For the vast majority of actors, the dream is to snag a role on a popular TV show. Movies offer quick injections of cash, but a series will come with a steady income flow. It depends on the syndication deal, but stars typically make millions of dollars every year, even just through reruns. Most of the time, these deals are rather straightforward. It typically involves signing a contract during the show’s tenure with an indicated amount about how much they will make from the reruns. The show’s popularity determines the amount since it will indicate how likely the networks will air the future reruns. This list will show you how much money goes into the syndication. You will soon realize that there is plenty of money on the big screen and the small screen.
Best known for playing Sam Malone in Cheers, Ted Danson has experienced a lot of success through the years. The show remains one of the most successful series to grace the small screen. Once production wrapped up, fans learned interesting things about it. For one thing, the location of the show is called the Bull & Finch Pub. Can you believe that they simply picked the name out of a phone book? The producers then asked the owner of the bar if they could shoot the exterior for footage. Apparently, he agreed to do it for a dollar. Since the show, Ted Danson landed roles in A Good Place, Bored to Death, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. If he plans to retire, he would still rake in as much as $5 million a year thanks to his ‘80s sitcom. It must be nice to fall back on that.
In Full House, Bob Saget brought Danny Tanner to life. Did you know that he has the biggest residual checks in the cast? In an interview, he said that they do not amount to much. The actor said he would only make $2 to $2,000 since no executive producer. According to him, the residuals were essential “nothing.” However, we are sure that he is now making more money because Fuller House is on Netflix. It ran for five seasons until it was canceled in the spring of 2019. The producer of the show, Jeff Franklin, rakes in a lot of money for it. While Full House internationally aired, it sometimes saw even more popularity in syndication. Dave Coulier played one of the main “uncles” and called the series a “G-rated” show about a “dysfunctional family.”
Now retired, David Caruso portrayed Detective Horatio Caine in CSI: Miami. The former actor and producer remained active in Hollywood from 1975 all the way to 2012. The crime show enjoyed several spinoffs because people simply could not get enough of crime shows. He does not say anything to worry about because he still gets passive income from the reruns, which airs on cable TV and streaming platforms. Reports say that it generated more than $6 billion overall. Anthony Zuiker created the show and made $150 million as an executive producer. Nina Tassler, a TV critic, said that CSI: Miami was a “key player” in the quest of CBS to climb “to the top.” We are sure that the network would not have seen the same success level if it were not for the police procedural.
Younger readers will probably be more familiar with Ray Romano for the Ice Age series. But he first gained recognition for starring in a CBS show called Everybody Loves Raymond. The show went on for nine seasons until its finale aired in 2005. A lot of fans were heartbroken to say goodbye to the Barone family. However, did you know that every episode of the show was made in a workweek? On Monday, the cast members read through the script. They would then film on Friday after they figured out the camera blocking and tweaked the script as needed. The actor is now one of the richest Emmy awardees in history because of his royalty checks. Can you believe that he brings home around $18 million per year from this alone? We can see why he is a common face on Forbes lists.
M*A*S*H might have a serious subject, but it had a comic twist to it as well! It was quite impressive that it gave the audiences the right emotional connection on top of all that. Alan Alda played the lead role in the show. At first, he only brought home $10,000 or so per episode for playing Hawkeye. By the end of it, this figure grew to around $235,000. He does not make as much as other famous sitcom actors do, only raking in as much as a million in royalties per year. At any rate, he is still a rich man thanks to his successful career. He has also made money from the spin-offs and specials. The show had a spinoff called AfterMASH, which had two seasons, but Trapper John was the more successful spinoff. There were also movies and documentaries throughout the ‘80s.
It is not enough to call Baywatch a show. After all, the more accurate description is a cultural phenomenon. There was a time when it had a weekly viewership of 1.1 billion viewers. This also elevated Pamela Anderson to the status of a sex symbol in the vein of Marilyn Monroe. However, it would be a disservice to ignore David Hasselhoff simply! On the show, he often had to peel his shirt to bring Mitch to life. While the show does not have as many reruns as others, the actor still makes a pretty penny. The Hoff could bring home about $4 million per year for his work in the past. The show came to an end in May 2001, but that was not the last time he appeared in the franchise. He had a cameo in the 2017 flick that was based on the show. Check it out!
In many ways, The Golden Girls had been ahead of its time. Even though it was the early ‘9s, Betty White, Estelle Getty, Beatrice Arthur, and Rue McClanahan talked about womanhood as openly as anyone has in front of the camera. The script was witty enough on its own, but the show also benefitted from these amazing actresses’ talents. Now nearing a hundred years old, Betty White is practically an institution. The career of the comedienne has since slowed down, but she has yet to stop. Aside from that, she continues to make money from the show! Her bank account sees $3 million a year, thanks to it. Fun fact: the house in the opening theme of the show is found in Brentwood, California, even though the show took place in Florida. In 2020, the owner put it on the market for $3 million.
