‘Supernatural’ Cast Member Jensen Ackles Got Help From ‘Smallville’ Star Tom Welling With Renegotiating Contract, and It Wasn’t for More Money

Supernatural ran for 15 years, beginning on The WB and migrating to The CW when they merged with UPN. CW president Mark Pedowitz always said as long as the Supernatural cast and creators wanted to do it, they would have a home on The CW. It was season 15 when then showrunner Andrew Dabb decided it was time. Contracts don’t last for 15 years though, so stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki would renegotiate from time to time. 

Jensen Ackles and Tom Welling watch Jared Padalecki shake Tyler James Williams' hand
L-R: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Tom Welling, and Tyler James Williams | KMazur/WireImage

During one negotiation, Ackles asked Smallville star Tom Welling for advice. Ackles was a guest on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast release on Jan. 18 though recorded in October. The Supernatural cast member shares the benefit Welling encouraged him to pursue. 

Jensen Ackles did ‘Supernatural’ longer than Tom Welling did ‘Smallville’

Smallville ran for 10 seasons. Welling played a young Clark Kent so he knew there was no Smallville without him. Likewise, there was no Supernatural without Sam (Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Ackles), so Ackles felt their positions were similar. 

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“I talked to Tom a few times about that because he was really the only person I knew that had been in that position,” Ackles said on Inside of You. “A lot of the stuff that I got from Tom I was able to implement and kind of grandfather into the show. It was all a reflection of his experience on Smallville.”

Tom Welling advised the ‘Supernatural’ cast to request drivers 

You might imagine TV stars get driven everywhere by limo, but that’s not often the case. Ackles said the Supernatural cast were driving themselves to and from set, including himself and Padalecki. 

“One of the things being Jared and I got driven to and from set,” Ackles continued. “They don’t do that. Everybody self-drives. We had our own driver and the argument to have that, because we got some pushback on it, and I just used the Tom story.”

Welling shared his Smallville story with Ackles and it was sobering enough to convince the Supernatural producers they needed to hire drivers for their leads. 

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I said, ‘Listen, Tom season 1, he pulled over to the side of the road and slept in his car. This is your number one actor on the show. This is your quarterback and you’re working him so much and making him so tired, he’s giving all he can all day long and he gets in a car and behind the wheel and you trust that he’s going to make it back to you the next day?’

Jensen Ackles, Inside of You podcast, 1/18/22

Jensen Ackles convinced ‘Supernatural’ to hire drivers

Ackles concluded with a sports analogy, and it worked. 

“I was like, ‘You gotta take care of your quarterback. That’s a simple fix,’” Ackles said. “So I said that. Jared looks to me, he’s like, ‘Yeah. Yeah, I’m with him, I concur.’ That was the analogy. I said, ‘You’ve got two quarterbacks here. I just ask that you protect us and keep us safe and get us to and from work in a safe way.’ That was it. The producer was like, ‘Okay.’”

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