney is also becoming less active, as his characters are now puppeteered by different people while he voices them, and occasionally they provide the voices themselves (which will now be done full time given Spinney's retirement in 2018). Aside from them, Emilio Delgado (Luis) and Rosco Orman (Gordon) are by far the longest-tenured actors at 40 or more years.
- The original UK version of Shameless had this in spades. Originally, it centered around the Gallagher family and a few neighbors and friends, but as various cast members left, the show shifted focus towards the Maguire family starting around Seasons 4-5. The two shared the central role for a few seasons before focus shifted away from a central family and more towards the ensemble cast that had gathered over time. For the final season, only two Gallaghers remained (one of whom wasn't even born until Season 5) and only three of the original Maguire family. The US version has almost completely averted this, in part because of its much more serialized approach to storytelling. That is, until lead star Emmy Rossum departed at the end of its ninth season.
- After 7 seasons, Spanish series Siete Vidas had only one character left from the first episode, Sole. She got the last scene in the finale along with two of the most iconic characters introduced in Season 2.
- Of the 17 cast members to appear throughout Smallville's run, only Clark and Chloe remained series regulars in all ten seasons. It should be noted that Allison Mack (Chloe) was credited only when she appeared in the final season (less than half the episodes), and was also absent from the credits for the first two episodes of Season 4 to make it seem as though Chloe was dead, so technically Clark was the only character to be a series regular for the entire show.
- Season 3 was the only one to have the same credited regular cast (and opening credits) as the previous season.
- Spooks went through a very large number of cast changes in its run. Only one character, Harry Pearce, appears in all ten seasons and every other position in Section D had at least three different occupants over the show's run.
- Stargate SG-1, almost. Despite three members of the original Four Man Team making it to the series cancellation (one of them having spent a year dead for tax purposes), most of the surrounding cast and all of the big bads were gone two seasons earlier. Only Walter remained unchanged.
- Supernatural is notable for not only being the longest-running science fiction/fantasy live-action series on American television at fifteen seasons in as many years but also for keeping its two original leads for the entirety of that run, averting this trope.
- The X Factor has had Louis Walsh being a judge for every season except series 12 (in which he was replaced by Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw for said season) and 15 (as he was replaced by Louis Tomlinson for said season) with Dermot O'Leary being the host of the show for every season since season 4 excluding series 12 (in which he was replaced by Olly Murs and Caroline Flack for that season).
- Science and technology show Tomorrow's World lasted for thirty-eight years and in that time went through over thirty regular and occasional presenters, helping launch the careers of presenters like James Burke and Carol Vorderman.
- 24 had only Jack Bauer as a main character in all seasons. The first 5 seasons had a pretty consistent cast but after that only Jack Bauer and Chloe (added in season 3) are constants in the remaining seasons.
- Only two cast members from Season 1 of The Walking Dead remain on the show as of Season 10 — neither of whom were part of the main cast to begin with but were promoted to regulars in Season 2. Though the turnover is partly due to the Anyone Can Die nature of the show, a few other longtime cast members, such as original lead Andrew Lincoln, have had their characters Put on a Bus with the door open to return in the future.
- Waterloo Road ran for 200 episodes over ten series for nine years. By the time the final episode aired in 2015, all of the cast who had begun the show in 2006 had left. In fact, Waterloo Road's cast turnover rate was so high that when the series ended the longest-serving current cast member - Melanie Hill - had only joined three years earlier.
- Wheel of Fortune has gone through four hosts since it first hit the airwaves in 1975. The show had a daytime version from 1975-91, hosted by Chuck Woolery (1975-81), Pat Sajak (1981-89), Rolf Benirschke (1989), and Bob Goen (1989-91), with Susan Stafford as hostess until Vanna White replaced her in 1982. Averted with the 1983-present nighttime syndicated version, which has been hosted by Pat and Vanna on all but a handful of special occasions. However, the announcer post has changed a few times: Charlie O'Donnell (1975-80), Jack Clark (1980-88), M.G. Kelly (1988-89), O'Donnell again (1989-2010), and Jim Thornton (2011-).
- The American version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has gone through this. The ABC version was helmed by Regis Philbin (1999-2002) and Jimmy Kimmel (2020-), while the syndicated version went to Meredith Vieira (2002-13), Cedric the Entertainer (2013-14), Terry Crews (2014-15), and Chris Harrison (2015-19).
