'Mother' cast makes more gravy

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The cast of CBS' hot comedy series "How I Met Your Mother" got something extra for the holidays: salary bumps.

But in a sign of the tough economic times, the five "Mother" stars didn't hit the mother lode that some expected despite the show's solid ratings and strong syndication sales.

After months of renegotiations, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan recently inked new deals with producing studio 20th Century Fox TV that will bring their salaries up to $90,000-$120,000 per episode.

On average, that's between two and three times what they made before — a big raise, especially given that Radnor, Segel and Smulders were virtually unknown before they were cast. Still, it's lower than the pay for the ensembles of other comedies at similar points in their runs, like NBC's "The Office."

The new pacts, retroactive to the beginning of this season, the show's fourth, also add an extra year to the five actors' original seven-year contracts.

The renegotiations followed lucrative off-network syndication deals in September with stations in the top markets and Lifetime estimated to potentially bring Fox $2.5 million-$3 million per episode in the first cycle.

They also come as "Mother" continues to enjoy ratings momentum, which started after the WGA strike ended last spring and carried over into the fall. (partialdiff)
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