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How Much Does Netflix Pay Actors? A Detailed Look

Have you ever wondered how much money the actors on Netflix originals take home? With popular shows like Stranger Things and Bridgerton, Netflix has become a major platform for actors.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Top Netflix stars can earn anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars per episode up to $1 million per episode. Factors like the show’s popularity, actor’s fame level, and negotiation skills impact earnings.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the details around Netflix actors’ salaries, including how much major stars earn, how Netflix pay compares to other networks, what impacts an actor’s rate, and more.

How Much Do Top Netflix Actors Earn?

Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) – Up to $300,000 per episode

Millie Bobby Brown, the breakout star of the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things,” is no stranger to big paychecks.

According to reports, she earns up to $300,000 per episode, making her one of the highest-paid young actors in the industry. Her incredible talent and captivating portrayal of Eleven have certainly paid off, both in terms of critical acclaim and financial success.

Henry Cavill (The Witcher) – $400,000 per episode

Henry Cavill, best known for his role as Superman in the DC Extended Universe, has found success on Netflix with his leading role in “The Witcher.”

Reports suggest that Cavill earns an impressive $400,000 per episode for his portrayal of Geralt of Rivia. With his chiseled good looks and undeniable charisma, Cavill has become a fan favorite in the fantasy genre.

Jason Bateman (Ozark) – $300,000-$350,000 per episode

Jason Bateman, known for his comedic roles in movies like “Horrible Bosses” and “Arrested Development,” has also made a name for himself on Netflix with his dramatic turn in the crime series “Ozark.”

Sources estimate that Bateman earns between $300,000 and $350,000 per episode for his portrayal of Marty Byrde. His ability to seamlessly transition from comedy to drama has solidified his status as a versatile actor.

Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder) – $250,000-$350,000 per episode

Viola Davis, a highly respected actress in the industry, has brought her talent to the small screen with her role in the legal drama series “How To Get Away With Murder.”

It is reported that Davis earns between $250,000 and $350,000 per episode for her portrayal of Annalise Keating. Davis’ powerful performances and captivating presence have earned her critical acclaim and numerous awards.

It’s important to note that these figures are estimates and may vary depending on various factors such as the actor’s experience, popularity, and negotiation skills.

Additionally, actors may also receive additional compensation through bonuses, royalties, and backend deals. For more information on celebrity salaries, you can visit websites such as Celebrity Net Worth or Forbes Celebrity 100.

What Factors Impact Salaries?

When it comes to determining how much actors are paid on Netflix shows, several factors come into play. Let’s take a detailed look at some of the key factors that impact salaries:

Popularity and viewership of the show

The popularity and viewership of a show play a significant role in determining how much actors are paid. Shows that attract a large audience and generate high viewership numbers tend to have higher budgets, allowing them to offer more competitive salaries to their actors.

This is because higher viewership translates into more subscriptions and revenue for Netflix, making it easier for the company to justify higher pay for the actors.


Actor’s previous fame and experience

An actor’s previous fame and experience can also influence their salary on a Netflix show. Established actors who have a strong track record in the industry and have built a significant fan base may command higher salaries due to their market value.

Their past successes and the recognition they bring to the show can contribute to its overall success, making them a valuable asset for Netflix.

Actor’s negotiation leverage and talent representation

The negotiation leverage of an actor and their talent representation can significantly impact the salary they receive. Actors who have a strong bargaining position and skilled representatives can negotiate better deals and secure higher pay.

This is particularly true for actors who have achieved considerable success in their careers and have a solid reputation in the industry. Agents and managers play a crucial role in advocating for their clients’ interests and ensuring they are fairly compensated for their work.

Initial deal vs. pay raises for renewal seasons

The terms of an actor’s initial deal with Netflix may differ from the salaries they receive for subsequent seasons. In some cases, actors may agree to lower pay initially, especially if they are new to the industry or the show is still in its early stages.

However, as the show gains popularity and continues to be renewed for additional seasons, actors often have the opportunity to negotiate for higher pay. This can be based on factors such as increased viewership, critical acclaim, and the actor’s growing popularity.

It’s important to note that the specific salary figures for actors on Netflix shows are not publicly disclosed. The information available is often based on estimates, industry speculation, and occasional reports.

Netflix is known for keeping its financial details confidential, making it challenging to provide exact figures. However, it is evident that these factors mentioned above play a significant role in determining how much actors are paid on Netflix shows.

How Netflix Pay Compares to Other Networks

When it comes to paying actors, Netflix is known for its generous compensation. In fact, streaming services, in general, tend to pay more than traditional cable networks.

This is due to the increasing popularity and success of platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. These services are willing to invest more in high-quality content, and part of that investment goes towards paying actors.


In general, streaming services pay more than cable networks

Unlike cable networks, which have limited revenue streams, streaming services have a global audience and subscription-based revenue models. This allows them to allocate more money towards production costs, including actor salaries.

