Friends might have ended nearly 15 years ago, but it still remains one of the most successful shows ever with over $2.4 billion in revenue recorded! Warner Bros executives have been happy to see that Friends has made them millions and continues to drive the company’s success for decades following its finale. The cast is also loving their continuing legacy thanks to royalties from reruns – they’re some of TV’s highest paid actors earning more than $1 million per episode.
How the Cast of ‘Friends’ earned $1 million per episode
One of the many things that make Friends so iconic is how much it changed as time went on.
When the star cast signed on in season one, they reportedly agreed to $22.500 per episode each person. But during negotiations for Season 2 and 3, this amount became unequal with some actors making up to $40k an episode while others were only receiving 20 grand a week–if not less! If it weren’t for David Schwimmer’s encouragement of banding together as well as his negotiating skills, then we would have never had equal salaries among the cast.
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.
Yet despite being some of the highest paid TV actors and actresses at that time, their salaries per episode were relatively uncommon for an actor to make back-end profits on a show. This type of financial gain was usually reserved only for Jerry Seinfelds’ or Bill Cosbys; but in 2000, they renegotiated syndication rights. This hefty percentage would go on to bring them millions over the years leading up until now.
How much money does the ‘Friends’ cast make in reruns?
The cast of Friends has been given a gift that keeps on giving. Today, the hit show earns more money in syndication than it did during its tenth season – around $18 million for 18 episodes. When negotiating their contracts with Warner Bros., executives agreed to give each cast member 2% of back-end profits from syndicated airings which is now estimated at about $1 billion every year, equating one percent per episode and 20 million dollars annually based on today’s numbers (a steal considering they made less than 20 thousand an episode initially).
Who is the wealthiest member of the ‘Friends’ cast?
Despite their equal pay and syndication royalties, the cast of Friends went on to have very different careers. According to a 2016 report by Bankrate, Jennifer Aniston is worth around $170 million while Courteney Cox has accumulated more than $120 million in her career. David Schwimmer’s success earned him about 85 millions dollars but Matthew Perry managed 80 millions per year as well as Lisa Kudrow with 70 or Matt LeBlanc who made 60 millions every year.
In 1994 when the original pilot aired, there was just something special about these six friends living together in New York City; but little did we know how much this sitcom would change pop culture forever!