Though the SAG-AFTRA strike may be over, the conversation around actors being compensated for their old shows airing on streaming platforms has not gone away.
On Tuesday, Jake Johnson shared his thoughts on the topic during an interview with Rolling Stone. Jake, who was promoting his new film Self Reliance that he directed, was asked by the publication if the cast of New Girl received streaming residuals.
"No. No, we’re not," the actor said before explaining his "mixed" feelings about residuals and acting opportunities after starring on a hit TV show, like New Girl.
New Girl ended a successful seven-season run in 2018. The show received five Emmy and five Golden Globe nominations and has been heralded as a bingeable staple in the years following its run. For awhile, old seasons of the show were streaming on Netflix. Currently, the show is no longer on Netflix but available to stream on Peacock and Hulu.
Jake noted to Rolling Stone that "the game has so fundamentally changed" regarding the finances of coming off starring in a hit TV show.
"Back in the day, if you did a big TV show and everyone knew you from it, it was really hard to get other roles. Now, if you haven’t done a big show that people know you from, it’s really hard to get roles," he said, noting that New Girl's success influenced his pay on his follow-up TV show, the short-lived series Stumptown.
"So, I can do a show called Stumptown for two seasons — we only filmed one, but we got paid for two because it was a pandemic killer — but because of New Girl, they’re willing to pay me a huge fee to be on it to try to connect to that show. Without New Girl I’m not getting that," he said.
"We don’t get the residuals the way we used to, but there are so many other opportunities now," he continued. "I feel really kind of mixed. I wish we still got those old checks, but they don’t advertise on those shows the way they used to. It’s not the clean line that old TV and syndication used to be, and I hope the new deal helps with that."
Jake is not the first celebrity to say they're not receiving residuals after starring on successful shows. During the SAG-AFTRA strike, Mandy Moore told the Hollywood Reporter she's received "very tiny, like 81-cent checks" for This Is Us residuals.
She later clarified her comments on Instagram, saying in part, "I fully acknowledge the profoundly lucky and rarified position I’m in as an actor at this moment, one that I don’t take for granted and one I also don’t assume to be in forever. Ours is a fickle industry and in my 20+ years of being a performer, my career has ebbed and flowed. I’ve had very lean years where I couldn’t get a job, and those are precisely the moments when in years past, actors could rely on residuals from their past work to help them get by. The world and business have changed, and I’m hoping we can find a meaningful solution moving forward."
SAG-AFTRA ended the strike last month following a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The tentative deal is currently being voted on by union members, and voting is set to end on Tuesday.