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Long-Runner Cast Turnover

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Hey, it should all be fine as long as they keep the big guy.
Hail to the 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 Typecast, or don't want to deal with the coworkers of that series anymore. But creators and executives don't want to let their Cash-Cow Franchise or treasured premise go so easily. Therefore, simply bring up new blood and keep going. Sometimes you could argue that a show achieved Long Runner status because it was willing to adapt instead of rolling over and dying when somebody quits.

But the point is, sometimes you get shows where the main cast later on is completely different from the original. That is the basis of this trope. 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.

Aversions of this Trope in music are covered under Long-Runner Line-up. In-universe (or in Real Life), it's High Turnover Rate.

See Revolving Door Casting for shows that have a high turnover rate without running for a very long time. The Revolving Door Band is the music equivalent of this trope.


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    Animation in General 
  • 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 characters from Pokémon: The Series themselves qualify: Outside of Ash, Pikachu, and Team Rocket, only Brock has been a co-star in multiple series and that ended with the end of the "Diamond and Pearl" series; he was relegated to The Cameo and/or Gaiden episodes afterwards. 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. "Sun & Moon" represented a marked increase in Delia's involvement in the series, though she had only a few more appearances in that series than Brock & Misty and her involvement in "Journeys" was more muted.
  • 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 (at least to an extent, as April was still on the show, but Demoted to Extra). In the tenth season, April came back to replace Carter while Hi-Tech was replaced with Mung. By the end, only the four Turtles, Splinter and April have stuck around for all 10 seasons. Shredder and Krang briefly returned for Season 10, but were absent from Season 9.
  • 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.
  • Looney Tunes: By 1964, many of the mainstays like Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam and Pepe Le Pew were dropped. By 1966, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Granny were gone too, and would be joined by Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner before 1967. At this point, only Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales remained, making their final appearance in 1968, roughly one year before the end of the Golden Age series. In their place were characters like Cool Cat, Colonel Rimfire, Merlin the Magic Mouse and Second Banana.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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-five 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.

    Live-Action TV 

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. (for what's worth, the longest tenured cast members are Kenan Thompson, since 2003, and Darrell Hammond, who along with 14 years on the show has been the announcer since 2014 - replacing Don Pardo, who lasted an incredible 38 non-consecutive years until he died)

