Jennifer Aniston & Reese Witherspoon got $2 million per episode for ‘TMS’

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West arrive at the 2019 Met Gala in New York

It seems completely obvious to me that Jennifer Aniston joined Instagram this week as part of what was likely a contractual obligation to promote The Morning Show. TMS premieres on Apple+ next month, which is also when Apple+ will really debut. It’s been a big build up for Apple+, a lot of hype and and a lot of hope that Apple’s streaming service will be the next big thing, “the new Netflix.” Apple is already a trillion-dollar company, so they’re basically making an investment on themselves, that they can throw enough money at Apple+ and that eventually it will not only pay for itself, but actually become a great revenue stream. This and more is discussed in a fascinating Hollywood Reporter story – go here to read the full piece. I’m pulling some info about the business side and creative side, including how much money they’re spending on The Morning Show:

…Any hurdles Apple has faced leading up to the launch won’t matter if their plan to offer a handful of original shows for $5 a month succeeds in attracting a fraction of their 1.4 billion Apple users. And many believe that it will. Wedbush estimates that Apple could attract 100 million TV+ subscribers by 2023 and generate between $7 billion and $10 billion in revenue from the product.

Though Apple makes significantly more — $167 billion in 2018 — from the sale of the iPhone, as people hold on to their devices longer, services like TV+ will be key to ensuring Apple ecosystem loyalty. “There’s a lot at stake,” notes Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives. “TV+ is going to play a major role in them further monetizing their 900 million iPhone users. The next leg of growth for Apple is going to be services.” Apple declined to participate in this story.

By several accounts, the company already has well outspent its initially projected $1 billion annual content budget. Morning Show alone costs $15 million an episode for a total of $300 million for two seasons, per sources, due in large part to the $2 million-an-episode fees that Witherspoon and Aniston negotiated. (Their deals are said to be even higher with producing fees and ownership points.)

As if to show off just how much cash the $1 trillion company has, execs are offering every AppleTV+ showrunner and series regular a free Apple product and have dispatched representatives to the sets of shows including Dickinson to take orders from talent on which style iPhone or iPad they’d prefer. But the gifts haven’t exactly made up for the regular Apple presence on some sets, where sources say development executives have been hands-on with ensuring that each show fits the Apple brand. While the company isn’t imposing strict family-friendly guidelines — early episodes of Morning Show feature the heavy use of F-bombs — the understanding is that explicit content must be in service of the storyline and all projects should, ultimately, mesh with Apple’s aspirational brand identity. (According to a recent BuzzFeed News report, the company also pressured creators not to portray China negatively to avoid angering the authorities.)

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I’m sort of proud of Reese and Jennifer for negotiating $2 million per episode, with additional salaries for producing and probably a backend (if I’m understanding that correctly). Aniston and Witherspoon knew that The Morning Show would be the centerpiece of Apple+’s launch and that they would have to do so much heavy lifting to sell the show. Why not get paid big-time? That being said, the corporate synergy blending with the creative synergy is not ideal for anyone. Will Apple’s gamble pay off? Or will Apple+ become a billion-dollar write-off?

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West arrive at the 2019 Met Gala in New York

Photos courtesy of Apple+.

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65 Responses to “Jennifer Aniston & Reese Witherspoon got $2 million per episode for ‘TMS’”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    I am only here to be catty before going church this AM and because I am so tired of always seeing articles on web about how great JA is aging without much medical help. That is FALSE. Her face looks no bueno. What ever it is she needs to stop.

    Aside from that, I am not a fan of them. I find them very limited and not very versatile as far as acting.

    Ok now I really do need to go and confess my cattiness 😉

    • Cdog says:

      JA’s face does look super puffy. Reese looks great

      • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

        She just needs to scale back on the cheek filler(s). A bit of a “slack” would look a LOT more “natural” than what she has when she smiles.

        Still… I’d kill to have her body lol. Girlfriend works HARD for that!

    • AnnaKist says:

      Thank you, Seraphina! And neither is worth that pay rate. No one is. They are a pair of greedy cows.

      • Silas says:

        Nah. The money is clearly there and Apple+ wouldn’t give it to them if Apple didn’t think it could make even more. Get paid, ladies.

        And then pay your fair share of taxes. You too, Apple! That the real bone of contention for me.

      • LoonyTunes says:

        So they should decline the pay? 🤔 Good for them for negotiating what they wanted. More women need to do that. Apple has money to burn.

