The cast of The Walking Dead might be better off giggling alongside The Gilmore Girls or joining the cast of The Big Bang Theory when it comes to money. Rather than piercing the brains of zombies, they can join the cast in sipping coffee or chatting on screen, which appears to be much more lucrative when it comes to monetary compensation.
It was recently revealed that one of the most successful shows ever to grace the television screen, AMC’s The Walking Dead, was paying their cast a pittance in comparison to other shows. It was also revealed that there is a reason for this.
While Rick, Daryl, and company slay those zombies, their pay paled in comparison to what cast members of other shows are paid. Even shows that are considered just mediocre are paying their cast members more than what The Walking Dead pays their cast. According to Uproxx, Matthew Rhys makes about double the pay that Andrew Lincoln makes, yet Rhys’s show, The Americans, is low in the ratings.
Maybe some of those sullen faces seen from The Walking Dead cast on the screen come from more than just their concerns over zombies. It could be the sadness has roots based in reality from the realization they are underpaid in comparison to their peers? While contracts were negotiated at one time and the actors signed on for a lower amount of money than other series typically pay, things have changed.
in loving memory of the walking dead cast … they aren't dead but they might as well be since only 3 of them use social media regularly. pic.twitter.com/nh3m8Nw07W— ???? (@rositataras) January 13, 2017
When The Walking Dead first burst on the scene, the stars were little-known actors. Sure, you’ve seen them in small roles in the past or recognized a couple of the older cast members from shows and movies of yesteryear, but you probably couldn’t recall their names. Seven seasons later and the stars of The Walking Dead are well-known and very popular actors. Recent reports indicate that their paychecks don’t appear to reflect their popularity.
According to Comic Book News, Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl on The Walking Dead, is reportedly collecting $124,000 per episode while Andrew Lincoln trails behind with a paycheck of $92,000 for each episode. Andrew Lincoln is considered one of the top stars of the show in his role as Rick Grimes, but his salary doesn’t reflect that. The episodes each take approximately eight hours to film, so the paychecks are nothing to sneeze at for most people, but not by Hollywood standards.
For most people getting paid somewhere in the vicinity of $100,000 for eight hours work is a dream come true, not to mention one heck of a windfall when it comes to money. If this was the norm for the top shows in the industry, then there wouldn’t be a problem. Considering Alexis Bladel and Lauren Graham are “hauling in over $2.5 million per episode” for their roles on The Gilmore Girls, the cast of The Walking Dead appear extremely under compensated for their work on the show.
Uproxx reports that The Walking Dead is “the highest rated drama on television” today. If that is the case, then why are the Game of Thrones top five actors making $500,000 each per episode while the top two actors on the highest rated drama, The Walking Dead, are making a fraction of that? Believe it or not, it is due to a simple formula. The five actors on the Game of Thrones have to stick around to finish out the story line, it is crucial to the show.
That is not the case with The Walking Dead. As this show has demonstrated from the beginning, part of the drama of The Walking Dead is killing off someone least expected. No one needs to stick around to go on with the show. Apparently, this doesn’t leave much leverage for negotiating when it comes to a new contract for the cast. As far as the next season of The Walking Dead goes, it looks as if two of the cast members are cemented in place with a new contract. What they will get paid is more comparable to what their peers are compensated on the different television shows.
The good news is you don’t have to worry about Rick or Daryl getting knocked off by zombies, as new reports indicate that Reedus and Lincoln have both re-negotiated their contracts with The Walking Dead. For playing the role of Daryl, Reedus will be getting about $550,000 per episode. Lincoln, who is really considered the top star of the show, will now have that reflected when he is paid approximately $618,000 per episode. The Comic Book News reports that these new contracts were said to have gone into effect for Season 7 and 8 of the AMC series.”
Salary negotiations, or the lack of salary negotiations, are often a good indicator of who stays and who goes on a show, which brings the role of Carl Grimes into question. Chandler Riggs had a seven-year contract with The Walking Dead, which was “fulfilled after the production of the seventh season in late 2016.” There’s no word on a salary boost or even a renewed contract yet for this young handsome teen on The Walking Dead. This could mean one of two things, either Carl is being ousted or news of a contract hasn’t been released as of yet.
[Featured Image by Danny Moloshok/AP Images]