TV Show Salaries & Earnings: Prison Break

Worth a Watch or Better Throw It into Jail?

Prison Break was quite a boom when the first episode aired back in 2005, and although many people thought it was going to be a disappointment pre-premiere, it wasn’t. Fortunately. 

Completed in 2017, the series leaves a void behind despite the numerous series you can find on TV and streaming platforms like Netflix. Why? Because let’s be real, there aren’t that many good shows today. 

Most of the TV series you can find fall into the same categories: teen drama, romance, or are just remakes of old ones. Take “Gossip Girl” as an example. 

Of course, you can still find some good ones that have boomed the last four months, like the “Squid Game.” But can you find one like Prison Break? Pretty much no, and the only option is to go and rewatch it on Netflix or give it a try for the first time. 

Now, is it truly worth your time? If you are someone who left it in the middle, we guarantee it gets better in later episodes. If you’re someone who has never watched it, you may want to start after this blog. 

For those who watched it, it is amazing, right? Regardless of which group you fall into, we get into the show’s details and share some extra info about salaries, actors, and maybe facts you didn’t know or will make you watch the series. 

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A Plot to Imprison You at Home

If you are into drama (but not the teen one, although we don’t have anything against it) and action, you will love this series. The premise and plot might not look too appealing for some people, but it won’t make you feel like you wasted your time.

Set to be a miniseries initially, you get to follow Lincoln Burrows, a convicted man who is currently on death row and will die shortly for the assassination that his younger brother, Michael, believes he didn’t commit. 

Michael, who has no other options or time to spare, takes extreme measures to be imprisoned in Fox River State Penitentiary with him as the only plan he could come up with to save his brother’s life.

His abilities as a structural engineer, in addition to having in his possession the prison’s blueprints, are expected to help him devise a plan to free Lincoln and prove his innocence. 

When he arrives, Michael is unknowingly met by Fox River State Penitentiary’s prison denizens. He meets his cellmate, Sucre, and Dr. Sara Tancredi (the governor’s daughter), and many other people who will either ruin his plans or bring them to life.

Lincoln’s childhood friend and long-time love work within the law in order to free the brothers. The brothers working inside and a person outside may discover that Lincoln’s imprisonment could be more than a “simple” mistake. 

If you want a hint so far, you will get to know why, sometimes, you shouldn’t trust your government or who are supposed to be protecting you from any injustices. 

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Production & Cast: People You May Know

With a total of 90 episodes, you get to see many characters and actors and actresses playing them so well to the point of just falling in love with several ones. 

However, we don’t think you should love them… at least not too much. 

But enough of possible spoilers, and let’s get into the cast. 

You probably don’t know that some members of the series were just going in their first big role. Starting with the brothers who had some experience in the industry, you have Dominic Purcell as Lincoln Burrows and Wentworth Miller as Michael Scofield. 

Other actors and actresses include: 

  • Amaury Nolasco as Fernando Sucre.
  • Robert Knepper as Theodore Bagwell.
  • Sarah Wayne Callies as Sara Tancredi.
  • Wade Williams as Brad Bellick.
  • William Fichtner as Alexander Mahone.
  • Paul Adelstein as Paul Kellerman.
  • Rockmond Dunbar as Benjamin Miles.
  • Jodi Lyn O’Keefe as Gretchen Morgan. 

Other cast members are mostly secondary and didn’t appear in more than 30 episodes. They do deserve mention, but we will be skipping them in this article but expect outstanding performances from them as well.

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Moving on with production, cast members are crucial, but nothing is possible without the right people taking care of all the work to set the cameras. 

For starters, the show’s creator is Paul Scheuring, who also took the role of executive producer. For the latter, Marty Adelstein, Neal H. Moritz, Dawn Parouse, Brett Ratner, Vaun Wilmott, and other six people joined him. 

In the cinematography, Fernando Argüelles, Jeffrey C. Mygatt, Robert LaBonge, Chris Manley, Robbie Greenberg, Rick Anderson, and Dante Spinotti handled the process. 

For editing, several ones join as well: Etienne Des Lauriers, Scott Eilers, Eric Seaburn, Warren Bowman, Kaja Fehr, James Coblentz, and Mark Helfrich. 

Finally, what happens with the companies behind everything? Well, they vary depending on the season. 

For the pilot, Rat Entertainment was involved. However, the most involved ones include Original Film, Adelstein/Parouse Productions from season 1 to 4, Dawn Olmstead Productions, One Light Road Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television, being the latter distributor as well.

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Reception: Did It Break the Chains of Critics?

As you know, critics are one thing, but the other is what actual fans and viewers think about it. 

Several times, it has been known that some magazines or reviews from “experts” don’t align with what the actual audience thinks about whether a television show is good or not. However, this is one of those weird cases when they do. 

Many entertainment magazines and news sites claimed the TV show to be one of the best during its first season, and although it declined a bit like most series, it remained strong. 

In fact, during the release of the first episode on Fox, 10.5 million viewers were registered, and positive reviews and comments about it followed. 

The first season lasted for 22 episodes, which was a strange case for most series at this time since shorter formats were starting to be more popular. During this time, the average number of viewers fell to 9.2 million but was steady for most weeks. 

It went up to 9.4 million for the second season, but reviews were a bit less positive despite most of them entering the “good series” category. The problem lies in how young adults stopped watching it, which represented about 25% fewer people in the audience. 

The third, fourth, and fifth (final) seasons were the biggest problems for the show. They didn’t perform as well as expected, and negative reviews were almost the same as positive ones by the final season. 

In platforms like Rotten Tomatoes, the score started at 77% with the first season. For the fifth one, it hit 56% only. 

Although the average score is 60% from the website, here’s when the difference between critics and fans starts: the audience rates it at 78%, which is quite decent. 

However, the show didn’t meet expectations for the latest seasons, which affected its earnings with a very specific average for all five seasons.

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Making Money or Not? – Earnings & Salaries

Talking about money, were results really disappointing? 

For some, it can be hard to tell because TV shows and series, unlike movies and music, earnings aren’t usually calculated with the current display from original channels. Instead, you estimate it based on viewership and any details outside of it. 

The rating for the show, following the previous mention of 10-9 million, usually stayed at 8 million on average by the end of seasons 1 and 2 put together. 

However, the last three seasons went downhill. The third season hit the 7 million mark, but the fourth and fifth barely hit 3 and 2 million, respectively. Regardless, Fox was making over $500 million per season at the time, considering marketing and screentime for ads. 

But what about the actual earnings? Details were never disclosed for this in terms of how much every million viewers allowed them to earn. 

So, moving with complete info, we have the actors’ and actresses’ salaries based on per episode and then the total for the season. 

Although early salaries for seasons one and two are questionable, some sources mention that the main cast was earning about $15,000 per episode. However, what we can tell you about their salaries is that for the final season, they were earning about $175,000 instead. 

The brothers, Lincoln and Michael, played by the respective actors, were earning this as the base salary.

The secondary cast was earning about $50,000 per episode by the end of the series. These numbers are possible because the show continued to be popular among those who took the time despite the series falls. In fact, IMDb scores it with 8.3/10

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5 Impressive Facts About Prison Break

  • The main actors for the series, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, were the last to join the cast, which was just a week before the series was set to start filming.
  • The series was filmed in a real prison.
  • Prison Break got banned in over ten prisons in the USA to avoid giving inmates ideas to plan an escape.
  • There’s a Russian remake that pretty much copies several pieces of dialogue.
  • From 2006 to 2008, an interactive experience that replicated the prison was offered throughout several countries, including the USA. 

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Written by Dame Cash

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