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Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Costner and More of Television’s Highest Paid Stars’ Salaries Revealed



With the influx of A-list movie stars moving over to television for episodic projects, the high-end of TV paychecks are only getting bigger!

While it used to be news when sitcom stars like Charlie Sheen, the cast of Friends, the stars of The Big Bang Theory and others renegotiated contracts to get $1 million per episode, that sort of financial commitment used to be based on the performance of the show itself.

However, with Oscar-winners lending their talents — and their prestige — to gritty dramas and award-worthy limited series orders, some stars are taking home million-dollar salaries for their first or second seasons, before the show’s even had a chance to establish itself.

Recently, Variety broke down some of the astronomical paychecks TV stars are earning, and the numbers are surprising.

According to the report, Kevin Costner is possibly the highest-paid actor on TV, taking home $1.3 million per episode for his performance in Yellowstone. It’s a number only rivaled by Mahershala Ali, who is reportedly getting around $1.3 million for his role on The Plot, which is set to air on Hulu and has not yet premiered.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth Moss has also moved into the highest ranks of paycheck earners for her new series Shining Girls for Apple TV+, taking home $1.1 million. 

Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren are also taking home big bucks, earning $1 million per episode for their roles in the Yellowstone prequel series 1923. Michael Keaton is reportedly earning the same for his award-winning performance in Hulu’s drama miniseries Dopesick, as is Sylvester Stallone for his role in the upcoming series Tulsa King.

The Shrink Next Door co-stars Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd are both taking home $1 million per episode as well, and the only comedy star to be a part of the Million Per Episode Club is Jason Sudekis for leading the critically beloved series Ted Lasso.

ET spoke with Variety TV Editor Michael Schneider, who penned the report, and he explained why so many stars are commanding such large paydays.

“We’re seeing more million-dollar paydays, partly, because it’s a nice round number, and also these days episodes are normally about eight to 10 for a series, which allows big stars, A-list stars, who don’t wanna be bogged down with doing an entire 22-episode season of television to actually come and do some television,” Schneider explained. “So, when they’re doing eight to 10 episodes, that’s sort of roughly the equivalent of doing a movie.”

With regards to Costner’s sizable salary, Schneider said he doesn’t “think it’s a surprise at all.”

“First off, Yellowstone is a tremendous hit. It’s one of the biggest shows on television right now and Kevin Costner is, of course, the leading force behind that show,” Schneider said. “He’s a movie star, he’s now a TV star, he’s been around for a long time, he’s the kind of person that fetches a pretty penny when working, so when you want to get a star like Kevin Costner, you’ve got to open up the pocketbook from the beginning.”


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Kenan Thompson Shares Why He Couldn’t Say No to Hosting the Emmys — Plus, Seth Meyers Offers Some Advice (EXCLUSIVE)



Hosting an awards show these days is considered a pretty thankless job, with little upside — dwindling ratings, snarky social media posts and rigid formats that are tough to change. And yet, it’s still a bit of a bucket-list item for many performers, which is why I totally get it that Kenan Thompson would say yes to this year’s Emmys. (And I find it doubly admirable that he agreed to do it, even after TV Academy voters snubbed him this year and NBC canceled his primetime sitcom!)

“They asked, and it’s an honor,” Thompson told me Thursday on a sweltering August afternoon in Hollywood, where he was receiving his star on the Walk of Fame. “It’s a giant career milestone to host an Emmys, an Oscars, a Tonys, whatever. So you get that phone call, you should take it!”

His NBC colleague Seth Meyers, who hosted in 2014, had no interest in doing it again (nor did Jimmy Fallon, who hosted in 2010). “SNL Weekend Update” anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che did it in 2018, so they’re already covered. Now, it would only make sense that NBC would go to the “SNL” GOAT, Thompson, to take the reins this time around.

“Everyone’s got to do it once, and it’s his turn, he’s earned it,” Meyers says. “The good news is Kenan, like I was, is lucky enough to be connected to a talented group of writers. The ‘SNL’ writing staff I’m sure it’s going to show up for Kenan because he has been showing up for them and their sketches, getting laughs on looks and line reads for two decades.”

If Meyers has any advice for Thompson, it’s that “especially after the last two years, people just want to have a good time at the Emmys and not feel like it’s being taken too seriously. I think the Oscars you can get a little serious, but with the Emmys, it’s better just to be fun. That’s the opportunity you have with that show.”

Meyers will be in the audience, this year as a nominee in the variety talk category — a first for “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” “It’ll be a new experience to actually be a nominee, as opposed to a presenter,” he chuckles. “That alone will be worth it.”

Thompson says he’s already been meeting with NBC and Emmy producers Done+Dusted and Reggie Hudlin to start mapping out the show. “We’re figuring out who we want to do bits with, who wants to do bits in general,” he says. That likely means plenty of interaction with “SNL” players past and present (many of whom will be in attendance as nominees on various shows — like “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis, whose running-man character is a part of Thompson’s signature “What’s Up With That?” sketches). Says NBCU exec VP of live events and specials Jen Neal: “You can imagine his friend list is wide and broad, and you will see lots of Kenan and his friends in the performances.”

