Stephen Amell Made Less Than His Co-Stars During Arrow’s First Season

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These days, we turn on The CW and expect to see either Arrow or one of several DC shows orbiting it. Though the fan favorite series spawned what is now aptly titled “the Arrowverse,” it naturally took some time for such a thing to blossom.

During the 2012-13 broadcast season, this new kid on the block of sorts had to prove itself. If you’ll recall, some viewers were hesitant to embrace a new actor portraying Oliver Queen so soon after Justin Hartley had done just that during Smallville‘s latter years, but Stephen Amell was more than up to the task.

Now, Amell often finds himself as being the most popular guest whenever making convention appearances, but would you believe there was a time when he actually made less than his co-stars? While recently appearing on Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast, Inside of You, the Emerald Archer himself had this to say:

“It was a fair deal. I had no quote. I had never been a series regular before. I was a series regular on ‘Hung’, technically, but I wasn’t going to be bumped up to a series regular price until the fourth season—if there was a fourth season, which there wasn’t. It was a very, very fair deal. I mean, the first thing they did was try to hire me as a Canadian… That’s the first conversation that they have and my agent shut it down immediately. Basically, the business affairs person comes back, semi-embarrassed, and says, ‘You know, I gotta ask…’”

Considering that he was working alongside veterans such as Paul Blackthorne and Susanna Thompson, I can understand why he’d say that. Luckily, things changed during season 2:

“The only issue I had in the first couple of years was, I think, that up until the end of the second season I was the fourth or fifth highest-paid cast member, because I had no quote. They gave me what they termed as a ‘gift’ after season 2… it’s them raising my salary without asking for anything in return. My thing was very simple. I just said, ‘Quite frankly, I work way more than everybody else.’ Especially in season 1 and season 2… it was way more disproportionate than it is now. I think somebody was making X. They’re like, ‘OK, your new salary is going to be X minus, like, $1,250 per episode.’ And I go, ‘What are you doing? That’s not the most amount of money.’ They said, ‘Yeah, no. It’s the most amount of money over the course of 23 episodes because the person above you is not in all episodes produced.’ I was like, ‘OK, technically you’re right…’ That leaves a little bit of a sh**ty taste in my mouth. Just a little.”

Though I’m not sure what Amell’s paycheck looks like at the moment, I’d like to think he’s one of the highest paid actors employed by the network. And with his series charting new territory this fall, one can only hope it continues going strong for several more years.

Arrow returns for its seventh season on Monday, October 15 on The CW.

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