Anyone would think that being a co-creator of an Australian series that is picked up by a US network would be a license to print money.
But, as Wilfred‘s Adam Zwar explains, it’s not necessarily the case.
The SBS series was lucky enough to have its format rights sold to FX, where co-star Jason Gann (pictured) has appeared in one series, with a second on the way.
“It’s not an enormous amount of money, because you have to pay back the investors,” Zwar told TV Tonight.
“You have to pay back Screen Australia and Film Victoria.”
Zwar isn’t complaining about the situation, so much as de-bunking a myth. Both the Federal and State Governments invested development money in the project, but those funds were not a grant.
Royalty cheques are divided between the rights holders, which include Renegade Productions.
“It’s a small percentage just to keep me happy until you’ve paid the investors off. But the misconception is out there that ‘You must be rolling in it!'” he says.
“Even if we didn’t have to pay back the investors we wouldn’t (be rolling in it).”
Last year Family First Senator Steve Fielding even slammed the government funding, saying the money would be better used for health and education.
But Wilfred has proven its critics wrong, as the only Australian TV comedy to proceed to a second season in the US.
“The Family First Senator raged against Wilfred being given a lot of money, but it’s not a grant. It’s always an investment and they’re very keen to get their money back,” Zwar insists.
“We’ve sold over 50,000 DVDs too so they’ve got more money out of us than a lot of people!”
Zwar isn’t resting on his laurels, with a second season of Lowdown due in 2012 and directing both Agony Aunts and Agony Uncles for ABC.