What about reaching back even further and inviting Kel Mitchell for some “Kenan & Kel” moments? Perhaps pass out Good Burgers to the audience? “It’d be interesting to do,” Thompson says. “That’d be a good bit. If I write that bit, he’d have to come, right? Thank you for putting that inkling in my mind!”

Thompson may feel like the obvious choice for NBC this year, but he was announced just a month before air — making for a much shorter prep window than normal for a major awards show like the Emmys. But he seems unnervingly relaxed about the timetable: “We’ll be fine,” he says. “I don’t have to do much, a couple of good jokes throughout the night, basically. It’s not like I’m going to be doing stand-up. I just want to celebrate creative people in this business that make these moments possible.”

Of course, Thompson comes from an “SNL” schedule where the show goes from blank slate to live, on the air, within a week. Neal is similarly not concerned: “From my perspective, we still have a lot of time. So we’re excited and we’re working through it now. And we feel like we’re in great shape to have him out there with us.

“He’s a perfect choice because of his broad appeal to the audiences at home,” she adds. “He’s a veteran in the TV space, his comedic approach, his likability, his knowledge and his passion for all things television. We are already having so much fun working with Kenan right now and can’t wait to have audiences at home see him in a few weeks.”

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Why She-Hulk Doesn’t Rage Out Explained By Tatiana Maslany



She-Hulk: Attorney at Law star Tatiana Maslany explains why Jessica Walters doesn’t rage out when she transforms like Bruce Banner did.

Tatiana Maslany explains why Jennifer Walters doesn’t rage out the way Bruce Banner does in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The upcoming Disney+ series will introduce Walters to the world of the MCU, known as Bruce Banner’s cousin in the comics. Mark Ruffalo will reprise his role in the series as Banner/Smart-Hulk, and provide guidance to his cousin on the responsibility she now holds by being a Hulk, after a car accident causes her to get cross-contaminated with Banner’s blood.


She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will mark a drastic change in tone for the MCU, as the show is billed as a half-hour legal comedy. Walters is at the center of many legal cases involving superheroes and villains, and many characters from the expanded world of MCU are set to appear, including Abomination, Wong, and Charlie Cox as Daredevil. Meanwhile, the She-Hulk doesn’t want to use her newfound superpowers to save the world like her cousin does, but only wants to continue her quiet life as a lawyer.

In the series, Walters can take on legal cases as the She-Hulk, something she can do because her Hulk-self doesn’t rage out when fully transformed, and can speak as normally as she does when she is Jennifer Walters. In a recent interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Maslany explains why Jennifer Walters can control her emotions while being Hulked out and is essentially better at Hulking than Bruce Banner is. Check out her comments on the matter below:

Because women have been socially taught to repress and control their emotions in order to survive. So she’s like, ‘I’m so good at dealing with my rage. I deal with it constantly. I deal with fear constantly.’ So she’s able to just navigate it effortlessly.

In Avengers: Endgame, Bruce Banner explains that he spent years in a lab trying to repress his Hulk emotions, which allowed him to create his Smart Hulk persona and function as an individual while being fully Hulked out. But it looks like Walters won’t need to do this, because she’s able to repress her emotions as a Hulk to function as a lawyer pretty much immediately. Her origins as She-Hulk, and how she’s able to control her emotions, will likely be fully explained in the series.

However, Maslany’s comments on the matter give a small glimpse of what audiences should expect when they are introduced to the She-Hulk for the first time in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Everything audiences knew about being a Hulk from Bruce Banner’s story is likely off the table now, with the show introducing the latest addition to the Hulk family. And Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk is faster, stronger, and more agile as a Hulk than Bruce Banner has been since he took on the Smart Hulk personality in Endgame.

Source: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube

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‘The Family Chantel’: Pedro Insists He Wants to Move Out Against Chantel’s Wishes (Exclusive)



There’s clearly little hope of a reconciliation between Pedro and Chantel in this exclusive snippet from Monday’s episode of The Family Chantel. In the clip, Pedro’s mother, Lidia, attempts to mediate their marriage issues but it’s obvious that Pedro wants to separate and not work on his and Chantel’s relationship. 

Pedro and Chantel have been fighting all season long and during the awkward dinner with his mom, Pedro says he wants to move out, though Chantel says that would only make their situation worse. But Pedro doesn’t budge.

“I don’t care, I need my time off,” he says. “I’m tired. … No, I don’t want anymore. She does what she wants, I do what I want. I want my time apart. It can’t be that I always have to stick to her.”

Lidia notes that neither Pedro or Chantel want to compromise and ends up walking out of the dinner.

“If you want to destroy your marriage, you’re the responsible ones,” she says bluntly. “Don’t look to anyone else.”

After Lidia leaves, Chantel reiterates that she doesn’t want Pedro to move out but he says he needs to and doesn’t care what she wants.

“That’s gonna make problems worse, because we already don’t do anything together,” she notes, before getting up to leave the table as well.

Pedro replies, “I don’t care if we don’t do anything together. I need my time apart and that’s it.”

The Family Chantel airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.

Pedro filed for divorce from Chantel in May and the two both filed restraining orders against one another. In Chantel’s answer to Pedro’s divorce filing, she makes explosive allegations, citing the reason for the divorce as adultery on his behalf. She also accuses him of “cruel treatment” by including “physical domestic violence, as well as mental pain.” In the court documents, she states that “the marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation.”

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