A regular role on a sitcom, drama, or comedy TV series is something that many actors hope to achieve. Since many struggling actors in Hollywood no longer have to worry about a paycheck once you know your character will be a regular on a show.
Actors receive residual payments whenever a rerun of a show they were on airs in addition to their regular, nice salaries from their roles, giving them a great source of income long after the show has ended. For top TV stars, these residuals can reach well into the millions. Find out which cast members of our favorite TV shows are reaping huge profits from residuals.
The megastar that we now know as George Clooney wasn’t always that way. He rose to fame by playing Doug Ross, everyone’s favorite pediatrician, on the popular medical drama ER.
The actor continues to play roles, each one becoming more interesting than the last, earning over $10 million in residuals. It appears that you can keep making movies once you’ve got one made.
Ted Danson has played a number of noteworthy roles, but his time as the endearing bar owner Sam Malone on NBC’s classic sitcom Cheers still stands head and shoulders above the rest. Fans and critics alike adored the television show Cheers, and most of the stars continued to reap the benefits for years to come.
Danson has remained a dependable TV actor over the years since the show’s eleven-year run came to an end, appearing on hit comedies like Becker, Bored to Death, and The Good Place as well as the well-liked drama CSI. He reportedly continues to earn $5 million from Cheers repeats.
With her portrayal of Monica Geller, Courteney Cox contributed to Friends’ stellar ensemble cast and helped it grow into the smash-hit sitcom that it is today, even in reruns. Fans were captivated by her endearingly perfect neuroticism and optimism blend.
The actress continues to work on other projects while sharing a cool $20 million in residuals with the other actors. She also starred in the brief Cougar Town episode. Other than the Scream series, she hasn’t appeared in very many other films.
Although David Caruso has since stopped acting and producing, no one can ever forget his week after week, perfectly timed jokes on CSI: Miami. The show probably wouldn’t have had nearly as much personality without Caruso.
Sources claim that the actor is enjoying life to the fullest on the show’s residuals, which total about $100,000 annually. Over its run, the crime scene show is said to have earned an astounding $6 billion.
Marg Helgenberger’s charm, wit, and beauty helped her become famous on the hit television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She later referred to her time on the show as a “comfortable niche,” demonstrating the caliber of the actress she was.
After 15 seasons, the show would finally end in 2015, and the actress would start to receive residual payments. She receives about $10,000 in show residuals, but in the six seasons she was on, she made about $390,000 per episode.
The Late Show with David Letterman was where Ray Romano debuted his first late-night comedy set, and it was from there that a show with him as the lead was created. Everybody Loves Raymond went on to become one of the most popular family comedies ever.
The show ended in 2005 after nine successful seasons, with each episode serving as the week’s final project. According to Forbes, he earns a sizable $18 million in residuals every year.
Baywatch provided viewers with exactly what they would anticipate from the program—attractive lifeguards frolicking in their swimsuits. Carmen Electra was one of those who became well-known for effortlessly capturing the attention of the male audience.
Even though critics were harsh about the entire series’ plot and claimed it was too thin to last, the show at its peak had approximately 1.1 billion viewers. The cast receives some nice residual payments because the show is still broadcast in reruns all over the world. The fact that Electra is worth over $10 million is unquestionably due to Baywatch’s success.
Across the nation, Modern Family managed to win over viewers’ hearts and minds. The show, which has been on for 11 seasons, provides a window into the lives of blended families in the middle of America. Additionally, it made the stunning Sofia Vergara a household name.
The cast members anticipated residuals of about $500,000 annually when the show ended in 2020, with a chance that amount would rise over time. The idea of a spinoff, which might soon be in the works, is still being discussed by the producers.
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MAS*H was a sitcom with the exceptional talent to take a serious subject, turn it on its head, and effortlessly cause the audience to laugh. Soon, fans flocked to Alan Alda, who earned a cool $10,000 per episode—quite a sum in the early 1970s.
Since the series ended in 1983, Alda has gained popularity as an actor in a variety of roles, but to some, he will always be known as Hawkeye Pierce because the show is still regarded as a classic TV comedy. The actor earns about $1 million annually in royalties alone from the 11-season television series MAS*H.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
The teen thriller film Buffy The Vampire Slayer was adapted for television as Buffy The Vampire Slayer. When the sun goes down, Sarah Michelle Gellar portrayed the blonde, prep school student who battles the night.
Gellar charmed viewers with her quick wit and even quicker strikes against the evil forces over the course of 144 episodes. Since the show’s conclusion in 2003, the actress has earned at least $1 million in royalties every year.
By the time the next episode of The Sopranos aired, viewers were barely hanging on. Edie Falco played Tony Soprano’s wife in that episode. James Gandolfini and the actress were a brilliant pairing for HBO.
For her portrayal of Carmela, Falco has received approximately $26 million in royalties to date and three Emmy nominations out of a possible six. Before moving on to other shows, she would even receive the Outstanding Lead Actress award.
There’s a good chance that if you were alive in the 1990s, you’d seen an episode of Baywatch. The stunning men and women in the cast made the show famous, as did the opening title sequence. People simply couldn’t look away from the program. Mitch, the show’s protagonist, gave David Hasselhoff the platform he needed to break into the Hollywood zeitgeist.
The show didn’t earn a lot compared to other shows at the time, but the star still receives about $4 million in annual residuals. Returning for a special cameo in Baywatch was probably a fun way to relive your glory days.
The ageless Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel on the show, is yet another former member of the Friends cast. Long after the show ended and Aniston continued to profit, she would have offers coming her way.
She receives a portion of the $20 million in residuals paid to the cast members just like them each year. The actress could easily retire right now if she did that. She obviously loves acting because she keeps accepting interesting and difficult roles.
It’s not surprising that the main cast of the enormously popular show Game of Thrones has amassed a sizable fortune. For the past two seasons, Peter Dinklage, who received multiple Emmy nominations for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, earned $1.1 million per episode.
The actor was in financial difficulty; he turned down commercial offers to play a leprechaun and performed in plays for $50 each. Even his rat-infested apartment, according to him, was out of his price range. With a current net worth of about $25 million, he has come a long way.
Special Agent Jethro Gibbs, played by NCIS star Mark Harmon, heads a top team that takes on the most challenging cases. For his excellent work, the actor earns an impressive $125,000 per episode.
Two separate episodes of the show have been produced thus far, one of which is set in New Orleans and the other in Los Angeles. Even though Harmon declared in 2021 that this would be his final season on the show, it appears the show has enough momentum to continue airing for years to come.