With just 13 episodes left in Game of Thrones, spread out over two final seasons, HBO is looking to close the show out with a huge bang, both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes. The show's five biggest stars, Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister) have all new deals for the show's final two seasons, that would make them the highest-paid actors in TV history. If this report is true, then all five of these stars will earn a whopping $2.6 million per episode, or 2 million pounds.
The Daily Express first broke the news of these deals, which are quite complex because they include bonus clause payments that are based on a percentage of syndication payments that come in from the over 170 countries where the show is broadcast. All five actors will also benefit enormously from repeat episodes airing on HBO in the U.S., especially since Game of Thrones Season 6 averaged a whopping 23 million viewers per episode. Last year, just after the Christmas holiday, HBO aired a massive Game of Thrones marathon of all 60 episode over a six-day period. Here's what media analyst Mike Raia had to say about the network's costly approach to the final two seasons.
"Cable network HBO is breaking the bank to ensure its most successful scripted programme ever goes out with the kind of flourish fans all over the world have come to expect."
The production costs on these final seasons have also "skyrocketed," according to network sources, with Emilia Clarke said to be involved in most of these costly scenes, which most likely involve Daenerys' dragons. Director Matt Shakman teased in an interview last month that these dragons will be the size of 747 jets this season. Here's what another insider had to say about the epic nature of these final seasons.
"Fans who thought last season's giant battle scene was breathtaking should know they ain't seen nothing yet."
If this $2.6 million per episode figure is right, then all five actors will have broken the all-time record for highest-paid TV star, set by Charlie Sheen, who earned a whopping $1.8 million per episode during his final season of CBS' Two and a Half Men. Currently, the highest-paid stars on TV are The Big Bang Theory actors Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, who currently earn $1 million per episode on CBS' The Big Bang Theory. The Game of Thrones stars' deal is only for the final two seasons which amount to 13 episodes, and The Big Bang Theory has already been renewed for two more seasons, so the Big Bang stars' deals will be more lucrative in the long-term. Still, if these salaries have been confirmed, they will be the first to earn over $2 million per episode in TV history.
HBO released new Game of Thrones Season 7 photos last week, although it remains unclear when the network will unveil the next batch of footage. Game of Thrones Season 7 will debut Sunday, July 16 at 9 PM ET on HBO, which will consist of seven episodes. The eighth and final season will be comprised of six episodes, which will likely debut in either the spring or summer of 2018.