What determines which cast member gets featured in the opening credits of a show?



I was watching The Office and I realised only Michael, Jim, Pam, Dwight, and Ryan were featured in the opening credits but not the rest of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Why is that?

In: Culture

The first names or the last names “And Starring…” are considered the most prestigious, and so actor’s agents will negotiate for billing as part of their contract. Being elevated to the title credits of the show is usually a sign that the producers are committing to your character.

There are no set requirements, so long as there are full credits at the end. Opening credits are so the actors can increase their name recognition and so the produces can say “look at all these famous people you love”. As such, they are subject to both creative whims and contract negotiations. *Deadpool*, for example, used joke opening credits, some movies don’t have opening credits at all.

Also, in TV, there is usually a distinction between regular cast, who get credited even if they are not in an episode, supporting cast, and recurring characters, who only get credited for episodes in which they appear. *The Office* is kind of an outlier because it has several supporting characters who appeared in almost every single episode (Stanley, Phyllis, Angela, and Stanley appeared as often as Jim, Pam, and Dwight) even if they were just in the background. Having that number of consistent, long-running supporting characters is unusual, most shows have no more than 4-6 characters who appear in most every episode.