Like Sheldon Cooper, Jim Parsons took the world by storm when he joined The Big Bang Theory cast. He was able to deliver hilarious one-liners without missing a beat. Like Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki, he became a household name thanks to the sitcom. In the last season of the show, he had been making $900,000 per episode. This was not always the case. During the first three seasons of the show, he had been making a maximum of $60,000 per episode. When the fourth season rolled in, the stars renegotiated their contracts and made $200,000 per episode instead. For every season that came after that, their salary increased by $50,000 per episode. The longevity and the popularity of the sitcom have allowed the stars to profit from it even though it has ended. Parsons is expected to make $10 million a year from the reruns!
If you are a fan of Friends, we are sure that you know David Schwimmer as the guy who played Ross. He continues to cash in $20 million checks for his work on the sitcom! After it came to an end, he went on to star in projects like American Crime Story, The Laundromat, and Madagascar. The first episode of the show came out on September 22, 1994. He played the lovesick paleontologist, one of the six core members of the cast. To this day, people continue to reference one line uttered by the actor on the show: “We were on a break!” The sitcom was on the air for ten seasons and saw a lot of success during its run. As a matter of fact, the finale of the show had a viewership of 52.5 million viewers. It is not hard to understand why the royalties are so big.
Are you familiar with Ed O’Neill? Nowadays, most people know him for playing Jay in Modern Family. However, this was not his first rodeo. He first gained fame for his portrayal of Al Bundy in Married… with Children. It was on the air from 1987 to 1997. Together with Katey Sagal, the actor entered the hearts and living rooms of millions of families across the nation. The TV how always made headlines for the jokes, which had been ahead of its time. They only reigned it in once advertisers started to drop the show after a particular episode. If you want to see the unaired ones, you have to buy its DVD. O’Neill is a lucky guy since another show revived his career. He makes $10 million or so a year, thanks to the success of the show. We bet Modern Family checks will be even bigger.
In Friends, Matt LeBlanc played Joey. He also raked in three Emmy nominations for it and residual checks worth $20 million thanks to this role. The actor also starred in Joey, a spinoff of the show focused on his character. Sadly, it was only on the air from 2004 to 2006l. Its short run was brought about by the fact that the ratings did not make the execs happy. Aside from that, critics did not like it either. The first episode of the show might have seen 4.1 million views, but they started to drop not long after that. Even so, it had a viewership of 10.1 million views, which was average for the network. Once the ratings dropped down to 4.1 million, NBC made the call to pull the plug on it. The spinoff show had 46 episodes in total, but the network did not air eight of them.
We have yet another Friends alum on the list. Jennifer Aniston played Rachel on the show for the entirety of its run. The show is one of the most popular projects to have hit the small screen. It saw unprecedented success on television and shot the cast members to stardom. On top of that, the sitcom remains popular even to this day! This is the reason the show still rakes in a billion dollars a year. From that amount, $20 million goes to each of the stars of the show. The actress can actually stop working right now and still live a cushy lifestyle if she wants. As it stands, it does not look like she is planning to put an end to her career any time soon. There is an upcoming reboot of the legendary sitcom, and we simply cannot wait until it gets here.
David Hyde Pierce
This actor recently reflected on the show’s 20th anniversary when he appeared on the Katie Couric Show. David Hyde Praise only had praise for his fellow actors on the set. He is best known for playing a psychiatrist called Dr. Niles Crane in Frasier. For a while, the show was dubbed the “smartest show on television.” The first season came out in 1993, and it took the world by storm. More details about the show have come out since then. Did you know that actor Kesey Grammar once crashed his car and received a DUI? The cast staged an intervention so that he could help. This meant delaying production for a month, but we are sure that it was well worth it. The show ended with a two-part finale called “Goodnight, Seattle” in 2004. Its reruns have made a total of $40 million so far.
You might not know this, but Maureen McCormick had been a big commercial star before landing her iconic role in The Brady Bunch. It was a show about a clean-cut family back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Recently, the cast members talked about how hard it was to get residual checks from the show. They wanted to renegotiate the deal, but their contracts came with airtight no-residuals clauses. The actors and actresses only make a small fee if footage from the show is used in movies. We hope that the actress can make some money from the promos associated with the show’s spinoffs. The series was a huge hit and has resulted in various spin-offs and reunion films. The list includes projects such as The Brady Bunch Hours, The Brady Girls Get Married, The Bradys, The Brady Brides, and A Very Brady Christmas.
