Tom Selleck paid ‘Magnum PI’ crew bonuses when Network declined

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Tom Selleck writes in his new memoir ‘You Never Know’ (via Business insider) that he personally gave the crew $1,000 “Magnum PI” bonuses when the studio declined during contract negotiations for the CBS series’ eighth and final season. Selleck headlined “Magnum PI” in the title role for 162 episodes between 1980 and 1988, becoming one of the most iconic television stars of the decade. The actor admits in his memoir that he debated whether or not to continue the show for an eighth time because “I didn’t want anyone to think that last season was just a ploy to get more money.”

During contract negotiations, Selleck writes that he asked the studio to give the crew $1,000 bonuses as long as Season 8 of “Magnum PI” came in on budget and on time. According to Selleck, the studio responded “that they could not discuss crew bonuses under any circumstances, that this would set a dangerous precedent.”

“They always relied on precedent if you had an original thought that went beyond their contractual standard,” Selleck adds. “Honestly, that pissed me off.”

Selleck decided to take matters into his own hands and found a loophole to give his crew the bonuses they deserved by arranging for the studio to give him a “substantial” personal bonus for the final season. The actor worked closely with his agent Bettye McCart and his lawyer Skip Brittenham to get the deal just right so that Sellek could deduct the $1,000 checks from his own bonus.

“I called Skip and Bettye and told them to tell Universal – not ask them to tell them – to issue thousand dollar checks to every regular member of our ‘Magnum’ company in both Hawaii and LA” , Selleck writes about once signing his bonus deal with: “And that, since it came out of my bonus money, there was no precedent involved.”

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“When the checks came out, I got a picture of our LA crew standing in a stand with big smiles on their faces,” the actor adds. “In front of them was a very large, oversized check for a thousand dollars. The caption below read: ‘Thanks, Tom. What a ‘grand’ gesture.’ That made me happy.”

“Magnum PI” ended in 1988, but the franchise was rebooted in 2018 with Jay Hernandez in the title role. The reboot series aired for five seasons and 96 episodes between 2018 and 2024. Selleck, meanwhile, would find continued TV success as the star of CBS’ police procedural “Blue Bloods,” which wraps this fall after 14 seasons and nearly 300 episodes. .

Selleck said this recently CBS News that he hopes the network “comes to its senses” and cancels “Blue Bloods,” adding, “We are the third-highest scripted show in all of broadcasting. We win the evening. The whole cast wants to come back. And I can tell you this: We are not sliding off a cliff. We do good shows and still keep our place.

Selleck’s memoir ‘You Never Know’ is now available for purchase.

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