Specific Series

  • Out of the original American Idol line-up, only Ryan Seacrest has appeared in every season.
  • Barney & Friends: None of the child actors lasted the whole run of the series.
  • 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.
  • Boy Meets World started out with eight regulars: lead Cory, his family (father Alan, mother Amy, brother Eric, sister Morgan), his teacher Mr. Feeny, best friend Shawn, and classmate Minkus. While the latter was the only one to be outright dropped (at the beginning of season 2), the show greatly reduced the roles of Cory's family (except for Eric) in later seasons. Meanwhile, new cast members were added over the course of the series (Cory's girlfriend Topanga, Shawn's girlfriend Angela, Shawn's half-brother Jack, Eric and Jack's roommate Rachel), while two more teacher characters (Mr. Turner and Mr. Williams) were introduced at some point and left again, for a total of fourteen different main characters in seven seasons.
  • Bunk'd started out as Spin-Off of Jessie, with three characters from that show attending summer camp with several new characters. After the second season, most of these were replaced, and after the third season, all of the original Jessie cast members left. Season six saw the show change location to a dude ranch, including another cast shake-up. The only character present for all seven seasons was Lou, who went from head counselor to co-owner.
  • As of the 13th series of Call the Midwife, only six characters remain from the large main cast that debuted in 2012 — Sister Julienne, Sister Monica Joan, Trixie Franklin, Patrick Turner, Shelagh Turner (previously Sister Bernadette), and Fred Buckle. And of these six, only one — Shelagh Turner, played by Laura Main — has appeared in every episode of the series.
  • 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 14 seasons. Hagman was the only actor to appear in all 357 episodes. Kercheval was not added to the opening credits until season 3. Taking the infamous shower scene into account, Patrick Duffy (Bobby) was the only other actor to appear in every season.
  • While the professional partners on the American edition of Dancing with the Stars will come and go as they see fit and there's a sizeable stable to choose from, it's noticeable that as of Season 31 only 3 of the sixteen pros have been on the show since before its twelfth season.
  • Death in Paradise: After thirteen seasons, the Mystery of the Week show has had four lead detectives, the lower-ranking police officers have been completely replaced, and the only two characters who've been there from the start are bar owner Catherine and Police Commissioner Selwyn Patterson. However, original cast member Danny John-Jules (who plays Officer Dwayne Meyers) has subsequently returned as a series regular as of Series 13, having previously left at the end of Series 7.
  • 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.
  • Diff'rent Strokes had original cast members Mrs. Garrett (midway through season two, to star in her own spin-off and Kimberly (after season six) leave, while lead character Phillip gained a new housekeeper, a new wife, and a stepson in later seasons.
  • 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.
      • Mandip Gill is notable as being the only companion to last the exact same amount of time as her Doctor, Jodie Whittakernote  — they both stayed on the show for three seasons plus three specials over five years, 2018-2022.
    • 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 gone 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).
  • Of the original eight Winslow family members on Family Matters, only four (Carl, Harriet — albeit with an actress switch in the last season — Eddie, Laura) were regulars in all nine seasons. Judy disappeared, Rachel and Estelle moved out, Richie was barely around by the end. Meanwhile, first-season guest star Steve Urkel took over the show, and new cast members added (and, except for the last one, eventually dropped again) over the course of the series were Eddie's friend Waldo, Steve's girlfriend Myra, and new foster kid 3J.
  • 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 debuted in 2005 with 9 names on the starring cast. Of those, only two remain as of 2023 — and neither of them is the eponymous Meredith Grey. In the meanwhile, an additional 30 characters have been added to the opening credits, of which 13 currently remain. (And that's not counting Fake Guest Stars like Payton Silver, who's been here since Season 5; Debbie Allan, who joined in Season 8 but is now so deeply enmeshed in the show that she routinely directs a number of episodes every season; and Cathy C. An, an actual practicing nurse who has appeared in every season as an extra, though she's only had lines in a few episodes.)
  • 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.
  • 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 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' 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.
  • Legends of Tomorrow lasted 7 seasons and of the 10 original cast members, only two (Caity Lotz & Amy Louise Pemberton) remained by the final season (Amy had only done voice work until the last season where her character got a body). The third longest tenure being Nick Zano (s2-s7).
    • Season 1 - Stein, Ray, Rip, Sara, Jax, Kendra (departs in finale), Carter (dies in second episode), Gideon (voice only), Mick, Snart (dies in penultimate episode)
    • Season 2 - Stein, Ray, Rip, Sara, Jax, Gideon (voice only), Mick, Amaya, Nate, Thawne (captured by Black Flash)
    • Season 3 - Stein (dies in the crossover), Ray, Sara, Jax (goes home), Amaya (goes home), Gideon (voice only), Flannel!Zari, Wally (leaves in between seasons), Nate, Mick
      • Rip dies this season and Nora, Gary, & Ava are introduced plus Constantine starts showing up
    • Season 4 - Ray, Sara, Charlie (same actress as Amaya), Flannel!Zari (erased from existence), Ava, Nora, Gideon (voice only), Mona, Nate, Mick, Constantine
    • Season 5 - Sara, Ray (leaves with Nora), Charlie (goes to do Fate stuff), Flannel!Zari, Fancy!Zari, Ava, Nora (leaves with Ray), Astra, Gideon (voice only), Nate, Mick, Constantine, the Monitor (crossover stuff)
      • Mona leaves, Behrad is introduced
    • Season 6 - Sara, Flannel!Zari, Fancy!Zari, Ava, Astra, Gary, Behrad, Spooner, Gideon (voice only), Nate, Mick (leaves to be a dad), Constantine (turns into a mushroom, then gets resurrected, then leaves)
    • Season 7 - Sara, Flannel!Zari (leaves with Nate), Fancy!Zari, Ava, Astra, Gary, Behrad, Spooner, Gideon (becomes human), Nate (leaves with Flannel!Zari), Gwyn (same actor as Constantine)
  • Malhação: a Brazilian series that premiered in 1995... and it took the COVID-19 Pandemic to kill the show in 2020, a total of 25 years and 27 seasons! Until 2010, despite the changes in locations and the tradition of each season having a different protagonist couple, the series still tried to maintain a considerable amount of supporting characters each season. After that year, the producers finally decided to turn the series into an anthology with locations and different characters each season. Therefore, there is not a single character from the first seasons currently in the series. That being said, the two longest tenured actors were André Marques (first 5 years, plus a few chapters in 2012) and Sérgio Hondjakoff (2000-06), with the latter joking that both only remained that long because the writers made them unlucky in love as part of being the "cool loser".
  • 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, Nimoy and Elliot were 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 20, only one of the original six cast members of NCIS is still on the show, and he would be more accurately described being a recurring guest star who appears in the opening credits whether he appears in that episode or not due to inertia. The original cast was Mark Harmon (Gibbs), Michael Weatherly (DiNozzo), Sasha Alexander (Kate Todd), David McCallum (Ducky), Pauley Perrette (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 until he was killed off), 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), and Perrette and Henry left at the end of that season, with Perrette being replaced by Diona Reasonover (Kasie Hines). Bello and Wickersham left at different points in season 18, with Wikersham being replaced by Katrina Law (Jessica Knight). Harmon left in season 19, replaced by Gary Cole (Alden Parker). 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 - and was the only cast member from episode 1 to appear live rather than in stock footage in pan-franchise episode 1,000 - but a lot of other characters have disappeared or been killed off over the years). Ducky, the last member of the original cast, spent much of season 15 and at least part of season 16 on sabbatical teaching and writing his memoirs, followed by retiring from his original position to take a part-time job that didn't require him to appear in every episode, though David McCallum remained a credited cast member until his death in September 2023 before the start of season 21, with his character officially dying at the start of the second episode. Law also left the show in season 21, in the finale.
  • 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 bailiffnote  (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.
  • Para Pencari Tuhan: After 10+ seasons, the only stable cast is Jack, Jalal, Udin, Asrul, and Jalal's wife. The original lead trio stops appearing after season 10 and many characters doesn't come back after the hiatus after season 11. Then, many of the load of the new characters introduced in season 12 onwards only last one season or is gone after season 14.
  • 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 Kid-Appeal Character newly 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 1972-85, 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.
  • Raven's Home was retooled after season four and replaced most of its main cast except for Raven and Booker.
  • Sesame Street: The series first aired in 1969, and the longest-running human cast member is Alan Muraoka (Alan), who joined in 1998. Puppeteer Steve Whitmire joined the cast in 1990, following the death of Jim Henson.
  • 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 (2010) 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, though Sajak has announced he will retire at the end of the show's 2023–24 season. 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).

