This idea was inspired by the recent posts about how various actors got layed off or fired when Dallas started making less money and they made budget cuts, resulting in losing people in major roles like Susan Howard, or actors in smaller but still important roles like Morgan Woodward. For the sake of simplicity let's say the network was paying the actors directly. I don't know if CBS or Lorimar paid the actors, but for this, jut suppose it was CBS. If it was Lorimar, this same idea could still have been used, just substitute Lorimar for where I say CBS. Depending on when an actor's contract was done and a new contract re-negotiated, they'd offer a certain amount (usually a per episode amount). The actor could accept or refuse and if they refused, CBS might offer more, or they might just let the actor go. The problem appeared to be that some of the amounts offered were made during peak ratings years and then when the ratings dropped, it was difficult to afford to keep paying the agreed an amount. A contracts exists to give both the employer and employee security in knowing each has made a commitment to the other. The problem with it is that you can never be sure what earnings are going to be, since they're tied to ratings. If the ratings go up, the actor may feel they aren't being paid what they're worth, but they gave their word to work for that amount so the network doesn't have to pay them more, and likely won't. If the ratings go down, the network ends up paying the actors more than they're able to afford. That means they're going to have to save the money somewhere else, which can and did result in losing important people to the show. I was thinking, why didn't the networks use a pay system where they'd offer a certain amount as a base guarantee on income for the actors, writers and producers, and then offer an additional amount on top of that based on productivity? Say Larry Hagman was earning $100,000 per episode (just to have a nice even number to work with, since this is just an example). Why not re-structure the pay system based on productivity? In TV, productivity is determined by ratings and the higher the ratings, the more money the network can charge for commercial time. CBS could have avoided a lot of the problems they'd had, and avoided letting go of actors who were valuable to the show, if they'd done things this way: Instead of offering Larry Hagman, or any other actor, a fixed amount per episode, per year, instead of offering them the big guaranteed contracts which aren't tied to performance or productivity, have the pay system offer a basic amount, maybe $20,000 pr episode in his case, as a guaranteed base and then offer bonuses tied to the ratings? For simplicity's sake, since this is just an outline of a system, offer Larry Hgamnaa certain amount extra for every ratings point above a certain level - say a rating of 15. In his case, every ratings point above 15 would result in a bonus of $10,000 per Neilsen ratings point. If Dallas gets a 16 rating, he gets paid a $10,000 bonus per episode, for a total $30,000 per episode. If it got a 20 rating, he'd get a bonus of $50,000 per episode, for a total of $70,000 per episode. A 23 would give him $100,000 total - $20,000 base plus an $80,000 bonus for being 8 points above a 15 rating. If they did extremely well and got a 27 rating, he'd get $140,000 per episode. This system could be used for actors, writers and producers. It ensures people are being paid what they actually earn. It rewards them for doing better, and avoids paying them more money than they're actually worth. It's a merit based system which provides an incentive to give a one hundred percent effort. Since everyone is helping everyone else make money, you also wouldn't have a problem with actors maybe trying to "steal the spotlight' in a scene where they try to make themselves look good, to the detriment f the overall product. It looks like win/win situation to me!