‘Friends’ Co-Creator Marta Kauffman Calls Stars’ $1 Million Per Episode Payday ‘Ridiculous’

TCA 2015: “Let’s be honest, that’s a lot of money,” she told reporters, calling the gaudy ’90s figure “inflated”

Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman TCA

Even “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman found her ex-cast’s $1 million payday per episode demands “kinda ridiculous.”

The now “Grace and Frankie” showrunner made the comment on Tuesday during a Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour panel that highlighted several top Netflix series helmers.

“A million dollars an episode is kinda ridiculous,” Kaufmann told reporters, while speaking about the differences between her old network TV job and the current role. “Let’s be honest, that’s a lot of money.”

“I think it’s inflated,” she continued. “And there’s something unrealistic about it. Not everybody is going to get a million dollars an episode. So I think actually what we’re all doing [now] is actually more reasonable and makes more sense.”

“And it’s only 13 [episodes]. That’s part of it,” Kaufmann added. “When you do 24 episodes for a network, you know, that’s your whole year. You don’t have time to do other stuff. When an actor is doing 13 episodes, they have many, many, many weeks left. They can pursue movies and theater and other stuff. So I think that really helps people not feel like they have to get a car every time they do an episode.”

Kaufmann’s words were in response to a journalist who asked her specifically about the old NBC cast demands. The question was in relation to Netflix not sharing viewing numbers with its showrunners or actors, and whether or not she thought talent’s negotiating power was lost without any real form of ratings available.

“It’s such a different situation, because ratings are connected to advertisers,” Kaufmann began. “That was a case where the cast knew how valuable the show was to the network in terms of the advertisers. There are no advertisers on Netflix. And I think you’re hoping that I’ll say ‘It’s frustrating’ but the truth is, it’s wonderful, because there’s only one thing we’re doing — we’re not pandering to advertisers, we’re not pandering to a network, all we’re doing is making the show we want and that we believe in.”

“If someday, the cast says, ‘We’re worth more than you’re offering,’ then we’ll deal with it then.”

A few minutes later, she brought up the old 1990’s negotiations again herself, which is when she dropped the aforementioned “ridiculous” quotes.