EXCLUSIVE: It came down to the wire (and a little beyond that) but the core eight-member cast of Netflix’s hugely popular drama series 13 Reasons Why, have completed contract renegotiations, closing new deals with big salary bumps.
We hear Dylan Minnette, who has emerged as the sole lead following the departure of original star Katherine Langford, will be paid in the $200,000 per episode range, while Brandon Flynn, Alisha Boe, Justin Prentice, Christian Navarro, Miles Heizer, Devin Druid and Ross Butler will each be making $135,000 an episode in the upcoming third season, going up to $150,000 an episode in Season 4, should the show go to a fourth season.
That is close to what the actors and their reps had been seeking and 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.
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 was believed to be the big raises that the young cast of another hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, recently got heading into Season 3. They are believed to be paid as much as $250,000 an episode.
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 explains some of the per-episode salary discrepancies between the two shows as the per-season compensation for the 13 Reasons actors is not that far off from that for their young Stranger Things counterparts.
All 13 Reasons actors were still under contracts and started work on Season 3 as scheduled before renegotiations were completed. We hear they even convened together for a cast dinner following the series’ first table read.
13 Reasons Why, from Anonymous Content and Paramount TV, 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 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 Holland also called 13 Reasons Why “one of our most popular shows.”