Chris Evans may have retired as Captain America, but fans will still get to see the actor in action in the coming year. The 38-year-old star is following up his role in the critically acclaimed Knives Out with a lead role in a new Apple TV+ series — and his salary for the show makes him one of the highest-paid stars in television.
Chris Evans is earning $750,000 an episode for ‘Defending Jacob’
Evans will star in Defending Jacob, an eight-episode limited series about a father whose 14-year-old son is accused of killing a classmate. Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery will play the wife of Evans’ character and Jaeden Martell will play Jacob. The show is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by William Landay. Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Batty Gabriel, and Sakina Jaffrey have also been cast.
According to a new report in Variety, Evans is being paid $750,000 an episode for Defending Jacob. He’ll earn a total of $6 million for all eight episodes.
The show will mark the first time Evans has starred in a TV series since 2000, when he appeared on Fox’s Opposite Sex, which ran for one season.
Evans is one of the best-paid stars in television
Evans’ six-figure salary makes him one of the best-paid stars in TV. But he’s still behind a few high-profile actors who are able to command per-episode salaries of $1 million or more.
Harrison Ford will make his first foray into regular television with The Staircase, an adaptation of the Netflix docuseries. It hasn’t been picked up yet by a network or streaming service, but the Star Wars star is reportedly being paid $1.2 million per episode to portray novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused of killing his wife in 2001.
Close behind Ford are Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, and Nicole Kidman. Witherspoon and Washington are each earning $1.1 million per episode for an adaptation of Celeste Ng’s novel Little Fires Everywhere. The show will air on Hulu. Witherspoon (along with Jennifer Aniston) was previously paid $2 million an episode for Apple TV+’s The Morning Show.
Kidman is making $1 million per episode for Nine Perfect Strangers. The series, which will also air on Hulu, is based on a book by Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty. Jeff Bridges will earn $1 million for the FX series The Old Man, while Steve Carrell will get $1 million for the Netflix comedy Space Force.
Are TV salaries too high?
The sky-high salaries for certain stars have some in Hollywood wondering if the trend is sustainable. Industry experts told Variety that high pay is driven in part by new companies spending big to attract top talent. “At this particular moment in time there’s a feeding frenzy,” Dante Di Loreto, Fremantle president of scripted entertainment for North America, told the industry trade publication.
“The fierce competition around talent and projects has created business models that I would posit aren’t really sustainable for volume and long term,” said Sandra Dewey, president of business operations and production at WarnerMedia/HBO Max. “I think there has to be a righting of the business ultimately.”
Read more: ‘Stranger Things’: The Cast is Blowing the Salaries of Other Child Actors Out of the Water
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