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August 11 2010

David Boreanaz and Nathan Fillion make TV's Top Salaries. From TV Guide. Fillion makes as much as the Hamm himself.

I sincerely hope Emily makes as much as David! That drama list seemed very testosterone heavy. And I wonder if Nathan will get a substantial raise if Castle's ratings go up this coming season. Or does he need to wait another season?
I doubt Emily makes anywhere near as much as David. David is a TV Veteran.

Good on David and Nathan! Very nice :) IMO, it's well-deserved.
Keep in mind the different number of episodes these shows have. Nathan actually makes much more than John Hamm, but then Hamm had more time to guest on other shows (like 30 rock) and make movies. This list is obviously just a sampling of salaries. Also remember that actors like DB are also executive producers and probably get additional income from that. In other words, this list only scratches the surface and only gives the shallowest of information.
Jim Parsons makes less than Johnny Galeki and Penny(forgot how to spell the actress' last name) despite having the best character on the show? If I was his agent I'd definitely try to get him a raise bump. The show would lose alot without him.
That's a LOT of money... oh, my... I mean... if I could just be the lead in one episode, I'd make currently salary 10 time over (still a student, so I make squat, but still!)
That is just WRONG!!! Ryan Seacrest gets $5 million more than Conan.
That's alot of money, I'm gonna have to change job; they can travel AND get paid obscene amounts. I think we're all selling ourselves a bit short.
Heh. More power to them.

That's alot of money, I'm gonna have to change job[...]

I'd say go for it - as long as you're cool with the success rate. ;)
Exactly, brinderwalt. I'd love to make that kind of money. Just don't think I'm the one out of 10,000 that will be successful. More power to those that try, fail and end up as career bartenders/waiters/baristas/porn fluffers.

Also, huge kudos to the very very few who end up succeeding through some crazy blend of ridiculous talent, perfect timing, blind frakkin' luck, single minded dedication, and harder work than I ever want to do in my life. You deserve every penny and more. It may disappear tomorrow. Invest it well.
How does anyone know this information? No actors ever talk about money at all. I mean, do they look at their tax returns or something? Wouldn't these numbers be in confidential contracts.

And I'm sure actors are a hard working lot, but I'm guessing there would be a whole bunch of teachers, nurses, social workers etc. who look at figures like these and die a little inside.
I'm not surprised really. Network salaries are pretty nice compared to most jobs, even to unknowns, and both Nathan and David had been in notable projects before and were to a certain extent "names". Cable actors usually make much less, John Hamm is comparatively making a much greater salary if you include the fact that he's on a small cable network and his show was the first scripted one the channel even tried.
If income was proportional to value to society, you wouldn't find actors, pop stars, sports celebrities/athletes, and CEOs of failing enterprises in the top tier. I'd really rather not know what these people earn.
Celebrities would not earn as much as they do if the public were not consuming their work in such huge numbers. No one became a teacher to get rich.
The salaries for the talking heads (newscasters) are outrageous.
Baxter, society is why acting pays so well. We watch.

Also, Parson's agent is rumoured to be negging separately on his behalf regarding his deal. All of the Big Bang lot should be on $120k+ an episode, considering it's the number one comedy on TV.
Yep, the newscaster salaries are insane. Sit still, read, be telegenic those are literally the qualifications required (sure, many of them are/were also journalists but still...).

I wonder if the 'Desperate Housewives' main cast have formed a mini-union ? Hope so, kind of like the idea of them banding together to make sure they all get paid the same whack.

A lot of money in a lot of cases. Do they deserve it ? The point's moot IMO - you deserve to be paid what you can be paid in some sense, who among us if able to get $400,000 for (just over) a week's work would turn it down ? It's not like if it didn't go to Hugh Laurie it'd go to homeless orphans or some such, it'd just go straight into the pockets of studio execs/CEOs etc.

(and yep, the apparently still quite huge disparity between male and female stars' wages is fairly depressing)
Wait, what? Charlie Sheen makes $1.25M per episode of 2 men?!
Well I suppose if the show makes tons of money for the studio, network and the advertisers then the actors should be rewarded accordingly.

As for the writers...
Pfft, writers. What do they even bring to the table (apart from fancy scarves) ? They should all be paid in orange rind and other assorted fruit left-overs, keep 'em lean and hungry.
I find it completely ridiculous that CBS generally focus on overall viewers for comedies when awarding a pay salary. The Big Bang Theory, even in it's first year, was the second-best demo rating comedy on CBS, and this year, well you all know how it's been doing this year.

It normally stayed around 1.0 demo above 2.5 Men, and last year, without The Big Bang Theory, 2.5 Men was seriously declining in the ratings, with one below a 4.0. Charlie Sheen does not deserve that pay raise, especially since other actors had to loose the jobs (namely AJ Cook and Paget Brewster from Criminal Minds). If anything, the cast of TBBT deserve to get a pay raise like that.

