For most tv series, the casts earn different amounts for their roles on set. Additionally, if the shows go on for multiple seasons, it implies that they will get that same sum or receive an increase depending on the commercial success of the series.
In some cases, the payoff continues after the end of the show. Some enjoy reruns after being purchased by a streaming service or redistributed in different formats, such as DVDs. Considering this, many actors still earn residual incomes called royalties if it got written into their contracts before starring in the series.
Ultimately, some royalties sum up to an amount which could set the actor for life. Here are four shows that still earn their casts huge paychecks.
One of the biggest shows airing from the late 90s into the early 2000s was “Friends” The sitcom was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and ran for ten seasons on NBC. Starring on the show were Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, and Jennifer Aniston.
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The series was not only a commercial success but made the featured stars more famous than they could ever have imagined. To date, viewers around the world still revisit the show on streaming platforms to have a taste of the nostalgia they felt during the height of its airing.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the main actors still get paid annual checks from the showrunners. According to USA Today, Warner Bros, who owns the rights to the series, earns $1 billion a year from “Friends.” Subsequently, the stars of the shows get 2% of that amount, which is equivalent to $20 million.
“Seinfeld” was another late 90s show that enthralled sitcom lovers. It ran from 1989 to 1998, churning nine seasons and 180 episodes. The series starred Jerry Seinfeld as himself, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards).
A striking trait was how it made fans fall in love with watching Seinfeld comically go about his daily life. Today, the series remains one of the most influential sitcoms of all time. Amazingly, Seinfeld also acted as the creator alongside co-creator Larry David and an array of talented directors.
Following the success of the series, Seinfeld and David made huge sums per syndication cycle. According to New York Magazines, this amount could climb as high as $400 million, making it one of the highest royalties received by an actor in a show.
‘Two and a Half Men’
Watching Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones star in “Two and a Half Men” was one of the major highlights in the sitcom world of the early 2000s. The trio of actors delivered a comedy-filled performance throughout their stint on the show.
However, the jolly acting triangle got broken up following Sheen’s public dispute with CBS. Sheen got fired from the show after playing the lead for seven seasons. Although CBS cited moral turpitude as the main reason for the painful divorce, Sheen’s personal problems subtly influenced their decision to let him go.
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After his dismissal, Cryer and Jones signed new contracts, and Ashton Kutcher subsequently replaced Sheen in his role. Despite his contract termination, Sheen went on to earn $100 million more from the show before selling his profit participation rights for $27 million in 2016.
Kutcher, Cryer, and Jones were also not left behind, with the trio still getting regular paychecks from CBS regardless of the show ending over five years ago.
One of the most expensive TV shows produced in the ’90s was “Frasier.” The series got its origin from “Cheers” and continued the tale of psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), following his return to his hometown of Seattle to start a life as a radio show host.
The show also starred Martin (John Mahoney) as Crane’s father and Niles (David Hyde Pierce) as his brother and a fellow psychiatrist. Other key casts include Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle and Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon, Martin’s live-in caretaker.
Although the details about the salaries and royalties of the actors are unknown, Mahoney gave fans a hint in a 2004 interview with the Chicago Tribune. The news outlet referenced the actor’s comment about his salary and other royalties saying, “there is enough in the bank to ensure he never has to work again on something he’d rather not do.”