  • 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.
  • Space-rock band Hawkwind was founded in 1969, with more than 50 band members over the years; the only constant presence has been founder Dave Brock.
  • Heavy metal band In Flames has been continuously producing music since its founding in 1990. The last original member, guitarist/keyboardist Jesper Strömblad, left the band in 2010.
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd was founded in 1964, when the band members were still in high school. The last surviving founder, Gary Rossington, died in 2023.
  • None of the original members of The Oak Ridge Boys are alive anymore, as the band formed almost 80 years ago.
  • Same goes for The Pointer Sisters, which formed in 1969. Of the founding sisters, June left in 1977, returned a year later, left for good in 2002, and died in 2006; Bonnie left in 1977 and only returned for one show in 2009 before passing away in 2020; and Anita left in 2015 and passed away in 2022. While the group hasn't recorded since the early 1990s, it carries on as a touring act with Ruth, another sister who joined in time for its commercial heyday in the 70s and 80s, plus two of her descendants (daughter and granddaughter).
  • The Spinners were formed in 1954 as the Domingoes. As of 2023, baritone Henry Fambrough is the only founder still in the group.

  • 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) turn over 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 LeBron's new team, the Lakers), a 40-year-old Udonis Haslem managed to be the only player present for all of Miami's first six Finals, although he rode the bench for the entire 2020 series.
    • Most of the roster turned over between 2020 and the Heat's next Finals appearance in 2023. Only five players were present for both—Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro (who was injured and didn't play in the Finals), Duncan Robinson, and Haslem, This time, Haslem did get to play in one Finals game in what was his last season.
  • Tim Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich were the only ones present for all five San Antonio Spurs titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014).
  • Six players managed to appear in five Olympic Games:
    • Three unlucky men who never got a medal, namely Teófilo Cruz of Puerto Rico, Andrew Gaze of Australia, and Oscar Schmidt of Brazil (who also holds the records for most points ever and longest basketball career).
    • Three American women who won medals in all their appearances, namely Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi (five golds each) and Teresa Edwards (four golds and a bronze).

