'Friends' cast members continue to rake in $20 million each per year, 14 years after sitcom last aired
While 'Friends' has been off the air for close to 15 years, its cast members are continuing to rake in the benefits thanks to its immense popularity.
This coming September will mark 25 years since the airing of the pilot episode of 'Friends' titled 'The Pilot' on NBC. Executive produced by Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane in association with Warner Bros. Television, and featuring characters that are now immortalized in TV folklore, the sitcom would prove to be one of the most popular television shows of all time, with the reruns still going strong.
'Friends' featured an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Courteney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), each of whom is still fondly remembered for their roles and have become quite synonymous with their characters, and who were all generously compensated, at least in the later seasons.
According to Tech Spot, during the show's first season, each cast member was paid a not-too-shabby $22,500 per episode. But as the show grew more popular, so did its stars, and contracts were renegotiated to reflect their worth to the sitcom. By season nine and ten, even though they were taking home the then-record payments of $1 million per episode, they seemed to already be aware that the show was bigger than just a sitcom and would continue to engage audiences across the world for the foreseeable future.
Their agents thus worked in syndication royalties into the contract of the six actors, which means that they still continue to enjoy a steady income from the show because reruns and streaming rights see the show continue to rake in the money for Warner Bros. — according to some estimates, as much as $1 billion every year.
Marketplace reported that Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer each negotiated their contracts to receive two percent of syndication income. Considering the sitcom earns 10-figures every year, that works out to $20 million each per year.
And they could be set to earn even more! It was announced earlier in the month that Netflix had renewed its licensing for the show. Reports indicate the streaming deal between Netflix and WarnerMedia cost the former anywhere between $80 million and $100 million, which almost definitely implies that the actors will see their income boosted by another couple of million dollars.
Fans of the show welcomed the news as well because the deal means they can continue to enjoy their antics throughout 2019. But one burning question remains: If the show is continuing to make so much money, will producers consider the possibility of a reboot? It's worked with other shows like 'Roseanne' (for the shortest time), 'Lost in Space,' and 'Full House,' so why not? But to hear Aniston tell it, one shouldn't keep their hopes up because it might be a long way away yet.