For every new episode of NCIS, Mark Harmon brings home $125,000. The actor plays Special Agent Jethro Gibbs on the show. His character is a no-nonsense investigator that leads a team of agents as they solve various crimes. The first season of the show came out in September 2003. Since then, the CBS show has spawned two spinoffs: NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. Did you know that the original show is currently the seventh-longest primetime TV series on air in the United States? It has yet to show any signs of stopping. An online poll site called Harris asked Americans about their favorite TV show in 2011. The top spot went to none other than NCIS. In May 2020, the 18th season was announced. It looks like the show will stay here for a little while longer!
With its loveable characters and witty script, Seinfeld stole the hearts of viewers in the ‘90s. When it came to an end in 1998, everyone was devastated. Even though it has been a long time since then, creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld still make money. While it depends on the syndication deal, they each stand to earn $110 million every year for the sitcom. It is even said that the actor is worth nearly a billion bucks. If you are a Netflix subscriber, we have good news for you. The show that E! once called the “#1 reason the 1990s ruled” will be exclusively streamed on the platform in 2021. Not only that, but Netflix will broadcast the show in 4K for the first time. It is worth watching the sitcom once more because the show has never looked this good before.
Most people are familiar with this sociologist and psychologist thanks to his talk show. Did you know that Dr. Phil got his start as a resident human behavior expert on Oprah’s show? When she realized that he was a hit among the viewers of her show, she gave him a program of his own! His first show went on air in 2002. It has raked in high ratings since then. Before his career in show business, he spent 25 years working as a psychologist. You can watch his show at 5 p.m. on the Oprah Winfrey Network weekdays. Not only that, but it has also spawned Dr. Phil Now. It features current events or older events that have reemerged for one reason or another. The spinoff comes from the KCBS-TV master control room. He stands to make as much as $10 million in residual checks.
From 2003 to 2015, Two and a Half Men dominated the small screen. Critics have panned the show, but this did not stop it from earning a core fan base that stayed loyal. The show was on the air for twelve seasons and paid out checks worth millions. The highest ones go to the show’s original three members: Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones. At the peak of the show, Cryer was bringing home around $620,000 per episode. There has been talking of a potential reboot, although this largely depends on Charlie Sheen. Aside from him, the possibility of a spinoff is also made difficult by the departure of Jones. After he joined a church, he decided to leave the show. In 2012, he shared that the sitcom “contradict[ed] his moral values.” Not only that, but he also asked fans to stop watching it!
Most people who know Kelsey Grammar remember him as the serious but hysterical Frasier Crane. After all, he played this role for more than two decades! He first took on Cheers’ role, but the spin-off show Frasier took on a life of its own. It focused on him and his family in Seattle. It remained on the air for eleven seasons until it reached the end in 2004. Back then, he made $1.6 million per episode of the show. It has been quite some time since then, but the actor still makes $13 million a year from syndication checks and reruns. Recently, there has been talking about the revival of the sitcom. It is “being discussed,” apparently. The show had likeability, critical appraisal, and high ratings, so that a reboot will be a fantastic idea. It brought home 37 Emmys and set a record for scripted series.
Since NBC has the rights to A Good Place, it does not seem likely that the cast members will get royalties from reruns. Aside from Kristen Bell, the sitcom stars Ted Danson as well. The first episode came out on September 19, 2016. This award-winning show aired 53 episodes during the course of its four seasons. The show was in limbo for a little while until Netflix picked it up for its final season. It was produced by Joe Mande and David Hyman, while Megan Amram wrote the show. The show got a lot of praise, partly for the performance of Ted Danson. TV Guide even called him the best “sitcom actor of all time.” On the other hand, the New York Times said that the “most refreshing thing” about A Good Place was its “optimism” about “human nature.” We definitely agree with that!
With his performance in Law & Order, Sam Waterston brought home a Golden Globe. He has also enjoyed a great movie career and won an Academy Award for The Killing Fields. Primarily a dramatic actor, he has appeared in a Netflix sitcom called Grace & Frankie as well. Even though he makes hundreds of thousands through that show, he still rakes in money from Law & Order’s reruns. He is set to reprise his old role in a spinoff called Law & Order: SVU and bring home $50,000 a year for that. NBC saw a lot of success with the original show and wanted to return it for a ten-episode miniseries back in 2015. Sadly, this did not pan out. The creator of the series, Dick Wolf, said that the show is now officially left to “the history books.”
The world became acquainted with Johnny Galecki in Leonard’s role in a sitcom called The Big Bang Theory. Together with his costars, the show turned him into a millionaire. All good things have to come to an end, however. The show aired the finale in May 2019. The sitcom got its first syndication deal in 2010. The stations owned and operated by Fox had been the first ones to pick it up, but TBS and Warner Bros. had cable rights as well. While the numbers remain confidential, sources say that the figures set a record. The residuals make for a good source of income. As the TV show’s main character, it is said that Galecki brings home $10 million thanks to the reruns. If you miss the sitcom as much as we do, you can get your fix by watching Young Sheldon instead.
