How much money does the cast of Friends make off of re-reruns?
If, back in 1996, it repeated once during the summer and once the following year on NBC, then Lisa Kudrow would have theoretically gotten:
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:
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:
And if we add all that up:
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:
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.
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