      • Jadedone says:

        “Greedy cows” bc they got paid for doing a job? Do you work for free? So bitter

      • L4frimaire says:

        It’s not being greedy. It’s negotiating to get paid what you’re worth. What they’re getting is nothing compared to the billions in Apples banks. Sorry, that comment is straight up sexism. Definitely think Reese is worth that and more. Look what she did with Big Little Lies. Aniston is also good but not a big fan of her acting in general and feel like she hasn’t flexed in really meaty roles in a long time.

      • M.A.F. says:

        “They are a pair of greedy cows.”
        They knew their worth and got paid, regardless of what you think of their acting talent.

      • bettyrose says:

        I ignored this comment earlier because I didn’t know how to contain my disgust and figured others would respond better. No one has responded to the use of “cows” though, so I feel compelled to. I have no issue with cows. They are very sweet creatures known to make lifelong friends with other cows. Undoubtedly, many cows are morally superior to the worst of humans. Still, calling them cows is deliberately dehumanizing (a rhetorical technique that makes criticisms more palatable, and is too often used specifically with women to further dehumanize them more than is already done through judging us as a sum of body parts).

      • A says:

        I mean, Jennifer Aniston was getting about a million dollars per episode of Friends for their tenth season. And Reese Witherspoon is an Oscar winner and a movie star. So I think that their work more than entitles them to the money, surely? At any rate, we live in a universe where people like Johnny Depp are getting paid much more for doing a lot less. So I say they should take as much money as they think they deserve.

      • Stardust says:

        “greedy cows” – clearly sexist comment here. No one would be saying that about a couple of guys who could command the equal amount of coverage for Apple Streaming; talent and acting ability aside, these two, esp Aniston, generate serious coverage for projects. (I agree with the poster up there that both can be pretty limited in terms of acting ability though.) Off-putting name-calling.

      • Learned One says:

        Um, if it was a guy earning $2m an epidsode, we’d all be b*tching about pay equality and how a woman would not be paid as much as a man. So – JA & Reese earn it and they are ‘greedy cows’? You must be kidding or being ironic here.

    • minx says:

      Thank you. Of course she’s had work done.

      • IntheKnow says:

        So what if she has had work done??? I don’t get it the issue…age anyway you like, naturally or not. Also, her puffiness could be menopause related…I know my mom got super puffy in her face. She is a WOC had has very very little wrinkles but was puffy AF. Then things settled.

        I have no idea if Jen has had work done. Either way, I am tired of womens’ bodies being policed by men and women alike. It’s terrible. And this is part of the reason why so many women Fuk with their faces and bodies. Pressure coming in from all sides.

        Regarding her salary..good for her. I can’t tell you the amount of time people try to under pay me while declare ‘they want me to work for them’. I will tell them, ‘hey, I can refer you someone who will take the rate you are offering’ But they will insist on wanting me yet wanting to pay me waaaay less than my white and male counter part. F that.

        I rarely hear men being described as greedy for asking for 10x more.

      • Stardust says:

        ITK, you said it all esp on the pay thing. Thank you!

      • Butterscotch says:

        Newsflash:They all get work done.

    • Seraphina says:

      @Intheknow, I don’t care if they get work done. Modern medicine is out there and good on them for taking full advantage of it. I would too if I were in her shoes. What does annoy me when they sell the story that it’s clean living or taking good care of oneself that helps them look that way. Just own up to it. Her body is in great shape and she admits she works hard for it and I applaud her for that. It’s time we are real with one another. You Botox and get lifts??? Who cares, but own up to it. Time does not discriminate.

      • Bonita says:

        I don’t recall Aniston ever saying that it’s all down to clean living. She admits to liking margueritas, tacos, wine, sunbathing and while she was with Theroux, trying to quit smoking. She’s said that Botox isn’t for her, but she loves the effects of laser treatments. I don’t remember her making comments about fillers one way or another.

        She works out, does yoga regularly. Meditates. Doesn’t eat breakfast, but drinks coffee. Has probably banished sugar (mostly) from her diet decades ago. Benefits from Mediterranean genes. And she’s 50. Most actresses at 50 would have already had some sort of surgical lifting done, which doesn’t seem to be her case as of yet.

      • bettyrose says:

        I’ve never identified much with Aniston. I don’t think we’d have enough common interests to be friends if we knew each other, but I don’t understand criticism of her physique. Her appeal was always a “girl next door” look, more than being especially glamours (and she’s made a multi-million dollar career on films about girl next door romantic follies) .

        But she looks like a 50 year old woman who enjoys life but takes good care of herself. I’m only a few years younger than her. I don’t deny myself culinary pleasures, but I work out daily, do regular home facial treatments, and very much hope to be rockin’ a healthy look for decades to come.

