Party of Five

Party of Five

Created by Christopher Keyser
Amy Lippman
Starring Scott Wolf
Matthew Fox
Neve Campbell
Lacey Chabert
Scott Grimes
Paula Devicq
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Michael Goorjian
Alexondra Lee
Jeremy London
Jennifer Aspen
Opening theme "Closer to Free" by BoDeans
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 142 (list of episodes)
Running time 43–45 minutes
Production company(s) Keyser/Lippman Productions
Columbia Pictures Television (1994–98)
Columbia TriStar Television (1998–2000)
Distributor Columbia TriStar Television (1999–2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
Original network Fox
Original release September 12, 1994 (1994-09-12) – May 3, 2000 (2000-05-03)
Related shows Time of Your Life

Party of Five is an American television teen drama created by Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman that originally aired on Fox for six seasons from September 12, 1994 to May 3, 2000. The series featured an ensemble cast led by Scott Wolf as Bailey, Matthew Fox as Charlie, Neve Campbell as Julia and Lacey Chabert as Claudia Salinger, who with their baby brother Owen (played by several actors) constitute five siblings whom the series follows after the loss of their parents in a car accident. Notable co-stars included Scott Grimes, Paula Devicq, Jeremy London and Jennifer Love Hewitt. While categorized as a series aimed at teenagers and young adults, Party of Five explored several mature themes, including substance and domestic abuse, cancer and the long-term effects of parental loss.[1]

Despite receiving positive reviews from television critics after its debut, including TV Guide naming it "The Best Show You're Not Watching" in 1995,[2] the series suffered from low ratings during its first and second seasons, during which speculation arose that it would soon be cancelled. However, in 1996, Party of Five won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, after which ratings and popularity grew for the majority of the remainder of the series.[3] A spin-off starring Hewitt debuted on the network in 1999, Time of Your Life, which was cancelled after one season.


The show, set in San Francisco, centered on the five Salinger siblings (the "party of five" referenced in the show's title), who become orphans after their parents are killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. The family is composed of 24-year-old Charlie (Matthew Fox), the eldest, a womanizing, immature manual laborer who struggles with the responsibility of being the new head of the family; 16-year-old Bailey (Scott Wolf), the once-rebellious teen turned responsible caretaker—and later-turned-substance abuser; 15-year-old Julia (Neve Campbell), a sensitive teen; 11-year-old Claudia (Lacey Chabert), a precocious child prodigy; and baby Owen, who is barely one year old.

The siblings take over the running of their family's restaurant, Salinger's. Charlie initially serves as bartender and manager, and later Bailey takes over. The struggles the Salingers face over the years include Charlie's battle with cancer in Season 4, Bailey's battle with alcoholism in Season 3, Julia's dealing with domestic violence in a relationship in Season 5, and the long-term effects of parental loss.[1]

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

Cast and characters

Main cast

Supporting cast

The following lists all actors who appeared in five or more episodes during the run of the show.