Oh, and, Miranda Cosgrove has to be the highest paid teen actress of all time, and she deserves it, too.

[ edited by Frick on 2010-08-12 12:26 ]
When Buffy was on, it was reported that by S7 SMG was making something like $375,000 per episode and Aly Hannigan $250,000. Not sure if that was true, but good work if you can get it. OTOH, since she never signed on as a regular, and thsu recieved union scale, it was reported that Amber Benson received $8,000 per episode (and $16,000 for Seeing Red, due to the change in her status for that one episode). Um, still good work if you can get it.
I'm thrilled to see Nathan Fillion getting so successful: I still think that that success could parlay into a movie sequel for 'Serenity'. I don't think it is a huge stretch, the movie ended up making money (if you count DVD sales) and now that the stars are more well known the sequel would do even better in the theaters.

Don't mind me, I"m still obsessed.
These sorts of numbers can get even higher. I believe I read at one point that for the final season of Frasier, Kelsey Grammar got $1.6mil per episode - and that has since been trumped. But as was said above, these actors make so much because their shows make so much. It's only fair that they get an equal fraction.

And seconding what embers said - couldn't a Serenity 2 be made capitalising on Nathan's fame? Not to mention Morena on V, plus the other successes. Also, I think anyone can tell that the number of Browncoats has multiplied several times over since 2005.
I'd be curious to see where Bryan Cranston fits into that list, because I'm sitting here watching Malcolm and I think he got an Emmy or a nod at least for this and I know he's won Best Actor for the last three years for the fantastic Breaking Bad. AMC is such a weird network, putting quality before ratings - its pretty spectacular. I'm interested to see how how much longer they can do that for.

Also, Ian Somerhalder needs a raise!
At first I thought, "Why is David Boreanaz making more money than Emily Deschanel?" And then I thought, "Why is David Caruso making any money at all?" And then I remembered that I don't understand anything about Hollywood in the first place.

Also, oh man, totally didn't realize Morpheus was in CSI. This might change things for my TV intake.

(Hi, Whedonesque! I'm new.)
Yep, Grissom took the red pill and turned into Morpheus. Truth(y).

(and welcome ;)
Generally speaking initial contracts are multiple year. The
standard when I was younger was 5 years but I have heard of a few
shorter ones in recent years. No studio is going to make a show
that turns out to be a hit and have the talent hold then up for
more money. On the other hand they do not wish to be seen as
vile and exploitive. This makes getting a raise tricky but at
least in some degree possible.

Raises are not something that you can safely demand unless you
are irreplaceable and that's damn few folks. Just ask Martin Landau
and Barbara Bain.

[ edited by JDL on 2010-08-12 15:29 ]
It's interesting that Zachary Levi makes only $60k. And Matt Bomer is already making $100k on White Collar. Wow.

[ edited by Wyndam_ on 2010-08-12 15:33 ]
Don't mind me, I"m still obsessed.

Hey - you're not alone.
Where are NPH and HIMYM?!?

They definitely deserve to be there.
If anybody ponders these things - take Zach Levi. This example is nothing to do with Zach or his talent, just using the number above.

If that $60k is accurate, that's about $1m a season (18 eps). However, all kinds of people take a cut from that fee - it's not unusual, after tax, to be taking home 25% of the total pay. So it's entirely possible it's about $250k for a years work. Keep in mind you're the title character so you're in most scenes, you're probably working 12 hour days on a regular basis, episodes take 7 days to shoot, you're juggling multiple directors, the network, the studio, the writers, your agent, publicity etc... He's the title character of that show, and is earning a not-disimilar amount to an ER doctor. When Chuck gets cancelled he may be out of work for a while - or in the case of many actors, a long time... years - so he's gotta save that money.

Hollywood, for an actor, is an extremely harsh environment.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-08-12 15:58 ]
@gossi - Well put. And based on what I've seen, talent seems to be the least important factor regarding how succesful an actor ends up being (or not). Seems like it mostly has to do with random luck and connections. (Btw, that's not to say I think that Nathan or anyone in particular on this list is untalented, but rather look at how long he struggled before he landed this opportunity, and then look at how "talented" some of our so-called A-list stars are). It's no wonder female actors, for example, are so willing to take their clothes off - you have to fight tooth and nail just to get noticed, and the supply of actors seems to far outweigh the demand. So kudos to anyone who actually makes a decent salary (and has a steady job) - that's a feat unto itself. And yeah, I hope they save their money ;)
So they start at that, then slice off 10% for the agent, another percentage if there is a manager and a publicist, and the taxes. I wonder what the actual "take home" is?
I have to disagree with Gossi; it is not as heavy a hit as he says, based on what I have heard my aunt and uncle discuss- both worked in executive positions in US television and for various programs at various times. Though point taken, just not so much. It is also important to remember that this is actually for 18 episodes, or about 4-5 months work, not for a full year's work. And this does not count residuals, future DVD sales profit sharing, endorsement potential, etc.

