Jerry Seinfeld is one of the highest paid comedians in the world. His success is absolutely undeniable, as is his fortune. With an astounding net worth of $950 million, it’s clear that Seinfeld has absolutely dominated in the world of comedy, and has proven to be a brilliant businessman along the way. His contracts have been negotiated to best serve his long-term interests, and he’s most certainly reaping the benefits of the smart career decisions that he’s made along the way. He started off on the stage as a stand-up comedian, then scripted one of the most successful sitcoms ever made. Cheatsheet reports he went on to see huge success when Seinfeld went into syndication, and has earned paychecks from Netflix that reflect sums of money that most people can only ever dream of. Here’s the story behind Jerry Seinfeld’s incredible wealth…
When Jerry Seinfeld first had the idea to create the ‘show about nothing,’ nobody had any clue that it would eventually become one of the most legendary sitcoms of all time. The show immediately resonated with fans and the characters were so perfectly developed with definitive personality traits, that made them an instant hit.
Gaining popularity at an astounding pace, the show never lost its momentum, remaining a hit for the entire duration of its 9 seasons run.
When Seinfeld first began, he was earning $20,000 per episode, an already impressive wage that kept getting boosted to coincide with the growing ratings. It wasn’t long before he became the first actor to clinch $1,000,000 per episode.
The rest of the cast was earning a whopping $600,000 per episode for their contributions, which as impressive as it is, pales greatly in comparison to Jerry Seinfeld’s earnings.
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When 15 years of stand-up comedy led to the wildly successful sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld suddenly found himself in high demand like never before. He was offered a variety of endorsement deals, each of which came along with an impressive payout that added more wealth to this already massive fortune.
Perhaps the most notable endorsement was the $10 million deal he penned with Microsoft in 2008.
Back-End Equity & Syndication
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The most phenomenal part of Jerry Seinfeld’s wealth portfolio is the fact that he has maintained the ability to earn earning millions of dollars each year from the Seinfeld sitcom, well after the show’s finale. This is largely due to his back-end equity arrangements as well as syndication earnings.
Jerry’s foresight at the time of inception led him to pen a backend deal that proved to be incredibly lucrative. He owns 7.5% of the sitcom’s back-end equity points, sending his syndication earnings soaring sky-high.
CNBC reports that his deal has brought in roughly $3 billion since 1995 of which Jerry has taken home an absolute minimum of $440 million. On top of that, they go on to report that in 2015, Hulu paid $160 million for the rights to showcase the entire Seinfeld collection.
Boss Hunting reports that Seinfeld earns anywhere from $40 – $60 million each year on syndication alone.
In addition to all the other streams of income that Jerry Seinfeld sees the benefit of, there is another huge contributor to his enormous wealth, and that is Netflix.
Streaming services are always after the hottest programs that fans are most addicted to, and Seinfeld certainly fits their criteria. QZ reports that Netflix paid $100 million for 2 Seinfeld specials and the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee library.
In 2019, Netflix also paid $500 million in 2019 for a 5 year digital rights contract. This equates to an astounding $75 million that went directly into the hands of Jerry Seinfeld. Just one year later, in 2020, Netflix paid $20 million for exclusive rights to 23 Hours To Kill.
Books, Tours, And Other Avenues
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Seinfeld has even more income-earning potential than most people would imagine. He was recognized as a best-selling author by the New York Times for his book titled Seinlanguage, raking in the dough and setting yet another record in the process.
He also happens to benefit greatly from touring. Each tour he embarks on is estimated to generate at the very least $20 million for his wallet.
Let’s not forget all of the other more “minor” streams of revenue that Seinfeld enjoys. He earns millions of dollars each year from the sale of merchandise and he is paid handsomely for his public speaking skills, as he shares his experiences and insight with fans across the world.
Keeping in mind the era in which Seinfeld first gained popularity, it’s noteworthy to include DVD sales as being a substantial income source. Anyone that owns one of his DVD’s is sure to be stowing it away right now, knowing that this is really going to be worth some pretty big bucks one day. It sure seemed to pay off for Seinfeld in a very big way.
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Sources: Cheatsheet, Inc. Celebrity Net Worth
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