Daily Dirt: Commercials are a good gig if you can land the right one

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Milana Vanytrub, left, is making about $3 million annually portraying Lily Adams on the AT&T saleslady commercials, while Stephanie Courtney's salary is $8 million for her role as Flo with Progressive Insurance.

Daily Dirt for Friday, Feb. 9, 2024

I’d probably lean toward those “Mayhem” commercials as my favorite(s) … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 860 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Ever wondered how much some of those familiar faces (and voices) on TV commercials receive for their talents? Well, I have. Here are some of the figures I found:

  • Stephanie Courtney is the real name of Flo, the Progressive Insurance woman that we see over and over and over. Her salary is $8 million. Courtney has also appeared in multiple films, including “Blades of Glory,” and such TV shows as “The Goldbergs.”
  • For many, Terry Crews is best known for role as host on “America’s Got Talent,” but he first rose to fame as “The Old Spice Guy” on those entertaining cologne commercials. Old Spice paid him $6 million.
  • Dean Winters is the popular Mayhem Guy on the Allstate insurance commercials. He gets paid $4,750 per aired commercial. For the Allstate commercials, Mayhem is the personification of the worst-case scenario in every situation. 
  • Jake Wood was the man/voice behind many of those Geico Gecko ads, for which he picked up a $3 million paycheck. The commercials have been around now for about 20 years and Wood was the voice for the first decade. He was let go in 2015 when he wanted a raise.
  • Milana Vanytrub portrays Lily Adams on the AT&T saleslady commercials. Her first few years of commercials earned her about $500,000, but that figure now is reportedly close to $3 million.
  • Actor Dennis Haysbert is also a $3 million person when it comes to commercials. He’s the guy with the great voice in those Allstate “Are You in Good Hands?” commercials.
  • Jonathan Goldsmith is “The Most Interesting Man in the World” on the Dos Equis beer commercials. He was paid $1 million  for that role. Goldsmith’s resume also include multiple Western films, including “The Shootist” with John Wayne. He also appeared in a variety of TV series, including “Dallas” and “Knight Rider.”
  • Cary Foulkes is a model and actress whose greatest fame has come as the “T-Mobile Girl”. For that she, her salary was $1 million.
  • Remember those Dr. Pepper commercials that featured Justin Guarini as “Li’l Sweet?” The former “American Idol” runner-up was paid $250,000 for the Dr. Pepper gig.

2. Here are the three worst MBL contracts, according to syndication.bleacherreport.com:

  • Gold medal: Stephen Strasburg. He was signed to a $245 million contract a few years ago. Due to injuries, he only pitched 31.2 innings with a 6.89 ERA before being forced to retire. The Nationals still owe him $151 million.
  • Silver medal: Anthony Rendon. He has played just 148 games over the past three years for the Angels, and is still owed $114 million through the next three reasons.
  • Bronze medal: Kris Bryant. The Rockies still owe Bryant $108 million over the coming four seasons. In 2023, the injury-prone Bryant hit .233 with 10 homers.

3. It’s hard to believe it was 50 years ago this week these were the top 10 songs in America:

  • 1. “You’re Sixteen,” by Ringo Starr: This is one of two No, 1 songs Ringo has had as a solo artist. “Photograph” was the other one. In comparison, Paul McCartney has had 22.
  • 2. “Show and Tell,” by Al Wilson: Not many pop singers are named “Al” these days.
  • 3. “The Way We There,” by Barbra Streisand: I’ve actually preferred Ms. Streisand’s more upbeat songs. This is not one of those.
  • 4. “The Joker,” by Steve Miller Band: This song is like finger nails on a blackboard for me, and I’m not really sure why I detest it so much.
  • 5. “(I’ve Got To Use) My Imagination,” by Gladys Knight and the Pips: I always thought growing up it would have been cool to be one of the Pips. I have moves, you know.
  • 6. “Love’s Theme,” by Love Unlimited Orchestra: Instrumentals are fine, and I realize some truly love them. But me? I prefer words with my songs. 
  • 7. “Smokin’ In The Boys Room,” by Brownsville Station: I think this was probably the anthem of every teen-age boy in 1974.
  • 8. “Let Me Be There,” by Olivia Newton-John: One of Olivia’s solid efforts at this point in her career.
  • 9. “Time In A Bottle,” by Jim Croce: Might have been my least favorite Croce song.
  • 10. “The Americans,” by Byron MacGregor: Mr. MacGregor basically gave the middle finger to the rest of the world for taking advantage of U.S. generosity and providing little or nothing in return.

Steve Thought O’ The Day
If I had to pick a favorite among those 10 songs, I’d be leaning toward Brownsville Station.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Did you know Dick Wilson made 504 commercials as Mr. Whipple, earning U.S. $300,000 annually and working only 12-16 days a year? That sounds like a job Steve could handle … the new Mr. Whipple.

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