It is one thing for Al Pacino, Jeff Bridges or Meryl Streep to land on television and automatically take astronomical salaries for their participation (from $ 700,000 per episode upwards). They are established actors, with Oscars under their arms, an undeniable popularity and they were almost strangers in television. But what the free channels of the United States are finding is that they also need to write large checks if they want to hire the regulars of the series. There is so much production coming out of Hollywood firms that, if they want a solid lead, they have to offer $ 250,000 per episode.
This is the figure they talk about in Deadline, a medium that each season analyzes the projects that are being prepared for the next season and the names most coveted by the studios. And who are the actors who sound the loudest for the new season? Well, actors and actresses who are about to dismiss admired series and who have shown that they can carry the weight of a fiction on their shoulders.
You have to offer $ 250,000 per episode to attract a well-known actor to an open series “
It seems that ageism focused on women has softened if we consider three of the actresses who are receiving offers non-stop: Catherine O’Hara (65), Judith Light (70) and Katey Sagal (66), who have in their curriculum Schitt’s Creek , Transparent Y Sons of anarchy respectively, they are three of the largest assets.
Others who are being persecuted? Tom Ellis (Lucifer), Tea Leoni ( Madam secretary ), Taylor Schilling (Orange is the new black), Dominic West (The affair), Lisa Kudrow (Friends), Sarah Gadon (True detective), Lauren Graham (Gilmore girls), Kristen Bell (The good place), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of sex), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), David Duchovny (File X), Johnny Galecki (The big bang theory) and almost all the actors of Game of Thrones.
While it is true that many of these actors at times have charged $ 250,000 or more per episode for series broadcast in the open (Galecki, for example, took a whopping one million), the circumstances must be taken into account: Well-known actors usually start out with a good salary for the first season and, depending on the success of the series and the contract negotiations, this salary can increase notably. It is not common to start directly with checks for $ 250,000.
However, this was the approximate price for actors like Stephen Dorff (Deputy), Rob Lowe (9-1-1: Lone Star), Edie Falco (Tommy), Cobie Smulders ( Stumptown ) O Michael Sheen ( Prodigal Son ), which have landed this season in 2019-2020 with new projects on free-to-air television.
The production of more than 500 series per year, in addition to the competition of the platforms, make it difficult to find talent “
It is the only way that the channels have had to remain familiar faces in an environment with excessive competition. On the one hand, content platforms blow up prices in their bid to keep the best-known actors, many of them with successful careers in cinemas. On the other hand, the actors known and with experience as the visible face of the industry are what they are and there are more than 500 annual television productions. Finding famous actors predisposed to shoot more than 15 episodes per season is not as easy as before.
Of course, it has its advantages. Actresses like Julianna Margulies ( The good wife ) or Ellen Pompeo ( Grey’s Anatomy ) on more than one occasion explained in interviews lthe virtues of working on a free-to-air series with seasons of more than 20 episodes: it allowed them to have a domestic stability, to know the schedules and to know that they were going to sleep with their family every night.
Now these more than symbolic salaries of $ 250,000 per episode need to be justified: free-to-air television in the United States, as it happens in many countries, is in the doldrums. More and more viewers are opting to watch series in shifted and the channels have more problems to make them profitable, since they are amortized mainly by the amount of publicity that they can place in the broadcasts in direct.
Working in an open series has its advantages: you have a stable schedule and the actors know where they sleep every night “