The family drama series This is Us was one of the biggest shows on television, with its series finale bringing in 11 million viewers back in May 2022. So how much did the hit show earn for its actors and actresses after it was put on streaming services? Mandy Moore, who played Rebecca Pearson on the show for all 106 episodes, told the Hollywood Reporter that she regularly receives checks from the streaming service — but the biggest check she ever received from the company was for 86 cents.
Mandy Moore starred in This is Us for years, but the largest residual check she got from Hulu was for 86 cents.
Mandy Moore emphasized that even receiving residuals for such a small amount is a rarity for actors who are members of SAG-AFTRA, most of whom have not reached nearly the level of success that she has. However, in years past, actors used to receive enough residuals from their performances to pay their bills or even make a living.
This change in circumstances, where residuals from even the most popular shows are now nonexistent, is a big reason that SAG-AFTRA voted to strike earlier this July.
Mandy Moore isn’t alone in sharing the pitiful earnings that SAG-AFTRA members get from their shows on streaming services. Scandal star Katie Lowes told Hollywood Reporter that she hasn’t gotten “anything substantial” from her show’s appearance on either Netflix or Hulu. Actors on Orange is the New Black and Grey’s Anatomy have also voiced their anger about pitiful residuals from the big streaming services.
The almost-nonexistent residuals that Mandy Moore spoke about are a huge deal for the 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members. The guild’s health insurance benefits depend on how much an actor makes — a member must make at least $26,470 in a year (including residuals) to qualify. With residuals practically disappearing, that makes it much harder for guild members to get insurance.
Mandy Moore is trying to bring attention to the difficulties actors face with streaming companies as residuals are drying up.
While the low residuals seen by the likes of Mandy Moore and Katie Lowes are one of the reasons for the strike, it’s not the only reason. Actors are also concerned about studios’ use of artificial intelligence in films. Specifically, they’re worried about studios using actors’ images and voices to create artificial actors, replacing extras (and perhaps even speaking parts).
Screenwriters are also striking for similar reasons. The lack of streaming revenue sharing and the threat from generative AI such as ChatGTP led to the Writers’ Guild of America striking earlier in May — a strike that shows no sign of stopping. With both writers and actors refusing to work, until their demands are met, Hollywood might end up in a difficult situation when the summer ends and new TV shows are supposed to go on the air.
Mandy Moore is starring in Thread: An Insidious Tale, and hopefully she’ll make more on the back-end.
Mandy Moore is set to act in the Sci-Fi horror film Thread: An Insidious Tale and the TV series #1 Happy Family USA, but she won’t be doing any acting work so long as the strike is going on. It doesn’t seem like there will be any deal between the big studios and SAG-AFTRA in the near future, so Moore’s return to acting may be a long time coming.