(December 14, 2021)

Following the Guild’s first guide to TV series compensation in 2019, this updated analysis comes from more than 1,500 contracts and deal memos from the 2019-2020 season onward, primarily provided by the franchised agencies. With this more robust information, the Guild can now provide episodic quotes for writer-producers broken down by episode length, information on weekly rates—which are becoming more common—and overscale terms for staff writers and story editors.

Writer-Producer Compensation:

The vast majority of TV writer-producers negotiate contracts with episodic compensation rates. The following episodic quotes reflect median (the midpoint of reported deals) and maximum reported episodic pay for job titles from Co-Producer through Showrunner for half-hour and one-hour series.

Half-Hour Episodic Rates
Job Title Median Maximum Reported
Co-Producer $15,750 $20,000
Producer $16,500 $25,000
Supervising Producer $18,250 $25,000
Co-Executive Producer $25,000 $50,000
Executive Producer
(excluding overall deals)
$35,000 $60,000
(excluding overall deals)
$42,500 $77,656
One-Hour Episodic Rates
Job Title Median Maximum Reported
Co-Producer $16,500 $39,000
Producer $17,500 $30,000
Supervising Producer $20,500 $43,750
Co-Executive Producer $27,500 $55,000
Executive Producer
(excluding overall deals)
$40,000 $125,000
(excluding overall deals)
$52,500 $175,000

While rates have generally increased over the past two years, these episodic quotes remain too low relative to historical pay and the value of the content writers create; with the increasing prevalence of short seasons and mini-rooms, it has become harder for writer-producers to ensure that they will be paid fairly. In addition, if you are not protected by the MBA’s span provision, your episodic rate can still be amortized down to minimum depending on how many weeks you work. See the Deal Hub’s Weekly vs. Episodic Pay Calculator to help you and your reps determine what your weekly pay might be under different types of deals, whether an episodic or weekly deal might be better for you, and whether additional deal terms are necessary to make sure you get your overscale pay promptly.

With the rise of short seasons and mini-rooms, weekly pay has become a more attractive option for many writer-producers. A review of deals for writers from Co-Producer to Co-Executive Producer levels revealed that about three in ten were negotiated as weekly rates. In those deals, the median weekly compensation ranged from $7,731 for Co-Producers to $10,250 for Co-Executive Producers, with the maximums reported in deals for these titles several thousand dollars higher. Because these rates are based on a smaller number of deals, they may not capture the actual compensation maximum for these job titles.

All Series Weekly Rates
Job Title Median Maximum Reported
Co-Producer $7,731 $13,500
Producer $8,000 $12,500
Supervising Producer $8,288 $11,578
Co-Executive Producer $10,250 $16,000

Put another way, median compensation ranges from Scale + 7% for Co-Producers to Scale + 41% for Co-Executive Producers (based on the 20-week rate in Article 14.K. as of May 2, 2021). Including a specified weekly rate in your deal can ensure that you are actually paid overscale. You can also specify a set number of weeks covered by your episodic pay to protect you from being amortized down to scale if you end up working additional weeks.

See the 2020 MBA Schedule of Minimums here.

Staff Writer, Story Editor and Executive Story Editor Compensation:

Virtually all Staff Writers, Story Editors and Executive Story Editors are paid weekly compensation rates, often negotiated as a percentage over the applicable scale in Article 13 or Article 14 of our MBA. While many of these writers are paid at scale, maximum compensation reached up to 17% over the Article 13 rates for Staff Writers and 35% over the Article 14 rates for Executive Story Editors. In addition, a majority of Executive Story Editor deals included overscale rates.

All Series Weekly Rates1
Job Title Maximum Reported
Staff Writer Scale + 17%
Story Editor Scale + 10%
Executive Story Editor Scale + 35%

Bear in mind that, as data collection from franchised agencies is ongoing, the maximum rates reflected in this Guide may not capture the maximum any writer is currently earning or could earn.

The Guild is committed to raising writer pay levels across the board. As part of that ongoing effort, the Guild will continue to provide information and develop materials that shed light on compensation in all markets. This effort is supported by the enhanced writer compensation information received from franchised agencies. If you are not represented by an agency, please remember to submit your contracts directly to the Guild here. Aggregated compensation information, as used in this analysis, is extremely valuable to guide members’ and representatives’ deal-making.

Have questions or feedback about this information? Please contact the WGAW’s Research Department. Looking for more specific information on series deals with a particular studio? Contact the Agency Department.

1For Staff Writers, “scale” refers to the applicable Article 13 weekly minimum compensation. For Story Editors and Executive Story Editors, “scale” refers to the applicable Article 14 weekly minimum compensation.