Although it was reported last week that the six ”Friends” cast members are now demanding $250,000 each per episode, Matthew Perry says, ”It’s not true.” While promoting his new movie, ”Three to Tango” (opening Oct. 22), Perry denied a published report that he and costars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer are asking to more than double their $100,000 per-episode contract, which expires at the end of this season.
Perry wouldn’t say how much the cast WILL be asking for to remain on TV’s No. 1 comedy — and when they’ll begin asking for it — but he allowed that he wants to stay a ”Friend” into the next millennium: ”I think creatively, we’re at the top of our game still. We’ve had a lot of fun this year with the apartment swapping. And we were really happy to hear that the lovely Elle Macpherson has joined the cast for a few episodes. I want it to keep going, and the cast really wants to stay together.”
Perry’s loyalty to the show doesn’t prevent him from pursuing other projects, however, including a television development deal with Warner Bros. His first show: a sitcom pilot for ABC currently titled ”The Shrink,” which Perry says is about a 30-year-old psychologist ”who’s convinced that he’s more screwed up than any of his patients.” He adds that being a writer doesn’t offer the same amount of perks as does being an actor in a top-rated sitcom. ”We go over to ABC and they make me wait for about 45 minutes. If I was there as an actor they’d let me right in. But now they say, ‘First-time writer guy? Let’s make him sit.”’