15 Celebs Who Reportedly Make Basically No Money Off Some Of Their Most Famous Work

    Former Nickelodeon star Devon Werkheiser said, "We never got paid residuals ever...Leads on Nickelodeon got paid a buyout, basically, never a residual, not once in my life for Ned's Declassified."

    You might think that if you had one hit song or hit show you'd be set for life. However, it's surprising how little some creatives make on their past work, no matter how much it's earning for somebody in a suit.

    Here are 15 celebs who reportedly make basically no money off of some of their most famous work:

    1. On the BFFs podcast, Josh Peck said he makes "zero" money off Drake & Josh reruns. He said, "It aired from 2004 to 2007, but — fun fact — because kids' TV doesn’t have residuals, it's still on every day."

    on the show, Josh smiles, wearing a polo and backpack

    He said, "I've worked through it. It's taken a while, but I'm here at 35 telling you I'm OK now."

    2. Likewise, Drake Bell didn't receive residuals from reruns of Drake & Josh. In 2023, the series began streaming on Netflix, but the actors got nothing out of the deal.

    Drake Bell from "Drake & Josh"  looking upset in a kitchen scene

    3. On the Zach Sang Show, former Fifth Harmony member Ally Brooke said, "We literally have billions of streams. But, unfortunately, we don't get anything off of streams."

    Ally in a dotted blazer dress poses at a PrettyLittleThing event

    She continued, "But, thank God for Sound Exchange [a nonprofit that works on behalf of rights owners to distribute royalties for the digital performances of sound recordings]…we get, like, about $5,000 a month. But, that had gone away now and we're not sure why...It's crazy, it's messed up, it's not what you think."

    She also said that the group was "investigating" why their payments from Sound Exchange had disappeared.

    4. Similarly, when the Zach Sang Show asked Lauren Jauregui if she made any royalties from Fifth Harmony's music, she replied, "It's not gonna pay my rent...It is what it is."

    Lauren Jauregui in a cut-out dress at the Billboard Women in Music event

    "I'm not attached to making a fortune off of what we created because that's not what it was for me. It wasn't what it was while I was in it," she said.

    5. Jake Johnson told Rolling Stone that he and the rest of the New Girl cast don't get streaming residuals. He said, "We're part of the unfortunate new world."

    Nick Miller from New Girl in a plaid shirt, shrugging with a questioning expression in an apartment

    He said, "We don't get the residuals the way we used to, but there are so many other opportunities now. 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."

    6. During the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, Billy Porter told the PA news agency, "I'm not trying to get any sympathy. This is the truth of it, my residual checks were six cents. I'm still an artist, and artists are still freelance workers. So Pose has been over now since 2021. I don't get no more money from that."

    Billy in a scene, seated in a vintage room setting with rich decor

    He continued, "I'm supposed to, which is why we're striking. I'm supposed to be getting money from that, but I ain't."

    7. Reggae singer Marcia Griffiths didn't make any money from "Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide)" until Island Records founder Chris Blackwell stepped in. She told CBC's Q with Tom Power podcast, "I would feel better if I was able to make some money from it. But unfortunately, [writer/producer/background vocalist] Bunny Wailer claimed a hundred percent from the song, and whatever I made from that song is from performances, and thanks to Chris Blackwell, who thought it was so unfair that nothing was given to me."

    Marcia holding a microphone on stage

    She continued, "I eventually, in the end, got some performance royalties."

    8. From the SAG-AFTRA picket line, Aaron Paul told Entertainment Tonight Canada, "I don't get a piece from Netflix on Breaking Bad, to be totally honest, and that's insane to me. You know what I mean?"

    in a scene, Aaron in hoodie using a payphone on a sunny day

    "Shows live forever on these streamers, and it goes through waves. And I just saw the other day that Breaking Bad was trending on Netflix, and it's just such common sense, and I think a lot of these streamers, they know they have been getting away with not paying people just fair wage, and now it's time to pony up, and that's just one of the things we're fighting for," he said.

