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The stars of broadcast’s No. 1 drama are getting their due.
The five central castmembers from NBC’s This Is Us have renegotiated their contracts with producer 20th Century Fox Television and scored significant pay raises for the upcoming third season.
Stars Milo Ventimiglia (who plays Jack), Mandy Moore (Rebecca), Sterling K. Brown (Randall), Chrissy Metz (Kate) and Justin Hartley (Kevin) will see their per-episode salary jump to $250,000, once their respective signing bonuses are factored in, according to sources. Season three, which returns Tuesday, will again consist of 18 episodes.
The five central castmembers did not start out with the same salary. Ventimiglia, for example, made $115,000 per episode, while Hartley earned $75,000 and Metz, who famously had 81 cents in her bank account when she booked This Is Us, earned $40,000. The stars will now earn $4.5 million per season.
It’s unclear if co-stars Susan Kelechi Watson (fan favorite Beth) and Chris Sullivan (Toby) also renegotiated their pacts. This Is Us is broadcast’s top returning series among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic. The Dan Fogelman-created time-twisting family drama averaged an impressive 5.4 rating in the demo after seven days of delayed viewing — nearly double NBC’s No. 2 scripted series (comedy Will & Grace).
In addition to two straight Emmy nominations for best drama, This Is Us has netted lead acting nominations for stars Ventimiglia and Brown (two each, with a win last year for the latter) as well as a supporting actress mention for Metz.
Salary renegotiations are common for stars on shows that become breakout hits. The cast of Netflix breakout Stranger Things, for example, renegotiated their salaries in March for the upcoming third season. Stars including Winona Ryder and David Harbour earn $350,000 per episode on the short-order 1980s-set sci-fi drama.
Still, the This Is Us salaries pale in comparison to those of broadcast’s No. 1 comedy: The seven stars of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory earn $900,000 per episode, plus points of the show’s back end (and all have lucrative overall deals with Warner Bros. TV).
Talent salaries have skyrocketed in the “Peak TV” era in which deep-pocketed streamers have increased demand for big-name actors amid a crush of scripted originals expected to top 520 in 2018. Apple, for example, paid Reese Witherspoon more than $1 million an episode to star in and executive produce a morning show drama. That propelled Witherspoon to leverage her Apple salary to score raises for herself and Big Little Lies stars including Nicole Kidman at HBO. Witherspoon and Kidman saw their pay on the awards darling jump from $300,000 to $1 million per episode for season two.
Ventimiglia is repped by WME, Management 360 and McKuin Frankel; Moore is with Gersh, Untitled and Ziffren Brittenham; Brown is repped by Innovative, JWS Entertainment and Bloom Hergott; Metz is with CAA and Luber Roklin; and Hartley is repped by CAA and Jackoway Austen.
NBC and 20th TV declined comment.
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