Association football

  • While many footballers managed to appear in at least four editions of The World Cup, a few are standout cases.
    • Mário 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 runs — 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).
    • Matthäus is also one of six (male) players who played in five World Cups, alongside Argentinian Lionel Messi, Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo (who is also the only player to score goals in five editions), and Mexicans Antonio Carbajal, Andrés Guardado, and Rafael Márquez. Another two were drafted five times but went unused in at least one, Gianluigi Buffon of Italy (missed his first), and Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico (missed two).
    • 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).
    • Argentina lost the 2014 final and won in 2022, with only Lionel Messi and Ángel Di Maria being in both teams.
    • 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 1999—Michelle 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) Pearce, 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 returned for a seventh World Cup in 2019, and in 2021 managed to be the only woman present in all of the first seven women's soccer Olympic Games tournaments. Formiga would finally retire from play later in 2021.
    • The 2023 World Cup was the sixth for three players—Brazilian icon Marta; Canada's Christine Sinclair, the all-time leader in international goals for men or women; and Nigeria's Onome Ebi.
  • 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 coincidentally lost to Brazil in both tournaments) and Alfred Bickel of Switzerland.

Ice hockey

  • 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-André Fleury — who afterwards would be picked in the expansion draft, and would make the Stanley Cup Final in the Vegas Golden Knights' very first season, losing there).
  • The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim lost the Stanley Cup in 2003 and won as Anaheim Ducks in 2007. Only Jean-Sébastien Giguère, 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 Chára, alternate captains Patrice Bergeron and David Krejčí, 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, whose 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.
  • Only six of the Vegas Golden Knights who had played in the team's first season in 2017–18, in which they lost in the Stanley Cup Final, were present to lift the Cup in 2023—William Carrier, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Brayden McNabb, Reilly Smith, and Shea Theodore.
  • On an international level, Teemu Selänne played in 6 Winter Olympics from 1992 to 2014 (equaling compatriot Raimo Helminen, who played his last 3 tournaments as Selänne's teammate), winning one silver and four bronzes for Finland. Among the seven players who went to 5 Olympics, only four won medals, two Finns (Jere Lehtinen — 1994–2010 — and Kimmo Timonen — 1998-2014, each winning one silver and three bronzes), one Swede (Daniel Alfredsson - 1998-2014, winning gold in 2006 and silver in 2014) and the great Czech Jaromír Jágr, who not only won a gold in 1998 (and bronze in 2006) 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) with Joe Torre as manager, 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.

