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Party of Five is an Americanmarker Teen drama television series that aired on Fox for six seasons, from September 12, 1994 until May 3, 2000.

Critically acclaimed, the show suffered from low ratings and after its first season was slated for cancellation. In 1996 it was the surprise winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Drama, making it one of the lowest rated shows ever to win the award.

The show launched the careers of cast members Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt, who both starred in their own box office hit slasher films, Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, respectively, while also appearing on the series. The show was also the launching pad for the careers of Lacey Chabert, who later starred in the hit movie Mean Girls, and Matthew Fox, who would later go on to star in the ABC hit Lost.

In 1999, the show generated a spin-off, entitled Time of Your Life, which followed the character of Sarah (Hewitt) as she moved to New Yorkmarker. It ran for just one season.


The show centered on the five siblings of the Salinger family, who become orphans after their parents were hit and killed by a drunk driver. Charlie (Matthew Fox) is the eldest, a 24-year old who struggles with the responsibility of being the new head of the family; 16-year-old Bailey (Scott Wolf) is the rebellious teen turned substance abuser; 15-year old Julia (Neve Campbell) is a sensitive teen facing issues of her own; 11-year old Claudia (Lacey Chabert) is the precocious child prodigy, and Owen is the baby.

The siblings take over the running of their family's restaurant, with Charlie initially serving as manager and later with Bailey taking over. The struggles faced by the Salingers over the years included cancer, alcoholism, domestic violence, and the long term effects of parental loss.

As the series progressed, romantic relationships became plot points and new cast members joined the show, including Hewitt as Bailey's girlfriend Sarah, Jeremy London as Julia's husband Griffin and Paula Devicq as Owen's nanny who developed an on-again-off-again relationship with Charlie.



  • Scott Wolf played Bailey Salinger.
  • Matthew Fox played Charlie Salinger.
  • Neve Campbell played Julia Salinger.
  • Lacey Chabert played Claudia Salinger.
  • Paula Devicq played Kirsten Bennett Thomas Salinger (seasons 1-2, 5-6, recurring otherwise).
  • Scott Grimes played Will McCorkle (seasons 1-2, 6, recurring otherwise).
  • Michael Goorjian played Justin Thompson (season 2, recurring otherwise).
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt played Sarah Reeves Marin (seasons 2-6). After a few episodes in season 6, this character was written off the show to be the center of a spin-off drama called Time of Your Life on the Fox Network. The show was canceled during its first season.
  • Alexondra Lee played Callie Martel (season 3).
  • Jeremy London played Griffin Chase Holbrook (seasons 4-6, recurring seasons 2-3). This character was played by James Marsden only in episode 22 (The Ides of March).
  • Jennifer Aspen played Daphne Jablonsky (season 6, recurring otherwise).
  • The role of the youngest, Owen Salinger, was recast three times as the character grew. He was played by Alexander and Zachary Ahnert in the pilot episode, Brandon and Taylor Porter as an infant, Andrew and Stephen Cavarno as a preschooler, and Jacob Smith until the end of the show. Although he is the fifth family member referred to in the show's title, none of the actors portraying the character were ever in the opening credits. The Owen character was aged faster than real time, in a television process known as "SORAS-ing", when he was rapidly aged from infant to preschooler.


