"Friends" cast members still earn $20 million each per year in syndication

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,405   +121
Staff member

In the first season, cast members received $22,500 per episode yet as its popularity skyrocketed, renegotiated contracts eventually resulted in record payouts of $1 million per episode in seasons nine and 10. Along the way, the cast and their agents also had sense enough to work in syndication royalties, a decision that continues to pay massive dividends to this very day.

Each of the six cast members receives two percent of syndication income. According to Marketplace, that works out to $20 million each per year since the show still generates roughly $1 billion annually for Warner Brothers. A new deal with Netflix could push those earnings even higher.

The only thing that would likely earn the cast members even more money would be a reboot of the show. Netflix has pulled it off with other fan favorites like Lost in Space and Full House. Could it work again?

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Dimitrios

Posts: 657   +470
Nice and we got NETFLIX workers and American viewer fans struggling. Be nice if FRIENDS helped out or gave back to the community that made them super rich. Yes I'm actually a huge FRIENDS fan. In real life I kinda look like Joey, love women and food and can be stupid at times.
 

TomSEA

Posts: 3,250   +1,885
Thought this was one of the dumbest shows on TV and even though I tried watching a few episodes, could never get the popularity.

In fact, I remember telling my girlfriend at the time, "This is supposed to be a comedy, right? But I've seen you watch 2-3 episodes now and you haven't laughed once and neither have I."

"Seinfeld," "Frasier," "Cheers" and "Married With Children" were a hella lot more entertaining than "Friends" IMNHO.

Must be nice though to earn 20 million a year for something you did two decades ago.
 

NicktheWVAHick

Posts: 172   +143
Stupid is as stupid does. Never thought the show was funny then, dont think it’s funny now, won’t watch it in a future reboot either. On the other hand, Seinfeld is worth every penny of what they earn in royalties. To each his own.....
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,065   +4,867
If you want laugh out loud funny, that would be "Two Broke Girls". And believe it or not, "NCIS: Los Angeles:. The constant jibes between Kenzie an Deeks are hysterical.

As for friends, the instant that there was even a hint that David Swimmer was going to start whining through his nose, was an immediate change the channel.

As far as the cast goes, they're pretty much nowhere today. Jennifer Anniston is doing makeup commercials, and as for "Jpey", he manages to shag a now 1/2 hour comedy every few years, and they're usually canceled after the first season.
 
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Godel

Posts: 231   +134
How much is US $20 million after tax, I mean before their accountants get stuck into tax minimization schemes?
 

EEatGDL

Posts: 748   +461
Thought this was one of the dumbest shows on TV and even though I tried watching a few episodes, could never get the popularity.

In fact, I remember telling my girlfriend at the time, "This is supposed to be a comedy, right? But I've seen you watch 2-3 episodes now and you haven't laughed once and neither have I."
Glad to see I'm not alone in this. All I've ever watched of Friends has been because I was forced to watch it some days at high school and college, never by my own initiative.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,011   +3,888
TechSpot Elite
Friends = Feces Fest in a Monkey Zoo.

I did watch it for a bit, 19 years ago, but only because back then it helped me learn English (I'm natively Russian). But reflecting on it now, the show does seem quite moronic.

Making so much money explains in part why none of them accomplished anything in life thereafter. And none of them were any good during the show either. Lisa Kudrow was the only cast member I didn't get to hate in the end, she was an exception, and the only real star of that show, stuck amidst monkeys throwing feces.
 
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amghwk

Posts: 739   +515
Nice. Some people are just lucky. $20 million per year without working. Year after year. More than a million per month as income, without even leaving the home. Some work hard. But unless luck plays it's part, they can't earn like them, especially in this way.

Edit: I was never interested in this show. Saw it a few types while flipping through the channels or while waiting for ads in another channel to finish. Never caught my fancy.
 
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senketsu

There are shows you don't care about.
then there are shows you despise, "Friends" is one of these
enough said.
 

ShObiT

Posts: 196   +206
I would watch a reboot, learned English with this show, and eventually love it, moronic or not.
 

sac39507

Posts: 312   +135
No wonder not many of them have done anything recently. Either that or they're not getting any roles but 20 million is not too shabby
 

poohbear

Posts: 458   +335
If you want laugh out loud funny, that would be "Two Broke Girls". And believe it or not, "NCIS: Los Angeles:. The constant jibes between Kenzie an Deeks are hysterical.

As for friends, the instant that there was even a hint that David Swimmer was going to start whining through his nose, was an immediate change the channel.

As far as the cast goes, they're pretty much nowhere today. Jennifer Anniston is doing makeup commercials, and as for "Jpey", he manages to shag a now 1/2 hour comedy every few years, and they're usually canceled after the first season.
They're pretty much nowhere? Did u even read the bloody article??? They're making 20 million a year and can be living in some remote island for all they care. They don't have to work a day in their life anymore.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,065   +4,867
They're pretty much nowhere? Did u even read the bloody article??? They're making 20 million a year and can be living in some remote island for all they care. They don't have to work a day in their life anymore.
Yes, I can read, can you? In spite of their income, a couple of them seem to have a desperate need to be in front of the camera. With Jennifer Aniston, it's her vanity, (selling makeup), With "Joey", it's lame, quickly canceled, unfunny comedies.

The irony of the on an ensemble cast is, together they're a phenomenon, but apart, well, Jennifer Lawrence or Chris Pine will get the role.
So they are "nowhere" in terms of their craft, yet a couple of them still seem to need to attempt to ply it.

While we're at it, isn't this thread far afield of a technology topic anyway?

You seem like a member who should be whimpering about that too.

The fact that broadcasters will pay millions of dollars to rerun that crap, and advertisers will pay even more millions to sponsor it, is pure dumb luck. Those millions could eventually go away. Granted, the average habitual TV nostalgia watcher likely won't let that happen, much in the same way throngs of geeks still watch "Star Trek", (the original series), long after they have every scene and word memorized. Quite frankly, there's quite a bit of undiagnosed OCD going on in all of us.

The entertainment industry is full of "rags to riches to rags again" stories. That crew likely is too clever to let that happen, but it certainly isn't unheard of. Just ask "MC Hammer".
 
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