American football

  • 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  In general, the dynasty, owing to its longevity, can be split into a number of groups:
    • Super Bowl XXXI veterans and Pete Carroll era additions: These guys were drafted by Bill Parcells in 1993-1996, helped turn the franchise respectable, and played in one Super Bowl together. Many were defensemen coached by assistant HC and DB coach Bill Belichick, and were among his strongest supporters when he returned to the team in 2000. Consists of: Tedy Bruschi, Adam Vinatieri, Willie McGinest, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Ted Johnson, Drew Bledsoe, Troy Brown, and Kevin Faulk. These guys mostly left by 2006, either being cut, leaving in free agency, or retiring. Faulk and Light hung around long enough to be on the 2011 team that reached the Super Bowl.
    • 2001-2004 Championship Run: All of the aforementioned players above were there for Super Bowl XXXVI, but Bledsoe and Milloy were in Buffalo by 2003. The big addition here was Tom Brady, drafted in 2000. Joining him were a group of free agents that wanted to win a championship under Belichick's leadership, or were 2000/2001 draft picks. Others were additions in 2002 and 2003. These guys were: Joe Andruzzi, Matt Light, Roman Phifer, Larry Izzo, Mike Vrabel, Daniel Graham, Ben Watson, Richard Seymour, Patrick Pass, Rodney Harrison, Corey Dillon, Christian Fauria, Deion Branch, Vince Wilfork, Asante Samuel, Dan Koppen, Tully Banta-Cain, and Tom Brady. Because of Brady's long career, this group was represented throughout the length of the dynasty, but they mostly left or were traded in 2006-2008.
    • The Ring-less Teams: The unfortunate players to have extended tenures as Dynasty-era Patriots, but never win a Super Bowl. The famed 16–0 team is part of this group. Explosive offenses, but an aging defense that would go through an extended rebuild throughout the period. Two of Tom Brady's three League MVP seasons were from these years. Consists of: Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, Sammy Morris, Laurency Maroney, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Meriweather, and Logan Mankins. The two exceptions in this group are Stephen Gostkowski, whose venerable 14-year tenure eventually included three championships, and Matthew Slater, drafted in 2008 and the longest-tenured Patriot after Tom Brady's departure. For the most part, this group emerged in 2007 and was gone by 2013, barring a few holdouts. On the coaching side, these were the only rosters to mostly not be coached on offense by Josh McDaniels.
    • The 2014-2018 Championship Run: The teams of the 2010s which went to the AFC championship game or the Super Bowl every season from 2011-2018. Consists of: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Devin McCourty, Darrelle Revis, Stevan Ridley, Malcolm Butler, Dont'a Hightower, Sebastian Vollmer, James Develin, Chandler Jones, Nate Solder, Chris Hogan, Stephon Gilmore, Kyle Van Noy, Patrick Chung, James White, LeGarrette Blount, Sony Michel, David Andrews, and Joe Thuney. These guys were picked up or drafted piecemeal throughout the decade, starting in 2009 with Edelman. All the luminaries in this group played in at least one Super Bowl, unless they were a one-year acquisition.
    • No individual has served on all eleven Patriots teams to reach the Super Bowl, but some have come close. Bill Belichick was on ten of them: XXXI as an assistant HC and the next nine as HC. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia was on the coaching staff of the 1985 team, the only individual to be on the staff of that team and the 2018 team and would have served on all eleven teams if he did not take a 10-Minute Retirement that included the 2014 season. Aside from Tom Brady, who was on all nine Super Bowl teams under Belichick, no player has been to more than six (Gostkowski) as a Patriot. Several have played on five Patriots teams that reached the Super Bowl (Faulk, Light, Edelman, Gronkowski, Slater, Chung), but of that group, only Chung and Light have played in all five. Many more played in four games — the XXXI veterans who played for New England's first three rings, the three-time champions who lost in XLII, the guys who were there for four of the five Super Bowls that New England reached in the 2010s, and Deion Branch, who missed XLII, but reached XLVI in his second stint as a Pat.

Rugby union

  • Three nations have won more than one (men's) Rugby World Cup*—Australia (1991, 1999), South Africa (1995, 2007, 2019, 2023), 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 1999—Dan 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). The youngest player on the 2007 team, François Steyn, was the only one present for the 2019 RWC (playing the entire 2007 final and coming on as a late sub in the 2019 final). Three of Steyn's 2019 teammates had yet to be born when the Springboks won the 1995 RWCnote . Four others were older than Steyn, but had yet to debut with the Boks in 2007.
      • However, the trope doesn't apply between 2019 and 2023. Including injury replacements, 23 players were present in both championship squads.
    • 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).