As a result, actors working on streaming platforms like Netflix can often expect higher paychecks compared to those on cable networks.

HBO max salaries tend to match Netflix for A-list talent

When it comes to A-list talent, HBO Max is known to match Netflix in terms of salaries. Both networks are willing to pay top dollar to secure the services of popular and highly sought-after actors.

This is because these actors bring in large audiences and help drive subscriptions. So, if you’re a well-established actor looking for a lucrative paycheck, both Netflix and HBO Max could be great options for you.

Network shows pay $60-150k per episode for most actors

For actors working on traditional network shows, the pay scale is generally lower compared to streaming services. Most actors on network shows can expect to earn anywhere between $60,000 to $150,000 per episode.

However, it’s important to note that this range can vary depending on factors such as the popularity of the show, the actor’s experience, and their negotiating power.

Newer/niche streamers pay less than Netflix/HBO

While Netflix and HBO Max are known for their generous salaries, it’s important to mention that newer or niche streaming services may not offer the same level of compensation.

These platforms might have smaller budgets or a narrower target audience, which can impact the amount they are willing to pay actors. However, as these platforms grow and gain popularity, they may increase their budgets for talent in the future.

Pay Disparity Between Lead and Supporting Actors

When it comes to pay in the entertainment industry, there is often a significant disparity between lead actors and supporting cast members. The difference in pay can be quite substantial, reflecting the hierarchy within the industry.

Leads earn much higher rates than supporting cast

The lead actors in a show or movie are typically the main attractions and carry the bulk of the story. As a result, they are usually compensated at a much higher rate than the supporting cast.

This pay disparity is a reflection of the value that lead actors bring to a production and the level of recognition and experience they have.

For example, A-list actors such as Robert Downey Jr. or Jennifer Lawrence can command salaries in the millions of dollars per project. Their popularity and box office draw allow them to negotiate lucrative contracts that reflect their star power and appeal.

Unknown actors early in career may get $20-50k per episode

On the other hand, supporting actors who are relatively unknown or early in their careers often earn significantly less. These actors may start out making around $20,000 to $50,000 per episode for a television series, depending on the budget and popularity of the show.

It’s important to note that these figures can vary widely depending on factors such as the industry, the specific project, and the negotiating power of the actor or their agent. Some supporting actors may even accept roles for little to no pay in order to gain exposure and build their resumes.

With success, supporting actors renegotiate for big raises

If a show or movie becomes a hit and gains widespread popularity, supporting actors may have the opportunity to renegotiate their contracts and secure substantial raises. This is particularly true if they play a pivotal role in the success of the production or if their characters become fan favorites.

One notable example is the cast of the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.” While the child actors started out with modest salaries, their incredible success and growing popularity allowed them to renegotiate their contracts for significant pay increases in subsequent seasons.

It’s worth mentioning that the pay disparity between lead and supporting actors has been a topic of discussion and debate in the industry. Some argue that there should be more equity in pay, while others believe that the pay is reflective of the market value and demand for certain actors.

For more information on actor salaries and the entertainment industry, you can visit websites like The Hollywood Reporter or Business Insider.

Other Factors Impacting Netflix Salaries

While the popularity and success of a show certainly play a significant role in determining an actor’s salary on Netflix, there are several other factors that come into play.

These factors can greatly impact the compensation an actor receives for their work on the streaming platform.

Episode length – longer eps mean higher rate

One important factor that affects Netflix salaries is the length of episodes. Generally, longer episodes require more time and effort from the actors, which can lead to higher pay rates.

This makes sense as longer episodes often involve more dialogue, complex scenes, and demanding performances. Actors who are required to put in more time and effort are typically compensated accordingly.

Episode length

Netflix aims to own content so may pay more upfront

Another factor that can influence Netflix salaries is the streaming giant’s preference for owning content outright. Unlike traditional television networks that may license shows from production studios, Netflix often aims to own the shows it produces.

This means that they may be willing to pay actors more upfront to secure the rights to the content. By doing so, Netflix ensures that they have full control over distribution and can continue to generate revenue from the show even after it has ended.

Ongoing residuals vs upfront payment options

When it comes to compensation, actors on Netflix may have different options available to them. While some actors may prefer upfront payment, others may opt for ongoing residuals. Residuals are additional payments that actors receive each time their show is streamed or sold.

This can provide a steady stream of income even after the initial production is complete. However, it’s important to note that not all actors have the same negotiating power, and the terms of their contracts can vary.


While Netflix closely guards the actual salaries of its top stars, reports indicate their pay is on par with the highest TV rates for actors.

Top-tier stars like Millie Bobby Brown can command $350,000.00 up to a million dollars an episode. For new hit shows, Netflix aims to lock in actors with lucrative deals.

Of course, rates vary greatly based on the actor’s fame, experience, and negotiating tactics. But at the top end, Netflix certainly pays their A-list talent handsomely through massive overall deals worth tens of millions of dollars.

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