Friends TV Show Reunion Is Offering Each Star Huge Money: Here Are The Numbers
So no one told you life was gonna be this way.
A reunion special of the huge hit 90s TV show Friends has been in the works for a long time, and now it seems to be one step closer to finally becoming a reality. Deadline reports that the six stars of the original show have reached a preliminary deal to make the one-off special for streaming network HBO Max, and that they'll be making huge money from it.
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry have come to an agreement with Warner Bros. for what is rumored to be an hour-long special. Negotiations were described by Deadline as "tough." Negotiations between the actors and the network reportedly stalled at the end of 2019, due in part to issues related to money.
Big news coming...— matthew perry (@MatthewPerry) February 5, 2020
The six stars are said to be paid between $3 million-$4 million each for the show. The total cost of the show is $20 million, according to Deadline. The site points out that, while this is a jaw-dropping sum, it's actually in line with what Netflix pays for its top-billed hour-long comedy specials from the likes of Dave Chappelle, Ellen Degeneres, and others.
Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane are also said to be involved in the reunion special. The report also says the special will be a launchpad of sorts for the return of Friends for streaming. The show was removed from Netflix at the end of 2019, and it will come to HBO Max at some point in the future, likely in time for the HBO Max launch in May 2020.
WarnerMedia reportedly paid $85 million per year to get Friends for a period of five years.
Some people have balked at the hefty price tag for one hour of TV, but digital media strategist Matthew Ball points out that Friends remains an incredibly in-demand, attention-grabbing franchise that can demand such a high price tag.
I don't get the recoil to the Friends reunion talkshow being $20MM. It doesn't matter that the cast just needs to show up; who cares where the money goes and why?— Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew) February 9, 2020
Does anyone really believe the cost per hour watched + marketing impact won't dramatically exceed comps?
It also doesn't matter that it's 5x the price of a new episode, or an expensive indie movie, or half a season of TV.— Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew) February 9, 2020
People want it. People will watch it. It will be popular and notable.
That's what programming spend is for?
As of 2015, the show was bringing in $1 billion every year from syndication, with all the main stars making $20 million a year from that based on their 2 percent share of syndication revenue, according to USA Today.
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