  • Tom Mason as Joe Mangus (55 episodes, seasons 1–6); a good-natured, older man who grew up with the Salinger's father, Nick Salinger, in an orphanage and co-founded, co-owned and managed the family restaurant Salingers which he took over as full-time owner after Nick Salinger's death. Often acts as a father figure to the Salinger orphans.
  • Mitchell Anderson as Ross Werkman (22 episodes, seasons 1–6); a professional violinist and Claudia's personal violin tutor.
  • Cari Shayne as Nina DiMayo (nine episodes, seasons 1–2); Julia's rebellious and outgoing friend from high school.
  • Jennifer Blanc as Kate Bishop (eight episodes, season 1); Bailey's first girlfriend from high school.
  • Michael Shulman as Artie Baum (seven episodes, season 1); Claudia's friend from elementary school and a fellow child violinist.
  • David Burke as Bill (six episodes, season 1); Owen's part-time nanny.
  • Megan Ward as Jill Holbrook (nine episodes, season 1); Bailey's outgoing and troubled girlfriend. Younger sister of Griffin Holbrook. (Deceased)
  • Wendle Josepher as Lori/Mercy (six episodes, seasons 1, 3–4); a school friend of Julia's
  • Kathleen Noone as Ellie Bennett (six episodes, seasons 2–3, 6); Kirsten's mother.
  • Marla Sokoloff as Jody Lynch (seven episodes, seasons 2–3); Claudia's trouble-making friend.
  • Alyson Reed as Mrs. Reeves (nine episodes, seasons 2–5); Sarah's mother
  • Carroll O'Connor as Jacob (Jake) Gordon (six episodes, seasons 2–3); the Salinger's maternal grandfather (father of their deceased mother, Diana Gordon Salinger.)
  • Brenda Strong as Kathleen Isley (six episodes, season 2); a wealthy TV producer whom Charlie dates. When Charlie broke up with her after realizing that being with her made him feel like a "kept man" she maliciously retaliated by using her wealth to purchase and nearly succeeded in closing down the family restaurant.
  • Tamara Taylor as Grace Wilcox (16 episodes, season 3); a social worker who becomes Charlie's girlfriend.
  • Ben Browder as Sam Brody (10 episodes, season 3); a construction worker who becomes Julia's boyfriend.
  • Dan Lauria as Coach Russ Petrocelli (six episodes, season 3); Bailey's wrestling coach during his first year at college.
  • Jackie Mari Roberts as Marcia (five episodes, season 3)
  • Andrew Keegan as Reed Isley (eight episodes, season 4); a high school football player whom Claudia pursues.
  • Paige Turco as Annie Mott (18 episodes, season 4); a divorced single mother who becomes Bailey's girlfriend.
  • Allison Bertolino as Natalie Mott (15 episodes, season 4); Annie's young daughter.
  • Jessica Lundy as Nina Rondstadt (five episodes, season 4); a zoologist who becomes Charlie's girlfriend.
  • Tim DeKay as Dr. Paul Thomas (12 episodes, seasons 4–5); Kirsten's husband
  • Brenda Wehle as Dr. Stephanie Rabin (eight episodes, seasons 4–5); Charlie's oncologist during his cancer treatments.
  • Ever Carradine as Rosalie (seven episodes, season 4); a garage co-worker with whom Griffin cheats on Julia.
  • Ross Malinger as Jamie Burke (eight episodes, seasons 4–5); a musician friend of Claudia's.
  • Scott Bairstow as Ned Grayson (20 episodes, seasons 5–6); Julia's boyfriend during her first year at Stanford who later abuses her.
  • Heather McComb as Maggie (11 episodes, season 5); Julia's college roommate.
  • Adam Scott as Josh Macon (seven episodes, season 5); one of Julia's friends at college.
  • Joanna Garcia as Hallie (five episodes, season 5); a schoolmate of Claudia's at her New England boarding school.
  • Lynsey Bartilson as Parker Brookes (five episodes, season 5)
  • Chad Todhunter as Cody (10 episodes, seasons 5–6); Claudia's boyfriend at high school
  • Kyle Secor as Evan Stilman (eight episodes, season 6); Julia's writing editor whom she becomes involved with.
  • Maggie Lawson as Alexa (seven episodes, season 6); a cheerleader friend of Claudia's.
  • Andrew Levitas as Cameron Welcott (six episodes, season 6); Alexa's football player boyfriend who becomes involved with Claudia.
  • Wilson Cruz as Victor (11 episodes, season 6); Daphne's daughter's nanny.
  • Lauren Ambrose as Myra Wringler (five episodes, season 6); a troubled high school student who clashes with Charlie.
  • Rhona Mitra as Holly Marie Begins (12 episodes, season 6); an English pre-med student who becomes Bailey's girlfriend.
  • Charles Esten as Luke (seven episodes, season 6); Daphne's boyfriend.
  • Sean Maher as Adam Matthews (seven episodes, season 6)
  • Thomas Ian Nicholas as Todd Marsh (nine episodes, season 6); one of Claudia's boyfriends.


The show was created by the team of Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman and produced by Columbia Pictures Television (CPT) and High Productions. CPT would later be folded into Columbia TriStar Domestic Television, which soon afterward became Sony Pictures Television. In March 2009, Sony began streaming the third season of the show on Crackle.

