I started a thread a while back about how remarkable it was that the six principal actors on Friends each appeared in every one of the show’s 236 episodes, and I solicited examples of other shows with similar full-cast longevity. People responded with examples like Cheers and Seinfeld, which didn’t quite fit what I was getting at. I blame myself for not explaining the concept clearly.
So I came up with a way to express it numerically, with something I call the Perfect Attendance Index. The way it works is, you take any TV show, list the actors who appeared in every episode of said show, then multiply the number of actors in the list by the number of episodes in the series.
*Friends: *6 actors
x 236 episodes = PAI 1416.
*Cheers: *4 actors
x 271 episodes = PAI 1084
*Seinfeld: *2 actors (Michael Richards and Julia Luis-Dreyfus did not appear in one episode each)
x 173 episodes = PAI 346
The long-running *Law & Order *gets a big ol’ zero, as does ER, since nobody was in every episode. Gunsmoke gets a 635 on the shoulders of James Arness alone.
I wasn’t sure if I could find any series that could beat Friends’ 1416, but I did!
*Hill Street Blues: *10 actors
Daniel J. Travanti
x 144 episodes = PAI 1440
Before anybody mentions The Simpsons, which has an impressive PAI of 3075 and counting, I’m not including it for 2 reasons: 1. It’s an animated show. Voice work is a whole different animal, and I’m only going for live-action on-camera appearances here. (My game, my rules!) 2. It’s still in production. A single missed episode by one or more of the principal cast could send that number plummeting. So let’s not count our chickens before they’re hatched.
Can anybody find a show that beats Hill Street Blues? Remember, actors have to have been in every episode to be listed.