How Much Did F.R.I.E.N.D.S Stars Earn? Their Paychecks from Final Season Will Shock You
“So no one told you life was gonna be this way, your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A…” Do these lines sound familiar at all? If you know them by heart, then you must be a true F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan! And truth be told, if they were giving out prizes for shows that have stood the test of time, this sitcom would completely blow its competition out of the water.
With the 10 seasons that made up the show came breakout stars in Courtney Cox (Monica), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Matthew Perry (Chandler) and of course, David Schwimmer (Ross). Not that they were entirely unknown before being cast for their roles, but it was this show that catapulted them to the helm of their individual careers.
22nd September, 1994 just so happens to be the day the show’s pilot aired, and if you don’t remember Rachel showing up at Central Perk in her wedding gown, there must be something terribly wrong with your memory. Having been Monica’s friend since their high school days, she moved in with her, and thus our eternal friendship with them began.
Before the show, Lisa Kudrow was arguably the most famous of the cast members, thanks to playing Ursula Buffay on NBC’s Mad About You. Though she wasn’t a lead character, she had appeared enough times to have made quite the name for herself, so much so that the Friends showrunners created Phoebe as Ursula’s twin.
Courtney Cox, on the other hand, was famous for playing Lauren Miller on Family Ties, a character that was the lead actor’s (Michael J. Fox) love interest. Jenny was also not doing bad at all either, with her performance as Tory Reding in 1993’s Leprachaun shining the spotlight on her.
As for the boys, LeBlanc’s appearances in two of Bon Jovi’s music videos had made him famous, in addition to regularly appearing on Married… with Children. Matthew Perry had called LA home since his teenage years, and had appeared in several recurring roles and as a guest actor. Schwimmer had been on NYPD Blue, and had also appeared on some other films and TV shows.
Despite their previous exploits, they were all really lucky to land their specific roles in Friends, creating a revolutionary show while at it. Their services were accompanied by huge paychecks (obviously), and the fact that they actually became real friends worked in their favor, as they could negotiate for better pay as a unit.
For the first season, each “F.R.I.E.N.D” took home $22,500 per episode, which was boosted to $40,000 in season two. For season three, the cast made a Hollywood first by choosing to negotiate for a new contract as a group, with their unity paying off to the tune of $75,000 per episode each. The sum was to increase to $85,000, $100,000, and $125,000 each year till the end of the sixth season.
By then, the show had soared to massive heights that the actors felt they needed a significant raise. They chose the same approach as before, negotiating for $750,000 an episode for the seventh and eighth seasons. And if you think that was mad money, how about the $1 million per episode they made in the show’s final two seasons?
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