How much money did 'Friends' cast make? Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and others earned massive hikes each year
The series which ran from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, reportedly paid the cast $100,000 per episode after a couple of years of being on air
'Friends' has given an entire generation a lot to laugh, cry, bond over and be happy about. The series which ran for 10 years from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, still remains one of the most-watched series even today. If you spot someone laughing at their phones in public, there is a high possibility that the person might be watching an episode of 'Friends', which is available to stream on Hulu and HBO Max currently.
The successful series clocked 236 episodes in total and the popularity of the core cast — Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry — soared with each episode. The cast of 'Friends' is among some of the highest-paid television actors of all time. Here is a quick look at how much money they made from the show.
When the show started in 1994, each of the six cast members reportedly took home a paycheck of $22,500 per episode. The introductory season didn't manage to appease critics, who believed the show was bringing nothing new to the table and a group of friends sitting on a couch swilling coffee in their cups wasn't as exciting as it was packaged to be. But the audiences felt otherwise and it didn't take long for the show to become a cultural phenomenon.
By Season 2, the salaries were significantly bumped up to $40,000 per episode. However, not all of them were offered the raise. This reportedly caused a lot of issues and they were pushing for pay parity for all six members who formed the core cast. For Season 3, all of them were taking home $75,000 per episode and the following season their pay was raised to $85,000. The $10,000 raise from the previous season was increased to $15,000 per episode on Season 5, when all six of them were raking in $100,000.
Warner Bros further hiked the cast's per episode salary by $25,000 and the cast was taking home $125,000 in Season 6. They received their biggest hike in Season 7 where each of them earned $750,000 and continued to draw the same amount per episode on the following season as well. In Seasons 9 and 10, their salaries were further raised and each of them signed a contract of at least $1M per episode.
'Friends' is a gift that keeps on giving, and in the case of the cast, they are still making a massive amount of money. According to a report by USA Today, each of the cast members makes an estimated $19-$20M per year from royalties and Warner Bros makes a whopping $1B from syndication revenue.