AMC’s critically-acclaimed zombie drama The Walking Dead is one of the most-watched shows on television, drawing in millions of viewers from around the world each season – but you wouldn’t know that from how much the cast makes.
Despite dominating in the ratings and being crowed (once again) the highest-rated series on cable television, The Walking Dead‘s main cast members don’t make as much as some people might think they would. If anything, the cast is in the game for the content, the experience, and perhaps, the fame. So, while they don’t make as much as, say, the cast of Game of Thrones (each of the main cast members earn $500,000 per episode as of season 7), they do make enough to live a healthy lifestyle. Still, you may be surprised at how little they make (by industry standards) compared to other long-running shows.
Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus
Andrew Lincoln has been the show’s main star ever since the beginning, leading the charge as Rick Grimes. Although his character has had his ups and downs (lots of downs, especially during those middle seasons), Rick continues to remain on top, appearing in the vast majority of episodes. And while Lincoln is one of the top-billed cast members, he only made approximately $92,000 per episode (which usually take eight days to film), as of season 6, thus totaling just over $1.47 million per season.
Norman Reedus, on the other hand, made either $80,000 or $124,000 per episode, depending on the source. While he’s among the crowd who were more well-established in the industry before taking up residence on The Walking Dead, being paid $32,000 more than the series’ main star seems far-fetched, especially for this particular show. With that in mind, the $80,000 estimation makes much more sense. However, recent reports have indicated that both Lincoln and Reedus had received massive pay hikes for seasons 7, 8 and beyond, going from $80,000 and $92,000 to $550,000 and $650,000 per episode respectively – and that would put them in the same ballpark as other top-tier shows, such as Homeland and Game of Thrones, but it’s still not as high as what the casts of broadcast programs make.
Chandler Riggs is one of the wealthiest child actors in the industry today, having garnered an approximate net worth of $2 million, virtually all of which comes from The Walking Dead. It’s unclear what his exact salary is, but if we were to deduce his salary from his co-stars and other child actors, it’s probable that he makes somewhere around $30,000 to $40,000 per episode – though most likely on the low-end of the spectrum.
Riggs was initially contracted for seven seasons, and before he re-upped his contract with AMC, rumors were flying about him meeting his untimely demise during the season 7 finale (which came close to actually happening on-screen). Although Riggs was raking in a hefty sum for someone his age, it’s unclear if he’s being paid more or the same from season 8 onward; we’d wager his being paid much, much more.