Joking about Grissom, uh, morphing into Morpheus, William Petersen remains an executive producer of CSI so still makes tons of money without even needing to act any more- and when he left, he was making $550,000 per episode as an actor.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-08-12 18:33 ]
Dana, if you only can find work 4-5 months a year then that is your annual salary. Most network broadcast shows work at least 8-9 months of the year. Only cable works in the time frame you mentioned.
Wow. David Spade must have the BEST agent in Hollywood.
So they start at that, then slice off 10% for the agent, another percentage if there is a manager and a publicist, and the taxes. I wonder what the actual "take home" is?

According to the book I read by one of the Alien Nation leads (Gary Grahame), if you're lucky, half.
Well, no matter how you scramble the numbers, Nathan is doing well, and I'm happy for that. Why, he could even buy us all lunch lol.
-Just not all at once :D
I'm waiting for the actors to find this. Let the twittering of behind the scenes fighting begin. Maybe we'll even get a twitpic of Nathan strangling David for daring to make more when his pants aren't even tight. ;P
I recognize that TV celebrities make a lot of dough because we pay it to them (via advertising costs being passed onto us). I am also sure that many of them make far more in proportion to others working on the same hit shows. I have no idea if the 'internal equity' numbers are as bad as they are for US corporations (CEO to average worker pay in large companies went from a 24:1 ratio in 1965 to 300:1 in 2000) but it would be interesting to know what writers, dps etc make in relation. And I'm sure they have lots of overhead which may be large in proportion to their gross income; many of us run offices, pay health care for employees, carry liability insurance etc which also reduces our net income considerably. All just the way it goes. However, if I am ever asked to build a world, I will happily populate it with a few more ER docs, community advocates, and high school teachers who are well-paid for their labors and a few less shiny TV-people. That was the thrust of my (clearly blinkered) opinion about value to society. End of rant ;-)
Charlie Sheen does not deserve that pay raise, especially since other actors had to loose the jobs (namely AJ Cook and Paget Brewster from Criminal Minds).

I'm still so angry at the sexist bullshit that CBS gets away with. Firing 2/3 of the female cast even while the male cast gets paid more? Apparently women are expendable and interchangeable. Frakking bullshit. It's reminded me how lucky we are that Joss gave us so many shows with so many great women.
What I'd like to know is why anyone is even watching 2-1/2 Men in the first place.
Baxter, the only TV show DP who's salary I have an inkling of is around $1500-$2000/day, though I think his salary is actually per episode... so $12000-$16000 an episode (contrary to Gossi's statement I've never known an hour-long to shoot for less than 8 days per episode, though they are out there). The range is only cause I don't know exactly where the number is, but it should be around there. That's for a cable show. He's a union DP, so he pays union dues every quarter (whether employed or not) which goes into his healthcare benefits.

A camera operator gets around $800-$1000/ 10hr day + OT.

And so on. I, as a camera PA today, get $125/12 hr day + OT. I'm not in the union, so I need to pay for my own healthcare, which I am not doing...

Charlie Sheen isn't paid for a job well done, he's paid not to leave. Agreement with that by the masses is not necessary, unfortunately.

I'm super happy for Nathan, he's come a long way, he deserves it.

[ edited by bobw1o on 2010-08-13 14:00 ]
While this is all nice and good... I DO hope the writers of these shows are getting paid a good deal of money as well.

I feel like, if I were in the position of David or Nathan, I'd end up feeling embarrassed about how much more I make than the writers/others. I'm just not sure how people justify their salaries when writers are the reason the show exists in the first place.

Meh. Oh well.

It makes me happy that these guys have such a steady, great source of income.
I work an office job and don't make nearly what these guys make and it's absolutely fair. I could have taken the risk and gone to Hollywood. Risked everything on what most people don't consider a real job. Most of these actors take a huge risk when they take on acting. They are shot down constantly and everything about them is scrutinized. Then take into account the cost of living in their area, housing costs, etc. Charlie Sheen aside (he benefited from his dad and I think he's behavior is about to bite him), these guys and girls still work for their money. And those of us in the "real world" benefit from their work. I like nothing better than coming home from a long work day and watching "Castle" or "Firefy" or whatever else is on. I appreciate their work. Are some of them overpaid? Sure. Are the writers important? Absolutely, but I thinking they get paid pretty well too. You just have to look at it from a different perspective. It's a risky job financially but someone has to do it. Be appreciative, not jealous. Jealousy is lame and unattractive. Insert smiley face emoticon here.

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