Mandy Moore has only been getting pennies in residuals from ‘This Is Us’

This Is Us was a network drama which ran from 2016 through 2022. It was a popular drama and it won big awards, like Emmys and Golden Globes. The cast collected good paychecks at the time, given that it was on a network (NBC) and it was a pretty popular hour-long drama in a network-television landscape which barely prioritizes the hour-long drama anymore. Because NBCUniversal has a minority stake in Hulu, This Is Us was given to Hulu for streaming. As we know now, the streaming companies have completely broken the residual system for actors and writers. So while Mandy Moore likely collected a good paycheck for the original run of This Is Us, she’s literally only collecting PENNIES in residuals.

This Is Us star Mandy Moore was among the hundreds of actors who took to the picket lines Tuesday as part of the SAG-AFTRA strike against Hollywood’s streamers and studios over core issues like streaming residuals. The Emmy-nominated actress spent six seasons starring as the matriarch on the Disney-produced NBC drama This Is Us and, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, says she has received checks ranging from a penny to 81 cents in return for the hit show’s streaming deal with Hulu.

“The residual issue is a huge issue,” Moore says from the Disney picket line in Burbank where she was joined by former Scandal star Katie Lowes. “We’re in incredibly fortunate positions as working actors having been on shows that found tremendous success in one way or another … but many actors in our position for years before us were able to live off of residuals or at least pay their bills.”

Moore says she received “very tiny, like 81-cent checks” for the streaming residuals for This Is Us. “I was talking with my business manager who said he’s received a residual for a penny and two pennies,” she said. Lowes added that she hasn’t received anything substantial from Disney for Scandal’s streaming deals with Netflix and, more recently, Hulu.

“If you are someone who has been fortunate enough in our positions to do 120-plus episodes of a successful show in previous years — 10, 15, 20 years ago — that re-airing would be the thing that could sustain you on years where I did this smaller project or I wanted to go do a play or you have kids and you have a family to provide for,” Lowes says of the residuals model. “And that just not a reality anymore. The entire model has changed.”

[From THR]

All of what Mandy and Katie Lowes are saying here is 100% the truth. And it’s completely bonkers – 10-20 years ago, actors who spent YEARS as the lead (or part of an ensemble) on a network drama would be rolling in residual money, because those shows would air on cable rather than streaming. Think of TBS or TNT, cable stations like that would air those reruns and actors would get nice residual checks. It’s bonkers that Mandy Moore has only been getting paid pennies in residuals for eight years of work on a network, prime-time show.

Photos courtesy of Mandy’s IG and Avalon Red.

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18 Responses to “Mandy Moore has only been getting pennies in residuals from ‘This Is Us’”

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  1. girl_ninja says:

    It’s so disgraceful how these streaming services are low balling these actors
    (I know the studios have a huge part in this strike). I just don’t understand how they can be so damn greedy. The reason you have an audience is because we watch the actors and the stories they bring to life. You eat because of their talent. PAY. THEM.

  2. Amy says:

    I completely support the strikers but am curious — anyone know why some of them are wearing name tags?

  3. Rosemary says:

    I don’t understand how this is a surprise to them all. They made the show, negotiated contracts, got paid millions upfront. What was in the contract about streaming? Did their agents drop the ball on it or what?

    • Ameerah M says:

      That’s the entire point. There was nothing in the contracts in regards to streaming. Because streaming wasn’t as big of a thing when these shows aired. That’s literally the entire point. That the industry and the negotiations has not caught up to streaming and the streaming services and studios have taken advantage of this gap and have gotten away with it. That’s the entire reason why they are striking – to negotiate that the gap be closed.

    • Snuffles says:

      When I lived in LA and worked in the industry, I worked for an organization that represented independents. A big part of what they did was design boilerplate contracts for independents. And the changing landscape of how people view content was a constant issue they were working on updating. We also had a division dedicated solely to collections of residuals. Not for the artists but for the companies. It was always a challenge for them to get their money for their products playing internationally. They don’t have a system in place like studios.

    • Ellie says:

      Also actors who get paid ”millions” are probably like 0.1% of the SAG members. Most get paid very little, go from project to project (a recurring role in a multi-season drama is very rare) and struggle to make a living. This strike is mostly for them. But of course media attention is only on the big names.

    • Becks1 says:

      It’s also important to note that a lot of these people did NOT get paid millions upfront. Most actors in Hollywood do not make that kind of money. Residuals are a way to compensate actors long term for their work, especially as the production studios continue to profit. but with streaming, that’s gone away.