This actress lends her voice to Lois Griffin in Family Guy. She plays the long-suffering wife of Peter Griffin on the show and makes $225,000 per episode. This amount is the result of a renegotiation. On the other hand, her on-screen husband is played by none other than Seth McFarlene. At any rate, Alex Borstein makes millions from the residuals since she plays one of the main characters on the show. She has also found critical acclaim and a huge audience in the world of live-action as well. You might have seen her in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! The actress has actually worked on every episode of the animated comedy show. Americans can’t seem to get enough of it! It is now in its 20th season. Sadly, The Cleveland Show spinoff does not get the same amount of love.
Lucifer is a Fox supernatural drama that enjoyed a run of three seasons. Sadly, the network gave it the ax. We were relieved when Netflix decided to pick it up for its fourth season. Tom Ellis, who plays Lucifer Morningstar, has been on the show from the very beginning. He is said to make $50,000 per episode of the show. We are sure that he will bring home a big residual check in the future. Did you know that the show’s budget was estimated to go up from $3.5 million per episode in the fourth season to $7.7 million per episode in its fifth and final season? This is more than double the original!
This comedienne recently made a TV comeback with a new series called A Little Help. If you are interested, you should check it out on Netflix. Before that, she used to be famous thanks to The Carol Burnett Show. She was the show’s main star, making history one of the first shows to prominently feature a female comedian. Burnett eventually talked about the residual checks, and she said that she only made a penny for each DVD of the show sold. Aside from that, she said that she makes less than that for episodes that aired. Part of this has to do with the fact that music copyrights forced them to cut out specific segments from each episode’s full hour.
Also known as the Toolman, Tim Allen is best known as the host of a home improvement show called Home Improvement. It first came out in 1991 and aired the final episode eight years later. Produced by Walt Disney Studios, the show had a total of 2014 episodes. He once said that he was “very interested” in the idea of a reunion. Every month, the star brings home residual checks from the ‘90s show. Since the show ended in 1999, the actor has received around $18 million from reruns. That is definitely nothing to sneeze at. If a reunion happens, there is a good chance that this will go up.
Jonny Lee Miller
Elementary starred Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller. They both made $130,000 or so each from the CBS show. It was a retelling of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It is so interesting that it is set in modern New York City and stars a female Watson. On the show, Jonny Lee Miller plays the beloved detective. He earns $1,000 per year thanks to the residuals of the show. The procedural drama was on the air from 2012 to 2019 and had Robert Doherty as its executive producer. He was also the person behind TV shows like Tru Calling, Point Pleasant, Heavenly, Medium, and Ringer.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, we got to see Patrick Stewart in Jean Luc Picard’s role. The members of the cast worked hard into the show and even attended conventions to promote it. Despite their efforts, the actor said that he did not get residual checks from the show. At the height of his career, he got hundreds of thousands per series. He received an even higher salary for the movies, earning as much as $13 million for one of those. If you are a fan of the franchise, you should check out Star Trek: Picard. It is a spinoff show that focuses on the character that he originally played.
In 1987, the show named after her came out on Fox. It remained on the air until 1990. The variety show opened with a theme song penned by George Clinton called “You’re Thinking Right.” Tracey Ullman has appeared in several other projects. She is not only an actress but also a dancer and singer! She continues to bring home a maximum of $5,000 for the show since the Fox network still airs reruns. Did you know that she has lent her voice to various The Simpsons characters as well? However, she had to fight with the producers to get the residual checks from the long-running animated show.
With her husband Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball took the world by storm in I Love Lucy. It basically invented the sitcom as we know it! Aside from that, the TV show also started the trend of reruns and residual checks. The two lead stars have since died, but their estate continues to rake in money from the legendary show. This means that they continued to receive residual payments for more than thirty years, not the network. We do not think that this is the case anymore, however. After all, Desilu was purchased by CBS in 2018. Aside from I Love Lucy, this also meant handing the network the rights to Star Trek too. We are sure that the estate made a lot of money from the sale.
There is a chance that you already know which show holds the title of the longest-running animated comedy show. This honor goes to none other than The Simpsons! It has been running for 32 seasons and counting. We all know Bart Simpson, but did you know that Nancy Cartwright voices him? With the rest of the stars, she makes as much as $20 million a year from the show’s reruns. When it comes to new episodes, she earns $400,000 an episode. It is neat to hear that the voice actress has held this position the whole time. She has been bringing Bart to life since the show began in the ‘80s!
Daniel J. Travanti
Are you familiar with Hill Street Blues? It was a police drama that was on the air for seven seasons. Over the course of the series, it spawned a total of 146 episodes. Daniel J. Travanti took on the role of Captain Furillo on the show. He even earned two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and many nominations for his character portrayal. Even though the show came to a close in 1987, the actor could bring home residual checks. They had since slowed down when shows like CSI, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, and Law & Order entered the scene. Despite everything, a few thousand dollars a year is better than nothing at all! Good for him.
