When we woke up this morning, we may have laughed heartily if you were to tell us that we would be writing a story at some point today regarding the over-the-top salaries that many of the “Friends” cast received for the final season of the show.
If you know the show, then you may know already that the likes of Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and others were breaking bank by the time the NBC show came to a close, making around $1 million an episode. This was a ton of money; sure, Ashton Kutcher and many “Big Bang Theory” cast members have made around this much money as well with their recent work, but consider inflation in here! This is around $1.3 million in today’s numbers.
So the reason that we’re bringing this up in 2015 is because salaries came up in a showrunners’ discussion at TCA this week, and “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman (now with “Grace and Frankie”) was speaking out about how there are now more ways to keep those sort of salaries from happening, including having shorter seasons so that actors can feel like they are doing other work:
“A million dollars an episode, let’s be honest, that’s kinda ridiculous … That’s a lot of money. It’s inflated … If someday the cast says, ‘we’re worth more than you’re offering,’ then we’ll deal with it then. At this point, everybody’s in and everybody’s in wholeheartedly.”
It’s nice to hear this perspective on this, but we’ve also never been one to complain too much about really famous people making lots of money. If your show is getting more than 20 million viewers a week and the studio is making big profits, why shouldn’t the cast given that they are a huge reason for the success? Granted, we’d also argue that the writers and the crew should, as well, though we realize it would never be proportionate.
Ultimately, we find this story fascinating now since we’re not sure that there is another series coming up that will get these sort of salaries anymore. There’s no sitcom that produces this many episodes with these sort of ratings, and since “The Big Bang Theory” already has their money, we’re not even referencing them in here.
Of course, we want to hear your take on all this below.