The theme song “Friends” may mention being broke, but the cast of “Friends” proved anything but during the show’s hugely successful 10 seasons. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow, the show depended on cast chemistry. And for the most part, that success extended off-screen as well.
During her decade on television, Aniston opened up about how the cast would bond during negotiations. This helped them increase their salaries while talks could have stalled. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said: “I remember that was one of the things when we were young and stupid and renegotiating, one of the things [studio’s] Threats read: “Well, we don’t need all six of you. We can do this with four of you.’ We thought, ‘What? You can? Can you get rid of Rachel or Joey or who?’ Then it was like, ‘No, they can’t, wake up.'” She added that they “really had so much fun together.”
In fact, all these years later, “Friends” is still proving hugely successful. The cast still profits heavily from repeats of the show, raking in fortunes each year. Exactly how much are they getting? Well, the number is in the millions!
Friends is proving successful to this day
According to USA Today, “Friends” earns enough each year to support its own economy. The show regularly earns Warner Bros. a whopping $1 billion a year from syndicated reruns. The “Friends” cast doesn’t get the biggest slice of the pie, but they do get 2% each year. This total amount adds up to around 20 million US dollars. That doesn’t include potential money made from streaming deals on Netflix and HBO Max.
When they started the show in Season 1, the cast was reportedly only making $22,500 per episode. That works out to around half a million dollars for the entire season. But the cast has renegotiated their contracts over the years. In season 9, they each earned $1 million, one of the highest television salaries at the time.
“Were we worth $1 million? It’s such an odd question to me,” Matt LeBlanc told HuffPost Live in 2015. “It’s like, well, that’s irrelevant. are you worth it ? We were able to get it.”
What the Friends cast said about the show’s success
“Friends” fans everywhere were over the moon as the cast reunited for a special reunion episode for HBO Max. But even after all these years, the six stars still banished each other when it came to salary negotiations. According to the Wall Street Journal, the stars turned down the starring role in the special when they were offered $1 million. They eventually agreed to film in exchange for $2.5 million.
But returning to a familiar set proved too much for Jennifer Aniston. The Friends star admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that she had to leave the set a couple of times because it was difficult to look back. “It was all very upsetting and of course you have cameras everywhere and I’m kind of emotionally approachable,” Aniston said.
Meanwhile, Matthew Perry shared how difficult it was to star on the show back then and worries about success. It reportedly took its toll, according to Page Six. “I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh,” he said. “The highs were high, the lows were low. But I lived to tell the story, even if at times it seemed like I wouldn’t.” But it wasn’t all terrible. Fellow star Courtney Cox said she wouldn’t trade her time on the show for anything else. “It was such a fortunate situation that I got on the show and I’ve been through so many things over those 10 years.”