Malcolm Jamal Warner was introduced to the world via his role on The Cosby Show. Now, decades later, Malcolm is a respected actor and director in his own right. He has opened up about his time on the show, recently revealing to The Breakfast Club how much money he makes in residuals and how he feels about Mr. Cosby.
The Cosby Show was one of the biggest programs on television. So much so that it aired in syndication for years until Bill Cosby ran into legal issues. Much of the show’s cast was making money off residuals, which, as Malcolm explained, is a percentage of your original check for the episode. Warner explains that the money made off the show made things really comfortable for him in the years after it aired. He has not been the only one to discuss this money.
Raven Symone claimed that she was able to create a nest egg off her Cosby Show money. Because of how steadily she worked throughout the ’90s and early ’00s, Raven was able to put all her Cosby money in savings. The funds provided her enough cushion to walk away from acting for years and go back to school during her “retirement.”
Geoffrey Owens is probably one of the most popular stories relating to Cosby residuals. Owens was famously spotted working at a Trader Joes in 2018. When the picture of him went viral, Owens opened up about how Bill Cosby’s allegations had gotten the show pulled from syndication in 2014, meaning no more residual checks. “The fact is, yeah, there was a certain amount of money that stopped coming in, and that made a difference,” Owens said at the time.
The absence of the money was so big that it forced Owens to have to go find work to supplement his income. His story would eventually score him some acting roles courtesy of Tyler Perry. “It was really generous of him to do that and to do that so publicly,” Owens said of Perry. “It was very bold and courageous and generous of him.” Well, maybe the shift in income was a blessing in disguise for Owens and co. Malcolm Jamal Warner recently revealed that while the checks were great, they did begin to diminish over the years. According to him, at one point, the check was lower than what it cost to send it out. Malcolm recalls getting one residual check for only $65 bucks.
Warner goes on to explain that the real money comes in show ownership. If they had been given points on the show, then everyone would make a lot more money whenever it aired. However, Malcolm does not believe he was cheated and actually looks back fondly on his time working under Cosby. “We didn’t have any leverage,” he recalls at the time of negotiations.
Warner goes on to discuss issues he faced in television and how networks often did not give him the support he needed to succeed. Despite his several L’s, he does seem very proud of his career and the work he’s done.