Bea Benaderet set the record straight about how much actors were making on television reruns

"Everybody thinks actors in TV series are all rich."

CBS Television Distribution

Nowadays, the success of a show isn't in how profitable an episode is when it airs; it's a matter of how profitable it is when it begins to play again in reruns. While it was once a feat to behold to catch a new television show during its original air date, the world of streaming and digital video has long proven that, in Hollywood, reruns are as good as gold.

An article from The Independent revealed that the main cast of the hit series Friends made around twenty million dollars per person from reruns alone. It's a whopping amount to collect, and in a way, it only continues to guarantee the actors' success. If a television show can remain relevant and popular through reruns, it raises the potential for reboots, reunions, and even new projects.

However, reruns being a fruitful business wasn't always the case. Back in 1968, actor Bea Benaderet got honest about how much actors were actually making in reruns, and to put it lightly, it wasn't that much at all.

Benaderet had previously worked in radio and briefly had a film career. However, Benaderet's talents were best highlighted on television, where she appeared in shows like Petticoat Junction as well as The Beverly Hillbillies. It was in these shows that she gained further fame.

But in an interview with the Daily News, Benaderet confessed that the amount an actor would typically receive for reruns wasn't as much as you might expect.

"Everybody thinks actors in TV series are all rich," she said. "They get ninety dollars for the first rerun, and this is scaled down to forty dollars for the sixth rerun."

Benaderet knew what it took to be successful in the business, though, and stressed the importance of gaining power behind the scenes as well. "I can assure you that having a piece of the show is the only way to make money in this business," the actor said.

She also praised the production aspect of television, complimenting writers, an occupation she considered before becoming an actor. "Don't let anybody kid you, the writing comes first; whether it be the movies, radio or television," Benaderet said. "Some actors have a tendency to take themselves too seriously."

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4 Comments

deltadart 5 days ago
All these great shows from past, thank God for reruns.
cperrynaples 8 days ago
This is true! I'm guessing it's Burns & Allen where she got the least money since George was the producer! And don't even get me started on Jack Benny...LOL!
Bapa1 8 days ago
I read Russell Johnson's (Gilligan's Island) auto-biography, and he stated that back then, he got paid for making an episode, got paid a little when it was shown a second tome, and after that nothing. With a few exceptions, that was how it was back then.
cperrynaples Bapa1 8 days ago
Yes, Deforest Kelly said the same thing about Star Trek, which has been in reruns for 55 years!
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