The cast of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” is asking a more important question: Where are the paychecks?
Original star Colin Mochrie, who appeared in over 50 episodes of the U.K.’s debut sketch improv series before founding the U.S. version along with Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and host Drew Carey, revealed that the actors “never received residuals” from the long-running series.
Mochrie’s U.K. appearances ran from 1991 to 1999; the American spin-off began in 1998 and lasted five years. From 2005 to 2007, previously unaired content was played on ABC Family despite no new episodes being filmed. “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was picked up by The CW in 2013 with Aisha Tyler hosting. Mochrie tweeted that the show will end with its 20th season this year, despite The CW calling the announcement “not accurate.”
“Everyone at the show — producers and actors — are calling this the last taping,” Mochrie clarified to Vulture. “The short answer is that if it comes back, it probably won’t be with this cast. There is a complicated relationship with the show. The cast loves each other, and the actual shooting is always fun. We are all grateful that the show gave us a showcase and allowed us to be able to tour. The downside is that we never received fair compensation for the success of the show.”
Mochrie continued, “We provide the content but don’t get paid as ‘writers.’ We never received residuals for a show that’s been shown around the world since its inception. Seeing announcements about the sale to the show overseas or to HBO Max can get irritating.”
The comedian added, “I hope I don’t sound bitter, because I learned long ago that this business is not fair, and being bitter about it gets you nowhere. I also find it odd that any publicizing of the show comes through our social media. Every day a tweet shows up: ‘You guys should bring that show back!’ Every season for the last nine years we’ve had to remind folks that we are on. So the short answer is, as of now, this is the last season with this cast. The longer, more vague answer is that it’s like the Mafia: It keeps pulling us back, so who knows?”
Mochrie quipped, “I often get offers where they always start with ‘We have no money.’ And those are the things I find the most interesting.”
Mochrie also tweeted in November 2022 that “Whose Line” could continue on since there is “always an option for a new cast” while the original stars tour in “various incarnations.”