How much money does the cast of Friends make off of re-reruns?

Question

How much money does the cast of Friends make off of re-reruns?

Answer

If, back in 1996, it repeated once during the summer and once the following year on NBC, then Lisa Kudrow would have theoretically gotten:

$2,500 x 2 = $5,000

When a show is syndicated to basic cable and local television stations (called “free television” in the biz), a sliding scale kicks in. Kudrow would have received 40 percent for the first re-run (40 percent of $2,500 = $1,000), 30 percent for the second re-run ($750) and then 25 percent for the next three re-runs. After that, it goes down incrementally until the 13th time it airs.  From then on, an actor gets 5 percent for each episode every time it airs, forever. So if “The One Where Eddie Moves In” re-aired five times in syndication, the math would work like this:

40% of $2,500 = $1,000

+

30% of $2,500 = $750

+

25% of $2,500 = $625 x 3 = $1,875

Kudrow would also be compensated for foreign rights, but those work a little differently. Back in the ’90s, she would’ve gotten one flat payment of 35 percent, no matter how many channels it showed on outside North America. So:

35% of $2,500 = $875

And if we add all that up:

$5,000 + $875 + $1,000 + $750 + $1,875 = $9,500

I won’t get into DVD and digital media sales because those get pretty complicated, but let’s just say we hit $10,000 total per episode, for easy math’s sake . With 236 episodes, that would mean Kudrow would’ve gotten at least:

$2,360,000 in total residuals for “Friends.”

Now, we all know “Friends” has aired a bajillion times, so it’s safe to say that estimate is ludicrously, ridiculously and extremely low. Plus, the cast of “Friends” actually negotiated for a higher share than that maximum for residuals, so they’re sitting pretty, especially since “Friends” has made somewhere north of $3 billion in syndication.

Regardless, residuals are a steady stream of income in a line of work where nothing else is all that steady.

Source: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/ive-always-wondered/how-do-actors-make-money-residuals

Why did this come up

Friends re-runs

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