Even though the US version of The Office got more popular, the UK version was here first. In the original, Ricky Gervais brought David Brent to life. The actor said that the show is “the gift that keeps on giving.” This is interesting as the UK version of the show only had two seasons. At any rate, he rakes in as much as a million bucks per year from reruns! His character was the equivalent of Michael Scott, who Steve Carrell brought to life across the pond. Did you know that Gervais actually showed up on the US version of the show? We are sure that fans of the original show were delighted to see him there.
Before she starred in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Marg Helgenberger was first a dramatic actress. She took various roles in different soap operas! Things changed for her when she was cast in the police procedural. She was on the show from 2000 to 2015. The actress said that her time on the show was a “comfortable niche.” It must still feel that way since she is still making money out of it with the residuals. The actress continues to star in crime shows such as All Rise, a legal drama from CBS. Her fans must have been happy to hear that she was going back to the network for a new project.
From October 1989 to December 1998, Birds of a Feather ruled the small screen. It is a hit British sitcom that aired on BBC 1. It was about Sharon and Tracey’s two sisters, respectively, played by Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke. Even though it was canceled after over nine years, the BBC gave it a reboot 15 years after it got the ax. Since then, the show has spawned several Christmas specials. When the actress was interviewed by The Telegram, she said that “repeats of the original series aren’t shown on terrestrial channels very much, so I get a couple of hundred pounds now and again. It’s always nice to get a cheque I wasn’t expecting.” She is said to make $200 to $300 a year.
You might not be familiar with the name Tom Kenny, but you have definitely heard his voice before. After all, he is the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants in the Nickelodeon show of the same name. You can watch it on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu if you feel like reliving your childhood. The show first came out on May 1, 1999. The TV show is still running and has not yet shown any sign of stopping. At the moment, there are thirteen seasons out. While it is still on the air, Nickelodeon has already made millions of dollars in reruns. It is said that the children’s show rakes in as much as $11 million a year.
In Roseanne, John Goodman plays the husband of the title character. This means that he was the onscreen spouse of Roseanne Barr on the show. The soap opera ran from October 1988 to May 2018. Right now, the actor still earns as much as a million dollars from the residuals. On top of that, he makes a lot of money from his career on the big screen. In 2018, he said that he was “heartbroken” over the abrupt cancelation of the reboot 2018. He claimed to be “surprised” when ABC execs decided to give it to ax after Barr posted a controversial tweet. We doubt that the show is going to get another shot at life after this.
Mum is a BBC show that was broadcasted by BBC Two. It enjoyed a run of three seasons with eighteen episodes. Called “heart-wrenching” and “touching,” it follows the struggle of a family as the matriarch attempts to move past her husband’s death. The main character Cathy is played by none other than the talented Lesley Manville. Stefan Golaszewski is the TV program creator, which has a 100 percent rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian said that the series “broke our hearts.” Despite this, the show only sees around $2,000 in residual checks a year. The figure is so low since it had low viewership, the same reason it got the ax.
There is no way that we can forget about Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe in Friends. We always loved to watch her as the bubbly blonde on the hit sitcom. Did you know that she actually has a lot of things in common with her character? However, the actress claimed that she hated the way they dumbed down her character. It is also fascinating to hear that costar Matt LeBlanc was there to help her look for Phoebe’s right tone. The entire cast of the show receives as much as $20 million a year. Anyway, you might have also seen her in other TV shows such as Cheers, Bo Jack Horseman, and Mad About You. The actress was also in The Comeback, which was on the air for two seasons.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
The world fell in love with actress Sarah Michele Gellar when she starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was based on the film starring Kristy Swanson. In the series, Gellar was cast to play a Chosen One fated to fight demons, vampires, and the like. The show earned a loyal following and remained on the air for six seasons. From 1997 to 2003, it spawned a total of 144 episodes. The theme song was rather ironic too! You can still catch reruns of the TV show on UPN. Thanks to this, she rakes in about a million bucks in residual checks. We are sure that she can bank on this for quite some time.
Where do we even start with Julia Louis- Dreyfus? She made it big on the global stage by playing Elaine in the long-running sitcom Seinfeld. Aside from the TV show, she also made us laugh during her time on Veep and SNL. She has played a lot of iconic roles over the years. The actress continues to make millions of dollars from Seinfeld, which was on the air from 1989 to 1998. In fact, it is not rare for her to receive questions about it during interviews. She once joked that the motto of the show was, “No learning, no hugging.” If you feel nostalgic about it, you can still catch its reruns on NBC. Jerry Seinfeld owns the rights to it, which has turned him into one of the wealthiest comedians ever. So that you know, Seinfeld rakes in $400 million in residuals.