  4. HeyKay says:

    Didn’t actors from old tv shows like Gillians Island get residuals for years after the shows went off the air?
    How is it that shows on streaming don’t pay residuals?

    Their agents get a cut of their salaries, how did residuals from streaming not get negotiated?

    • Becks1 says:

      I think its just because things have changed so much in the last 5, 10 years with regards to streaming. Like Suits aired in 2011, so Meghan’s first contract would have been negotiated around then presumably, maybe a little earlier. Netflix looked very different back then. So did Hulu. There was no Peacock, Disney Plus, Apple TV, I don’t think there was Prime video, etc. Now by 2015 things had started to change so I’m assuming as her contract was re-negotiated there might have been something added, but I’m not sure how much bargaining power the actors had at that point if it wasn’t addressed in the union contract.

      Gilligan’s Island aired on network TV, or Nick at Nite, or whatever. Not streaming. So the residuals pay differently (per my understanding.)

    • liz says:

      When those contracts were negotiated, “streaming” was just barely getting started and was primarily for music (Napster). Hulu didn’t exist at all until 2008. Netflix primary source of revenue was still DVD rentals by mail until around 2010 (House of Cards – its first bit of original content premiered in 2013).

      There was nothing to negotiate because revenue from streaming services was barely a blip on the horizon when these shows went into production.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Liz that’s a good point about House of Cards! I feel like the original programming changed streaming significantly and in a way that a contract signed in 2010 (whenever Mandy Moore for example signed for This Is Us) couldn’t have anticipated.

  5. MSTJ says:

    Sounds like Netflix is capitalizing big time on Suits because Meghan is in it (lots of people including me watching it because she is in it) and lots of people are streaming it now on their service but the stars may just be getting pennies. While I enjoyed the series and watched it on Netflix, I am upset that my streaming likely might not have contributed to a healthy residual for the actors. 🧐🤨

    I hope there is change to fix what I think is a broken compensation system with streamlining services. I support the strikers.

  6. HeyKay says:

    Take a look at what comedians Jim Jefferies and Lewis Black have to say about the amounts they were offered for their Netflix stand up shows.

    Jefferies and Black are very well known, long careers, touring internationally, etc.

    Lewis Black was offered less than $300K by Netflix, for his newest show. He tried several times for a higher price, repeatedly NO.
    Lewis then decided F Netflix. And released his newest standup show directly to his Youtube channel and he is now back out on tour. He wrote, produced, performed over an hour of smart, funny, original material to a sold out audience, holding the crowd in the palm of his hand. After decades of successful work. Including Broadway for decades.

    Jim Jefferies talks about Netflix paying him $50K for his first show, years ago. It is still on Netflix!
    All of his standup shows are in rotation for years. No residuals? or pennies?
    Disgraceful.. But the studio CEOs are pocketing huge money, always. Profits to the CEOs.

  7. Kara C says:

    Streaming wasn’t a “thing” when a lot of actors signed their contracts. A lot of folks were surprised to find that they got either nothing or pennies from streaming.

    Streaming is relatively new. Even if it was around when contracts were signed, there was likely nothing in the contracts about it at all, and most actors wouldn’t have the kind of clout necessary to demand residuals from it. The union has been trying to do something about this for years, and nothing has been done about it, hence the strike.

    Contracts hadn’t caught up to the tech, and TV and movie execs have been taking advantage of that.

  8. HeyKay says:

    Well, Netflix has raised their prices again, and now it will cost even more for no ads.
    Plus can’t share accounts with the rellies anymore either.

    I am getting rid of Netflix at the end of this month.
    I was only keeping it to watch Henry Cavill The Witcher for me. Made it thru about 3 eps. don’t care anymore.
    The kid watches it more than I do but hey, youtube has lots of Free kids stuff. With ads tho.

    The cost of everything is outta control. Netflix is leaving my tv!

  9. canichangemyname says:

    I have a friend in the industry, and he worked with Matt LeBlanc from friends and went to his house, which obviously was amazing and he told me Matt joked, “TV money.”
    Streaming has changed the game. I think on one hand it gives actors more opportunities, but as usual, people are greedy and more than willing to not pay people enough for their talent and what they are bringing to the table. Actors and writers work crazy long hours, keep people watching and entertained, and they need to be compensated fairly. That goes for every industry, and we’re not seeing it.
    I was a journalist – and a pretty damn good one – my pay was pretty stagnant as rents were increasing to the point that it was almost unsustainable for me.
    This income inequality is getting ridiculous, and I love to see celebrities speak out about it because they have that platform.