US college sports

  • This trope has been omnipresent throughout the history of NCAA sports (not to mention other governing bodies), with conferences experiencing greater or lesser degrees of membership turnover throughout their history. This churn has reached a peak in the 21st century, which has seen three major realignments involving multiple Division I conferences—the first in the mid-2000s, the second in the first half of the 2010s, and the third going on as we speak at the start of 2024.
    • Power Five Conferencesnote 
      • Atlantic Coast Conference: Five of its original seven members from May 1953 are still present: Clemson, Duke, NC State, North Carolina, and Wake Forest. Virginia, also still present, joined that December. However, the conference now has 15 members, with the majority having joined in the 21st century, and three more schools will join in 2024. As for the charter members, South Carolina left in 1971 and Maryland in 2014.
      • Big Ten Conference: Of its seven charter members from 1896, six are still present. Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin have been ever-present; Michigan left in 1907 but came back for good in 1917. Indiana and Iowa joined in 1899 and Ohio State in 1912, leading to a period of stability that lasted from Michigan's return to the departure of charter member Chicago in 1946. Michigan State's arrival in 1950 led to another long period of stability that ended with Penn State's arrival in 1990. The new lineup remained intact until Nebraska joined in 2011, followed by Maryland and Rutgers in 2014. This period of stability will end in 2024 with the arrival of Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington.
      • Big 12 Conference: Its original lineup in 1996 stayed intact until 2011, when Colorado and Nebraska respectively skedaddled for the Pac-10/12 and Big Ten. The next year saw Missouri and Texas A&M leave for the Southeastern Conference, being replaced by TCU and West Virginia. Oklahoma and Texas have announced their departure for the SEC in 2024, while the Big 12 added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF in 2023. Colorado will return in 2024, with Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah tagging along.
      • Pac-12 Conference: The conference's current charter dates only to 1959, but it claims the history of the Pacific Coast Conference, founded in 1915, as its own. Of the current members, only Cal and Washington were ever-present in the conference before its 2024 collapse, although three later PCC arrivals Stanford, USC, and UCLA stayed until the collapse. Two other PCC members, Idaho (1922–1959) and Montana (1928–1950), were not invited to join the Athletic Association of Western Universities (later the Pac-8, Pac-10, and Pac-12). Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington State were also not invited to join the AAWU at its formation, but all three joined by 1964. Arizona and Arizona State joined the Pac-8 in 1978, leading it to become the Pac-10, and the 2011 arrival of Colorado and Utah led to the current name of Pac-12. That, of course, was before UCLA and USC announced in 2022 they were off to the Big Ten in 2024. The following year, just when everyone thought things were slowing down, Colorado announced it would return to the Big 12 in 2024, followed within days by five other schools announcing they would also leave the sinking ship of the Pac-12 in 2024. Oregon and Washington will move to the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah will join the Big 12. A few weeks later, the Pac died for all practical purposes when California and Stanford announced they would join the ACC in 2024, leaving Oregon State and Washington State as the only members.
      • Southeastern Conference: Founded in 1932 with 13 members, with 10 still in the league today. Sewanee left in 1940, Georgia Tech in 1964, and Tulane in 1966. Arkansas and South Carolina joined in 1991, with Missouri and Texas A&M following in 2012. As noted earlier, Oklahoma and Texas will join in 2024.
    • Group of 5 Conferencesnote 
      • American Athletic Conference: Operating under the 1979 charter of the original Big East Conference,note  The American started its life under that name in 2013 with 10 members. Two of them, Louisville and Rutgers, left after a single season to respectively join the ACC and Big Ten. Also in 2014, East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa joined, with Navy joining for football only in 2015 and Wichita State joining as a full but non-football member in 2017. UConn left in 2020 to rejoin many of its former Big East rivals in the non-football Big East 2.0, parking its football team as an FBS independent. After the Big 12 poached Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF in 2021 (effective in 2023), The American responded by raiding Conference USA, with Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA joining from that league in 2023. Two months to the day after those six schools joined, the conference lost one of its "original" 2013 members when SMU announced it would join the ACC in 2024. However, The American ultimately will keep the same number of football members with Army's intention to join the conference as a football-only member in 2024.
      • Conference USA: Formed by a 1995 merger between two non-football leagues, the Great Midwest and Metro Conferences, it started out with 11 members, with the football league launching the next year with six. It was first raided by the Big East in 2005, losing five members to the Big East (three football, two non-football) and two non-football members to the Atlantic 10 Conference. At that time, it added six members, all with football. The early-2010s realignment saw a major raid by The American, with seven schools leaving in 2013 and 2014. CUSA responded by adding seven new members in that time frame, mostly from the Sun Belt Conference. By that time, the only remaining charter members were Southern Miss and UAB, with only Southern Miss having played in CUSA's first football season. Then in 2021, CUSA was the target of massive raids from The American and the Sun Belt, losing nine of its 14 members (including the aforementioned USM and UAB) to those leagues, with some moves taking place in 2022 and others in 2023. CUSA survived by picking up four new members in 2023, FBS independents Liberty* and New Mexico State* and FCS upgraders Jacksonville State and Sam Houston. Three more FCS upgraders will join in the near future—Kennesaw State in 2024, and Delaware and Missouri State in 2025.
      • Mid-American Conference: Founded in 1946 with five members, by 1955 it was left with only one charter member—Ohio, which remains in the league to this day. However, it's been considerably more stable than most other FBS leagues, especially in this century. The next five schools to join, all between 1947 and 1952,note  are still present. After the next-to-last charter member, Western Reserve*, left in 1955, only two schools have left the MAC after joining, and one of these returned to stay. Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan joined in 1971, Ball State in 1973, Akron in 1992, and Buffalo in 1998; Northern Illinois joined in 1975, left in 1986, and returned in 1997. The only core MAC member to have permanently left since 1955 is Marshall, which joined in 1954, was kicked out in 1969, returned in 1997, and voluntarily left in 2005. The MAC's next change to its core membership will be the arrival of UMass in 2025. (UMass and two other schools were football-only members for a few years in the 21st century.)
      • Mountain West Conference: Founded in 1999 by a group of eight schoolsnote  that said "Screw This, I'm Outta Here" to the Western Athletic Conference. The original eight added TCU in 2005. During the early-2010s realignment, the MW lost BYU and Utah in 2011 and TCU in 2012, while adding Boise State in 2011, Fresno State and Nevada for all sports and Hawaii for football only in 2012, and San Jose State and Utah State in 2013. Its core membership hasn't changed since then, and it fended off an attempted raid from The American in 2021 with no losses.
      • Sun Belt Conference: Started as a non-football league in 1976 with six members, with two more joining in 1979. Of those schools, the only ones remaining in the league today are Georgia State and South Alabama—and Georgia State had left in 1981 before returning in 2013. After several years of lesser churn, all but three of the members left for other conferences in 1991, and the Sun Belt merged with the American South Conference, with Arkansas–Little Rock (now athletically known as Little Rock) also joining. Although the ASC was the larger league, the merged league kept the Sun Belt name. Of the 1991 entries, only Arkansas State and Louisiana remain, though Little Rock did stay around until 2022. Five more schools joined between 1998 and 2000, and the SBC started a football league in 2001 with five full members and two football-only members. The only arrival in that time frame remaining in the SBC is Louisiana–Monroe (aka ULM), which became a full member in 2005. The SBC added two new members in the mid-2000s realignment, four more in the early-2010s realignment (three all-sports, one non-football), Coastal Carolina in 2016 (football in 2017), and most recently FCS upgrader James Madison and three CUSA members in 2022.