The Sopranos is one of the greatest things to grace the world of television. Edie Falco was one of the stars of the show. From 1999 to 2007, she was the onscreen wife of Tony Soprano. The show was shot in New Jersey and broadcasted by HBO. “Made in America,” the last episode of the series, came out on June 10, 2007. On top of the huge residuals from it, the actress was also nominated six times for her portrayal of Carmela. She won three of those, and they were all for Outstanding Lead Actress. Aside from that show, she was also in Nurse Jackie and Oz. The residuals from the show are estimated to have a total of as much as $26 million.
This actor has since become one of the wealthiest movie actors in history. At the beginning of his career, he starred in ER. The TV show has fetched him up to $13 million a year in residual checks. The show was made by Michael Crichton, who is also the creator of Jurassic Park. In the show, George Clooney brought Dr. Doug Ross to life until its fifth season. The show came to an end on September 19, 1994. It felt like the entire world fell in love with him as the resident stud of General Hospital. We bet that folks who watched the show solely due to the actor and his good looks!
There is a good chance that you know Drake best as an actor. However, he was once on a teen drama called Degrassi as well. In the show, he was cast to play a basketball star called Jimmy Brooks. He appeared in 145 episodes of the hit Canadian drama. His tenure went on from 2001 to 2008. The show ended on August 2, 2015, but he decided to pursue his rap career instead. He now has a net worth of $150 million, making him one of the richest musicians in this day and age. He does not get a lot of money from the TV show. In fact, he posted a residual check that only came to $8.62. We do not know if he is bothered by the minuscule amount. At any rate, his music career has been doing well.
Chad Michael Murray
This heartthrob brought Lucas Scott to life on One Tree Hill, which the WB/CW broadcasted. Chad Michael Murray first appeared on the show on September 23, 2003. The series ended with a two-part finale in April 2012. He played the “good son” in the show instead of Nathan, who James Lafferty portrayed. You can still watch the show on the CW these days. He has profited off of the runs even though he has not acted in quite some time. The residual checks go up to $100,000 a year. The series was created by Mark Schwahn, who is the head writer and executive producer. Another member of the cast is Sophia Bush. You might also be familiar with her work in Chicago PD.
You might already know that Hank Azaria is a long-time member of The Simpsons cast. He started his tenure all the way back in 1989. The actor has no idea that he would be asked to return to voice Apu after the first couple of seasons. At any rate, it happened. Not only that, but they also asked him to be the voice actor of Chief Wiggum. The app is not the main character, but he has one of the longest tenures on the show! This explains why he gets as much as $10 million a year from the animated TV show’s residuals. That is not bad at all, no matter how you look at it.
Here is one more member of the original cast of Friends. Like the five other main stars, Courteney Cox gets as much as $20 million each year from the residuals. On the show, she brought Monica Geller to life. Her career did not end when the show wrapped up. The actress was also nominated for a Golden Globe with her portrayal of Jules in Cougar Town. Aside from that, she played Gale in a horror movie series called Scream. This was an interesting career move because it was very different from her typical sitcom roles. She recently reunited with Lisa Kudrow on The Ellen Show. The two of them guest-starred on the talk show in February 2019.
Did you know that Pretty Little Liars was based on a series of books? The drama starred several actresses, such as Shay Mitchell. Aside from the TV show, she was in Dreamland, Mother’s Day, and Hannah Grace’s Possession. Even though the TV show was about high school students, it was not your typical treen drama whatsoever. It was all about an anonymous person called “A” who was threatening to expose the main characters for their misdeeds. While the show came to an end in 2017, it remains highly binge-able. Sadly, Mitchell has no rights to the TV show. It is clear in her contract that she would not get royalties from it. Ouch.
In one interview, Tim Daly said that Wings is “Seinfeld’s stepchild.” The premiere came out in 1990, and the show enjoyed a run of seven seasons. It starred the actor as a part-owner of a business that offers commuter plane service. The show’s two-part finale is called “Final Approach” and saw many viewers when it came out. The NBC show continues to be aired on the network. It had a run of 172 episodes. According to the actor, he has watched the DVD set “several times.” Sadly, he has not made much from residuals because NBC locked it all up for itself. Daly only sees $1,000 a year from DVD sales.
You may know French Stewart as Harry Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun. The show went on air on January 9, 1996. On the show, the actor played an alien that landed on earth by accident. Its final episode came out on May 22, 2001. NBC aired the show and owned the rights to it. Its two-part series finale received good ratings even though it was up against the strong competition. After all, it was running during the sitcom boom of the early 2000s. Sadly, the actors do not make a lot of money from the residual checks. In fact, the DVD sales have only given the cast members $1,000 or so a year.
