Euphoria features a talented cast of young rising stars, but the reality is Zendaya, who plays the notoriously unreliable narrator Rue Bennett, is the sun in the Euphoria universe, and as such, new reports indicate she’s being paid accordingly for the new season. In a reader mailbag column for his Hollywood-centric newsletter, Puck’s Matthew Belloni reported on some of the most staggering TV salaries, including this gem: Zendaya—who has won the Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy for both seasons of Euphoria— “just closed a big re-negotiation” that puts her per episode salary in the Friends neighborhood of $1 million per episode.
Zendaya became an executive producer on the show for its second season, making her the youngest person ever to receive an Emmy nomination for producing at the age of 25, which followed a historic win in 2020 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Despite frequent mixed reaction to the series, the quality of her acting has been a point of consensus among fans and critics.
The payment of Euphoria’s stars has been oft-discussed, especially since a 2022 Hollywood Reporter profile where Sydney Sweeney said, “They don’t pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals. 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.”
Belloni also listed a handful of other A-listers with seven-figure television salaries, including Michael Keaton on Dopesick, Jason Sudekis on Ted Lasso, and Elisabeth Moss on Shining Girls, while positing that the highest paid TV actor right now is John Krasinski on Jack Ryan. (Krasinski’s alleged $2 million per episode also factors in his executive producer role, and Belloni does write that figuring out these salaries “is an inexact science.”)
Obviously, Zendaya’s salary is so high because of both her Emmy wins, as well as her thriving career outside of Euphoria. She’s a key part of two major Hollywood franchises in Marvel’s Spider-Man and Dune, the latter of which will see its second installment released this November.
Euphoria has been one of HBO’s biggest hits, and it’s unlikely the series will end with its third season. In a Hollywood Reporter interview, Zendaya said she hopes the show will explore the lives of its core characters after they graduate and move into college and/or young adulthood.
“I think it’ll be exciting to explore the characters out of high school. I want to see what Rue looks like in her sobriety journey, how chaotic that might look. But also with all the characters, in the sense where they’re trying to figure out what to do with their lives when high school is over and what kind of people they want to be,” she said.