- You Can't Do That on Television, whose premise required that most of its cast be kids, would retire its regulars as they got too old, or at least came to look to old. Hostess Christine McGlade got to stay into her twenties because she still looked convincingly like a youngish teenager. By its end, the show had a completely new cast except for the two adult regulars (Les Lye and Abby Hagyard).
- Australian prime time soap Home and Away is notable that while the cast has almost completely changed since the start, it still has one character, Alf Stewart, who was in the debut episode as part of the main cast. And while note in the series from the beginning, Irene Roberts has been in the series since 1991 with only a single early case of The Other Darrin and several characters from early in the series have left and returned multiple times.
- The Scottish traditional music ensemble Battlefield Band has been active since 1969, but the last of the founding members, Alan Reid, left to pursue other projects in 2010.
- Long-lasting space-rock band Hawkwind have been around for maybe forty years now and in that time have seen over fifty musicians come and go from the band; the only constant presence has been founder Dave Brock.
- Technically, all sports franchises can count. The examples are therefore limited to teams under a given coach or with long successful stretches.
- The Boston Celtics from 1957 to 1976. Bill Russell was the only player to win all 11 titles from the first year until 1969. John Havlicek was a member for the latter half of the 60s and the two titles from the 70s. (Nobody from the 1981 championship roster was a member from the 1976 title team, making the '80s a Continuity Reboot.)
- The Chicago Bulls under Phil Jackson saw the entire roster (aside from Scottie Pippen) turnover between Michael Jordan's 18-month retirement between 1993 and 1995. Jordan and Pippen were the only leftovers from the first three-peat (1991-3) in the second one (1996-8).
- The Houston Rockets had a long-runner cast turnover from 1981 to 1995, a period that covered their four NBA Finals appearances. Robert Reid was the only player to play for the Rockets in the 1981 and 1986 Finals. Hakeem Olajuwon was the only player from the 1986 Roster to win the 1994-1995 titles with the Rockets.
- The Los Angeles Lakers had a turnover beginning with the 1979-1980 title. A.C. Green was the only player from the '80s to win a Lakers title in the next three-peat (even the coach had changed, from Pat Riley to Phil Jackson). Similarly, only Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher were present in the Lakers 2000-02 three-peat and the two-title run by the decade's end.
- Both the 2006 and 2011 finals were between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. Only five players played both series: Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem won 2006 for Miami, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry avenged themselves five years later, and Erick Dampier lost both finals.
- Also in Miami, only six players from that series (Wade, Haslem, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, and James Jones) remained there for the whole four year Finals streak, that led to two titles. And once the Heat returned to the finals in 2020 (against the new team of LBJ, the Lakers), a 40 year old Udonis Haslem managed to be the only player present in all six Miami finals.
- Tim Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich were the only ones present in all five San Antonio Spurs titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014).
- Four players managed to appear in five Olympic Games: three unlucky men that never got a medal - Teófilo Cruz of Puerto Rico, Andrew Gaze of Australia, and Oscar Schmidt (who also holds records of most points ever and longest basketball career) of Brazil - and Theresa Edwards of the USA, who won four golds and a bronze.
- While many footballers managed to appear in at least four editions of The World Cup, a few are standout cases.
- Mario Zagallo won the first four of Brazil's titles (player in 1958 and 1962, coach in 1970, assistant coach in 1994), and his teammate Pelé was the only one fielded in the first three. Another Brazilian, Cafu, played in the 1994 and 2002 titles (and is the only man to play three Cup finals), while Ronaldo was on the bench in the former and the top goalscorer in the latter.
- Miroslav Klose was in the Germany team that lost to Brazil in 2002 and was the only reminder once the team returned to the final and won in 2014.note And Germany has a tradition for keeping players for long - five players were 1966 runners-up and 1974 champions (though only Franz Beckenbauernote and Wolfgang Overath played both finals), Paul Breitner scored in the 1974 and 1982 finals, and Pierre Littbarski lost the 1982 finals and won in 1990 (teammate Lothar Matthäus was in the 1982 squad too).
- Italy has three players who won in 1982 but appeared in only one final: Dino Zoff (didn't play in 1970, played 1982 at the age of 40), Daniele Massaro, and Franco Baresi (both went unused, but played the 1994 final Italy lost).
- On the women's side, the USA has a few standout cases.
- Six of the USWNT's starting 11 in the inaugural final in 1991 (which they won) were also starters in their second final win in 1999Michelle Akers, Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, and Carla Overbeck. On the bench in 1991 was Brandi Chastain, who started and scored the winning penalty kick in the 1999 final. (However, Fawcett, Foudy, and Hamm were the only ones among this group who appeared in four World Cups.)
