Thanks to royalties and syndication deals, the main cast of Friends is still making a large amount of money — here’s a breakdown of how much.

BY KARA HEDASH

Friends may have ended 16 years ago, but the cast of the NBC sitcom is still making the big bucks. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Friends made its debut in September 1994, running a decade that consisted of 236 total episodes.

As the series grew more popular, it became more expensive to retain the six core cast members – Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc — and the series concluded with season 10 in 2004.

The cast of Friends still stands as some of the highest-paid TV actors of all time

During the show’s first season, each cast member made $22,500 per episode. The following season, the pay was bumped up to $40,000 for each episode, but since it wasn’t offered for all six actors, issues arose. Negotiations going forward focused on equal compensation, starting with $75,000 per episode in season 3 and $85,000 per episode in season 4.

After a $15,000 per episode increase for season 5, Warner Bros. bumped it to a $25,000 increase for season 6, totaling $125,000 for each of the six cast members per episode. Season 7 – 8 saw the first monumental pay increase, coming in at $750,000 per episode for each core cast member.

The final two seasons of Friends propelled the cast contracts even higher, making Aniston, Cox, and Kudrow the highest-paid actresses at the time of signing. For seasons 9 and 10, the cast agreed to a $1 million-per-episode deal. By the end of season 10 alone, the cast made a total of $22 million.

Despite the fact that a decade and a half has passed, the Friends cast continues to make an astounding amount of money based on royalties and syndication. Technically, the continuous income from reruns adds up to more than some actors make with current projects.

According to a 2015 report made by USA Today, the Friends cast still makes around $20 million a year each. This is a result of royalties made by the contracts they agreed upon in the past. The number might be surprising, but considering the on-going interest through syndication, the number is justifiable.

HBO Max is still working on a Friends reunion to air in the near future. Developments for the reunion have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s still a priority project for the HBO streaming service.

After parent company WarnerMedia spent $425 million to acquire the streaming rights of Friends, HBO Max will pay at least $2.5 million per cast member for the reunion special. Friends content isn’t cheap, not now, not ever.

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