The Friends reunion say its big stars enjoy a huge payday, again. We all know that the six Friends leads made a fortune from the show during its original run. When the comedy became a hit, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer teamed up to ensure that they all received the same fee per episode, meaning that all six earned one million dollars from the ninth season onwards. What we didn't realise is that the pay day never ended. The six actors are still benefiting from the programme's amazing success. And it turns out they're not the only ones.
Friends' decade-long run made it a TV favourite, and the series was repeated regularly even while new episodes were being made, enabling fans to have a binge-watch on the sofa long before the streaming sites came along. But Friends is still being repeated, constantly, all over the world, and can be found on Netflix in the UK. Every rewatch, every late-night marathon, every distribution deal with a streaming giant, is putting money in the pockets of most of those involved.
First, the obvious: Jennifer, Courteney, Lisa, Matt, Matthew and David. A report by USA Today claimed that Friends generates $1 billion a year for Warner Bros. The six stars are entitled to 2 percent of that amount. Get your calculator out: that's $20 million a year. Each.
They may have been the only ones who got to dance in the famous fountain, but Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross weren't the only characters, and they all receive annual payments dependent on their appearances.
In 2019, Vincent Ventresca - who played Monica's boyfriend Fun Bobby in only two episodes - revealed that he receives $2,000 a year. 'Every time I get a cheque I think to myself: “Wow, they must be really rich"' he told The Guardian. 'I get about $2,000 a year in residuals, and I only did two episodes.'
By that logic, other stars will be receiving around $1,000 a year for every episode they appeared in. So Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles, Ross and Monica's parents Jack and Judy, could be adding $20,000 and $19,000 to their bank accounts every year. Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice, could be getting a cheque for $19,000. Jane Sibbett, aka Ross's ex-wife Carol, may be receiving $15,000.
Gunther, actor James Michael Tyler - who sadly passed away yesterday at 59 - appeared in 147 episodes - the only non-core cast member to be seen in more than 100 shows - but didn't speak in all of them. 'I'm very happy if I get a residual cheque,' he told Bang Showbiz. 'I do get residuals. I wasn't paid a million dollars an episode, of course, that would be a completely different story ... I'm paid for episodes I spoke in and it's a sliding scale, I don't know how it works. I'm fortunate to have a supplement into my income because of Friends, however, I'm still a working actor.'