Aaron Paul, one of the stars of Breaking Bad, says despite the show’s ongoing popularity on Netflix, he does not see any residual payments from those streams.
While walking the picket line in the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike against studios and streaming services, Paul revealed the news, saying he believes the time has come for Netflix to pay talent appropriately.
“I don’t get a piece from Netflix on Breaking Bad to be totally honest and that’s insane to me,” he said. “Shows live forever on these streamers and they live forever. … I think a lot of these streamers know that they have been getting away with not paying people a fair wage and now it’s time to pony up.”
Aaron Paul revealed that he earns $0 in residuals from streaming despite BREAKING BAD doing constant numbers for streamers. “I don’t get a piece from Netflix on BREAKING BAD to be totally honest and that’s insane to me.” #AMPTP pic.twitter.com/iqiz2yVy50
— Todd Spence (@Todd_Spence) September 4, 2023
The fact that one of the stars of arguably one of the biggest shows on television in the past decade (and certainly one of the buzziest) is not getting paid from its continued streaming raised questions about who, exactly, is benefiting from it financially.
Ten years ago, Breaking Bad was the most popular show on Netflix and, while it has fallen out of the Top 10, per the company, it’s still incredibly popular with viewers. Ironically, Netflix can be credited, in part, with boosting the show’s overall popularity by bringing it on its streaming platform while the show was still airing on AMC, its original network.
After the drama began airing, the show’s popularity on AMC grew over time, the opposite of the falloff in viewers that shows typically experience. The season four finale attracted fewer than 2 million viewers. The series finale, two years later, had 10 million people watching.
(In fairness, AMC would also run marathons of the show, which could have helped boost viewership as well.)
While Paul took Netflix to task for the lack of payments, he and his Breaking Bad cast members did reunite recently to urge Hollywood studios to resume negotiations with striking actors. Warner Bros. Discovery, on Monday, adjusted its earnings forecast, saying it assumed the financial impact of the strikes will persist through at least the end of the year.
Netflix, meanwhile, will stop streaming Breaking Bad in February 2025.