Why Matt LeBlanc Demanded $1 Million Per Episode On Friends

Friends has been back in the news recently, thanks to Netflix adding every single episode to its library. Recently former Friends and current Episodes star Matt LeBlanc spoke out about his HUGE salary during his days on NBC’s hit comedy. Here’s why he says he really pushed for a cool $1 million dollar paycheck.

“I've been asked this question before, but phrased as, do I think we were worth it? Were we worth $1 million? To me, that's such a strange question. It's like, well, that's irrelevant. Are you worth it? How do you put a price on how funny something is? We were in a position to get it.”

The Friends cast began making $1 million per episode in 2002, two years before the show finally ended its decade-long run on NBC. At the time, it was a huge deal to make that kind of money. Five years prior, the cast members on the famous sitcom Seinfeld were considered to be pulling a huge amount of money when they made $600,000 per episode. (There’s a pretty sweet infograph, adjusted for inflation that explains this, here). It’s a big deal to earn a million an episode even today, when costs are up due to inflation and ratings are down. Recently, The Big Bang Theory had to actually halt production as the main cast members fought for new contracts. They eventually re-upped for $1 million per episode, which is a huge deal.

Massive sums don’t come around that often, and Matt LeBlanc definitely believes that if you are on TV—or at any job really—and are in the position to negotiate you should negotiate. Here’s the rest of what he recently told the Huffington Post.

“If you're in a position in any job, no matter what the job is -- if you're driving a milk truck or installing TVs or an upholsterer for a couch -- if you're in a position to get a raise and you don't get it, you're stupid. You know what I mean? We were in a position and we were able to pull it off. "Worth it" has nothing to do with it.”

While we doubt the actor is getting paid nearly that much to star in Showtime’s Episodes, it is amusing that his character on Episodes is that of a hard-to-deal-with actor who makes an outrageous sum on the fictional TV show that makes up the key plot in the series. There’s some lovely symmetry to the whole story.

You can catch Episodes Season 4 on Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET. Or find out when other midseason shows are hitting the schedule here. Or catch old episodes of Friends on Netflix.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.