Mandy Moore revealed she gets paid next to nothing when fans stream her hit show “This Is Us” — despite the Emmy-winning series being one of the most popular TV shows in the last seven years.
Mandy Moore was among the hundreds of actors who took to the picket lines Tuesday as part of the SAG-AFTRA strike against Hollywood’s streamers and studios over core issues like streaming residuals.
The Emmy-nominated actress spent six seasons starring as the matriarch on the Disney-produced NBC drama This Is Us and, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, says she has received checks ranging from a penny to 81 cents in return for the hit show’s streaming deal with Hulu.
“The residual issue is a huge issue,” Moore says from the Disney picket line in Burbank where she was joined by former Scandal star Katie Lowes. “We’re in incredibly fortunate positions as working actors having been on shows that found tremendous success in one way or another … but many actors in our position for years before us were able to live off of residuals or at least pay their bills.”
Moore says she received “very tiny, like 81-cent checks” for the streaming residuals for This Is Us. “I was talking with my business manager who said he’s received a residual for a penny and two pennies,” she said. Lowes added that she hasn’t received anything substantial from Disney for Scandal’s streaming deals with Netflix and, more recently, Hulu.
“If you are someone who has been fortunate enough in our positions to do 120-plus episodes of a successful show in previous years — 10, 15, 20 years ago — that re-airing would be the thing that could sustain you on years where I did this smaller project or I wanted to go do a play or you have kids and you have a family to provide for,” Lowes says of the residuals model. “And that just not a reality anymore. The entire model has changed.”
SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents the 160,000-plus striking performers, said the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — which represents streamers and studios including Apple and Disney — rejected its new media revenue sharing proposal in which casts share in the revenue generated when their performances are exhibited on streaming platforms, which would allow actors to share in the success of “high-performing shows.” The AMPTP, in its response to SAG’s outlined demands late Monday, declined to respond to streaming residuals for working actors.
To be fair, actors still receive residuals from their shows re-airing on broadcast networks. However, in the Peak TV era, broadcast networks have shifted to year-round originals including lower-cost unscripted fare rather than opting to air repeats of scripted episodes as the line between what constitutes a ratings hit and a miss becomes indistinguishable. That has fewer repeats on broadcast and an increased need among both the Writers Guild of America as well as the performers union for streaming residuals. Streamers including Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney do not provide traditional viewership data. Streaming transparencey is also among the core issues of both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
Moore and Lowes are in the same acting group. Lowes spent seven seasons starring on ABC’s Shonda Rhimes-created drama Scandal and guest starred alongside Moore on the final season of This Is Us. Moore has been a SAG-AFTRA member since 1999, while Lowes joined in 2004.