- Christie Rampone, who played in five World Cups, has the longest gap between World Cup wins for a player of either sex. In her first World Cup, she was on the 1999 squad but didn't play in the final. In her last in 2015, with her being the sole holdover from the 1999 champs, she came on as a sub late in the final with the USWNT safely ahead.
- Germany's Birgit Prinz, who also played in five World Cups, is the only woman to have appeared in three World Cup finals. She was on the losing side in 1995 (to Norway) and on the winners in 2003 and 2007 (respectively over Sweden and Brazil).
- The 2015 World Cup was also the sixth for Brazil's Formiga and Japan's Homare Sawa. They only missed the inaugural Cup in 1991, when both were just 13. While Sawa retired by the end of that year, Formiga managed in 2016 to be the only woman present in all six women's soccer Olympic Games tournaments and returned for a seventh World Cup in 2019.
- For a case where the gap is due to World War II, the only players to appear in the 1938 and 1950 tournaments were Erik Nilsson of Sweden (who ironically lost to Brazil in both tournaments) and Alfred Bickel of Switzerland.
- The Detroit Red Wings had a mini-dynasty with four Stanley Cup titles, only two consecutive (1997-98, 2002 and 2008), to the point the last had a different coach. Five guys remained in all championships (Nicklas Lidström, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, and Tomas Holmström), while Chris Osgood was absent from the third one. McCarty had left the team in 2005, returning in time for the 2008 Cup run. Those Cup wins came amidst a streak of 25 consecutive seasons in the playoffsnote . Steve Yzerman was the only Red Wing who had remained with the team from the last team that had missed the playoffs in 1990 to win the Cup in 1997note . Six players from the 2017 roster that ended the streak, remained from the 2008 Cup win, and none of them were on the earlier Cup winners (Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard, Darren Helm, Niklas Kronwall, and Jonathan Ericsson).
- In an indirect way, only three people were present in the first three Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cups (1991-92 and 2009): Mario Lemieux (The Leader in the first two, owner in the third), Gilles Meloche (goaltender coach in all) and Kevin Stevens (player in the first two, scout in the third, to the point he wasn't engraved on the Cup). By the time the Penguins won again in 2016-17, just Lemieux remained to get his name two more times, and the roster had only 5 reminders of 2009 (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang - who missed the ice in 2017 due to injury - and the only one that didn't get ice time in the second series, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury - who afterwards would be picked in the expansion draft).
- The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim lost the Stanley Cup in 2003 and won as Anaheim Ducks in 2007. Only Jean-Sébastien Giguere, Rob Niedermayer, and Samuel Pahlsson were Ducks in both series (in 2003, Andy McDonald played the playoffs but missed the finals to injury). Rob's older brother Scott won twice in that span, first with the Devils against his brother in 2003, and then as Anaheim captain in 2007note . Counting non-players, Bryan Murray lost both (Ducks GM in 2003 and Senators coach four years later).
- Martin Brodeur was the only player in all five New Jersey Devils finals, a stretch that runs from 1995 to 2012. Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Ken Daneyko were the only other players on all three Cup-winning teams in 1995, 2000, and 2003.
- During The New '10s, the Boston Bruins went to three Cup finals. While most of the squad who broke the team's 39-year title drought in 2011 were also in 2013, their return in 2019 only had five reminders: captain Zdeno Chara, alternate captains Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, winger Brad Marchand, and one who didn't play in the first final, goalie Tuukka Rask (who only became the full-time starting goalie once Tim Thomas left Boston).
- The Tampa Bay Lightning who won the Cup in 2020 had only 9 players from the roster that lost the 2015 finals - including captain Steven Stamkos, who se only game in the 2020 playoffs was in said final, as he took some time off to heal from a surgery. Amusingly, the team they defeated, the Dallas Stars, had in their roster the starting goalie of the 2015 Lightning, Ben Bishop.
- On an international level, Teemu Selanne played in 6 Winter Olympics from 1992 to 2014 (equaling compatriot Raimo Helminen, who played his last 3 tournaments as Selanne's teammate), winning one silver and four bronzes for Finland. Among the seven players who went to 5 Olympics, only three won medals, two Finns (Jere Lehtinen - 1994-2010 - and Kimmo Timonen - 1998-2014) and the great Czech Jaromir Jagr, who not only won a Gold in 1998 but managed to appear in the annual World Championship (which he won in 2005 and 2006) in both 1994 and 2015, at 43 in the latter.
