CBS claims it offered Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park "large and significant salary increases" to stay on "Hawaii Five-0" after seven seasons. But that doesn't mean "equal pay," and the network's new statement -- in response to fan disappointment and a separate post from Kim -- just left fans wondering how little the two original stars must've been paid that "significant" raises still wouldn't have put them equal to Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan as they entered their eighth season as a team.
The initial news that Park and Kim would be leaving came out on June 30. On July 5, Kim shared a Facebook post with his reasons for saying goodbye, including the telling line, "The path to equality is rarely easy."
It had been reported that the two stars were seeking pay equity to O'Loughlin and Caan, and that seems to have been confirmed by Kim and also CBS, in the network's own response, posted later on July 5:
"Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons. We did not want to lose them and tried very hard to keep them with offers for large and significant salary increases. While we could not reach an agreement, we part ways with tremendous respect for their talents on screen, as well as their roles as ambassadors for the show off screen, and with hopes to work with them again in the near future."
How much are they paying O'Loughlin and Caan that they still couldn't find equal ground for Kim and Park? Because that's the question fans were left with, scratching their heads in the comments.
As fan Sandra Lee wrote (via EW):
"I'm scared to even know what they were originally paid if they declined their 'significant' raise.
And I honestly don't understand why it's so difficult to pay an ensemble cast the same. If Friends managed to pay each of their stars the same amount all those years ago, then I don't see why it's so hard to do the same now.
I will certainly miss them, because Kono and Kelly were two of my favourite characters. I could see at the beginning when the emphasis was on Steve and Danny, but over the last few seasons, they are all important characters."
Well, Variety shared some numbers in their behind-the-scenes report:
"Industry sources said O'Loughlin and Caan are making about $200,000 per episode apiece for the upcoming eighth season of the show, produced by CBS Television Studios. A source close to the situation said CBS' last per-episode salary offer to Kim was about $5,000 apart from the two lead actors, and CBS offered to set a new overall deal with Kim's 3AD production banner. However, sources close to Kim said the differential was more significant.
The dispute on the difference in compensation levels may hinge on the fact that O'Loughlin and Caan have a small share of the backend profits of the show. 'Hawaii Five-0' commanded a lucrative $2 million-per-episode cable syndication deal with TNT in 2011, although the show turned out to be a lackluster performer for the cabler. It remains a successful property for CBS in international markets — all of which means O'Loughlin and Caan's profit participation stakes probably plump up their take-home pay considerably.
Park, meanwhile, was said to have sought a deal for less than half of a full season's worth of episodes, which would have been a financially challenging prospect for the network at the salary that she sought. 'Hawaii Five-0' delivered some 25 episodes in its most recent season.
Sources close to the situation noted that Kim and Park did not negotiate as a unit in their discussions with CBS. The final offer for Park was lower than that for Kim, according to a source."
Variety's commenters weren't happy either:
• Andy Martin: Same old same old, they treated Cote de Pablo of NCIS the same way. CBS just likes white guys.
• deb: cbs should be ashamed, and no one can take the place of these two actors, everything in the world today is about money, and thats so sad, these two actors are a major part of this show, heck Caan isn't even in half of them and franklly when he isn't there, I don't miss him at all. These two will be missed and I may just opt out of watching this show, walking away in principle just like they did. shame on you CBS.. it is truly YOUR loss.
• Cbshater: A show in Hawaii without any major Asian actors. That's just ironic.. but we're talking about cbs so it's no surprise. Lame...
UPDATE: "Hawaii Five-0" showrunner Peter Lenkov has also entered the fray, sharing his thoughts on Twitter:
"Hawaii Five-0" Season 8 premieres Friday, September 29 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
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