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How Much Money to Be Made Writing a Sitcom?

Let’s be honest. Writing a sitcom is a tough job. You’ve got to create a story line that’ll please audiences week after week, and you’ve got to do all of this while juggling a large group of characters. Add to that the fact that you’ve got to have a sense of humor about yourself, and you’ve got a tall order. It takes a special kind of talent to have what it takes to write a sitcom. Fortunately, there is a way to figure out exactly how much money you can expect to make from writing a sitcom. We take a look at the numbers in this article.

The Perks Of The Job

If you’ve got a keen eye, you can spot a trend here. As we mentioned, writing a sitcom is a tough job. In fact, the writer’s guild actually rates the difficulty of this job as compared to other narrative non-fiction (i.e. books, articles, and plays). Not only is it difficult, but it’s also quite a bit underpaid. According to the 2020 Writers Guild of America (WGA) survey, the typical salary for a television comedy writer is around $60,000 per year. For perspective, the median household income in the U.S. in 2020 was $58,971. These days, a successful sitcom can earn a writer a great deal of money. For example, one of the writers on Seinfeld, which was named one of the greatest American sitcoms of all time, was actually paid $400,000 per episode at the time it was running. These days, an episode of Seinfeld typically earns the show around $15,000 to $25,000 per episode.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

You might be wondering how much a sitcom really earns. While it’s true that many shows earn millions of dollars thanks to the lucrative global market for TV shows, not all of them do well financially. Take Brooklyn Nine-Nine, for example, which originally aired on Fox. The series stars Andy Samberg as a New York City police officer who teams up with a hot-headed detective named Jake Peralta. As it turns out, Fox canceled the show after one season. Since then, it’s been picked up by the Netflix streaming platform, where it continues to be one of their most popular shows. Nevertheless, the streaming platform didn’t pay off its production costs for the first season. Instead, Netflix breaks even on every episode, and makes a small profit from international sales of the show.

One other thing to keep in mind is that simply writing for a sitcom doesn’t guarantee you’ll be paid well. On the contrary, the more episodes you’ve written, the more you’ll likely make. After all, there’s a limited number of TV show pitches that get turned into successful series. Hence, if you’ve got a lot of experience, you’ll likely end up writing for more prominent shows. Take Last Man On Earth, which is one of the most prominent examples of a successful sitcom that was created based on a popular comic book series. The series follows the last surviving member of the human species as he attempts to navigate his strange new world in which life as he knows it is over. One of the show’s co-creators, Mike Schur, has noted, “The nice thing about the Last Man on Earth is that it’s not just a show; it is a statement about where we are in society and in the world. We are the Last Man on Earth. What does that mean? We’ve reached the end of the line, as far as humanity is concerned. Our society is built on top of the last seven billion years of evolution, and now that the Apocalypse is here, we’re going to see a whole new set of rules. We’re going to see how human society adapts and makes the most of this new world.”

As it turns out, creating a sitcom is a lot of hard work. Not only do you have to have a keen eye for comedy but you have to be able to create believable and appealing characters. In addition, you have to be able to write interesting story lines for your characters while juggling a large group of them. While it might be interesting to try your hand at creating your own comedic saga, unless you’re highly motivated, it’s probably not the best idea. Instead, consider taking a more traditional route and going for a career in writing a sitcom.