Nielsen ratings

Season Episodes Timeslot (ET) Season Premiere Season Finale Rank Rating
(in millions)
1 22

Monday 9:00

Wednesday 9:00

September 12, 1994 March 15, 1995 #125[4] 6.2[4] N/A
2 22

Wednesday 9:00

September 27, 1995 March 27, 1996 #96[5] 7.1[5] N/A
3 25

Wednesday 9:00

August 21, 1996 April 2, 1997 #82[6] 7.4[6] N/A
4 24

Wednesday 9:00

September 17, 1997 May 13, 1998 #56[7] N/A 11.5[7]
5 25 Wednesday 9:00 September 16, 1998 May 19, 1999 #70[8] N/A 10.1[8]
6 24 Tuesday 9:00 October 5, 1999 May 3, 2000 #113[9] 6.6[9] 6.135[10]

Home releases

On April 27, 1999, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the season 2 episode "The Wedding", the season 3 episode "Intervention", and the season 4 episode "Richer, Poorer, Sickness, and Health" on VHS.[11][12][13]

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released all six seasons of Party of Five on DVD in Region 1 between 2004 and 2013.[14][15][16][17][18][19] Seasons 4 to 6 are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through and and only in the US. In Region 2, Sony has released the first two seasons on DVD.

In August 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Party of Five.[20] They subsequently re-released season 1 on DVD on June 24, 2014 followed by season 2 on January 6, 2015.[21][22] On January 5, 2016, Mill Creek released a complete series set featuring all six seasons of the series, available together for the first time.[23]

In January 2016, it was announced that Hulu had acquired the rights to every episode of the series.[24]

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 DVD Special Features
The Complete 1st Season 22 May 4, 2004
June 24, 2014 (re-release)
N/A May 5, 2006 Audio Commentary On Selected Episodes.

The Making of The Series.

9 Behind The Scenes Featurettes with the Cast and Crew

The Complete 2nd Season 22 December 20, 2005
January 6, 2015 (re-release)
February 14, 2007 Audio Commentary On Selected Episodes.

Documentary on the Series Featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

The Complete 3rd Season 25 March 25, 2008 N/A N/A Minisodes
The Complete 4th Season♦ 24 March 5, 2013 N/A N/A None
The Complete 5th Season♦ 25 July 2, 2013 N/A N/A None
The Complete 6th and Final Season♦ 24 October 1, 2013 N/A N/A None
The Complete Series 142 January 5, 2016 N/A N/A None

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 series.

♦ - Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release.


  1. 1 2 "Party Of Five Fares Better Than 'On Our Own'". Chicago Tribune. September 12, 1994. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  2. TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 212. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.
  3. VanDerWerff, Todd (July 22, 2013). "Party Of Five is the great forgotten drama of the '90s". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Complete TV Ratings 1994-1995". Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  5. 1 2 "Complete TV Ratings 1995-1996". Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  6. 1 2 "Complete TV Ratings 1996-1997". Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  7. 1 2 "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly Published in issue #434 May 29, 1998. May 29, 1998. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  8. 1 2 "TV Winners & Losers: Numbers Racket A Final Tally Of The Season's Show (from Nielsen Media Research)". GeoCities. June 4, 1999. Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  9. 1 2 "Complete TV Ratings 1999-2000". Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  10. "US - Jahrecharts 1999/2000". May 30, 2002. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  11. "Party of Five: The Wedding (VHS) (1994)". Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  12. "Party of Five: The Intervention (VHS) (1994)". Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  13. "Party of Five: Richer, Poorer, Sickness, and Health (VHS) (1994)". Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  14. "Party of Five - The Complete Second Season (1994)". Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  15. Lambert, David (February 23, 2004). "Party of Five - Season 1 announced, including WINNING Cover Art!". Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  16. Lambert, David (January 4, 2008). "Invitation to a Party at Last! 3rd Season Set Coming in March, 3rd Season Arrives 2¼ Years After The 2nd Season!". Retrieved January 18, 2008.
  17. "Party of Five DVD news: Update about Party of Five - The Complete 4th Season -".
  18. "Party of Five DVD news: Box Art for Party of Five - The Complete 5th Season -".
  19. "Party of Five DVD news: Box Art for Party of Five - The Complete 6th Season -".
  20. "Site News DVD news: Mill Creek Licenses 52 TV Shows from Sony for Low-Cost DVD Release -".
  21. "Party of Five DVD news: Release Date for Party of Five - Season 1 -".
  22. "Party of Five DVD news: Announcement for Party of Five - The Complete 2nd Season (MCE) -".
  23. "Party of Five DVD news: Announcement for Party of Five - The Complete Series -".
  24. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (January 9, 2016). "Hulu Inks Multi-Year Licensing Deal with Sony: Acquires 'Dawson's Creek,' 'Party of Five,' More". Variety. Michelle Sobrino. Retrieved April 9, 2016.


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