Cast of "Friends"
Though their characters may not always have been financially successful, the stars of NBC's "Friends" kept shooting up the salary scale. In 1996, the entire cast held out for a salary jump to $100,000, which more than doubled their prior salaries [source: Lowry]. In 2000, that was bumped up to $750,000. Two years later, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer were each promised a cool $1 million per episode for the highest-rated show on television [source: Carter]. Adjusted for 2014 inflation, that comes to over $1.3 million weekly [source: Stock]. Syndication revenue was icing on the cake.
In 2014, Kudrow discussed the issue of exceptionally high actor's salaries with The Huffington Post. She pointed out that the earnings don't bankrupt networks, which rake in money from their highest-rated shows. In addition, television actors are essentially freelance employees with no idea how long they'll be in the limelight. It makes sense to grab for the gusto during good times. Who knows how long they'll all be friends?