the following lists all actors who appeared in 5 or more episodes during the run of the show
  • Tom Mason played Joe Mangus (25 episodes, seasons 1-6).
  • Mitchell Anderson played Ross Werkman (22 episodes, seasons 1-6).
  • Cari Shayne played Nina DiMayo (9 episodes, seasons 1-2).
  • Jennifer Blanc played Kate Bishop (8 episodes, season 1).
  • Michael Shulman played Artie Baum (7 episodes, season 1).
  • David Burke played Bill (6 episodes, season 1).
  • Megan Ward played Jill Holbrook (9 episodes, season 1).
  • Wendle Josepher played Lori/Mercy (6 episodes, seasons 1,3-4).
  • Kathleen Noone played Ellie Bennett (6 episodes, seasons 2-3, 6).
  • Marla Sokoloff played Jody Lynch (7 episodes, seasons 2-3).
  • Alyson Reed played Mrs. Reeves (9 episodes, seasons 2-5).
  • Carroll O'Connor played the grandpa, Jacob (Jake) Gordon (6 episodes, seasons 2-3).
  • Brenda Strong played Kathleen Isley (6 episodes, season 2)
  • Tamara Taylor played Grace Wilcox (16 episodes, season 3).
  • Ben Browder played Sam Brody (10 episodes, season 3).
  • Dan Lauria played Coach Russ Petrocelli (6 episodes, season 3).
  • Jackie Mari Roberts played Marcia (5 episodes, season 3).
  • Andrew Keegan played Reed Isley (8 episodes, season 4).
  • Paige Turco played Annie Mott (18 episodes, season 4).
  • Allison Bertolino played Natalie Mott (15 episodes, season 4).
  • Jessica Lundy played Nina Rondstadt (5 episodes, season 4).
  • Tim DeKay played Dr. Paul Thomas (12 episodes, seasons 4-5).
  • Brenda Wehle played Dr. Stephanie Rabin (8 episodes, seasons 4-5).
  • Ever Carradine played Rosalie (7 episodes, season 4).
  • Ross Malinger played Jamie Burke (8 episodes, seasons 4-5).
  • Scott Bairstow played Ned Grayson (20 episodes, seasons 5-6).
  • Heather McComb played Maggie (11 episodes, season 5).
  • Adam Scott played Josh Macon (7 episodes, season 5).
  • Christopher Gorham as Elliot
  • Joanna Garcia played Hallie (5 episodes, season 5).
  • Lynsey Bartilson played Parker Brookes (5 episodes, season 5).
  • Chad Todhunter played Cody (10 episodes, seasons 5-6).
  • Kyle Secor played Evan Stilman (8 episodes, season 6).
  • Maggie Lawson played Alexa (7 episodes, season 6).
  • Andrew Levitas played Cameron Welcott (6 episodes, season 6).
  • Wilson Cruz played Victor (11 episodes, season 6).
  • Lauren Ambrose played Myra Wringler (5 episodes, season 6).
  • Rhona Mitra played Holly Marie Beggins (12 episodes, season 6).
  • Charles Esten played Luke (7 episodes, season 6).
  • Sean Maher played Adam Matthews (7 episodes, season 6).
  • Thomas Ian Nicholas played Todd Marsh (9 episodes, season 6).

Theme song

"Closer To Free" was performed by The BoDeans

Early in the series "Climb on (A Back That's Strong)" by Shawn Colvin from her album Fat City was also used. Due to music licensing issues it was not included on the Season 1 DVD.


The show was created by the team of Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman, and produced by Columbia Pictures Television and High Productions. It was distributed by Columbia TriStar Domestic Television and the Fox Network, while reruns of the show are distributed by Sony Pictures Television. In March 2009, Sony began streaming the third season of the show on Crackle. Each weekday @ 8:45am, Party of Five is shown on Irish TV Channel 3e

Reception and Ratings

The show debuted with strong critical reception, being praised for its realism, sharp writing, and a strong and likable cast . The show continued to receive positive reviews throughout its run, often being compared in terms of quality to shows such as "ER". However, the show suffered from poor ratings and was slated to be canceled after its first season. Due to an outcry from its small but loyal fanbase, the show was brought back for a second season. In 1996, it received the Golden Globe Award for Best Drama during its second season. After the win, the shows ratings significantly improved until its fifth season, when ratings yet again fell into a slump. The ratings continued in a nose dive during its sixth and final season. The series finale, however, delivered strong ratings.

DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the first 3 seasons of Party of Five on DVD in Region 1 and 2. Season 3 was released in Region 1 on March 25, 2008, more than two years after the release of season 2. [51375]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete 1st Season 22 May 4, 2004
The Complete 2nd Season 22 December 20, 2005
The Complete 3rd Season 25 March 25, 2008

Due to licensing issues, the majority of the music from the original broadcasts have been replaced on the dvds. The new music was handpicked by the original music supervisors from the show.

DVD petition

Rumors began in 2008 that the DVD releases of seasons 4-6 have been held up due to poor sales for seasons 1-3. Since then, fans have started an online petition to have the rest of the seasons released on DVD. The petition is available for anybody to sign here:

See also


  • John J. O'Connor. "Trying to Make a House a Home." The New York Times. October 17, 1994. C16.
  • Brenda Scott Royce. Party of Five: The Unofficial Companion. Los Angeles: Renaissance Books, 1998.

External links

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