Party of Five is an American 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 Lacy Chabert, who later starred in the hit movie Mean Girls; Matthew Fox, who would later go on to star in the ABC hit Lost; Scott Wolf who would star in the movie Go and the 2009 remake of V; and Jacob Smith, who later starred in the Cheaper by the Dozen films.
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 York. It ran for just one season.
In 1995, TV Guide named the series 'The Best Show You're Not Watching'.
Set in the city of San Francisco, the show centered on the five siblings of the Salinger family (the "party of five" referenced in the show's title), who become orphans after their parents were hit and killed by a drunk driver. Charlie is the eldest, a 24-year-old, womanizing, immature manual laborer who struggles with the responsibility of being the new head of the family; 16-year-old Bailey is the rebellious teen later-turnedsubstance abuser; 15-year old Julia is a sensitive teen facing adolescent issues of her own; 11-year old Claudia is a precocious child prodigy, and Owen is the baby, barely one year old.
The siblings take over the running of their family's restaurant, Salingers, with Charlie initially serving as bartender and manager and later with Bailey taking over. The struggles faced by the Salingers over the years included Charlie's battle with cancer, Bailey's battle with alcoholism, Julia dealing with domestic violence in a relationship, 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 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 through most of the series.
- Scott Wolf as Bailey Salinger
- Matthew Fox as Charlie Salinger
- Neve Campbell as Julia Salinger
- Lacey Chabert as Claudia Salinger
- Paula Devicq as Kirsten Bennett Thomas Salinger (seasons 1–2, 5–6, recurring otherwise)
- Scott Grimes as Will McCorkle (seasons 1–2, 6, recurring otherwise)
- Michael Goorjian as Justin Thompson (season 2, recurring otherwise)
- Jennifer Love Hewitt as Sarah Reeves Merrin (seasons 2–6)
- Alexondra Lee as Callie Martel (season 3)
- Jeremy London as Griffin Chase Holbrook (seasons 4–6, recurring seasons 2–3). This character was played by James Marsden only in season 1, episode 22 ("The Ides of March").
- Jennifer Aspen as Daphne Jablonsky (season 6, recurring seasons 4-5)
- 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. The Owen character was aged faster than real time, in a television process known as "SOARS-ing", when he was rapidly aged from infant to preschooler.