      • A says:

        Why does anyone owe you an explanation for what they do or don’t do with their own body? I understand the argument that saying you’re all natural when you’ve had plenty of work done is bad, insofar as it upholds unfair beauty standards in society. But in reality, no one owes you an explanation for what they have or haven’t done with their face. It’s really none of your damn business.

      • IntheKnow says:

        I don’t agree with you at all. You are not her family/friend. She doesn’t have explain herself to you or anyone. I don’t remember her stating that she is some great ‘natural’ beauty. I’ve only ever heard her speak about working out lots. She hasn’t spoken (that I know of)about liking or disliking cosmetic surgery. I’ve only ever heard her say she didn’t like botox and Justin T didn’t want her to have it done. Either way, if she’s changed her mind and gotten some work done or botox what???

        Gawd, we women are so horrible to each other under the guise of ‘own up to it’. ‘tell us what you did’. Her health, her life, her privacy. She doesn’t need to broadcast it.

        How would you like your friends, family or strangers asking you about things that should be private to you?? I know we live in a world of oversharing….but come on.

        I am in my 40s with relatively perky boobs. I don’t have kids. But it doesn’t stop women from asking if I’d have a boob job. I’ve had women poke my boobs to see if they are real. I’ve had people (women mostly) hug me (at work) and squish me to see if my boobs are real. My point is…even if I had a boob job, I don’t have to explain it to anyone but the people I am shagging..and not even them really.

    • Amanita says:

      She looks like crap. She’s managed to achieve a look both processed and unfetching.

      • IntheKnow says:

        @amanita, I’m sure you look just wonderful. (sarcasm)

      • Amanita says:

        Why the sarcasm, hun? I actually do look wonderful.

      • Jaded says:

        @Amanita: Wow, that’s really mean. Good for you that you think you’re wonderful, apparently you base everyone’s looks on yourself. She looks like a 50 year old who has had some “maintenance” done because Hollywood. I’d say Loni Anderson, Faye Dunaway, Lisa Rinna, Pam Anderson, etc. etc. look like crap because they’ve gone way overboard. JA was never majorly glamorous but she has a cute, wholesome and healthy look to her. You may think you look better on the outside but inside you’re just cruel.

      • Ramona Q. says:

        Amanita, you’re right. She looks ridiculous. All these puffy, frozen actresses’ faces look ridiculous. It’s continually baffling that this look is supposedly better than wrinkles. And calling out these painful, expensive, high-maintenance, age-shaming, awful-looking procedures is not snarky – it is a feminist act. Do you think Jen WANTS to put needles in her face regularly? No, she’s terrified of looking old to a degree that men don’t spend one second considering. So, yes, she looks stupid. The emperor has no clothes, say it out loud.

  2. Eliza says:

    Considering Netflix is supposedly working with a billion dollar deficit, I don’t see how streaming pays off if you’re spending a over a billion a year. Yes subscribers, but with Disney, Netflix, HBOs new one, Hulu, Prime, and many more to come, just how many subscribers will join? I like Jen and Reese but have no desire for Apple+. And at a billion dollars, you’d need nearly a hundreds of millions subscribers to not be in red every year. Great business model? Hardly. Not much to monetize either.

    I’ve heard people talk about Disney+, but honestly not one peep about Apple+. I think they overestimate public interest in yet another streaming platform that is more of a gamble (no built in catalogue).

    • Prettykrazee says:

      Apple is really looking at their steaming service as an incentive to get people to upgrade their phones sooner. And get them to stay in the Apple ecosystem. That’s why they are giving away a free year with every new device. It’s similar to how Amazon sells their Kindle Fire tablets at a lost to keep customers in the Amazon ecosystem. I don’t think Apple is really looking to compete with Disney+, Netflix and the like.

      Apple isn’t spending a trillion dollars on their streaming service. They are spending billions. Apple isn’t run on a deficit. They have a cash reserve of hundreds of billions of dollars. That’s why the tech world thought Apple would buy Netflix before they launched Apple+. I really don’t know how long Netflix can keep operating with that type of deficit.

      • Eliza says:

        Spending billions annually on something that is never looking turn a profit to “keep” phone users, is a horrible business plan that doesnt make sense. Amazon isn’t losing billions a year on that model. I doubt anyone will get a new iphone because of any new reason other than the good ol they want the new iPhone…. a subscription to tv isn’t going to make someone splash out $1000 quicker. Again Netflix is in the hole by billions, and will retain more subscribers than Apple+, so Apple+ will end up being a huge money pit. Just because they have money in the bank, doesn’t mean they should throw away billions.

