Zendaya has a new ‘Euphoria’ contract with HBO: She’s getting $1 million per episode
Did Zendaya just make history again?
According to Puck News, the 26-year-old “Euphoria” star has negotiated a new deal with HBO that will make her one of the highest-paid television actors in Hollywood, and maybe the youngest to land such a deal.
The Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning actor, 26, will now be raking in close to $1 million per episode for her deeply poignant portrayal of the series’ central character, Rue Bennett — a tortured high-school student who grapples with substance abuse in the wake of her father’s death.
“Euphoria” has been one of the buzziest shows of the last few years. Some love it, some hate it, but most everyone agrees Zendaya gives a performance worth celebrating. The gritty high-school drama shot its cast to stardom, and while Zendaya (a Disney channel alum) was no stranger to the spotlight, it was “Euphoria” that dropped the veil on her range and dramatic acting chops.
At 24, “Euphoria” star Zendaya broke last year’s age record set by Jodie Comer for the youngest actress to win the Emmy for lead actress in a drama.
In 2020, Zendaya made Emmy Awards history when, at 24, she became the youngest actor to take home the trophy for best lead actress in a drama. And in 2022, she made history again when she became the only Black woman to win two Emmy Awards for best lead actress in a drama.
“My greatest wish for Euphoria was that it could help heal people,” Zendaya said while accepting her second Emmys trophy in 2022. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who has shared their story with me. I want you to know that anyone who has loved a Rue or feels like they are a Rue, I want you to know I’m so grateful for your stories, and I carry them with me, and I carry them with her.”
Along with the lead actress win, Zendaya was nominated for outstanding drama series as a producer on “Euphoria,” although “Succession” snagged the award. Had she won, she would have been the youngest executive producer to do so.
Zendaya, who skipped the Golden Globes, says her win is still an ‘incredible honor’
‘Euphoria’ star Zendaya was among the winners who skipped Tuesday’s Golden Globe Awards but took to Instagram to celebrate later that night.
With $1 million per episode, Zendaya will be sitting pretty relative to her “Euphoria” co-star Sydney Sweeney, who spoke with the Hollywood Reporter last year about the financial woes of acting. “If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don’t have income to cover that,” she said. “I don’t have someone supporting me, I don’t have anyone I can turn to, to pay my bills or call for help.
“They don’t pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals,” Sweeney added. “The established stars still get paid, but I have to give 5 percent to my lawyer, 10 percent to my agents, 3 percent or something like that to my business manager. I have to pay my publicist every month, and that’s more than my mortgage.”
“We are not the worst mistake we’ve made,” Zendaya reminded “Euphoria” viewers ahead of Sunday’s dark episode, which explored her character’s relapse.
Zendaya now joins the ranks of fellow $1-million milestone members, including the lead cast of “Friends” in their final season, the lead cast of “Game of Thrones,” Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon for “Big Little Lies” and Elisabeth Moss on Apple’s “Shining Girls,” to name a few.
According to a Deadline report in 2021, Angela Bassett set a record for highest-earning Black female actor on network television, earning $450,000 per “9-1-1” episode. Kerry Washington earned more than a million per episode for co-starring and co-producing alongside Witherspoon in “Little Fires Everywhere.”
Zendaya hitting the $1 million mark possibly makes her the youngest, highest-paid Black female actor on television.
A representative for Zendaya did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Monday.
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