The Graph Of TV Actors

20 Jul

This time I wanted to see the relationship between TV actors. I’m not especially interested in TV series but I am quite interested in how they work together. The fact that many actors have been in a number of TV series creates a great network of information.


  1. I first went to Freebase’s tried to download every actor available their corresponding TV shows. Unfortunately, Freebase had over 57,000 nodes which disabled me from querying what I wanted. I decided to do it manually.
  2. Freebase has regular data dumps where they store the entire networks on an ftp server. I simply navigated to where the TV actors were and downloaded the appropriate file.
  3. I then imported these into Matlab and ran a script which connected every actor with every other actor based on the TV show they had been in.  Once this had been run I then exported the list into Excel, did some formatting and produced the required input for Gephi.
  4. I exported these and then manually went around and added the labels for each of TV series in Gimp. Let me know if any are wrong!

The Graph:

The Graph Of TV Actors

Click here to zoom around.

As one would expect there are sub-networks within the entire graph. I’ve labelled to the best of my ability the TV series each of the sub-networks belong to. Now obviously there is going to be some overlap and so there might be the odd actor who doesn’t belong to the neighbouring label. The majority of the network should however.

Some of the sub-networks include:

Gilmore Girls, Alias and Arrested Development

Saved By The Bell and Frasier

The Power Rangers

All of these actors have worked together in a number of TV series. Hence the mess.

As you might have noticed, the TV series here are reasonably old. This is probably a result of the TV actor information on Freebase being incomplete. It is growing at an incredible rate and so I don’t think it will be too long until more modern series appear on the graph.

I couldn’t label the central regions because it is so entangled. I’ll let you try and work out who belongs to what series on your own.


One could feasibly create a map for film actors also. I have downloaded the data but it is in a slightly more technical format which requires a more sophisticated program. Film actors would be much richer and have so much more structure which would be fascinating to see.

The same could be said of directors, producers, writers etc. so there really is no end to how many different types of networks you could create. Lastly, as an option, here is a poster version.

Anyway, just a short one today.


7 Responses to “The Graph Of TV Actors”

  1. Jack Behne July 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    Firefly should have been Brown, not light blue 🙂

    • Jack Behne July 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      …and about that, Summer Glau is only linked through Adam Baldwin, despite being Sean Maher’s sister in the show…pedantic I know….

      • Jack Behne July 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

        But being serious in a data sense here Griff – the dataset relies on the insanity of the respective fans which is why something like Firefly bunches, yet no mention of Two and a Half Men. You could say this is how tv should be but then other data wouldn’t support us.

        We should look therefore, at this data as representative of actors who take roles or make roles in what become big fan based, yet not necessarily popular, tv shows such as Firefly, BSG, Arrested Development and, well, Power Rangers. Go Zordon!

      • Griff July 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

        Yes the data is incomplete and only exists as a result of the shows fan base.

  2. Jack Behne July 21, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    We should start a fan base then of ex-Home-and-Away stars and their effect on the US tv scene :). I know, I know….


  1. The Graphs Of Football, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Baseball and Soccer « Griff's Graphs - July 26, 2012

    […] to see if certain club allegiances come out of the woodwork. The player map should, like the TV Actor map create sub-networks of actual teams within the larger network. We shall […]

  2. The Graph Of TV Actors | adamhooley - April 8, 2014

    […] The Graph Of TV Actors. […]

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