- The New York Yankees had two such stretches: The Joe McCarthy era from 1931-45, where the team won 7 World Series and featured all-time greats like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio, and the Casey Stengel era from 1949-60, where they won another 7 World Series and featured all-time greats like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra. The third best stretch was in the 1990s-2000s, when they won four titles in five years (1996 and 1998-2000), plus one more in 2009. Only starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, shortstop Derek Jeter, and closer Mariano Rivera were a part of all five teams, with a number of others being part of four out of five—including two other members of the 2009 team, as Joe Girardi, the starting catcher on the 1996 team and backup catcher in 1998 and 1999, returned as manager for the 2009 team while Jorge Posada, who replaced Girardi as the primary catcher in 1998 after backing him up as a rookie in 1997, was still the starting catcher in 2009. Furthermore, only Jeter and Rivera had been Yankees continuously for that stretch; Pettitte left the Yankees for three years from 2004 to 2006, playing for the Houston Astros.
- The Boston Red Sox, after infamously having not won a championship since 1918, won three World Series in a decade, in 2004, 2007, and 2013. The only constant across all three teams was designated hitter David "Big Papi" Ortiz, with only three other members of the 2013 team having even been there for the 2007 title (second baseman Dustin Pedroia, centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and starting pitcher Jon Lester). By their fourth title of the century in 2018, only Pedroia remained from 2007, and he missed the year with an injury.
- The New England Patriots' 2001-04 and 2014-18 title runs shared only three people: coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. note The 2010 season was a unique crossover year where players from all three eras of the Patriots dynasty — the 2001-2004 Super Bowl-winning teams; the 2007-2011 teams that went 16-0 but lost the Super Bowl twice; and the 2014-2018 era that went to four Super Bowls in five years, three in a row, and won three — were all on the team at the same time. You had Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Deion Branch (albeit, only to replace Moss), Matt Light, Vince Wilfork, Kevin Faulk, Dan Koppen, and Logan Mankins all on the same team, which makes 2010 a great What Could Have Been year if the Patriots hadn't lost to the Jets that year.
- Three nations have won more than one Rugby World CupAustralia (1991, 1999), South Africa (1995, 2007), and New Zealand (1987, 2011, 2015). All three nations illustrate this trope to a greater or lesser extent:
- Australia: Only five players from the 1991 squad were there for 1999Dan Crowley, John Eales, Tim Horan, Phil Kearns, and Jason Little.
- South Africa: Os du Randt was the only member of the 1995 squad, featured in Invictus (though he wasn't mentioned in either the film or the book it was based on), to play in the 2007 Cup. He retired as a player immediately after the 2007 final (in which he played the entire game).
- New Zealand: While the trope doesn't apply between 2011 and 2015, with 14 players appearing on both of those title teams, it definitely holds true with respect to 1987 and 2011. Five of the players on the 2011 title team had yet to be born when the All Blacks won the first RWC in 1987note . The oldest member of the 2011 squad, Brad Thorn, was 12 during the first RWC (and more than three years older than any of his 2011 teammates).
- The Prince of Tennis has had many, many cast changes over its several dozen shows spanning almost two decades. It's more sweet than bitter since so many of the former cast members have gone on to become very famous, particularly as voice actors.
- Tsukiuta's stage plays have entered this phase as of 2018, the series' third year when four of the main cast of twelve graduated. One member (Arata) graduated in 2017, meaning that only about half the original members are still in it.
- Though the series it's a part of changes cast with every installment, the cast of Persona 4 had a pretty long time in the spotlight, lasting nearly a decade before the next installment came out in 2016. From 2008 to 2015, the Investigation Team had appeared in their original game, an anime adaptation of said game, not one but two fighting game sequels, a remake of the game for the PlayStation Vita, a crossover game with the cast of Persona 3, and a dancing game spinoff. By the end of that time frame, however, only three of the eight members of the Investigation Team's English cast still had their original voice actors note , the rest had been replaced for one reason or another at least once in the intervening time.
- The Kiseki Series has, as of 2020, been running for 16 years and nine games (with a tenth coming out toward the end of the year), so far covering three major story arcs. As each arc takes place in a different region, the cast changes each time. As of game 9, the only people to show up in every game are two-bit characters who exist for comic relief and to give the occasional sidequest, and one secondary villain (who only appears in disguise in some of them, so you still don't knowingly encounter him). Out of the playable cast from the first game, the closest anyone gets to appearing in every game is Olivert, who is in eight of the nine, though he is dropped from the list of playable characters outside brief cameos after the third game.