Seinfeld had a lot of prominent guest stars over the years. At the time, they likely agreed to appear on the show for fun or for a quick injection of publicity, but as it turns out, these appearances are still generating fun little royalty checks. Recently, Mets analyst and former MLB player Keith Hernandez revealed how much money he still makes from Seinfeld, having appeared in two episodes during the early nineties, as well as popping up in the comedy's famous finale. He spoke out this week to note he still makes $3,000 a year off of Seinfeld royalties, which isn't as much as he used to make but is more than enough to go on vacation or buy something really fun.
It diminishes as the years go by. So it gives me around $3,000 per year. I'll take it. For doing nothing. So you can imagine what Jerry gets. The principal actors, what they get.
In the same interview with NJ.com, Hernandez notes that the checks used to be $1,000 each when they showed up at his doorstep. Obviously, the episodes are worth a bit less in syndication now, but $3,000 is still a striking amount of money per year and it makes us wonder what sort of checks the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander—stars who appeared in all 172 episodes of the hit series—are seeing. Those checks have got to be huge, and they were obviously a whole lot bigger after the show initially ended.
In addition, the analyst also mentions that he gets Seinfeld checks on the regular, which is both a testament to how often the classic show is aired in syndication and how popular his episodes actually are.
Every time they show it. I get around -- I'm going to say they show my episode a lot. So I'm going to say I get a check every month. Nothing less than six weeks. They show it all the time. It's international and everything.
Most TV shows are never going to have the shelf life of Seinfeld, which is arguably the most successful sitcom of all time, and is still relevant in pop culture. Hernandez’s information, in fact, comes just a few weeks after Hulu paid out a boatload of money to earn the streaming rights for the series, which reportedly went for $180 million.
If nothing else, this story goes to show how lucrative being a part of a beloved television show can be. There are very few more profitable things an actor could ever do, which has allowed the main cast of Seinfeld to spend their days working on passion projects and joining interesting niche programs.