| Each actor who appeared in an episode of the series was entitled to a
percentage of their original fee when an episode was repeated (initially on NBC during summer reruns), and after 1972, when NBC
syndicated the show. The percentage decreased after each airing and by
the 6th rerun, the actors were no longer entitled to payment in
syndication after 1972. In the 1959-60 season, the cast made $500 a show
and after complaining were raised to $1200 a show, with yearly increases
of about $750. By the sixth year, the cast was making $9,000-$10,000 a show and
after Pernell Robert's departure, the following seventh season, 1965-66,
the cast was raised to $10,000-$11,000 a show, with a $1,000 raise a season
thereafter through cancellation in 1972.
The unique twist for "Bonanza's" Cartwrights was the cast decided it was better to have money in hand to invest rather than wait for rerun money in the future, so in 1970, NBC bought out the residual payments for Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker, and paid them each approximately $1 million dollars. The three of them never received residuals after the 1970 deal until some 18 years later in 1988, when Bonanza: The Lost Episodes premiered on cable television. Bonanza: The Lost Episodes appeared only on cable television because the residual rates are lower than over-the-air broadcast television. The estates of Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker began to receive money for the post-1970 episodes only. And every actor who appeared in "Bonanza: The Lost Episodes" began to receive residuals, too. Regarding the merchandising and licensing, the estates of Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker as well as Pernell Roberts, David Canary, Mitch Vogel, Tim Matheson, et cetera, receive money each time a likeness appears.
| Cast Salary|
Season One - 1959-60
$500-$1,200 a week.
Season Two - 1960-61
$2,000- $3,000 a week.
Season Three - 1961-62
$3,000-$4,000 a week.
Season Four - 1962-63
$5,000-$6,000 a week.
Season Five - 1963-64
$7,000-$8,000 a week.
Season Six - 1964-65
$9,000-$10,000 a week.
Season Seven - 1965-66
$10,000-$11,000 a week.
Season Eight - 1966-67
$12,000 a week.
Season Nine - 1967-68
$13,000 a week.
Season Ten - 1968-69
$14,000 a week.
Season Eleven - 1969-70
$15,000 a week.
Season Twelve - 1970-71
$16,000 a week.
Season Thirteen - 1971-72
$17,000 a week.
Season Fourteen - 1972-73
$19,000 a week.
|Note: These figures are very much as accurate as possible, and not counting the summer reruns (which would yield Landon, Blocker and Greene $20,000 a week combined with their seasonal salary in the years when the show was peaking in the ratings through 1970-71).|
|Guest Star Salaries
|1959 to 1967:
$6,000 per episode.
(top performers $7,500).
1967 to 1972:
$3,000 per episode.
|Note: Semi-regulars David Canary, Mitch Vogel, and Tim Matheson made the latter salary under "special guest star" status with NBC, from 1967 to 1972. David Canary received full salary when he returned for the fourteenth and final season in 1972.|
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