You’ve probably heard that Jerry Seinfeld is one of the highest-paid comedians in the world, thanks to a long career and the record-setting success of Seinfeld, the sitcom that he created with Larry David. Seinfeld makes the kind of money that most of us could never dream of seeing. But how does he actually make his money, now that Seinfeld is long over? And what’s his net worth?
Ahead, discover everything you need to know about Jerry Seinfeld’s net worth and how he makes his money.
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the highest-paid comedians in the world
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the highest-paid comedians in the world. In fact, he ranked at the top of Forbes’s list of the highest-paid comedians in 2017, earning $69 million between June 2016 and June 2017. “Seinfeld has Netflix to thank for a good part of his eight-figure paycheck (also contributing: those Seinfeld syndication checks),” Forbes pointed out at the time.
The publication characterized Netflix deals like the one that Jerry Seinfeld signed as “the new golden ticket for those who used to tour their way to millions.” Netflix reportedly agreed to pay $100 million for a pair of Seinfeld specials, plus the full library of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. And as the show’s sole executive producer, Seinfeld likely holds nearly all the profit participation on the show.
Plus, Seinfeld’s net worth is staggering
As you might expect for someone who earned $69 million in a single year, Jerry Seinfeld’s net worth is pretty impressive. Celebrity Net Worth puts Jerry Seinfeld’s net worth at $950 million, thanks in part to what the publication characterizes as “the most successful television show of all time.”
Much of Seinfeld’s income and net worth comes from his eponymous show and its years of syndication. But as the publication notes, Seinfeld isn’t the only thing that contributes to Jerry Seinfeld’s eye-popping net worth. Seinfeld is also a best-selling author and a public speaker. And he’s also had some lucrative endorsement deals, including a $10 million deal to make ads for Microsoft in 2008.
Much of Seinfeld’s net worth came from his eponymous show
Bankrate reports that after Jerry Seinfeld spent 15 years as a stand-up comedian, he created the pilot for Seinfeld with Larry David. The “show about nothing” aired for nine years, and the publication reports that it “accounts for the vast majority of Jerry Seinfeld’s net worth, and has made him one of the wealthiest entertainers in the industry.” One factor is the eye-popping salary that Seinfeld made on the show.
Back in 1997, Entertainment Weekly characterized the stars of Seinfeld as “the best-paid cast in TV history.” Friends would later break the record in 2002, when NBC decided to pay each of the six cast members of Friends $1 million an episode. But the salaries that the Seinfeld stars made are still incredible. During the ninth season of the show, Jerry Seinfeld was making $1 million per episode. That’s what his co-stars also asked for — in part to make up for the fact that they didn’t own a stake in the show, like Seinfeld, and get no share of the royalties generated by the sitcom — but they each got paid $600,000 per episode instead.
Seinfeld makes a lot of money from reruns
Because Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards don’t own a stake in Seinfeld, they don’t make a lot of money from reruns of the sitcom. But that’s not the case for Jerry Seinfeld. CNBC reports that because he owns a stake in Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld continues to make money from the show.
“As one of the show’s creators, he gets a cut of the show’s lucrative and ongoing syndication deals,” CNBC explains. Those deals “are estimated to have brought in over $3 billion since 1995.” As for what Seinfeld, personally, makes from those deals? “Seinfeld’s cut comes to about a whopping $400 million over that time period,” CNBC noted back in 2015. That means that Seinfeld earned its namesake comedian at least $440 million. It also doesn’t hurt that Hulu paid $160 million for the rights to the entire Seinfeld catalog in 2015.
He could have made another season of Seinfeld
CNBC reports that Jerry Seinfeld reportedly turned down more than $100 million — $5 million per episode — to produce a tenth season of Seinfeld in the late 1990s. By the ninth season, Seinfeld was making about $1 million for each episode. And his three co-stars on Seinfeld were each making around $600,000.
However, Seinfeld probably isn’t worried about passing up that opportunity. As Forbes reports, Seinfeld’s deal with Netflix included 24 new episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and the two stand-up specials. But, interestingly enough, the deal also landed Seinfeld a developmental role, helping the streaming service with scripted and unscripted shows. That could mean another big payday in the future.
“It is hard to put a number on how Netflix is compensating Seinfeld for the development of future series,” Forbes reports, “as it will be dependent on the budgets of the series, as well as Seinfeld’s role in them. For example, if he not only creates, but also stars in a scripted comedy, his payday could increase by double-digit millions.”
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