  • 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.
  • Tsukipro, with 30+ stage plays in 5 series, has reached this level. 7 of the original 8 members of the SQS cast stayed together for 9 plays, if you count their guest appearance in Tsukino Empire: Unleash Your Mind, and Sho Higano (Shiki) only left before episode 8 because of a severe injury. Alivestage, on the other hand, has had a different Ryota in each of its 3 3-episode seasons. Arata, You, and Hina have also all had actors who left after three or fewer plays. As of the end of 2022, Haru, Arata, Iku, and Ryota have all been played by three different actors. On the other hand, Yuusaku Sato has played Rui in nineteen different plays over eight years. Like Tenimyu, lots of former cast members have gone on to become famous — the first Arata, Taiki Yamazaki, starred in a TV series and the original cast of a musical. The second Iku, Ryoki Miyama, became famous as a member of Be:First.

    Video Games 
  • 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, a Play Station Vita remake of said game, two fighting game sequels, 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 Trails Series has, as of 2021, been running for 16 years and ten games (with an eleventh on the way), so far covering three major story arcs. As each arc takes place in a different region, the cast changes each time, though major characters from one arc sometimes appear briefly in later arcs. As of game 10, the only people to show up in every game is a bit character who exists 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/Olivier, who is in nine of the ten (missing the fourth), though he is dropped from the list of playable characters outside brief cameos after the third game.

    Web Original 
  • The Gungan Council: The only consistent character for 12 years is having a fat Gungan spamming the forums.
  • The Wake: There's been so much turnover in the cast over three years that there are only a few characters left who remember pivotal characters and events from early in the game.