It’s no new knowledge that TV has become big business.
In an age where audiences are gobbling up the newest multi-million budget series by station giants HBO or ABC, it was only a matter of time before talent salaries came to reflect those staggeringly high production budgets. In fact, the highest paid TV actors discussion probably started way back in the early 2000’s when the Friends cast were being reportedly paid $1 million per episode, which even by today’s standard is pretty bonkers.
But with shows such as Game of Thrones, House of Cards and Modern Family officially ruining our social lives each week, it’s interesting to consider what these actors are actually earning per episode.
Well, Variety have conducted a survey of actors, executives, and other representatives to find out what these hugely talented stars are banking per show. The information was collected across primetime, late night, daytime, and news channels, and all individual salaries are estimates based on their findings.
The results are well, pretty incredible…
House of Cards
Netflix have been building their brand-brilliant original series acquisitions since premiering American political drama House of Cards back in 2013. It has since been renewed for a fifth season, and of course, they want their talent to remain put. According to Variety, Kevin Spacey makes a whopping $500,000 per episode. Wow.
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Gripping spy drama Homeland has bagged loads of accolades and awards since premiering on Showtime in 2011, and star Claire Danes is set to return in January 2017 for the hotly anticipated sixth season. She reportedly earns $450,000 per episode.
Beloved animation series The Simpsons has become part of our modern TV psyche, and the cast’s combined salary reflects that. Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner and Yeardley Smith all earn $315,000 per episode. But come on, the show would be nothing without those voices right?
Oh Modern Family. You absolute hoot. As much as we love this ABC comedy about dysfunctional life, we can’t quite get our head around how much it costs to keep the cast signed on. Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara all bank $250,000 per show.
Game of Thrones
The one we’re all interested in, the Game of Thrones cast salary (as you’d imagine) is pretty crazy. Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau all earn a massive $500,000 per episode. Do the math - that’s over 2 million in staff salaries for one fifty-minute show, if all five happen to appear. Just, wow.
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Bittersweet multigenerational drama Gilmore Girls starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Biedel as Lorelai and Rory Gilmore is for many the TV ultimate. It may gall you however to learn that both bank $750,000 per episode.
And finally, The Big Bang Theory
So for those of you that aren't familiar with The Big Bang Theory, it's basically this series about a bunch of geeky guys that are a bit rubbish with women. And, stars Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki all bank (wait for it...) $1 million per episode. Sorry, what? the cast from Friends called, they want their salaries back...
Did we mention we're taking acting classes...