      • Prettykrazee says:

        Apple+ is only five $5 a month after the free year. At that price will their iPhone users get rid of it? If they keep enough content probably not. That a price of a coffee. So they will be bringing in something. I don’t think Apple is looking to turn a profit on this for awhile. As they aren’t looking to compete in the streaming business. Just satisfy their customers. It’s not just about the customer spending $1000 quicker. It’s to make sure it’s spent with Apple. Will it be enough?

      • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

        Considering young(er) users have pretty much “cut the cord” and only stream, this IS the future: subscribe to the services that have the content you want to watch.

        My nephews (19 & 21) don’t have/watch cable (older one has an apt at school, younger in a frat house at school). They do (my) Netflix & Amazon Prime on their laptops (lol) and YouTube channels. So do ALL their friends. They even stream sports. The only time these kids watch “regular” tv is when they’re home with parents.

        Cable will go the way of the dinosaur. We are paying WAY too much for WAY too much that we don’t watch. Think about it: how many channels in your cable/satellite lineup do you watch with any regularity? Probably just a handful. Eventually, we’ll all just get the channels we want by streaming, incl. HBO et al.

      • Stardust says:

        Prettykrazee is right. As the article says, it’s about locking people into their ecosystem. In streaming they will spend big on a few projects like this one with big names to give their streaming service coverage and skimp on the other shows. They will find other ways to monetise this audience – and it’s good they’re acting quickly because they know iPhone is no longer the massive earner it’s been for 10 years or so.

      • Deering says:

        A shame billions can’t buy them truly visionary tech—which is what Apple really needs.

    • A says:

      I don’t think the point of a company like Netflix is to really make a profit in the traditional sense. I think their business model is to spend as much money as possible on as much content as possible, and hope that something sticks. Even if it’s just one or two shows a quarter that do really well, that’s all they really need to afford to keep churning out as much content as they can. And they’ve really leaned into their prestige content as of late, with all of the movies by A-list directors and their massive efforts to win awards and stuff. If you’ve noticed, a lot of the companies that go into streaming services like this are companies that can really afford that type of disposable income, because they can just buy and produce as much content as they want, quietly discard what doesn’t work, and keep the ones that do.

  3. patra says:

    Not the worst idea to aim right for the minivan majority in casting these two – plenty of disposable income there.

  4. Sierra says:

    I got Netflix and only interested in getting Disney plus…

  5. Becks1 says:

    Good for them. Get paid ladies.

    I don’t know about Apple +, we might get it for a month or two just to see if we like it, but we still have cable, Netflix, amazon prime, and Disney starting next month, so I imagine it’s going to be overkill.

  6. Ripley says:

    I say this as a white woman closing in on 40, I would be more interested if more persons of color. I like Reese, Jennifer, and Steve Carell just fine. But I’m really enjoying these original Netflix movies and shows with diversity.

    • josephine says:

      I agree. I have a bit of exhaustion seeing the same faces again and again.

      I’ve only seen one preview, and I have to say that the scene with Aniston trying to be serious/furious at the conference table was really cringe-worthy. I’ve never enjoyed her more serious roles. I just don’t think it’s her strength. I think Reese has more range for sure, but I also prefer her comedic roles.

  7. Suz says:

    I got rid of cable because I barely watched anything on it. I’ve got Netflix and Prime and the truth is I probably only watch a tiny percentage of what’s on there too. But still more affordable, I guess. I agree the streaming services are starting to turn into overkill. I don’t care about Hulu or Apple+. I don’t have kids so I don’t need Disney on demand in my house, but I can see how that would be handy for those who do.

  8. Guest2.0 says:

    Anyone who purchases a new IPhone or IPad after Sept 10 automatically gets a one year free subscription to Apple+. So Apple is banking on those people liking and continuing the service after their free subscription ends.

    I read an article that said there is room for growth in the streaming business. Streaming services combined only make up10-15% of the market and cable tv still dominates market share. The thinking is that if more cord cutting diminishes cables market share, there’s room for the streaming services to grow.

  9. Enn says:

    I have no desire to subscribe to Apple+. We don’t use Prime TV as it is, and pretty much stick to Netflix, Hulu, and Acorn. Contemplating BritBox, though.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      LOVED BritBox!!! Only problem was, I don’t have enough time to watch everything as is! I let it go for a while 🙁

  10. Ela says:

    Yeah, sticking with Netflix due to their international content. I have always watched South Korean dramas and Netflix is streaming some of the new series within a day or two of the Korean broadcast. Also watched some good Spanish and Turkish dramas.

