For TV’s biggest stars, key roles on successful shows mean huge paychecks — but the payoff doesn’t stop there. When shows are syndicated, redistributed, released on DVD, purchased by a streaming service or otherwise used beyond what the actors were originally paid for, those actors get residual checks called royalties.
So, do all actors get paid for reruns? According to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, some do and some don’t. For principal performers, royalties can lead to long-term payoffs that trump the original salary. Background actors, on the other hand, won’t be getting any residual checks in the mail.”Friends” ran for 10 seasons between 1994 and 2004. The show made stars out of Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow and, of course, Jennifer Aniston — one of the richest actresses of all time.
The show’s success still pays dividends for the cast. In 2015, USA Today reported that Warner Bros. earns $1 billion a year from “Friends.” Of that amount, 2% — or $20 million — goes to each of the stars every single year. One of the most beloved and successful sitcoms of all time, “Seinfeld” — the show about nothing — ran for nine seasons, ending in 1998. As far as payouts to the cast, Jerry Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David take the lion’s share of royalties because co-stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus,
Michael Richards and Jason Alexander don’t own a stake in the show, according to International Business Times. David and Seinfeld can each make $400 million per syndication cycle, New York Magazine reported.