EXCLUSIVE: It’s come down to the wire for Netflix’s hugely popular drama series 13 Reasons Why, which is scheduled to do the first table read for the upcoming third season tomorrow but its eight core cast members are still renegotiating their contracts.

We hear that negotiations are still ongoing but as of Wednesday night, there were no deals and the sides were still apart on money. However, we hear the gap has been bridged significantly today, and sources close to the situation sounded optimistic that agreements would be reached in time for Season 3’s start of production, scheduled for Monday.

We hear Dylan Minnette, who has emerged as the sole lead following the departure of original star Katherine Langford, is seeking a Season 3 salary in the $200,000 per episode range, while  Brandon Flynn, Alisha Boe, Justin Prentice, Christian Navarro, Miles Heizer, Devin Druid and Ross Butler are looking for about $150,000 an episode.

That is way above the group’s start salaries, said to be in the $20,000 – $60,000 an episode range, with Minnette believed to have started higher, around or north of $80,000.

Netflix

It is customary for the cast of successful shows to seek raises after Season 2. The impetus for the salary demands by the 13 Reasons Why actors likely were the huge raises that the cast of another hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, recently got heading into Season 3. They are believed to be paid as much as $350,000 an episode for the adult leads and $250,000 an episode for the child actors this season.

There is a difference in the size of the orders. Stranger Things will produce eight episodes while 13 Reasons Why’s order is for 13 episodes, which may explain some of the per-episode salary discrepancies between the two shows as the per-season compensation is relatively on par.

We hear Paramount TV, which produces the series with Anonymous Content, and Netflix have been trying to close the new deals for the 13 Reasons Why actors today with new offers closer to the ask (we hear for the seven, it’s about $135,000 an episode in Season 3, rising to $150,000 in Season 4; for Minnette we hear the remaining gap is about $20,000). We will update if/when agreements are reached.

All actors are still under contracts, so we hear expectation is that they would show up for work though the studio would like to wrap the renegotiations before that.

13 Reasons Why was a breakout hit for Netflix. While it has faced controversy over its graphic depictions of suicide and sexual violence, it is among Netflix’s most watched series. We hear that Netflix has said during the negotiations that ratings have slipped from Season 1 to Season 2 but since the streaming service does not release viewership data, that is hard to substantiate. 

In recent weeks, following 13 Reasons Why‘s Season 3 renewal, Netflix executives have been effusive in their praise of the show’s performance.

13 Reasons Why has been enormously popular and successful. It’s engaging content,” CEO Reed Hastings recently said  during the company’s annual shareholder meeting. “It is controversial. But nobody has to watch it.”

At TCA several days ago, Netflix VP content Cindy Halland also called 13 Reasons Why “one of our most popular shows.”