    • Guest2.0 says:

      Yeah, I think each of the streaming services will have offerings unique to their customer base. Netflix is really international and offers a lot of shows that Disney+ will not. Disney+ will be great for families but won’t offer more adult oriented fare. Other services will find their niche and consumers will pick and choose which services meet their needs. Cable is going to have to find a new way to compete. Most of the cable channels no one watches anyway.

  11. minx says:

    Can’t stand either of these two.

    • Butterscotch says:

      Lol but you always click on their threads and comment all the time.
      So they obviously press you somehow.

  12. jenner says:

    so apparently aniston said she would never join instagram. then she joins, and everyone thinks it’s the bomb that she….. basically caved in. for the money. i just don’t get it.

  13. Lucy2 says:

    Good for them. Apple was obviously willing to pay it, and they will be the ones running around to promote it. I hope they both do good things with their earnings.

  14. Jadedone says:

    Love it when women make a damn good Salary. They have probably set a precedent for future actresses to demand just as much.

  15. Savannah says:

    Making one more streaming service is not the way to go. Like someone over here said: Apple is overestimating their customers need for another streaming service. Instead of spending all that money on a new streaming service, they will struggled with, they could spend the money on producing cool stuff that the existing streaming services can buy and stream for them.

    It’s not the same with Tim Cook being Apple’s boss. He doesn’t make the same futuristic and strategically moves for the company.
    Instead of creating stuff customers actually want, they keep “forcing” their products and “improvements” on products on their customers.
    The visionary work that Jobs did died with him. Rip.

    • Deering says:

      Amen to that. When their newest phone a) is pretty much just a fancy camera, b) breaks no new ground, and c) produces the worst ads Apple has ever done, that says it all. I’m stunned at how utterly unappealing the new IPhone’s ads are—the least Apple’s marketing used to do was make the product a must-have.

  16. Trish-a says:

    Greedy cows?
    Wow. This site has turned very nasty.

    • Lena says:

      Yup. If you can’t stand them I wouldn’t read about them right? Anyway I heard EACH episode of The Morning Show costs $15 MILLION. That’s like a movie each time and since they don’t have to spend it on special effects like Game of Thrones they can spend it on the talent. I heard Reese held out until she got $1 million for her apple project (since went up I guess) and that raised her negotiation price for Big Little Lies 2 which raised all her co stars as well. All good for everyone imo.

  17. Trish-a says:

    If it were men would we call them names? No. Go girls! Get your money! You both look great. Can’t wait to watch.

  18. IntheKnow says:

    @amanita, yes, I am sure you are well varnished, schweetie.

  19. whatIthink says:

    people have been begging JA to do another series for ever. She is probably also getting apple computers, iphones, products for life, and the senior management perks. JA is one of the biggest series get in Hollywood. Apple begged her, not the other way around.

  20. Jo says:

    That is just an obscene amount of money. The inequality of wealth makes me sad. I guess, good for them… But I find it gross at the same time.

  21. BC says:

    1. Congrats and more power to female empowerment.

    2. Having said that, must be nice to be white. They couldnt add a minority to the mix? Plus there are so many professionally trained journalists who dont have jobs. But i understand: marketing.

    3. I love TV. Especially interesting adult dramas or political dramas. I have Netflix and just got Prime and i cannot believe what useless stuff is on Prime. Definitely for cancellation. I suppose Prime figures they do well enough with the Amazon store that they dont need to really invest on a streaming service. Netflix on the other hand only has the streaming service and thus has something to prove. Apple+ will work if they can pull some big ongoing shows from Netflix or get to finance some better quality tv shows and get some big name actors on them. Movie actors at that. Im waiting to see. Apple if youre reading this, dont be like Netflix and Prime who just pick random shows from other countries.. well Netflix tries to pick quality shows…but actually, seek good writers from that country and finance their scripts and get great actors from there. Is it costly? I dont think shooting in say, India or Africa is more costly than shooting in LA. Plus, time will prove it a worthy investment. Dont half ass this the way Prime is doing. Go hard or go home.

    • Lucy2 says:

      There are several women of color in the cast, but I agree they could have been even more inclusive in the casting.

  22. BC says:

    I want to add that i wouldve appreciated the effort if Apple went the Imax way to try make movies more futuristic in that VR kind of way. I know its already ongoing but i havent seen much progress. The 7D experience hasnt been really achieved whereby one can feel they are actually in the movie with the feels and the 360 degree experience.

  23. ravynrobyn says:

    I’ve sorely missed seeing Steve weekly on my TV. Can’t wait 🥰😜