Friends is coming back for a ninth and final season, ending months of speculation about the future of the show. The final series will run for 24 episodes and keep the cast among Hollywood’s top money earners.
The six stars of the NBC comedy signed a deal Monday that promises to pay them just over $1 million per episode for the Warner Bros. television show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC has also agreed to boost the license fee it pays for the show by about $1 million, to an estimated $6.5 million.
Talks went smoothly compared to the last round of negotiations two years ago when the cast–Jennifer Aniston, Couretney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer–went from $125,000 each per episode to $750,000 for two years. Each actor also has a 1 to 2 percent stake in the syndication profits from the show.
Reruns of Friends are expected to generate more than $1 billion in revenues over the first 10 years of the show’s post-network life, which started in 1998. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. will add another 24 episodes to syndication.
The actors said in a statement that they could not ignore the outpouring of public support for the show and are looking forward to creating one more season.