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Monday, 15 May, 2000, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Friends stars sign $40m deal
The cast of Friends
Drinking it all in: Friends stars agree bumper deal
The cast of Friends are to be paid $750,000 (470,000) each per episode after agreeing a new deal with the show's producers, Warner Brothers.

The six stars of the hit US sitcom have a signed a two-year contact extension which works out at $20m (12.5m) a year, according to executives close to the talks.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer. Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt Le Blanc have also had their syndication rights doubled to one per cent, which could earn them half as much again.

The dispute was settled in the early hours of Sunday morning, just in time for US network NBC, which was due to include Friends in its autumn schedules later that day.


Lisa Kudrow
Reason to be cheerful: Friends star Lisa Kudrow, who led calls for the pay rise

The actors had reportedly been on $125,000 (80,000) per episode before thrashing out the new deal, which works out at $750,000 (470,000) a show.

Last month Schwimmer, who plays Ross, called the the BBC's London Live radio station to deny claims that he and the rest of the cast were being "greedy".

Schwimmer, who was in the city to shoot a film called Band of Brothers slammed newpaper reports that they were demanding $1m (625,000) per episode.

"When I hear figures like that I get a little upset," he told presenters Clare McDonnell and Paul Ross.

"It reflects poorly on the cast. People get this idea that we are this group of spoilt actors demanding ridiculous amounts of money. It's all rumour."

The fight for a pay rise was led by Kudrow - who plays Phoebe - after it was revealed stars of rival show Seinfeld had accepted an offer of $600,000 (375,000) per episode.


The cast of Friends
Clocking on again: Friends stars have signed up for another two years

Popular

The seventh season of Friends will begin on NBC in September. The tale of six close friends living in New York was an overnight success when it launched in 1994 and regularly attracts more than 20 million viewers a week in the US.

It is also popular in the UK, with Channel 4 currently showing repeats on Friday evenings.

NBC entertainment president Garth Ancier said in a a statement: "We're more than pleased and we anticipate upcoming strong seasons from a 'must see' cast and a producing team that's still at the top of their game in creating appointment television."

The cast also voiced their delight at securing the deal.

A spokesperson for them said they were "thrilled and excited to continue".

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See also:

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