While some scoff at the idea of Friends being the greatest sitcom ever, there’s no denying that it is certainly one of the most successful.
At the height of its powers, Friends was easily one of the most watched shows on television (the finale had 52.46 million viewers, making it one of the most watched TV episodes ever), which resulted in the stars of the show commanding a serious chunk of change.
During the show’s final two seasons (season 9 in 2002-2003 and season 10 in 2003-2004), the show’s main six cast members — Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, and David Schwimmer — were all paid a whopping $1 MILLION PER EPISODE.
For a little perspective, there were 24 episodes in season 9 and 18 episodes in season 10, which adds up to a COOL $42 MILLION for just about two years of work. Insane sums of money, to say the least.
And yet, despite the fact that Friends came off the air nearly 15 years ago, the cast and creators are still receiving some serious paychecks for their efforts.
The cast’s per episode paycheck [$1 million per episode for seasons 9 and 10] wasn’t the only dough they were receiving from the show. After season six was over and it was back to the negotiation table, they all started receiving a portion of the show’s syndication profits. Today, all six of them still receive 2 percent of syndication income, or $20 million each per year, since the show still brings in $1 billion annually for Warner Bros.
Now that the Netflix deal is going through, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer can expect to see even more on their checks.
Again, for further perspective, this means that the cast is currently ($20 mil/year) making almost as much for their work on Friends as they did when they were actually working on Friends 20 years ago (roughly $21 mil/year).
You know what they say, “it’s all bout them residuals”, and the cast of Friends has certainly figured that out.