The Incredible Shrinking TV Contracts: Ways That TV Doesn’t Pay Like It Used To

contract

While it seems almost like a myth at this point, there was a time when TV’s top network television stars could make a million dollars or more per episode, like Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men or the cast of Friends. With the television audience more fragmented that ever and ratings down across the spectrum, such huge paydays are not just rare but almost facing extinction. Most of the biggest “hit” shows of today have a fraction of the viewers that hit shows of the 1990s like Seinfeld and Friends have, so actors have less leverage when they are negotiating their contracts.

The Hollywood Reporter breaks down  how contracts for television actors are increasingly less lucrative. The shrunken deals even start for the pilot. It was once regular practice for an actor to be paid double for the pilot episode, that practice has become rare. However, actors might consider themselves lucky if they get paid at all. Language that is now stardard in many contracts makes it clear that if a pilot never airs an actor might not be paid much at all.

Pay bumps from season-to-season have shrunk — where once it was common for an actor to receive a 5% raise for a second and third season, now it is common for an actor to only recieve a 3-4% raise… that is, if they are contracted to receive a pay increase at all. Now if a network orders less than a full season of epsiodes, an actor working in those episodes is unlikely to recieve a pay increase for a full season. Because of that, it’s more common for a bump to be scheduled after a number of episodes rather than number of seasons.

Lastly, perks that were once common — like first-class flight accomodations — have been scaled back when guild rules allow it.

While a lot of this might seem like nickel-and-diming, it’s important to keep the fact in mind that as audiences sink, so does advertising revenue. Naturally, the more expensive it is to produce a show, the show will need more viewers to make it profitable. As the audience of network shows has decreased, so has the huge salaries.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Ian-McKellen-Mr-Holmes.jpg
Ian McKellen on CGI, the One Character He Wants to Play and Why He Doesn’t Like Being Called “Sir”
"Each part will have its challenges and I like that because if you're trying to solve a problem you're fully engaged" - Ian McKellen
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/kit-harington-game-of-thrones.jpg
Kit Harington: “You got into this job to play roles and depict characters, celebrity is an unfortunate side effect”
“I kind of weirdly fell into being an action hero…I have no f— idea how that happened. You have to remind people that you want to act rather than just run around" - Kit Harington
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/dustin-hoffman.jpg
Dustin Hoffman: “It’s the worst that film has ever been – in the 50 years that I’ve been doing it”
“I was a freak accident, so I got a lead that happened to be The Graduate and it was like a light switch went on and I was an instant star" - Dustin Hoffman
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/channing-tatum-magic-mike-xxl.jpg
Channing Tatum’s Reddit AMA Covered Everything from ‘Magic Mike XXL’, His “Bad” Acting in ‘Step Up’ and Frozen Poop
"I do get nervous to act, it kind of depends on what it is really." - Channing Tatum
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/true-detective-taylor-kitsch.jpg
Taylor Kitsch on Living Up to Season One of ‘True Detective’ and Sleeping on New York City Subways
"I had someone very close to me say to me that hopefully I’ll have many more ups and downs, not in just my career but in life. If you don’t have that, you’re not taking enough risks." - Taylor Kitsch