Netflix this morning posted a video with the cast of On My Block marking the start of production on Season 3 of the coming-of-age comedy. The video (you can watch it below) featured the series’ lead quartet Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, Brett Gray and Diego Tinoco, who had been embroiled in salary renegotiation talks with Netflix. The negotiations had stretched well into July, with the impasse threatening to impact start of production.
Like the case of 13 Reasons Why last summer, it got down to the wire, but I can report that the core cast has successfully completed salary renegotiations, scoring significant salary increases.
As I had reported, reps for the four, who each made $20,000 an episode in the first two seasons, went into the negotiations with an opening salvo of $250,000 an episode. Netflix countered with an offer for $40,000 an episode, leading to a $225,000 an episode response from the actors’ camp.
Nobody is commenting, but I hear all actors got substantial raises, tripling or more their previous paychecks.
While actors sign multi-year deals when cast in a series (usually around six), it is customary for the performers of successful shows to seek raises after Season 2. The impetus for the salary demands by the On My Block cast was likely the big raises that the young casts of two hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, and 13 Reasons Why, got heading into Season 3. The kids on Stranger Things reportedly went from around $30,000 to around $250,000 an episode, while the young cast members of 13 Reasons Why are said to have gone from $20,000 – $80,000 an episode to $150,000-$200,000 an episode.
The core cast of On My Block is far smaller than that of other younger-skewing Netflix series including Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why. Additionally, Netflix trimmed On My Block’s order size from 10 episodes in the first two seasons to eight for Season 3, meaning that the actors’ overall compensation would’ve gone down without a raise.
And then there is the inclusion aspect. On My Block is a rare Netflix series with a cast whose members are actors of color, so the issue of equal pay is coming up in conversations. Additionally, On My Block, which depicts a group that has been underrepresented on TV, inner city youth, has been used by Netflix executives as an example of their commitment to diverse storytelling following the recent cancellation of One Day at a Time.
While Netflix has revealed record premiere viewership for the two most recent seasons of Stranger Things and its executives have acknowledged publicly that 13 Reasons Why is among the platform’s most popular series, the streamer is notorious about guarding ratings information, leaving producers guessing about the true success of their shows. Still, On My Block is believed to be doing very well. Underscoring its popularity, the comedy won Breakout Show at the Teen Choice Award last year, which is voted by fans.
And in a year-end ranking released by Netflix, On My Block was listed as the service’s No. 1 most binged show for calendar-year 2018 in the U.S., ahead of such hits as Making a Murderer, 13 Reasons Why, Bodyguard, The Haunting of Hill House and Orange Is the New Black. While this reflects the average watch time per viewing session and not overall viewership, the metric is important for streamers as such high engagement drives subscriptions.
One of Netflix’s arguments for resisting a major salary increase for the On My Block cast had reportedly been the fact the series is done under the service’s “low-budget model,” with a budget of about $2 million an episode, significantly below the cost of a high-end Netflix series.
On My Block, from Awkward creator Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft, is a coming-of-age comedy about bright and street-savvy friends navigating their way through the triumph, pain and the newness of high school in LA’s South Central neighborhood. The series’ writers have been working since April, churning out scripts for the upcoming third season.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.