Supernatural ran for 15 years and 327 episodes, making untold millions for studios from the adventures of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. However, the creator of the show says Netflix doesn’t pay him a dime for streaming it now.
Supernatural was the brainchild of showrunner Eric Kripke, who legendarily spent a decade unsuccessfully pitching it to studios before Warner Bros finally decided to give it a try. Supernatural made stars out of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who played brothers Dean and Sam Winchester and developed a rabidly devoted fanbase that continues to produce fan conventions and fiction to this day.
The show is currently streaming on Netflix and ranks in the most-watched series, consistently beating hugely popular shows like Bridgerton and Stranger Things. According to Eric Kripke, though, he receives zero residual payments from the streaming platform.
Supernatural showrunner Eric Kripke revealed this in a Deadline interview at the picket line for the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, saying, “The residuals I get are from its airing on TNT, which you know, it gets a couple hundred thousand views. The Netflix streaming of Supernatural is consistently in the Top 10 for billions of minutes streamed. Part of that is because there’s so many episodes, but still, if you just go by how many people are spending minutes watching that show, it blows away Squid Game and blows away things that are massive hits, and I’ve gotten a total of zero residuals for that.”
Kripke goes on to specify that he is not looking for sympathy and that many other writers and actors have it worse than him. However, it is very damning of Netflix that it pays nothing to the creator of its most popular shows.
This is similar to Squid Game, one of the single most-watched original shows on Netflix. According to creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, he receives no royalties or residuals from the streaming platform and was required to sign away ownership of the series, which Netflix has continued to monetize and build spin-offs from.
The WGA and SAG-AFTRA are currently striking in large part to demand fair compensation for streaming content, which current union contracts have not included with traditional television. When you consider that the most popular streaming service in the world doesn’t pay the people who make its most popular shows, it might be argued they have a point.
Do you think that Supernatural writers deserve residuals from Netflix? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!