    9. On TikTok, Nickelodeon actor Giovonnie Samuels said, "I never got paid for any residuals for doing All That."

    In a sketch, Giovonnie in a fuzzy top asits at a desk, smiling, with cityscape backdrop

    In another TikTok, she said, "Back in the [2007-2008 writers' strike] I was one of those lucky actresses that was able to live off my residuals and able to afford health insurance through SAG. After the writers' strike and streaming started to really kick off, I lost my health insurance and haven't had SAG insurance since then. When Netflix started airing Bring It On back in [2014] and then again in 2018, becoming one of their popular movies, I ain't get no money. Okay, I got a little bit of money. Like, $1,000 for the whole year."

    10. Pop star Nikki Webster doesn't make any royalties from her hit song "Strawberry Kisses." She told 2DayFM's Hughesy, Ed & Erin show, "It's recoupable back to the record label for all the money they invest into you as an artist."

    Nikki in a sleeveless dress with a crisscross neckline, wearing a hair accessory, posing in front of a textured backdrop

    "Having the most expensive video clip in Australia back when I did 'Strawberry Kisses' with the robot — I'm still recouping that money," she said.

    She also said that the songwriters get royalties she doesn't because she "didn't write the song."

    11. On Twitter, former Nickelodeon actor Stephen Kramer Glickman said, "For those of you trying to understand the SAG strike…here is a little info for you. [Big Time Rush] played on Netflix for two years and then got moved to Paramount+. Any guesses on how much I was paid by Netflix and Paramount+ in residuals? I'll give you a hint. It's $0."

    Stephen as Gustavo in cap and patterned jacket sitting on a couch

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    12. Mandy Moore told the Hollywood Reporter that the residual checks she gets for This Is Us streaming on Hulu are for minuscule amounts between $0.01 and $0.81.

    Mandy sitting passenger in an old car in a scene

    She said, "The residual issue is a huge issue [in the SAG strikes]. 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."

    13. Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide star Devon Werkheiser told TMZ Audio Network, "We never got paid residuals ever...The deal at the time — this was before SAG and after a merge — there's two actors unions, and Josh Peck's talked about it. Leads on Nickelodeon got paid a buyout, basically, never a residual, not once in my life for Ned's Declassified."

    Devon as Ned wearing a plaid shirt over a tee, sitting in a classroom setting

    "It showed all over the world two times a day for 10 years, and not one residual, man. So, whatever success you think came from, Ned's, it's far less," he said.

    14. On The Joe Budden Podcast, R&B singer/producer Jon B said, "The real sense of life in terms of, like, whether you value yourself and that whole duality of positive and negative is very very real when you have a platinum record...and there's nothing to show about it, you know what I mean, financially...If you can get put through that test where you write and produce all your shit and they're still not writing you checks, and you can keep a happy face...needs to be commended...[My label Babyface and I are] in the process of working everything out, but it's 25, 26 years later, and I mean, I still haven't been paid a check for my records."

    Jon in jacket and pants sits on a sofa with a microphone setup

    He said that he meant "every record."

    "I get checks because I do shows, but I don't get paid for my records," he said. 

    15. And finally, during the SAG strike, Liv and Maddie actor Joey Bragg told the Cash Cuties podcast, "That's one of the things we're striking about. Because my show was like Netflix's number one watched show, when it was on Netflix, then those streaming rights got bought by Disney for like millions upon millions upon millions of dollars, and the creators, nobody saw any of that money."

    Joey in a scene on stage holding a microphone with graphic tee and jacket, in front of a sign reading "Chips and Chuckles"

    He also described a loophole that Disney Channel allegedly used to get around paying actors and crew less.

    He said, "They have a deal with, I don't know if it's the unions or the AMPTP, but they had a deal where the first three seasons of a show, you get paid 88 percent of scale. So it's 88 percent of, like, minimum wage, pretty much, for the crew, and then the idea is, you work on a show, it becomes popular, you go four, five, six seasons, and you get 10 percent, or whatever that is. But then, even if the show’s popular by the third season, they reboot it as a brand new show. So, we were Liv and Maddie for the first three seasons, and the last season was Liv and Maddie: Cali Style... it's in our contracts that we can't renegotiate unless everybody decides to renegotiate."