11 Burning Questions About the First Two Months of Hollywood ’23

Peter Jackson after winning the best director Oscar for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
Peter Jackson after winning best director Oscar for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." Photo: Albert L. Ortega/WireImage
Matthew Belloni
February 27, 2023

It’s been a wild start to 2023 in Hollywood, and it’s been a while since I answered reader questions. So here we go (and apologies to those I couldn’t respond to or answer here)…

Your recent Yellowstone column included the detail that Kevin Costner is making $1.2 million an episode this season, plus more money from an overall deal. Is he the highest-paid actor on TV?

No, actually. Most agents and lawyers I talk to believe that title goes to Jack Ryan star John Krasinski, whose acting (and executive producing) fee is believed to reach, or even top, $2 million an episode on the Amazon series’ just-concluded 8-episode third season. This is an inexact science, with lots of factors influencing total pay, so apologies if your client is making more. And remember, actors on 22-episode broadcast shows, like Mariska Hargitay on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, or the recently exited Ellen Pompeo on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, can make more money overall. But a bunch of stars have cracked $1 million per episode, especially on limited series (Michael Keaton on Hulu’s Dopesick, Elisabeth Moss on Apple’s Shining Girls) or even ongoing series (Jason Sudeikis on Ted Lasso, Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren on 1923; Chris Pratt on The Terminal List), and especially when producing fees are factored in. I’m told Zendaya just closed a big re-negotiation on HBO’s Euphoria that likely puts her close to that club.