Friends might have ended nearly 15 years ago, but it still remains one of the most successful shows of all time. Even in syndication, the hit sitcom continues to drive massive numbers in both viewership and revenue. Warner Bros executives aren’t the only ones happy with Friends seemingly never-ending success — the cast is, too. Thanks to syndication royalties, Friends is the gig that keeps on providing (and making them millions).
Curious to know how much money the cast of Friends makes for reruns? We share the details, plus how they became some of the highest paid actors in television, ahead.
How ‘Friends’ cast members made $1 million per episode
When the starring cast first signed on, they reportedly agreed to $22,500 per episode. That changed in season two and each cast member made a different amount (which allegedly ranged from $20,000 to $40,000 per episode). By season three the group banded together and asked for equal and higher salaries. However, if it weren’t for David Schwimmer, the negotiations probably would have never happened.
When it came time for season three negotiations, Schwimmer allegedly encouraged his fellow castmates to negotiate together and ask for what they deserved. As a result, each cast member made $75,000 per episode for season three, $85,000 for season four, $100,000 for season five, $125,000 in season six, and $750,000 in seasons seven and eight. By seasons nine and ten, the stars were making $1 million per episode.
Despite their status as some of the highest paid TV actors and actresses at the time, their salaries per episode weren’t what made them money in the long run. At the height of the show’s success, it was relatively uncommon for actors to make back-end profits on a show. That type of financial gain usually was for actors with ownership rights such as Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby. However, in 2000, the cast renegotiated syndication and landed on a percentage that would make them millions for the years to come.
How much money does the cast of ‘Friends’ make for reruns?
Today, the cast of Friends makes more money in syndication than they did in the show’s tenth season (they made $18 million for 18 episodes).
At the time of their syndication negotiations, the show executives agreed that each cast member would receive two percent of the show’s back-end profits. According to several reports, the hit series continues to generate massive revenue and makes Warner Bros around $1 billion every year. That means each cast member pulls in around $20 million every year.
Who is the richest cast member of ‘Friends’
Despite their equal pay and syndication royalties, the cast of Friends went on to have very different careers. According to a 2016 report on Bank Rate, Jennifer Aniston is the richest cast member of Friends is worth around $170 million. Courteney Cox is right behind her with $120 million, David Schwimmer follows with $85 million, then Matthew Perry at $80 million. Lisa Kudrow makes around $70 million per year and Matt LeBlanc reels in around $60 million.
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