The brains behind Alf (Alien Life Form is none other than Paul Fusco. The voice actor made the sitcom that focuses on a crash-landed creature on earth and was adopted by a suburban family. It has spawned a ton of fan merch because of how distinctive the alien in question looked. Tom Patchett worked on the show alongside Fusco. The last episode came out in 1990 because NBC pulled the plug on it after receiving low ratings. However, NBC president Brandon Tartikoff said that he regretted this decision. He believed that the show should have gone on for several more seasons. At any rate, the reruns of the show amount to around $300 per episode.
Michael J. Fox
In Family Ties, we got to see Michael J. Fox at the height of his career. It first came out in 1982 and came to an end in 1989. The actor later revealed that he was “almost fired” since his face “wasn’t handsome enough” for the fan merch. The showrunners ended up changing their mind. Like many entries on the list, the show ended in a two-part finale. NBC gave it the ax because its ratings had been on the decline. NBC has the rights to the show, so the stars were not privy to the residuals. The actor shared that he once had to hitchhike to the set because of its low pay.
In The Wonder Years, Fred Savage brought Kevin Arnold the life. The character was a teenage boy in the suburbs during the late ‘60s. It went on for 115 episodes and had a theme song called “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Yes, it was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the Beatles. ABC owns all the rights to the drama, so the stars do not get residual checks. Many fans felt that the cancelation was very abrupt. Apparently, it was brought about by a conflict between the studio execs and the producers. The latter wanted to add more mature storylines to reflect the growth of the main character. However, the execs did not approve of that idea. In the end, they decided just to end it.
Henry Winkler and Ron Howard starred in Happy Days, which has since spawned several spinoffs. It first came on the air in 1974 and ended in 1984. Over the course of eleven seasons, it had a total of 255 episodes. The two actors sued ABC for the residuals of the show. It was settled years after the finale came out. In the end, the stars of the show got a payment of $65,000. On top of that, they get money from the DVD sales as well. ABC still owns the rights to the reruns, which still airs now and then. If you ask us, $65,000 is not bad at all. This is even truer now that they are nearing retirement.
Gotham is a spinoff show about the origin story of Batman himself. Based on DC Comics, it follows Bruce Wayne. Ben McKenzie is also there in the role of Jim Gordon. The show features several supervillains like The Riddler, Penguin, and the Joker. It had a run of five seasons until it ended on April 25, 2019. Scott White was the show’s creator, but McKenzie directed and wrote many of the episodes. They made a hundred episodes before it went off the air. If you wanted to know, the last supervillain on the show was none other than Bane. Residuals go up to $10,000 a year.
It is safe to call South Park one of the biggest shows to ever air on Comedy Central. Still, we are sure that it would have gone off the air much earlier if it were not animated. The creators of the show have made $500 million in residuals from the show. In case you are not familiar with it, the series follows juvenile delinquents called Kyle, Stan, and Cartman. The creators of the show met in college and voice the characters. The TV show first came on the air in 1997. It now has more than twenty seasons. On the show, it is not rare to hear shots fired at Family Guy and The Simpsons.
Up next, we want to talk about one more DC superhero origin story. Arrow follows the rise of Green Arrow and first went on air in 2012. Did you know that it has since spawned two spinoffs? We are talking about The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. All three of these shows are set in the Arrowverse. Stephen Amell played the main superhero, who happens to be a billionaire playboy. The show enjoyed a run of eight seasons and 170 episodes. This means that it has nearly double the number of episodes that Gotham did! Production of the show took place in Vancouver. Amell is said to make as much as a hundred thousand bucks from reruns of the show.
You might be familiar with Matt Stone if you are a fan of South Park. With Trey Rogers, he created the TV show in their dorm room and split the proceeds in half. This is the reason they are each worth $500 million now. The two of them first aired the show in August 1997. It has been more than two decades since then, but it is still going strong. Not only that, but it has since inspired a slew of merchandise as well! Even though it is not kid-friendly, the show tends to attract a lot of younger viewers. The primary audience of the show would be people in their mid-teens the too early twenties.
The Crown is a TV series that you can watch on Netflix. Even though it is one of Hollywood’s biggest things right now, the main actors will probably not receive royalties from streaming. You might not be aware that the show is based on the play “The Audience.” It is all about characters from the royal family in the ‘40s. The main actress of the show is Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth II in her youth. The series gave us a good idea of her early reign, but it covers other events in the family’s history. It is always fascinating to see what happens in this TV show!
In Gotham, Morena Baccarin brought Dr. Leslie Thompkins to life. Her origin story is also complex. The character ends up married to Jim Gordon on the TV show. Isn’t it amazing to hear that the actress is actually married to her onscreen husband in real life? She fell in love with Ben McKenzie on the set of the show! The two of them tied the knot in 2017. She brings home as much as $10,000 a year in residuals. Aside from the superhero show, she was also cast to play Vanessa in Deadpool and Inara in Firefly. As you can imagine, this makes her a legend at ComicCon. The Brazilian-American star has also appeared in TV shows like Homeland and The Mentalist.
