How Much Netflix Is Reportedly Paying Its Actors

By now, most people realize that TV actors who have regular gigs on popular shows make a lot of money. Really, a LOT of money. As in, these guys make more money for just one episode of TV than a significant number of us regular slobs could make in a whole year. Well, now we might know what streaming service Netflix pays some of its top talent.

A new survey from Variety has estimated the salaries for the top talent in TV right now, and those numbers include the estimated earnings for a number of big names involved in Netflix projects. And, it looks like the streaming service is sparing no expense to make the stars of its original series feel wanted. Take a look at the numbers for some of their top actors, and keep in mind that these are all per episode figures.

Lauren Graham & Alexis Bledel - Gilmore Girls: A Year in The Life - $750,000Kevin Spacey - House of Cards - $500,000Joel Kinnaman - Altered Carbon - $350,000Drew Barrymore - Santa Clarita Diet - $350,000Emma Stone & Jonah Hill - Maniac - $350,000Naomi Watts - Gypsy - $275,000

Wow, those are some impressive numbers. And, it would be fair to say that some of these paydays are really surprising. The estimates, which have not been confirmed by Netflix or any of the actors on the list, come from a survey that Variety did of various industry professionals who are in the know about what top TV talent gets paid nowadays, including actors, executives, attorneys, agents, managers and others who represent actors. All the numbers are for current seasons of television shows, meaning that, in many cases, the first season shows haven't even hit the streaming service yet, and some of these numbers include backend fees that the stars get paid for things like profit participation for their show. None of these numbers, though, include money earned from side business ventures like licensing, merchandising or spokesperson deals.

Well, the first thing I can say about this list is damn, Netflix was serious about getting Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel back on board for Gilmore Girls. They each netted a very healthy sum for returning to their roles as Lorelai and Rory Gilmore in the rebooted series, and I think many people would be surprised to see that they each probably made more money per episode than Kevin Spacey did in the current season for his critically lauded lead role on House of Cards.

Emma Stone and Jonah Hill are very much current movie stars, so it's no surprise that they each got an estimated $350,000 per episode for their new Netflix show Maniac. But, it might shock some people to know that Drew Barrymore, who hasn't exactly been at the top of her movie making game lately, netted so much more than Naomi Watts for the per episode earning in their respective shows, especially considering that Watts has two Oscar nominations to her name.

The biggest shock here, by far, though, would have to be the realization that Joel Kinnaman, who starred the Netflix show The Killing and was most recently seen in Suicide Squad is making the same as those big movie stars for Altered Carbon. Kinnaman only has one big movie to his name right now, and, even though he was a co-lead on The Killing, he wasn't the main focus of that series, so he's never really had his own show. Apparently, Netflix has some major faith in his ability to help pull in viewers for his new series, or they wouldn't have even considered giving him such a payday.

Well, what do you think of the list? Does it seem like everyone is getting paid the right amount of money to you, or are you convinced that someone should be getting more (or less)? Let us know in the comments below.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.