Although money plays a gigantic role in both film and television, it's surprising to note that salaries for the people who run the show - be it directors, writers, showrunners, and so on - is largely kept out of headlines.
It's true, actors often make an obscene amount of money, but is it the same for showrunners? In a word, yes. As we previously reported, Frank Darabont is currently suing US television studio AMC for profits he's owed on The Walking Dead, a hit series that's generated revenue upwards of $1 billion and become a cultural phenomenon in the process.
Through legal documents and filings lodged as part of the lawsuit, we're now getting a closer look at how much money the showrunners of prestige television make - and one interesting aspect that hasn't been reported on before is awards bonuses. According to papers lodged as part of Darabont's lawsuit, it's very common for showrunners to receive a cash bonus if they're show is nominated - and even more if they win.
Matthew Weiner, who was the executive producer and creator of AMC's Mad Men, was said to collect $25,000 for each award nomination - and a further $100,000 if it won. This deal, according to the papers filed as evidence in Darabont's lawsuit, kicked in for the three final seasons of the show and raised the win bonus from $50,000 to $100,000.
Just to put that in perspective, for the Emmys alone in the major non-acting categories, Mad Men was nominated 21 times during the entire series - which meant that Weiner made $525,000 from nominations alone, never mind the seven wins it had which would put Weiner's awards bonus in the region of around $1,000,000. On top of all this, Weiner also made $2.5 million in total for the fifth season, $2.6 million for the sixth and $3.6 million for the seventh and final season of the show.
Now try imagine how much the people behind Game of Thrones are getting.