Forget the Mile High Club, we want to talk about the $1 Million Club.
On Tuesday, Variety released a list of the biggest money makers in TV — we’re talking $1M an episode, kind of money. Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, and more round out the list of this year’s top TV earners, and the writing is on the wall… there has never been a better time to be on TV.
As streaming titans like Crave and Netflix dominate our screen time, binge-worthy content is officially on speed dial. What does this mean for our favourite on-screen stars? Well, happy bank accounts, it would seem. TV series are no longer viewed as a launch-pad for actors to land in their first movie role, or an exit strategy for celebrities to extend their 15 minutes of on-screen fame. With massive TV hits generating buzz-worthy, cult-like fan bases (ahem, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, and Big Little Lies, just to name a few), the TV universe is attracting big players, and even bigger paycheques.
Most recently, Apple TV+ landed the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon for The Morning Show. How did they do it? Well, a great script, a compelling story, and more than $1 million per episode. Also making the $1M list, we have Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon for Little Fires Everywhere, Jeff Bridges for The Old Man, Nicole Kidman for Nine Perfect Strangers, Harrison Ford for The Staircase, and Steve Carell for Space Force.
Other notable mentions who haven’t quite scraped the $1M mark, but may hit that milestone soon, include:
– Cardi B and Chance the Rapper for Rhythm & Flow, making $500K per episode
– This is Us cast earning $250K per episode
– Modern Family cast earning $500K per episode
There’s also Ellen DeGeneres’ Netflix Comedy special, which is paying her a reported $20-$25M. Can we also mention that Millie Bobbie Brown made $350K per episode for Stranger Things? At 15 years old, that’s a pretty impressive paycheque.
According to the article, $500,000 is becoming a common norm for attracting big stars to TV deals for streaming platforms or premium cable. The inflation rate is seemingly very, very real, with Witherspoon and Kidman reportedly earning $350,000 per episode for the first season of Big Little Lies, which elevated to $1M for Season 2.
Aniston may have set the pace with her infamous $1M per episode salary on Friends, but it looks like far more A-listers are gearing up to join the previously exclusive $1 Million Club. Did we mention it’s $1M per episode? Is it too late for the rest of us to get into acting? Did we miss the boat? Asking for a friend…