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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wages for TV protagonists: where does the limit go?


Kit Harington, Emilia Clark, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau receive for $ 1.1 million per episode for their roles in Game of Thrones (HBO); Ellen Pompeo was thanked with 20 million a year for her Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) character. The case of Friends’ cast is well known. With Apple stepping in, how far where the wages go?

In the TV series world, David Schwimmer, eternally known as the Ross of Friends, was the first of the iconic cast who began to receive a rain of film offerings. It was time to ask for a pay raise but, instead of taking that freedom, he pulled the socialism of his theater company and consulted with his peers. Each salary was different, so they should negotiate together. If NBC discriminated against one, it would have none. In the end, they ended up with a million dollars for a work of half an hour. They still receive 20 million annually per repetition. It was a paradigm shift, but also a figure that would almost never be repeated in the open. Only the cast of The Big Bang Theory reached that round figure before trimming it to help their female companions. We all know they won it with sweat and tears, but now the environment is different. Word is Apple is about to land on television and brings the sweetest of all offers: money; yes, a lot of money. Salaries that have the power to change the world of the series forever or take it to another galaxy.

In case you do not know, the company created by Steve Jobs will pay 1.25 million dollars to Jennifer Aniston (also from Friends) and Reese Witherspoon for each of the 20 episodes of its new series. Do you think it is fair? The salary seems inflated for movie stars without even demonstrating that they can succeed weekly. It happened with Naomi Watts and its 500,000 per episode in the forgotten Gypsy of Netflix and it can happen with the return of George Clooney with Catch22, which will take him to the million club to which the main players of Game of Thrones also belong. When the cast of Big Little Lies heard that negotiation, it also took them to HBO. Witherspoon herself and Nicole Kidman will go from 350,000 to the million round for its second season. They negotiated together. They applied the Friends lesson. But sometimes there are those who break it, and win. The children of Stranger Things have just received an increase. Their salary will be multiplied by 12. Are you surprised enough? Disgusted enough?