Second, only to The Simpsons, Family Guy has one of the longest airtimes of any animated comedy series. At the moment, it has nineteen seasons to its name. It is the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, who is also behind Orville and American Dad. The main stars of the show scored big raises in 2013. It does not only involve current episodes but residuals as well! They now bring home $225,000 per episode of the show and up to $400,000 in residuals each year. It is syndicated and available on streaming services. It is said that the show has since raked a total of $2 billion! Whoa.
In I Love Lucy, we were introduced to Desi Arnaz as the husband of Lucille Ball. The two broke up in 1960, but the pair wanted to profit from their divorce instead of the attorneys. This is the reason they kept running the company and the sitcom with each other. Desilu, their company, was purchased by CBS in 2018. Even so, their estate continued to make as much as $7.5 million per year in residuals before this. The divorce has been described as “horrible” by their friends. However, it is a good thing that they could at least set their differences aside in the name of profit.
Do you know who played the title character in Gilligan’s Island? The correct answer to that question is Bob Denver! The show follows seven people who got shipwrecked on an island. It was on the air for three seasons in the ‘60s. Viewers loved its clean humor. Its reruns are still aired to this day. In 2005, the actor passed away after a battle with cancer. By then, it had been almost four decades since the finale of the TV show came out. His estate still gets some money from the residuals. Over the course of the past 38 years, he has raked in a total of around $90 million from the reruns of the show. Sweet.
iZombie is a supernatural crime show from the CW. Did you know that it was adapted from “Vertigo,” a DC Comics series? It was the brainchild of Chris Roberson and Michael Allred. The first episode of the show came out on March 17, 2015. On the other hand, the finale was released on August 1, 2019. Aly Michalka was one of the main characters of the series. If her name sounds familiar to you, you might have known her during her days as a Disney child star. The show offers a more comedic take on a zombie apocalypse. In case you were wondering if the show is worth the watch, we will let the numbers speak for themselves. It has received a rating of 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8 out of 10 on IMDb.
This heartthrob starred in Poldark, a TV show that aired on BBC One. The first episode came out on March 8, 2015. It was on the air for five seasons until August 2019. The show got high ratings and featured stars like Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Heida Reed, Jack Farthing, and Luke Norris. It did not pay much in residual checks, however. There is a good chance that Turner rakes in more from other projects like Being Human. That show was on the air from 2008 to 2013. SAG-AFTRA is an organization that processes residual checks worth 1.5 million residual checks every year. According to it, the residuals of the BBC One show are not on the list.
In Two and a Half Men, the world watched Charlie Sheen in the role of Charlie Harper. He starred in the show for eight seasons, but he was ultimately fired for erratic behavior. The sitcom went on for four more seasons, with Ashton Kutcher stepping in to fill the void he left. The original actor might have been fired, but he continues to make money from the reruns. After all, the residuals are not contingent on not getting fired. How did they replace his character? The writers killed him off, so it is not likely that the show would be rebooted even though Sheen pitched one a few years ago. It is interesting to note that he claimed to be blacklisted in the industry after the show fired him.
Without this actress, Glee would not have been the same. Lea Michele brought Rachel Berry to life on the show. Apparently, creator Ryan Murphy actually made the role with the actress in mind! The show enjoyed a run of six seasons from 2009 to 2015. It was a global phenomenon that took the world by storm. In fact, the stars of the show had been raking in a million bucks per episode by the end of it. The finale received viewership in the millions. However, the rights to the show are owned by Fox. This means that the actors and actresses have not received much in the way of residuals.
We do not blame you if you are not familiar with Absolutely Fabulous. It was a sitcom that was on the air in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. It revealed that the residual checks of the show still come in at around $45 a year. The show was pretty popular when it was broadcasted by BBC Two and BBC One. The first series came out in 1992 and raked in the most in residuals. The final episode of the show came out a decade after that. Jennifer Saunders wrote it. There was a total of 39 episodes by the end of it. It was fun to watch the seven specials that featured the hilarious middle-aged ladies of the series.
Lastly, we have the final cast member of Friends. Matthew Perry charmed us on the show, which came to an end in May 2004. It was hard to say goodbye to the sitcom that has stolen our hearts! Warner Bros. has the rights to the show’s reruns, and you can catch them on Nickelodeon. The stars all get equal amounts in residuals. Perry and his five costars each bring home $20 million every year from reruns. You can watch the old episodes on both cable TV and streaming platforms. According to the actor, however, he has no interest in joining a reunion project. We do not doubt that his fans were devastated to hear him say such a thing.