game of thrones raises hbo"Game of Thrones" is one of the most buzzed-about shows in years, and HBO is rewarding the cast of its uber-popular fantasy drama with huge raises -- for most of the actors, anyway.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network has just wrapped up "extensive renegotiation" of the contracts of its cast members that will extend through a seventh season of the show. While contracts were originally set to run only through the sixth season, THR writes that in exchange for that extension, "HBO has ponied up huge raises for seasons 5, 6 and the potential season 7 that will make the cast members among the highest paid on cable TV."

"Thrones" has so far only been renewed through season six, though a seventh is highly likely, considering the show's ratings success.

With those raises come some stipulations, though, and HBO has put in place a tiered payment system that rewards more prominent actors on the show with bigger paychecks. THR explains:

The "A" tier - which includes actors Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) - is paid at the highest level. The "A" tier actors are said to have renegotiated their deals in tandem.

The so-called "B" tier - which is said to include co-stars Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and others - is paid on a lower scale but is said to be scoring raises as well in exchange for season 7 options. A lower tier of regular actors will receive much smaller pay increases, according to sources.

While we'd argue that Arya Stark deserves a place among the "A" tier, we still think this is a smart move by HBO. Keeping your actors happy -- and on the show, at least until their untimely death at a wedding -- and sharing some of the money they've helped you earn is always a good choice.

"Game of Thrones" is currently shooting its fifth season, which is set to debut on the network sometime early next year.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

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