Streaming services are shelling out the big bucks for actors to star in brand new series.
Never before has Hollywood's biggest talent been in such high demand in the television market, and its all thanks to the influx of streaming services. According to Variety, many of the biggest stars in television today are cashing in $1 million per episode of their given series, regardless of the level of success that the series has achieved. Stars like Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, who both star in the brand new Apple TV Plus series The Morning Show, are receiving $1 million an episode, despite the show's infancy in the world of television. The steep price that streaming services like Apple TV are willing to bid for these types of known industry names is a result of the competitive nature between these services. “There definitely has been some dramatic salary inflation, in part as new services try to buy their way into the business,” says co-president of Showtime Networks, Gary Levine. The thought is that, if a service like Apple TV Plus has a name like Aniston or Witherspoon attached to its series, the show is more likely to make an impact and survive against the huge array of new shows from other services like Netflix and Hulu. The projected success of the given series due to these big names, then, will be worth the massive paycheque out the gate. “It’s almost as if what they were really paying for was to launch the service,” says a studio president about the relatively new Apple TV Plus and its decision to shell out $1 million per episode to The Morning Show's stars.
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There is also the fact that, nowadays, television has become more appealing to the formerly strictly-film actors of the industry. In the past, well-known, serious actors like Leonardo DiCaprio would turn down offers to do TV shows, so massive TV paycheques were only reserved for stars on long-running series like Friends (on which Aniston also earned a similar amount per episode as she does on The Morning Show, but only after Friends proved wildly successful). However, in the current Golden Age of Television, it seems almost anyone is willing to take a stab at TV, and streaming services are investing in the wide variety of esteemed actors to choose from.